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Nigeria central bank fine $16m on banks for MTN capital repatriation.

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Nigeria’s central bank on Wednesday announced that it had slapped a fine of 5.8 billion naira on four banks for their roles in MTN illegal fund repatriation.

The banks involved are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank, all are to pay different sums in fines imposed.



The central bank added that the banks are to refund the full amount of $8.134 billion involved in the said transaction which it said was in breach of Nigeria’s forex regulations.

MTN’s headache in Nigeria has made news headlines for better part of 2016 and 2017. They were initially hit with a $5.2 bn fine in October 2015 by the Nigerian regulator for failure to cut off 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards as requested by the government.

Security was cited as being behind the move, over fears that Boko Haram insurgents were using unregistered SIMs to plan and execute attacks in the remote northeast.

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In December 2015, the fine was reduced to $3.4 billion, then cut further in June last year to $1.7 billion, which at the time was equivalent to 330 billion naira. The payment is staggered over three years.

In March 2017, MTN said it had paid nearly $100m of the $1.7 bn fine. “MTN has paid N30bn ($98m, 92 million euros) as part of the fine,” Tony Ojobo, spokesman for Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) said.

MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria, which accounts for around one-third of the company’s revenues. The company had at a point threatened to pull out of Nigeria during the dispute over unregistered SIM cards.

The payment is in furtherance of the agreed timetable for payment of the total fine.” He said MTN had already paid N80bn of the total fine of N330bn. Ojobo said MTN was expected to pay the next tranche of the fine “based on the payment schedule agreed by the two parties.”

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Qatar to withdraw from OPEC come January 2019

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The Gulf nation’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi has confirmed that Qatar is set to withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),



The decision to quit the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for a significant percentage of the world’s oil production was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the state oil company, on Monday.

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Al-Kaabi stated their goal when speaking at a news conference in the capital Doha “The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years.”

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Qatar is the first Gulf country to leave the bloc of oil-producing countries.

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Trump says China agree to mitigate tariffs on US cars after trade war ceasefire

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to cut tariffs below the 40 percent level currently in place on US-made vehicles after the two countries had talks in Argentina.



Trump confirmed the situation on his tweeter handle stating that: “China has agreed to mitigate and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%”.

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During the meeting in Buenos Aires, the US agreed not to increase tariffs on January 1, as had been planned, while China agreed to immediately buy more agricultural products from US farmers.

If no broader deal is reached within 90 days, the US said it would hike tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that he was examining all available tools to raise US tariffs on Chinese vehicles to the 40 percent level that China was charging on US-made vehicles.

A source reports that the Chinese state media on Monday cautiously welcomed the trade war truce on Monday, without mentioning the US January 1 deadline.

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Asian stock markets opened higher on Monday in the wake of the truce, with Tokyo rising by one percent and Hong Kong and Shanghai rising by more than two percent.

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