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IMF signals further economic contraction, warns of unprecedented crisis

Even with lockdowns being partially eased, IMF warned that there could be an even worse decline. 

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IMF raises Nigeria’s growth forecast, Globat trade tension, US-China trade war, International Monetary Fund IMF, IMF advises Nigeria to keep inflation down, International Monetary Fund, Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria's External Reserves and Sovereign Wealth Fund: Why IMF can't be ignored

On Tuesday, International Monetary Fund noted that the world economy is heading towards a more significant contraction than what had previously been estimated in April. It did so, noting that the ongoing crisis is nothing like the world has ever seen before. 

Just a few months ago in April, during the period that European countries were having their first weeks of lockdown, the IMF had forecasted a contraction by 3% in 2020, regarding it as the worst financial crisis since 1930’s Great Depression. Even with lockdowns being partially eased and a number of global economies beginning to reopen, they warned that there could be an even worse decline. 

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Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, in a blog post detailed that “For the first time since the Great Depression, both advanced and emerging market economies will be in recession in 2020. The forthcoming June World Economic Outlook Update is likely to show negative growth rates even worse than previously estimated.”  

Today, the total number of confirmed infections have surpassed 8 million across the world with the highest cases coming from the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and the U.K. according to Johns Hopkins University data. Needless to say, the process of lifting lockdowns has been sluggish. 

The worst hit sectors have been service-based. On the flip side, the manufacturing industry hasn’t suffered as many hits – a change from previous crises where constrained investment hit the manufacturing space the hardest 

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To mitigate the impending crisis quicker, Gopinath said, “It is possible that with pent-up consumer demand there will be a quicker rebound, unlike after previous crises.” 

“With few exceptions, the rise in sovereign spreads and the depreciation of emerging market currencies are smaller than what we saw during the global financial crisis. This is notable considering the larger scale of the shock to emerging markets during the Great Lockdown,” he added. 

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Around the World

Africa’s richest woman has assets seized by Portugal

She is being accused of embezzling over $ 1 billion from Angolan state-owned firms.

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Africa’s richest woman has assets seized by Portugal

The Portuguese Government seized shares owned by Angola’s Isabel dos Santos in the Efacec Power Solutions SGPS SA Company, in a bid to help the company find new owners.

Isabel Dos Santos has been battling a corruption probe both home and in Portugal. She is being accused of embezzling over $ 1 billion from Angolan state-owned firms.

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READ MORE: Nigeria recoups N594.09 billion from whistleblowing policy

Dos Santos owned a 72% stake in the company through a Maltese registered company called “Winterfell 2”. Angola’s Finance Minister, Pedro Vieira said on Thursday that the Angolan government has started plans to sell the stake and already has interest from interested bidders.

Efacec has annual sales of $449 million, according to the Minister.

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READ MORE: Italian Judge links Nigerian businessman to an oil graft case between Eni, Shell

Efacec announced back in January that Isabel dos Santos had planned to sell most of her majority stake in the company.

Isabel dos Santos had her assets frozen in December 2019 by Angolan courts, she claims the corruption probe against her was based on a fake passport signed by late Hollywood star Bruce Lee.  Portugal also froze her assets in February. 

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READ ALSO: Portugal blocks Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos’ bank accounts

 

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FBI seeks help finding 6 Nigerians accused of fraud totaling over $6 million  

The Nigerians are also accused of working with money launderers, romance scammers, and others.

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FBI seeks help finding 6 Nigerians accused of fraud totaling over $6 million  

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced, through its Twitter handle, that it needs the help of the public to find six Nigerians who were complicit in Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes, which led to the loss of over $6 million.

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The accused Nigerians in the FBI’s Cyber Most wanted are Richard Izuchuckwu Uzuh, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, Nnamdi Benson, and Micheal Olorunyomi.

READ ALSO: How to protect your bank account from phishing attempts

The FBI says that over 70 different businesses were defrauded of the amount. The fugitives are accused of sending spoofed emails to thousands of businesses requesting fraudulent wire services.

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The Nigerians are also accused of working with money launderers, romance scammers, and others involved in BEC schemes “through a complex web of witting and unwitting people in the United States and abroad.”

Uzuh and Ogunshakin are alleged to have conducted their own BEC Schemes; while learning from Uzuh, Ogunshakin provided the bank accounts to him, Benson, Kayode and Okpo, whose accounts were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers. Okpoh alone is accused of providing bank accounts for receiving fraudulent transfers valued at $1 million.

READ ALSO: Invictus Group CEO, Obinwanne Okeke, pleads guilty to $11m fraud charge in U.S.

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Uzuh was indicted in October 2016 in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, on wire fraud charges and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while the other co-conspirators were indicted in August 2019 at the same district court and had Federal warrants issued for their arrests.

Meanwhile, Micheal Olorunyomi, who was indicted in November 2019, is accused of defrauding victims of over $1 million by targeting vulnerable elders or widows through romance fraud schemes.

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Trump halts access to green cards, employment-based visa till end of 2020

Workers who are already in the United States will not be affected by this order.

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Donald Trump, What does Iran’s war with America mean for Africa?, US to stop issuing visa for Birth Tourism, Trump Travel Ban List: Why Nigeria should be excluded  , US spends over $5b in health assistance to Nigeria in 20 years, gives $32.8m for covid-19, Oil Is Back

President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, is set to sign an order temporarily halting access to several employment-based visas, and issuance of green cards for the rest of the year.

This decision, which comes as a result of the 13.3% unemployment rate caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will restrain hundreds of thousands of people seeking to work in the U.S. However, workers who are already in the United States will not be affected by this order.

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According to a senior administration official quoted on Bloomberg, the order will freeze new H1-B, H2-B, H-4, L and most J visas through the end of the year, the official said.

READ ALSO: Precious metals slump, investors focus on Central Bank’s intervention

The only exceptions are the food processing workers who will still be allowed to access H2-B visas.

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In a Saturday interview with Fox News, Trump had stated that he wanted Americans to take the jobs that would otherwise go to those granted the visas.

“We have plenty of people looking for jobs,” he told Fox. “I think it’s going to make a lot of people very happy. And it’s common sense.”

Trump had earlier hinted at plans to temporarily suspend migrations to the US, amid concerns from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Information Technology Industry Council, that such moves could disrupt business.

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READ MORE: U.S. publishes names of 6 Nigerians charged with internet fraud against Americans

Employment based visas

H-1B visas cover temporary work authorizations for people with highly specialized knowledge, while H-4 visas are issued to immediate family members of H-1B visa holders.

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The H-2 visas allow temporary work in agriculture, construction, forestry and many other industries.

L visas are for temporary intracompany transfers for those who are in management positions or have specialized knowledge, while J visas are for work- and study-based exchange visitor programs.

Although the American technology industry has relied on H-1B visas to hire foreign talent, particularly in the fields of science and engineering in the past years, critics say some companies have abused the program to displace American workers.

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Bloomberg reports that there are plans to restructure the H1-B program to rewrite rules in which applicants will get priority for H1-B visas, giving reference to would-be immigrants with the highest salary offers.

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In the 2019 fiscal year alone, the US issued more than 900,000 visas in these categories.

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