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Aftermath Of US Election: What’s Next For Trump?

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The Trump Towers Istanbul, whose owner leases the rights to the Trump name for a sizable fee, in Istanbul. [File/The New York Times]

President Donald Trump’s tax records show signs of financial distress, he claims to have lost out on billions of dollars in income while in office and his eldest sons say the family business has forfeited dozens of potential deals across the globe.

Now, denied a second term by voters, Trump may seek to return to a once-lucrative career in television, this time with a decidedly political bent. His family business will also be free to make up for lost time by once again looking overseas, where hotels and golf clubs helped drive its growth before his election in 2016.

Eric Trump and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not respond Saturday to requests for comment on the business’s post-White-House plans. The president put out a statement disputing the outcome of the election, indicating that he did not believe he had lost.

After winning the presidency four years ago, Donald Trump declined to sell off his stake in the Trump Organization and instead adopted a plan that he said would eliminate conflicts of interest. Among other things, the Trump Organization pledged to forgo new deals outside the United States and hired an ethics adviser to screen certain domestic ventures.

Donald Trump

Democrats and others argued that the restrictions were half-measures at best, and indeed the approach did little to prevent the president from turning his resorts and hotels into a hub of favor seeking for lobbyists, donors and corporate chiefs, as The New York Times reported in October.

Still, the presidency took a toll on the privately owned family business, which has not closed a new hotel deal since Trump entered the White House. The company shelved a proposed chain of budget-friendly hotels last year, and Trump’s financial disclosure statements showed that his top cash-generating properties had largely gone sideways. Without offering evidence, Trump claimed last year that being president was “probably costing me from $3 to $5 billion.”

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The ban on new foreign deals probably dealt the biggest blow. Before the presidency, the company was eyeing a major expansion in China. It would even maintain a Chinese bank account and keep an inactive office in Shanghai during the presidency. It had also done exploratory work on new business partnerships in Colombia, Brazil and Turkey.

No longer constrained by its self-imposed ethics plan, the Trump Organization is now expected to seek hotel deals and other business, according to several people close to the company. Even so, there will be numerous obstacles to a rebound, including the coronavirus pandemic, law enforcement investigations into the company and a deeply divided view of Trump among the American public. Additionally, if Trump made another run for the White House in 2024, he might need to avoid new foreign entanglements that could provide ammunition for political rivals.

As Trump is poised to once again become a private citizen, here is the landscape for his family business.

Trump may begin selling his name again.

The fastest way for the Trump Organization to raise money is to flip the switch on its international deal machine, licensing the Trump name to real estate projects like hotels and residential towers.

When Trump entered the White House in 2017, Trump Organization executives said the company had left behind more than two dozen such branding deals, including in China, Israel and across South America. As Trump leaves office, he is popular in some countries, and his brand is widely recognized.

The branding deals are largely risk-free for the company because they do not require capital investments and generally make between $500,000 and $1 million a year, at least initially. The payments often decline after units in residential buildings are sold, unless the Trump Organization makes parallel agreements to manage the properties.

His company, however, still faces legal scrutiny.

While Congress may no longer be as focused on Trump’s business activities, prosecutors in New York will continue their investigations.

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The Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating Trump and his company for an array of potential financial crimes and is seeking his tax returns. The New York state attorney general’s office is conducting a separate civil inquiry into suspicions that the company misstated its assets, possibly to reduce taxes or obtain loans.

The company has denied any wrongdoing, but it may be reluctant to provide the investigators with additional deals to scrutinize. Eric Trump, who runs the company with his brother Donald Jr., last year cited scrutiny from Democrats and the media as a major reason for suspending plans to open a new line of hotels.

The investigations could also lead to negative publicity as the company is looking to expand.

A new stream of business partners may emerge with Trump out of the spotlight.

Over the past four years, Bobby R. Burchfield, a Washington lawyer, served as the Trump Organization’s ethics adviser, scrutinizing potential deals and business partners. The examinations made it difficult for some to pass muster, while others were scared off by the public attention.

That scrutiny will now fall away, opening a pipeline of new partners.

And with more than $300 million in debt coming due that the president has personally guaranteed, there may be some urgency for the Trump Organization to line up new deals. In addition, an adverse ruling in an audit battle with the IRS could cost him more than $100 million, The Times reported in September.

A polarized country and the pandemic could hamper a rebound.

Some of Trump’s most lucrative properties are in Democratic strongholds, like New York and Chicago, where he remains deeply unpopular. And his biggest revenue-generator, his Doral golf resort in Florida, has suffered from a drop-off in conference revenue as some big companies and organizations stayed away because of his divisiveness.

As president, Trump has tried to fill the gap, at least in part, through events booked at his properties by groups connected to him and Republican politics. The Trump International Hotel near the White House was often brimming with partisan allies.

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It is unclear if that patronage will continue, or if Trump’s detractors will return to his properties once he leaves office. Additionally, it has been a tough year for the hospitality industry because of the pandemic, and the headwinds have hit commercial real estate, too. Both are central to Trump’s business portfolio.

There may be another presidential act for Trump or his children.

Trump, as of late, has privately raised the idea of running again in 2024. And the possibility of another Trump presidential run could have a chilling effect on his business in the intervening years, at least in countries like China, where a thicket of ethical and legal conflicts could arise.

The president also may not be the last Trump to run for elected office.

Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump may hold future political aspirations, and that could curb some plans for growth. The risks are greatest on the international front, where potential for conflicts of interest abound.

Finally, there is Trump’s love for television.

During his time in the White House, Trump put his eldest sons in charge of his company along with a team of other executives. But even before that, he had receded somewhat from scouting deals, letting his children take the lead.

Donald Trump

Where and how Trump will reassert himself in the family business will be one of the intriguing questions surrounding his return to private life. A onetime reality TV star, he may instead return to television as a political pundit or in another role, those around him say.

There have been preliminary discussions about acquiring or starting a Trump-branded network, for example. His work on “The Apprentice,” tax records show, brought him new sources of cash and furthered a myth that would help propel him to the White House, The Times reported in September. Paid speeches and a book deal could also await him.

 

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Finance/Economy

Inksnation Foundation Is Legitimate, Duly Registered Under The Statutory Law – Kogi State Coordinator

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The State Coordinator and Director General inksnation foundation in Kogi State, Mrs Grace Mubo Daikwo has refuted the rumoured making the rounds on doubting the authenticity of inksnation foundation as falsehood from detractors of good things.

Inksnation Foundation Is Legitimate, Duly Registered Under The Statutory Law – Kogi State Coordinator

The Director General disclosed this while speaking with Journalist as so many news are going round as regards the foundation.

She said inksnation foundation is duly registered under the statutory law of the Federal republic of Nigeria via the Corporate Affairs Commission.

She emphasized that contrary to the news from some quarter, Inksnation has come to stay and it is a very genuine foundation that has over 6.7million members in Nigeria alone with reputable members cutting across board.

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The Director General further explained that the motive of inksnation foundation is to impact into the lives of the poor and vulnerable positively especially in the area of putting food on their table and giving them income.

She however, called on members of inksnation foundation to keep calm on the recent message showing”UNVERIFIED”on there dashboard saying it is as a result of server breakdown as there is an upgrade in server presently with a new website that has just been launched with which everybody will be verified with an extension of time.

The Director General called on all members to get ready for the next December market that will come up in all the seven zones in Kogi State as a directive from the founder, Amos Sewanu.

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She said all the market has been zoned to our local government across the three senatorial districts from the 14th of December where members would have gotten two of their monthly allowance which they can spend in the market to take care of food items during the festive period.

She called on all the members to dispel the rumor as the foundation has taken a bold step to report to appropriate bodies and equally taken a legal action on those quarters where this stories generates from.

On clarification, members can check the head office at number 19 Posokah quarters off dosu way Badagry Lagos State or Kogi State office at Aliu Obaje road suit number 2, Hajia K.Plaza along NIWA road Lokoja to know more about the foundation.

Inksnation Foundation Is Legitimate, Duly Registered Under The Statutory Law – Kogi State Coordinator

In her final words, the Director General said inksnation foundation has come to give everybody equitable distribution of wealth, love, peace and unity with a projection of a better tomorrow.

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Finance/Economy

Breaking: Nigeria Plunges Into Second Recession In Five Years

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Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has entered its second recession in five years as official figures published on Saturday show that the economy shrank again in the third quarter of this year.

This year’s recession, occasioned  by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, is worse than that of 2016.

The National Bureau of Statistics, in its Gross Domestic Product report for Q3, said the GDP, the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 3.62 in the three months to September.

Economists consider two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP as the technical definition of a recession.

For the first time in more than three years, the Nigerian economy shrank in the second quarter of this year as the GDP fell by 6.10 per cent, compared with a growth of 1.87 per cent in Q1.

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The NBS had said in August that the economic decline in Q2 was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity resulting from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said the contraction in Q2 brought to an end the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession.

The economy, which emerged from its first recession in 25 years in Q2 2017 when it posted a 0.7 per cent growth, had continued its slow recovery since then but the COVID-19 crisis made things worse.

In 2016, the economy slipped into recession in Q2 as the GDP shrank by 2.1 per cent after falling by 0.4 per cent in Q1 on the back of the steep fall in global crude oil prices and the country’s production volumes.

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Last month, the World Bank revised its 2020 forecast for Nigeria’s economy to -4.1 per cent from its previous projection of -3.2 per cent, saying the country’s near-term outlook was subject to “considerable uncertainty”.

The bank had said in June that the collapse in crude oil prices, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, was expected to “plunge the Nigerian economy into a severe recession, the worst since the 1980s”.

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FGN Disburses N66.5billion To States For Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget

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The federal government of Nigeria (FGN) has disbursed the sum of N66.5billion (USD$175 million) to eligible States on the basis of the Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget results achievement.

According to a press statement signed by Hassan Dodo,
Director, Press and Public Relations,
Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, says Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, who disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr. Hassan Dodo, the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, yesterday in Abuja, explained that the disbursement followed compliance with the Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget by 35 eligible States in the country.

The programme is wholly-financed with a loan amount of $750 million from the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group. Each State received the total sum of N1.9bn equivalent of $5million.

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The disbursement is, according to her, under the performance-based grant component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results.

Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

Rivers State is the only one that missed out on the grant due to its inability to meet the eligibility criteria which required the states to have passed and published online on a state’s website by July 31,2020 credible, fiscally responsible COVID-19 Responsive Amended 2020 Budgets duly approved by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the State Governor.

According to Ahmed, the Amended 2020 State Budget must also include standardised budget documentation to enhance clarity, transparency and accessibility.
“It must also significantly lower the gross statutory revenue projections – consistent with the revised medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and federal government’s budget; reduced non-essential overhead and capital expenditures”.

READ:  FGN Disburses N66.5billion To States For Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget

“The budget must be tagged and found to have allocated at least 10 percent of the total expenditure of the amended budget for COVID-19 relief, restructuring and recovery programs; and identified credible sources to fully finance the budget deficit to avoid accumulation of arrears”.

Mrs. Ahmed stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic and fiscal shocks have put significant pressure on States’ fiscal resources and undermined the reality and credibility of the States’ original 2020 Annual Budgets.

She was of the opinion that a transparent, accountable and sustainable state-level fiscal/budget framework is a pre-requisite for a robust COVID-19 response, enabling necessary health, social protection and livelihood interventions during the COVID-19 relief, restructuring and recovery phases.

The Honourable Minister expressed optimism that the achievement of results by the 35 out of 36 States would further strengthen the national fiscal response to COVID-19 and align efforts at both the federal and state-levels.

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She noted that the World Bank-assisted SFTAS Programme is principally meant to strengthen fiscal management at the state level, so as to ensure effective mobilisation and utilisation of financial resources to the benefit of the citizens in a transparent, accountable and sustainable manner, thereby reducing fiscal risks and encouraging a common set of fiscal behaviours.

Ahmed observed that the SFTAS programme could not have come at a better time, given the dwindling government revenue occasioned by oil price volatility coupled with the current impact of COVID-19 which has further intensified the need for improved practices in fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability as enunciated in the SFTAS ideals.

It would be recalled that the federal government had earlier in April, 2020 disbursed the total sum of (N43,416,000,000.00) $120.6 million to the qualified 24 States, based on their performance.

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