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Nigeria Is Greatest Contributor To Wealth In West Africa

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The African Development Bank (AfDB), says Nigeria is the greatest contributor to wealth creation in West Africa, contributing about 75 percent of regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mr Ebrima Faal, AfDB Senior Director for Nigeria said this in an interview with newsmen at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the Bank in Malabo.

According to Faal, Nigeria’s trade policy is anchored on ECOWAS, as it continues to play a coordinating role in the region through both the government and its vibrant private sector.

He said that in terms of free movement of persons, Nigeria had performed relatively well by ratifying the relevant ECOWAS instruments concerning free movement of persons, rights of establishments and free movement of workers.

According to him, Nigeria allows nationals holding valid travel document from all other ECOWAS countries to enter its shores visa-free.

Faal said that Nigeria had continued to make strides in trade integration with efforts to harmonise documentation and streamline processes that would allow for the free flow of trade across its borders.

The country director said “Nigeria has an active Export Promotion Council (NEPC), which champions implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the main operational tool for promoting Free Trade in West Africa.

He, however, said there was still much to be done on the integration of its productive value chains, especially in the areas of agriculture and the manufacturing sector for exports.

To this end, he said that the Ebonyi Ring Road project approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in April, would open up Enugu State to trade with Cameroon and other neighbours.

He said that the project, though the initiative of the state government, was a regional road as it crosses through the Enugu-Bamenda road corridor at two points, thereby providing residents in the area with easier access to Cameroon.

According to him, the AfDB is partnering with the Ebonyi Government to realise the project.

“In April 2019, the bank approved a loan package of 70 million dollars for the Ebonyi State Ring Road project. While the project is a state initiative designed to link eight of the 13 local government areas in the state, it has strategic dimensions as it crosses the Bemenda road corridor at two points. Thereby providing residents in its zone of influence with easier access to Cameroon.’’

Faal said the bank would continue to focus on improving the institutional framework for the coordination and management of regional projects through capacity support ECOWAS and other regional specialised institutions.

The specialised institutions, he said, are “power pools, corridors development authorities, river basin authorities, and regional statistical authorities’’, and national regional integration coordination agencies.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity’’.

The Annual Meetings provide opportunities for experts, governments, businesses, civil society, think-tanks and the academia to share their candid assessments on regional integration efforts and dialogue on critical issues concerning Africa’s development.

The meeting which opened on Monday with closed door sessions with dignitaries continues on Thursday.

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Ex-ANAN president reacts to CBN’s plan for Nigerian banks

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Dr. Samuel Nzekwe, a former President of the Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN), has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its plan to increase the minimum capital base of banks.

Nzekwe gave the commendation on Tuesday in Ota, Ogun State, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

DAILY POST reports that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday in Abuja said that the apex bank was planning to raise the minimum capital base of banks from the present N25 billion.

Emefiele pledged to re-position Nigerian banks through recapitalization during in his second term.

He made the promise in Abuja on Monday during a press briefing on his policy road map for the next five years as governor of the CBN.

Reacting, the former ANAN president said the apex bank’s decision was a right step in the right direction as it would create mega-banks in the country.

He said that banks in the country were granting short-term loans at high-interest rates because of insufficient funds, adding that this makes it difficult for banks in the country to effectively perform their financial intermediation roles.

“There is no way the nation can develop when we do not have vibrant banks that could grant long-term loans to people,” he said.

Nzekwe said that the recapitalization of banks from N25 billion to N230 billion would make people have more confidence in the financial sector.

He said that this would also help banks to bridge the gaps of money that were taken from them through the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.

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VP Osinbajo woos potential investors in power, agriculture, other sectors

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Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Hon. Justice Sylvanus Nsofor (L) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during the arrival of the Vice President to the United State on Sunday (23-6-19).

The potential, effort and impact being made by Nigerians in technology can enable the country roll out indigenous technology solutions that can transform the global space, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this Monday while interacting with interested investors and foreign policy experts on Nigeria’s economic prospects and related matters at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

In a question and answer session after his opening remarks at the event, Prof Osinbajo was asked about the ongoing international dispute regarding some global technology firms and the issue of 5G.

He explained that even though Nigeria is yet to roll out 5G, “we do not have those complications (comparatively) in taking decisions in that regard. But, we practically welcome every company that wants to do business with us in Nigeria. Huawei is in Nigeria and so are all the other technology companies.

“We haven’t gone through any kind of decision making for rolling out the 5G technology; as a matter of fact we are going to roll out 5G ourselves. Talking about the equipment and technology; how did the Chinese get it? How did anyone else get the technology? We will do it ourselves.”

Speaking further, the Vice President who was optimistic about the possibility to developing homegrown capacity in the technology space said government would leverage the efforts and resourcefulness of youths to actualize its potentials in the sector.

“Our potential in technology and entertainment has been attracting huge attention. First is the market, at 174 million GSM phones, we are among the top ten telephone users in the world, and we have the highest percentage of people who use internet on their phones in the world,” Prof Osinbajo added.

Continuing he said “we are also number two in mobile internet banking in the world, and 17 million Nigerians are on Facebook. Microsoft has announced that it will establish a 100 million dollar African Development Centre in Nigeria.

“Second is the ever-growing number of technology startups, young digital entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to value chain and logistics challenges and creating thousands of jobs in the process. Andela, a software company training software developers for many Fortune 500 companies received a $24m dollar investment from Facebook.”

In the other sectors of the economy, the Vice President told the American audience that Nigeria remained the best place to invest given its market and enterprising population.

He said “now, we are opening up our power sector. We are asking power firms to come in and invest in end to end power supply. Power Africa – a USAID project has made a commitment of $110m over five years (2018 – 2023) to provide transaction support to the entire value-chain covering gas supply, distribution, transmission and generation activities with our population, and a market-driven power sector, so the next few years promise exciting prospects.

“This is also the case with other infrastructure. We are embarking on the largest investment in infrastructure in our history, welcoming private investments in concessions and projects rail, roads, airports, and other infrastructure.”

On agriculture, Prof. Osinbajo said “Nigeria has the 9th largest stock of arable land in the world. We have become world leaders in cassava, yams, sorghum, and millet, and we are on the threshold of self-sufficiency in paddy rice production.

“Seeing greater interest in agriculture and the agro-allied value chain, there is no question that aside from the export market, our population presents a massive and lucrative local market.”

Speaking specifically about what government was doing to revive manufacturing in the country, the Vice President said the Federal Government’s Project Made In Nigeria for Export, titled Project MINE was conceived to drive the country’s industrialization agenda.

According to him, “we are investing at the moment in the creation of special economic zones. Our Project MINE is designed to attract sunset industries from more advanced manufacturing economies, in search of affordable well-trained labor in Nigeria.

“At the moment we are focusing on industries for local manufacture of goods for which Nigeria has a comparative advantage. These include cotton, garments, leather, and light industrial manufacturing.”

Speaking further on efforts to improve domestic manufacturing, the Vice President said “the Nigerian Special Economic Zones Investment company is a public-private partnership established as the delivery vehicle for the project.

“Investors for the project include AFDB, Afroexim Bank, and AFC. Already work has begun in three locations. The Enyimba Economic City in Aba, Abia State, covers over 9500 hectares. Three international anchor tenants have been secured for phase one of the project. The city will be served by an existing IPP for power and will create 625,000 jobs when it is fully built.

“There is also the Lekki Model Industrial Park in partnership with the Lagos State Government in Lagos. It is set on 1000 hectares in the northeast cluster of Lekki Free Zone. It has already attracted world-class anchor tenants for textiles and garments, agro-processing and light industrial manufacturing including the number 1 Chinese and number 9 global textiles and garment group, (RUYI Group).

“The third project in its early stages is the Funtua Cotton Cluster in Katsina State which is in North West Nigeria. Funtua has the largest aggregation of cotton ginneries in Nigeria. The cluster will aggregate cotton from 800,000 farmers in Northern Nigeria and become the largest integrated cotton ginning, spinning and weaving complex in Sub Saharan Africa,” the Vice President noted.

In renewable energy, Prof. Osinbajo said “huge prospects also exist in investments in renewable energy, energy-efficient-processes and clean technology.”

According to him “gas had been flared for almost 60 years by major oil companies but in 2017 government approved the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, designed to eliminate gas flaring through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilization projects. The Programme offers flared gas for sale through a transparent and competitive bidding process.”

After his interaction at the CFR, the Vice President was received at the United Nations by a team of top officials of the world body led by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed at the UN headquarters.

Prof. Osinbajo and the UN officials discussed ways Nigeria and the UN can further collaborate on national, regional and global issues.

The Vice President would be meeting his American counterpart tomorrow Wednesday at the White House before heading back to Abuja.

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Cross River govt, petroleum unions reach decision on fuel scarcity

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The Cross River State Government (CRSG), Independence Petroleum Market Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum Tankers Driver’s Association (PTD) have signed a communiqué resolving the impasse of fuel scarcity in Cross River State.

In a two-page communiqué made available to DAILY POST in Calabar, the state government observed with dismay the hardship visited on residents following the strike by the Petroleum Tankers Driver’s Association (PTD) Cross River State Chapter and other unions as a result of an internal crisis within IPMAN which affected their operations.

“The Cross River State Government in a bid to resolve this matter and thereby reduce the unnecessary suffering visited on Cross River State indigenes, invited all parties for a meeting and was resolved as follow.

“That the 4 man committee set up by the Cross River State Government should receive all documents tendered by the parties to the dispute and advise the Cross River State Government on the matter within the next 72 hours.

“That pending the government official’s position on the matter, all parties are advised to maintain the status quo. That is to say, the collection of all levels should still be carried out by the petroleum tankers drivers (PTD) until further notice.

“That in consequences of (A) and (B) above, the petroleum tanker drivers (PTD) shall immediately suspend their strike action and resume normal supplies of fuel to petrol stations in Cross River State.

“That no member of NUPENG or PTD shall be attacked, obstructed or otherwise hindered from carrying out their lawful functions in Cross River State at anytime.

“All parties should note any breach of the above resolutions or any action by any party capable of causing a breach of the peace shall be visited with full force of the law and the weight of the Cross River State Government,” the communique read.

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