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Jonathan Assumes Chairmanship Of D-8 …Woos Member-States To Invest In Nigeria

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President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday assumed chairmanship of the Group of Eight Developing Nations (D-8) with a call on member-states to take advantage of the investment opportunities in Nigeria.

Declaring the 7th summit of the group open in Abuja, Jonathan said Nigeria was blessed with abundant human and natural resources that the D-8 members could exploit.

The president said:“With a population of 150 million, Nigeria is not only Africa’s most populous country, but a preferred investment destination on account of its abundant human and natural resources.

“These are assets that we are making available to investors in D-8 member-countries to exploit,’’ he said.

Jonathan said he would welcome proposals for the establishment of the D-8 Joint Investment Fund as a vehicle for expanding the scope, volume and value of trade and investment among member-states.

He said there was the need to encourage private sector-led cooperation in priority projects in areas such as energy, civil aviation and infrastructural development.

The president also advocated the resuscitation of the D-8 Shipping Business Forum to facilitate the development of the group’s maritime sector as well as achieve its intra-trade target of 1.7 trillion dollars by 2012.

He recalled D-8’s vision at inauguration in 1997, and stressed the need for the member-states to combine their strengths and special endowments to generate the best outcome individually and for the group as a whole.

Jonathan said the recognition of the power of cooperation in maximising the outcome of the summit, informed the choice of the theme, “Enhancing Cooperation among D-8 Member-States.

He said his priority during his two-year tenure as chairman of the group would be to focus on practical and achievable means of enhancing private sector participation in its activities.

Jonathan also stressed the need for the D-8 to adopt its own charter, which would create rights and obligation as well as define the organisation’s relationship with other multilateral organisations.

In his statement to the group, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mr Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who handed over to Jonathan, expressed gratitude to Nigeria for the warm reception accorded members.

He highlighted the achievement of the D-8 since his country took over the chairmanship in July 2008 and expressed confidence that the group would realise its goals and objectives under the “able stewardship of Jonathan.’’

Those attending the summit are President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad of Iran, President Abdullah Gulf of Turkey, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, and the Prime Minister of Egypt, Dr Ahmed Nazif.

Others are the Coordinating Minister and Head of Delegation from Indonesia, Hatta Rajasa; Pakistan Minister of Commerce, Mr Makhdoom Fahim and the D-8 Secretary General, Prof. Widi Pratikto.

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Bayelsa Seeks China’s Partnership To Boost Dev

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The governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has sought the assistance of the People’s Republic of China for infrastructure, agriculture, technology and education development in the state.
A statement made available to newsmen at the weekend quoted Diri as making the request last Friday when he visited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchun, at its embassy in Abuja.
Diri, who recalled the Chinese President’s statement that his country was willing to partner with Nigeria to reduce poverty, said Bayelsa would be the right destination for such intervention.
He commended the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for its work on the Yenagoa-Oporoma and Gloryland Drive road projects.
The governor was quoted to have said, “We believe Bayelsa State offers a considerable window to the world and will be a spectacular platform to showcase the BRI in the building of roads that traverse several water bodies as well as providing access to inexhaustible reserves of resources in the coasts of Bayelsa.
“Our state’s expansive coastline is ideal for fishing, tourism and wind energy. Our government has identified agriculture as the main sector within which it will achieve sustainable development and growth. We have already identified four areas to substantially invest in, which are fish farming, rice, cassava and plantain cultivation”.
Diri stressed that with the requisite legal framework in place and available human resources, Bayelsa was ready to welcome investors and industry experts for the collaborative development of a centre for machine learning and artificial intelligence.
“The technological revolution that this would engender would be a force to improve and empower thousands of people across Nigeria and Africa in general.
 ”There are opportunities to establish new tech hubs across all the eight-local government headquarters in the state,” he added.
In his remarks, Ambassador Cui Jianchun said China and Nigeria had a lot in common. The envoy noted that 12 years ago, China had over 87 million people living below the poverty line but that by February this year, they had all crossed above the line.
Presenting an economic strategy document to the governor, Jianchun said if China with its large population could overcome poverty, Nigeria could also do by adopting the right policies.

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Currency In Circulation Rises To N2.84trn  – CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the currency in circulation (CIC) rose by N58.36 billion within one month. 
The latest figures which were made available by the CBN on Sunday showed that the currency in circulation rose from N2.79 trillion in August to N2.84 trillion in September, this year. 
From the end of June, the currency in circulation rose from N2.74 trillion to N2.81 trillion in July. It fell to N2.79 trillion in May from about N2.80 trillion at the end of April.
According to the CBN, the broad money supply rose to 5.83 per cent in August from 2.91 per cent in July.
The apex bank said the rise in currency circulation was largely driven by the growth of net foreign assets and net domestic assets by 12.35 and 4.30 per cent respectively in August 2021, compared to 1.84 and 3.17 per cent in July.
According to the bank, the growth in net foreign assets was largely driven by an increase in foreign asset holdings of commercial and merchant banks.
It said the increase in net domestic assets reflected the boost to aggregate credit net, which increased to 8.14 per cent in August from 5.71 per cent in July.
In the money market, the monthly weighted average interbank call and open buyback rates increased to 13.45 and 12.97 per cent in August respectively from 10.72 and 11.60 per cent in July.
This increase reflected the tight liquidity conditions in the banking system during the review period as the bank curtailed excess system liquidity, according to the CBN. 
Currency in circulation is defined as the currency outside the vaults of the Central Bank – that is, all legal tender currency in the hands of the general public and in the vaults of the Deposit Money Banks (DMB). 
The CBN said it employed the “accounting/statistical/withdrawals and deposits approach” to compute the currency in circulation in the country.
It said this approach involved tracking the movements in currency in circulation on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
According to the CBN, for every withdrawal made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, an increase in CIC is recorded; and for every deposit made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, a decrease in CIC is recorded.
The transactions are all recorded in the CBN’s CIC account, and the balance on the account at any point in time represents the country’s currency in circulation.

By: Corlins Walter

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Large Expenditure Responsible For Nigeria’s High Debt Service  -Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has blamed Nigeria’s high debt service-to-revenue ratio on the country’s large expenditure base.
The minister who disclosed this during a live television interview with Bloomberg TV at the weekend, noted that a huge chunk of Nigeria’s budget was dedicated to the recurrent expenditure.
“Our debt service to overall revenue is high because we have a very large expenditure base. We have a large proportion of our budget dedicated to payroll, and Mr President had decided from the beginning of his administration that we were not going to disengage staff.
“So, you have to pay salaries, you have to pay pensions. And also, we have to fund the other arms of government, which are the judiciary and the legislature”, she said.
Ahmed, however, expressed hope in oil prices, stating that the current rise would help the country earn more revenue from the sale to other countries.
According to her, high price of oil means that we would be able to earn more revenue, and that $85 per barrel is way above the $40 per barrel that we have on our 2021 fiscal projections.
She, however, noted that buying back petroleum products from other countries due to moribund refineries affected Nigeria’s revenue profile.

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