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Nigeria, Yet To Access $150m Iran Credit – Envoy

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Nigeria is yet to access a 150-million-dollar credit facility offered by the Iran Export Development Bank, the country’s ambassador in Iran, Alhaji Cika Abubakar, said last Wednesday in Abuja.

Iran offered the credit facility to Nigeria to enhance trading between the two countries.

Speaking at a seminar on trade opportunities between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Nigeria, Abubakar said that the credit facility was offered at 5 per cent interest rate, adding that it was the least among the credits granted to other countries.

“The Iran Export Development Bank gave 150 million dollars; I was there almost about three years ago when I negotiated with them.

“The first time when they approved that150 million dollars, I was even saying no, if you can give some African countries 100 billion dollars like Senegal, 150 million dollars is too small for Nigeria

“I approached some banks in Nigeria, about eight banks, after receiving their applications. I gave some about 30 to 50 million dollars.

“But to date, since we sent a letter foro-the approval of their applications, we have never received any acknowledgement that they have received the money and that they are ready to utilise it,” he said.            The ambassador recalled that the two countries had enjoyed diplomatic relations dating back to some 37 years, and said that Nigerian businessmen had a lot to trade with Iran to help grow the economy.

He noted that Iran had a high level of trading with many countries and that there were areas in which Nigeria should emulate the country.

“The volume of trade between India and Iran is about 15 billion dollars, between Iran and Turkey is almost 13 billion dollars, the trade between Iran and Brazil is two billion dollars and between Iran and South Africa is about two billion dollars; so why less with Nigeria,” he queried.

He said that Iran produced about between 65mw and 70mw of electricity mainly for use by industries.

Abubakar urged the Iranian government to create avenues for Nigerians to benefit from its education, health and engineering sectors to enable Nigerians to benefit in those areas.

In his remarks, Mr Hussein Abdullahi, the Iran ambassador in Nigeria said that there was the need to correct the negative perception of his country.

He said that though Nigeria had had diplomatic relations with Iran for about 37 years, citizens of both countries were yet to tap on potential existing between the two countries.

He noted that both counties were members of some international organisations like the OIC and OPEC among others, adding that there was need for them to explore trade opportunities that would be beneficial to their economies.

He noted that diplomatic relations between the two countries suffered a little setback after some arms were shipped into Lagos by some Iranian suspects.

Abubakar said also that the seminar would “be a regular one between Iran and Nigerian businessmen. We will try to ensure that it takes place annually in capitals of both cities.”

He urged government of both countries to play effective role in ensuring the improvement of their diplomatic relations.

Also, Mr Ignatius Adaji, President, Nigeria-Iran Business Council noted that trade volume between Nigeria and Iran was low.

“Statistics show our export to Iran is in the region of just N75 million, which is ever poor; so they are not trading with us as much as we want to do.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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