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Asaba Summit: What Gain For BRACED States?

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Today, Wednesday, April 25, 2012 will witness the opening of an august assembly of some eminent leaders and strategists from within and outside Nigeria at the Delta Convention Centre in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

The four-day gathering will mark the 2nd economic convention of states in the South South geopolitical zone. But, this time, it will be under the auspices of the BRACED Commission whose acronym derives from its member-states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta.

The first economic summit of the zone was held at the Tinapa Business Resort in Calabar between April 22 and 25, 2009. And this was followed by the decision of the South South Governors Council to establish the BRACED Commission on October 31, 2010 with headquarters in Port Harcourt.

Part of the Commission’s mandate is to promote and foster closer economic ties and integration of states within the South South zone. And of particular interest are areas like Education, Human Capacity Development, Information and Communications Technology, Infrastructure Development, Agriculture and Investment.

Going by information available on its website, BRACED Commission’s education mandate as approved by the governors’ council was for it to partner with State Education Ministries in carrying out a comprehensive survey of education in its member-states, and advise on how best to sustain the various educational initiatives of the governors.

The Commission is also to identify the educational needs of some member-states with a view to preparing them for global competitiveness.

Also, BRACED was at its inauguration given two years within which to establish an effective mechanism for the re-certification of teachers in the region as part of efforts to encourage continuous teachers training and ensure improvement in the quality of education in the zone.

On human capacity development, it is said that the Commission has authorisation to organize retreats for the governors, state commissioners and permanent secretaries in order to acquaint them with its activities.

The governors’ council also reasoned that, as much as possible, similar training programmes should be organized for other senior civil servants and top members of the business community as part of the Commission’s contribution toward strengthening the capacities of these groups in order for them to be better equipped to achieve the mandates of their elected leaders.

In addition to all these, the state chief executives also think that the BRACED Commission should work with affiliate states to develop an ICT infrastructure that will not only benefit the citizens but also have the capacity to attract investments from major ICT firms into the region.

Going by its road map and the enthusiasm shown so far, there is no doubt that the six governors of the South South are hungry for a speedy and even development of the area.

What appears to be in doubt, however, is the determination of the BRACED Commission to live up to public expectation.

Coming from a region that is already ahead of its peers in terms of oil and gas endowments, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure, mere co-ordination of activities in these vital areas should have made BRACED a household name by now.

In fact, apart from wearing a very fitting acronym and perhaps pushing one or two recommendations through the council of governors, whatever else the Commission may claim to have accomplished since inception will hardly be up to scratch.

This is exactly why the Asaba summit holds the prospect of jolting BRACED out of its apparent lethargy, especially as invited speakers are wont to draw examples from the successes achieved by similar bodies elsewhere across the globe.

Already, a delegation of the BRACED states, including the chairman of the governors council, Senator Liyel Imoke of Cross River State, and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, his Delta State counterpart, , is reported to have met with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda preparatory to working out modalities for a possible cooperation that would enable the states tap from Rwanda’s experiences at tackling its security challenges while also solving the economic problems of the once volatile region.

“We believe we should have someone who has had experience and success in crisis management and post-crisis management in tackling our peculiar situation, hence the need to look in the direction of President Kagame and Rwanda,” Uduaghan told newsmen shortly after his delegation’s meeting with Kagame.

Like the Calabar summit before it, and a few individual state efforts such as Rivinfest 2011, the Asaba forum will serve to highlight the limitless investment opportunities in the South South zone. Moreso, it will afford states the chance of exhibiting products in which they have comparative advantage within the nation and for which they seek to attract investors.

Besides President Kagame, this year’s summit expects to have President Goodluck Jonathan and Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, as keynote speakers. Expected lead speakers include Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister; Prof. John Lipsky, first deputy managing director of IMF; Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff; Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York; Rtd. Gen. Andrew Azazi, national security adviser; and Senator David Mark, senate president; among several other renowned speakers.

Their discussions are to centre on Development, Investment and Growth, and Security within the South South geopolitical zone.

 

Ibelema Jumbo

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Business

Investment Expert Urges FG To Partner Zuga To Grow E-Naira

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An investment expert in Port Harcourt, Revelation Ohio, has called on the Federal Government to partner with Sam Zuga to grow e—naira to become the Nigeria’s digital currency in the cripto market space.

He said this became necessary in line with what is going on in the global digital currency market, where many countries, including the developed Western nations, are keying into the cripto market.

Ohio, the Chief Executive Officer of the Leverage Hub Consulting Limited, who made this known while speaking in an investment forum in Port Harcourt on Sunday, said that Sam Zuga, a Benue State-born Reverend Father, was the first African to develop a digital coin, the Zuga coin.

He described the Reverend Father as a philanthropist who has made remarkable mark in investment all over the world, especially in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

“Sam Zuga is the only African who has stretched himself to compete with those in developed countries in the cripto market, where all the digital coins are all non Africans.

“This man has stepped into the space and developed this coin named after him, and has strictly specified that the coin is African, and as we speak, this coin is strongly growing faster in the digital currency market.

“So it will be an advantage to the Federal Government, through the Central Bank that is considering to develop digital naira, to partner Zuga who is already in the space, as it used to be for those entering the market newly.

“This will have a multiplier effect on our people, as many unemployed persons will be engaged in the business, while the fortunes of many of the youths will be turned around”, he said.

The investment expert also urged the Nigerian public to take advantage of the space available in the cripto world to equip themselves financially, and get knowledge of the cripto market, since that is the way the world is currently going.

By: Corlins Walter

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Business

Brass Fertilizer Company To Create 15,000 Jobs

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Jobs – As Bayelsa Set For More Housing Estates

The Bayelsa State Government has allocated 595 hectares of land for the proposed Brass fertilizer company in Odioma Kingdom in Brass Local Government Area of the state.

This was as the government has also hinted that the bush clearing of the site of the said project has commenced in earnest.

The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Lands,Housing and Urban Development, Barr.Esau Andrew, disclosed this in Yenagoa, the state capital at the weekend.

He said that the Federal Government proposed project, when completed, was expected to create employment for not only qualified Bayelsans, but  has the capacity to engage no fewer than 15,000 workforce, with professional and un-professional qualifications.

Andrew who called for unity amongst the people of the host community, reiterated that the Governor Douye Diri’s led administration was willing to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

He averred that the government was also desirous of fast tracking the development of all communities and sectors of the state’s economy through impactful projects and programmes.

“The Brass fertilizer company is situated on a 595 hectares of land in Odioma kingdom of Brass council area.

“There are no problems with respect to the take-off and completion of this gigantic project, but what we currently have there are basically issues on intra-communal arguments as to who becomes the chairman, Odioma Council of Chiefs”, he said.

He added: “As a community member and commissioner in the state executive council, I can assure you that that can’t stall the project.

“Governor Diri has directed the community to toe the path of unity and peace so that they can benefit maximally from this enormous project, and the youths, chiefs and elders of the community are ready to do as directed by the governor”.

In the same vein, the government has reiterated its commitment to building additional housing estates in the state.

To this end, Andrew said that the Governor Diri administration in partnership with the Federal Government’s Ruhi 774 Housing Scheme and Shelter Afrique were set to build new 800 and 100 units housing estates, respectively in the state.

According to him, while the Ruhi 774 Housing Scheme being handled by Real Estate Development Association  of Nigeria (REDAN) is to build 100 housing units in each of the eight council areas of the state, Shelter Afrique on the other hand is expected to carry out the construction of another 100 housing units in Yenagoa.

He said further that the state government has also concluded plans to build additional 260 housing units in the yet to be developed hectares of land acquired by the previous administration for the Ayama-Ijaw Housing Estate in the Southern Ijaw council area of the state.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Oil & Energy

Global Geopolitics, Neo-Colonialism Fuelling Apathy Against Crude Oil, DPR Hints

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Hints

The Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), yesterday, allayed concerns over the future of crude oil globally, stating that the resource would continue to remain relevant for decades to come due to a number of emerging factors.

In his goodwill address at the ongoing 45th edition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council(SPENC), Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition(NAICE), Director and Chief Executive of the DPR, Engr Sarki Auwalu, argued that the current apathy towards crude oil is not driven by technical and economic considerations alone.

According to him, the ongoing narratives of the relative significance of each energy type and the clamour of ‘end of oil era’ is not informed by technical and economic considerations alone but by global geopolitics and the vagaries of neo-colonialism as well.

Auwalu maintained that crude oil’s continued relevance in decades to come is because of some of its features as an energy resource, which includes availability, accessibility, affordability, reliability, and efficiency.

This character of petroleum, he explained, gives it a degree of comparative advantage over emerging energy alternatives for secured and stable energy supply.

He said, “I would like to sum up the future of energy in these words: ‘for the foreseeable future, we would continue to see a mix of all energy sources – coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables – in the supply equation. Whereas renewable sources will make steady in-roads in the global mix, oil and gas will be relevant in decades to come’.

“This conclusion is informed by the outcomes of market analysis and forecasts based on demand-supply equilibrium, socio-economic fundamentals, climate change and environmental considerations as well as technology and innovation that is shaping the dynamics of global outlook.

“However, we would not delude ourselves that change is not happening; we must continually re-invent the industry and find ways to improve the environmental credentials of oil and gas by deploying technologies for carbon reduction and management to maintain its acceptability as fuel.”

He insisted that Africa, other oil-producing countries and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), must be key stakeholders in global energy discourse and ensure their voices and views are well articulated in discussions about the future of oil and gas.

“Indeed, as Africans, it must take its destiny in its hand and rewrite history, by leveraging abundant human and natural resources which nature has bequeathed on this great continent to create wealth for its people, eliminate poverty, and improve social-economic conditions while driving value for the globe. Only Africa can grow Africa,” he noted.

On its part, Auwalu disclosed that Nigeria had risen to the occasion, and had started using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development in the face of challenges posed by energy transition and global dynamics.

Specifically, he explained that the DPR was fostering innovative ideas and creating opportunities for investments and sustainability in the petroleum industry, especially most recently, through the establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre(NOGEC).

NOGEC, the DPR chief executive noted, was designed as a one-stop shop to drive safety, cost efficiency and value for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

In addition, he said the DPR identified the need to formulate the Maximum Economic Recovery(MER) Strategy for Nigeria to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimization and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

The framework of the MER, he explained, was hinged on six pillars, namely: reserves maturation and production optimization; exploration and resources maturation; improved oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) implementation; asset stewardship; performance evaluation and rewards; and risk management.

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