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Ajaokuta, Delta Steel To Begin Production In 2015 – Official

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The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has said that the Light Section Mill (LSM) of the Ajaokuta and Delta Steel Companies would commence production in 2015.
The Director of Steel and Non-Ferrous Metals Department in the ministry, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
He said both companies had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with different private investors on billet conversion to iron rods and other steel materials.
“The private investors will bring their billet and convert it to iron rods. We are starting that this year.
“The investors that signed MoU with Ajaokuta are a consortium from Nigeria and Ukraine,’’Also said.
“The LSM is a section of the rolling mill built for the production of iron rods and other steel materials.
“The company is divided into light, medium and heavy section mills.’’
According to Also, the Delta Steel Company was sold to an India company — Global Infrastructure — in 2005.
He said it operated for some time during which it borrowed a lot of money from Nigerian banks.
“When they took over they were producing and selling the products, but unfortunately they were not reinvesting in the plant and in fact, at a point they could even run the plant,’’ he said.
The director said Global Infrastructure was unable to repay its loan and pay workers’ salaries.
Also said the banks sold the debt to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and also had the challenge of replacing or repairing broken down machines.
He said this led to the takeover of the plant by AMCON under the receiver-manager and had been discussing with new investors to take over the plants.
“First of all, they have to agree on terms and secondly, they have to reactivate the plant. I am hopeful that Delta Steel will begin operation this year.’’
He said out of the four privatised government-owned rolling mills, only Katsina Rolling Mill was functional.
According to him, Delta Steel, Jos, and Osogbo Mills are yet to commence operation nine years after their privatisation.
Also said initially Katsina bought billet which it rolled into iron rods, but it had added other scrap-melting facilities to produce its own billet and roll into iron rods.
He said the ministry had been discussing with the owners of Jos and Osogbo Mills on the need to commence operations.
“We will continue to discuss with them. Federal Government’s plan is that the rolling mills should commence production after privatisation.
“Unfortunately, we are still battling with the owners to see that they begin operation. These are lessons we have to learn from when next we are privatising,” Also said.

Executive Director RSSDA, Mr Noble Pepple (middle) making an address, during 2014 Annual Media Report of RSSDA recently. With him are Chief Internal Auditor, RSSDA, Edith Chinda - Paul (right) and General Manager Business Development and Job Creation, RSSDA, Blessing Daniel-Kalio. Photo: Egberi A. Sampson

Executive Director RSSDA, Mr Noble Pepple (middle) making an address, during 2014 Annual Media Report of RSSDA recently. With him are Chief Internal Auditor, RSSDA, Edith Chinda – Paul (right) and General Manager Business Development and Job Creation, RSSDA, Blessing Daniel-Kalio. Photo: Egberi A. Sampson

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Nigeria’s Revenue-To-GDP Ratio Lowest, Private Sector Choking – World Bank

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Nigeria’s revenue-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio, which fell to between five and six per cent last year, is the lowest in the world, the World Bank said on Monday.
The Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank, Dr Shubham Chaudhuri, said this during a panel session at a virtual public sector seminar with the theme ‘Nigeria in challenging times: imperatives for a cohesive national development agenda’ organised by the Lagos Business School.
Chaudhuri, who stressed the need for private investment for the country to realise its potential, said the private sector in the country ‘is struggling to breathe’.
“In Nigeria, I think the basic economic agenda is about diversification away from oil because oil has really been like resource curse for Nigeria on multiple dimensions,” he said.
He noted the aspiration of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the end of the decade.
He said, “Nigeria is a country with tremendous potential. If you look at the synopsis for this panel, it suggests that Nigeria is at a critical juncture – almost at the moment of crisis.
“Despite all of that, Nigeria is still the largest economy in Africa. So, just think about the potential that Nigeria has because of its natural resources, but more than that, because of its dynamism and all of its population. Nigerians are more entrepreneurial by nature.
“No country has become prosperous and realised its potential, eliminated poverty without doing two simple things: investing in its people, and unleashing the power of the private sector in creating jobs by investing and growing business. And then, of course, the basic function of the state is to provide security and law and order.”
According to Chaudhuri, to invest in people entails basic services, basic education, primary healthcare and nutrition, among others.
He said, “On this, Nigeria at the moment ranks sixth from the bottom in terms of the human capital index that we produce every year.
“So, obviously, there is a huge agenda in terms of investing in human capital. Nigeria spends more on PMS (premium motor spirit) subsidy than it does on primary healthcare in a year, and we know who the PMS subsidy is benefitting.”
He indicated that despite the country’s huge potential to attract private capital, the non-oil part of the economy ‘is not growing that robustly and certainly not generating revenues that the government needs’.
Chaudhuri said, “So, we see as priorities investments in human capital. But for that, one needs revenues. And there again, Nigeria unfortunately has the distinction of having about the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratio in the world.
 ”The standard rule of thumb is that for government to provide the basic services and law and order, it needs between 15 to 20 per cent of GDP as being revenue, and this will be both at the federal and state levels combined.
“In Nigeria, it was eight per cent in 2019. In 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis and with the fall in oil prices, that went down to about between five and six per cent.
“So, domestic revenue mobilisation is huge. And then the third is enabling the space for private investment. You have to fix the power problem. Power is like the oxygen of an economy. In Nigeria, the private sector is struggling to breathe.”

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CBN Stops Sale Of Forex To BDCs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as announced immediate discontinuation of sale of Foreign Exchange (forex) to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor , made this announcement yesterday, while presenting a communique from the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.
Emefiele said that the decision was informed by the unwholesome business practices of the BDCs, which he said had continued to put enormous pressure on the Naira.
He  said ,  henceforth,  the apex bank would sell forex to deserving Nigerians through the commercial banks.
“ The BDCs were regulated to sell a maximum of 5000  dollars per day,  but CBN observed that they have since been flouting that regulation and selling millions of dollars per day.
“The CBN also observed that the BDCs aid illicit financial flows and other financial  crimes.  The bank has thus, decided to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs with immediate effect.
“We shall, henceforth,  channel all forex allocation through the commercial banks,” he said.
He urged the commercial banks to ensure that every deserving customer got their forex demand,  adding that any bank found circumventing  the new system would be sanctioned.
“Once a customer presents all required documentation to purchase forex, the commercial banks should ensure they get the forex.
“Any customer that is denied should contact the CBN on 0700385526 or through the email- cbd@cbn.gov.ng “ he said.
The Tide source reports that stakeholders have been calling on the CBN and its MPC to take urgent steps to halt unending depreciation of the Naira.
Recently,  a past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN),  Mr Okechukwu Unegbu,  urged the MPC to focus on policy decisions that would curb rising inflation and stabilise the Naira.

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RSG To Privatise Songhai, Fish Farms

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There are strong indications that the Rivers State Government has concluded plans to privatise the moribund Songhai Farm in Tai and Fish Farm in Buguma.
The State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amb. Desmond Akawor, gave this indication while appearing in a phone-in radio programme organised by Silverbird Communications in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He explained that the previous administration in the state failed to put in place a sustainability programme for these farms, hence they went moribund.
In order to reverse the situation, he said that the present administration was now contemplating a rehabilitation scheme to be driven by a privatisation policy to enable those investments come on stream.
He said the scheme had reached an advanced stage and is to executed by the State Ministry of Agriculture.
On the issue of job creation, Akawor said the administration of Chief Nyesom Wike was using the various construction projects around the state to empower the youths.
He explained that the government had floated a special scholarship scheme in Law and Medical Sciences to create opportunities for young people in various professions.
He called on the opposition to desist from de-marketing the state through propaganda as it’s capable of scaring investors away from the state.
Akawor insisted that the Wike led administration has provided an enabling environment for businesses to thrive through infrastructure and improved security.

By: Kevin Nengia

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