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Nigeria To Inaugurate SME Dev Bank -Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Berlin, Germany, said a new bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, would soon begin operations to strengthen the government’s economic diversification programme.
The President, who stated this in a statement, said the bank, when fully operational, would support small and medium enterprises in the country, by improving their access to financing.
According to a statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said Buhari was speaking at the German-Nigeria Business Forum in Berlin, Germany.
“Our ambitions of creating a diversified and inclusive economy in Nigeria can only be achieved by having a mix of small, medium and large businesses.
“This is why we worked with the German development agency, KFW, in designing the Development Bank of Nigeria, which will support the small and medium size enterprises, both financially and technically to ensure they take their rightful place in the industrialization value chain.
“I am pleased to announce that Development Bank of Nigeria will be taking off soon and should be a game changer in our economic diversification plans,’’ he said.
President Buhari, who described Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Nigeria from Germany as modest, urged prospective investors at the gathering to go beyond the expressions of interest and make binding commitments for trade, investments and industry.
He said such investments should be in the key priority sectors of Agriculture, infrastructure, solid minerals and digital economy.
He said Nigeria, which recorded a trade volume of 2.96 billion dollars with Germany in 2015, still had a great deal of unexploited potential and room to diversify its exports to Germany and increase overall trade volumes.
According to the President, trade relations between both countries primarily take the form of oil and gas exports from Nigeria, machinery, vehicles and vehicle parts, telecommunications technology and chemical products in the other direction.
“Nigeria has remained a country of potential. Now we are in a hurry to develop and realize that potential.
“Nigeria is not yet where we would like it to be, but I am confident that the Government and people of Nigeria are determined to a CHANGE and be where we would like Nigeria to be.
“A major economy, that is subject to good governance on the basis of the rule of law and constitutional order and a responsible member of the international community,’’ he said.
According to him, with the successes recorded in the fight against terrorism and his administration’s resolute commitment to the war against corruption, Nigeria is open for business and broader relationship with Germany.
“We have boldly set out to bring an end to a culture of impunity and abuse of public trust.
“Corruption is the reason why we went through years of an oil boom and came out with very little to show in terms of savings or investments.
“Corruption is the reason our military struggled for so long against Boko Haram.”
According to him, corruption is one of the reasons that in spite of the nation’s rich human and natural resources as a country, 70 per cent of its population continue to live in poverty.
“Now we have said enough is enough. It is time to make public funds work for the public good.
“And that is why we are bringing culprits to book and recovering looted funds and assets,’’ he added.

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FG To Recover N614bn Debt From 35 States

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government has resolved to recover N614 billion loan facility from 35 states of the federation.
The minister disclosed this when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
Ahmed said each of the affected 35 states received N17.5billion as bail out from the Federal Government.
She said that already the Council had agreed to constitute a team to finalise modalities for commencement of repayment of the loan facility.
The team, according to her, would be constituted from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Finance.
The Minister of Finance said that she briefed NEC on the progress of the loan facility, detailing how the Federal Government has made a total of over N614 billion available to 35 States being N17.5 billion each.
“Council agreed to constitute a team from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to finalise modalities for commencement of payment,’’ she said.
The minister further revealed that she updated the Council on the activities of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other special accounts of the federation.
She said the committee requested for extension of time to finalise and present its report during the next meeting of the Council.
On the $9billion dollars London Court judgement against Nigeria, the minister said the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had assured that Nigeria would appeal against the judgment.

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I’ll Lift Nigerians Out Of Poverty – Minister

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The new Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has promised to lift Nigerians out of poverty by developing the nation’s endowed natural resources.
He made the promise on Wednesday in Abuja when he assumed office shortly after he and other 42 ministers were sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Tide reports that the minister was received by directors in the ministry and some heads of parastatals and agencies under the ministry.
“I intend to learn quickly from all of you. I have been following the progress of Dr Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past minister of this ministry who did a lot of work.
“I also intend to learn the robes quickly with the Minister of State, so that we can contribute our quota to the development of the country, especially with regards to lifting people out of poverty.
“Mr President has promised to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, at the end of tenure of this administration which is four years, we want to at least achieve 40 per cent of that,’’ he said.
Adegbite expressed optimism that the administration would achieve a lot at delivering the dividends of democracy.
The minister said he would stamp out corruption in the sector in line with the agenda of the Buhari administration.
“Corruption fight begins with all of us, if we can be disciplined in the little things we do in our privacy, it will be easier to fight corruption in the country.
“We will join efforts with the Federal Government in fighting corruption to ensure a corruption free society,’’ he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of State for the ministry, Dr Ikechukwu Ogor, said he would support the minister to achieve the vision for the sector.
Ogah solicited the support of members of staff of the ministry to achieve the vision.
“We will all work as a team to take this ministry to an enviable position,’’ he said.
The ministry‘s Permanent Secretary, Dr Abdulkadri Mu’azu, welcomed the ministers and gave them the break-down of the departments and operations.
He said the ministry was strategic to the country, especially with regards to diversification of the economy.
Muazu pledged the loyalty and dedication of the management and staff of the ministry to the ministers to enable them succeed the tasks ahead.
Some members of staff of the ministry expressed optimism that the ministers would bring to bear their experiences to take the ministry to greater heights.

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CTA To Assist Farmers Access Drought, Flood Tolerant Seeds

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), has revealed that it is working with partners in various countries to ensure that farmers have access to drought and flood-tolerant seeds.
This move became necessary following the rising effects of climate change which has a direct impact on agricultural activities.
The Senior Program Coordinator of CTA, Dr Oluyede Ajayi said agriculture is central to development in Africa, but unfortunately it is subjected to a lot of pressures of climate change, like drought, weather extremes that affect food production.
Dr Ajayi who spoke with newsmen in Abuja at the Regional Workshop on Climate Finance and Support Mechanism for a Resilient Agriculture Sector in West and Central Africa said the point they raised was how to improve investment to help farmers become resilient and promote food security in the face of extreme weather.
“One of the points that we raised is how we improve investment to help farmers become resilient and to promote food security in the face of extreme weather situations, to do that requires more than investment, unfortunately less than 10 per cent of fund that goes to the climate is spent on agriculture, we are expecting so much from agriculture, but the fund that goes into agriculture in terms of investment to address climate issues is very low.
“So, this meeting is being organised to brainstorm the practical ways to leverage funding and improve financing to support climate action in agriculture”, he said.
He further said that they were also working towards exposing farmers to climate technologies which would assist in increasing their yield even in unfriendly weather.

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