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AfDB Tasks Nigeria On Industry

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Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department in African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Ebrima Faal, yesterday advised industry players to use the opportunities of the 2019 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to unlock investment potential in the continent.
Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department in AfDB, Mr Ebrima FAAL made the call at the 2nd Nigeria Roadshow of the AIF.
AIF, scheduled for November 11 and November 13 in South Africa, aims to change the face of investment in Africa by bringing together members with vested interest in Africa’s growth and development.
He urged industry players and policy makers to maximise opportunities that the forum would provide to connect, engage and and close high-impact deals.
According to FAAL, last year’s edition of AIF held in South Africa convened over 2000 participants representing 87 countries including eight heads of governments.
“Deals worth a total of 46.9 billion dollars were discussed with 49 deals valued at 38.7 billion dollars secured.
“These figures are not just impressive for an attempt at something that has never been done on the continent, but phenomenal.
“These figures evince the untapped business opportunities in Africa, stemming from deals that cut across all sectors reinforcing the strategic vision of the bank as enshrined in its “High 5’s”.
“They are to light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialise Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa,” FAAL said.
Further recounting the experience at the 2018 edition of AIF, FAAL said that Nigeria had five deals worth seven billion dollars out of the 63 boardroom deals presented at the forum.
“This represents 14.9 per cent of the total deals accounted for the continent, and 43 per cent of the deals accounted for the region; we can do better.
“This year, it is paramount that we not only maintain our place as a pacesetter, but also collectively strive to improve on the quality and quantity of deals closed.
“Africa Investment Forum offers a unique opportunity to exhaust numerous options for sound, innovative and economically viable growth for the continent and, especially for Nigeria.
“Even with impressive CBN reserve of about 45 billion dollars and a pension fund of about N8 trillion, Nigeria will need a considerable amount of private finance to bridge its cumulative infrastructural needs of about three trillion dollars by 2024.
“The time for bridging this gap is now,” FAAL said.

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CBN Kicks As MTN Begins Charges For USSD Transactions, Today

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has opposed plans by the telecommunication service provider, the MTN, to charge their subscribers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data access to banking services from today.
The Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the bank’s position at a news briefing by the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, in Washington, yesterday.
The Tide reports that MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, had said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from October 21 (today).
“Yello, as requested by your bank, from October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services.
“Please, contact your bank for more info,’’ the message said.
Responding to a question seeking his reaction to the announcement, the CBN governor said the bank would not allow that to happen.
“About five, four months ago, I held a meeting with some telecom companies as well as the leading banks in Nigeria at Central Bank, Lagos.
“At that time, we came to a conclusion that the use of USSD is a sunk cost.
“What we mean by a sunk cost is that it is not an additional cost on the infrastructure of the telecom company.
“But the telecom companies disagreed with us. They said it was an additional investment on infrastructure and for that reason, they needed to impose it.
“I have told the banks that we will not allow this to happen.
“The banks are the people who give this business to the telecom companies and I leave the banks and the telecom companies to engage.
“I have told the banks that they have to move their business, move their traffic to a telecom company that is ready to provide it at the lowest possible, if not zero cost.
“And that is where we stand, and we must achieve it,’’ he said.
The Tide reports that the transactions to be affected by the charges include intra- and inter-bank money transfers, through USSD, among others.

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OML 53: NDPR, Omerelu Community Sign GMoU

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The Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR), operators of the Oil Mining Licence (OML) 53, and Omerelu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, have signed the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
After back and forth deliberations which began in May 2019, the two parties finally signed the document which was read to the hearing of all stakeholders, last Friday, by representative of the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Justice (Mrs.) Florence Fiberesima,
Representative of the state government, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru, who expressed happiness shortly after the ceremony, stated that the signing of the GMoU would enhance the economy of federal, state and local governments, due to the peaceful coexistence that would emanate from the official pact between NDPR and the Omerelu community.
According to him, “it portends that the economy of the state, federal and local governments would be enhanced, where there is peace, there is a working understanding.”
Odungweru noted that with the signing of the GMoU, the company would not shy away from its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs), saying “in executing it’s Corporate Social responsibilities, the company goes into a GMoU with host community where all issues are straightened and stretched out”.
He said further that the pact was a “demand driven action, triggered by the community, which process started in May 2019 and concluded in October”.
On his part, the representative of the Board of Trustees, NDPR, Chief Enyindah Chukwu, expressed optimism that the GMoU would bring growth for both the community and the company operating in the community, in this case NDPR.
Chief Chukwu said, “if they play by the rules, the company would have a conducive environment to operate in as well as peace”, adding that the host community would benefit from the presence of the company operating in the area.
He explained that the GMoU was renewable every three years from the date of signing.
Also speaking, the paramount ruler of Omerelu, Eze Ben Ugoh, the Eluwa 8th of Omerelu, expressed appreciation to God and the company for the pact and expressed optimism that the community would benefit in terms of employment, development and empowerment.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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Nigeria To Get $3bn World Bank Loan For Power

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The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said that the Federal Government’s request for a World Bank loan to finance the power sector is on the verge of being granted.
Ahmed stated this yesterday at a media briefing on the activities of the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded annual meetings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington.
“We put a request for financing of the power sector at a range of $1.5bn to $4bn.
“At the end of the day, it looks like we will be looking at a funding size of $3bn that will be provided in four tranches of $750m each.
“Our plan is that the team will be able to go to the World Bank for the approval of the first tranche in April 2020,’’ she said.
The minister explained that the loan would be used to plug funding gaps and tariff differentials, which she said private investors in the sector had always complained about.
She said a portion of the money would go into the transmission segment of the electricity value chain.
If the government is able to expand the facility to four billion dollars, the additional one billion would be used for the distribution segment, she said.
“It will help us to exit the subsidy that is now inherent in the power sector.
“It is supposed to be to reform the sector and to restore the distribution business side of the sector especially to put it on a stronger footing.
“This is to ensure that they are freed up enough to be able to go out and raise financing to invest in expanding the distribution networks,’’ she said.
Ahmed stated further that the financing would also cover the gap between the current tariff and the actual cost of generating electricity.
“It will also enhance our ability to pay previous obligations in the sector that have crystallised so that investors in the sector can go on with expanding investments in the sector.
“The distribution sector will be at the backend when the other reforms have been carried out.
“It will be a loan to the distribution companies because they are owned by the private sector,” the minister said.

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