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FEC Okays €500m Loan For Bank Of Industry

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The Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved that 500 million Euro loan be sourced for the Bank of Industry from external creditors.
According to the Minister of State, Finance, Clement Agba, the loan is to support industrialisation and agriculture in addition to creating up to 1.2 million new jobs.
“The credit guarantee is for up to five years and the Federal Government is the guarantor of the loan,” he stated.
Agba said: “Council today approved the issuance of a Sovereign Guarantee of 500 million Euros from the Credit Suisse AG London Branch and a syndicate of international lenders as collateral for 500million Euro facility to the Bank of Industry.
“The loan is basically to finance major industrialisation projects and micro-small and medium enterprises values chains in Nigeria for up to five years tenure at affordable rates; these rates are single digit rates. The guarantor of the loan shall be the Federal Republic of Nigeria and this is going to be executed through the Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning.
“The main objective of the loan is to support industry; revitalise agro-industrial processing zones, and to facilitate the creation of new jobs.
“We do believe that about 1.2 million jobs will be created through this facility to increase the income of farming communities and promote the inclusion of SMEs and small holder producers in the industrial value chain. It will also aid the deployment of transportation infrastructure that connects farming communities to processors and market.
“The loan will be swapped to Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to mitigate the foreign exchange risk and will therefore be available to Nigerian enterprises at an affordable rate in local currency.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the FEC approved a Justice Sector Policy for the country essentially to reform the sector by simplifying access to justice.
He explained that the policy would ensure “speedy determination of justice”, “quality of justice” and “access to justice.”
He said: “It is a blueprint that sets out a shared vision, objectives and interventions for the reform of justice sector to engender fair, efficient and transparent administration of justice.
“The intention and design is to have a justice sector reformed package that will turn things for the better as far as administration of justice is concerned. It will turn things around relating to the justice, speedy administration of justice and turn things around for the purpose of ensuring at the end of the day, that will have a consensus approach to the administration of justice.
Malami said the Council also approved a memo seeking to repeal the Geneva Convention and re-enact it to “accord greater access to justice by prisoners of war.”
He explained that Nigeria was behind the rest the world in terms of according prisoners of war certain rights and privileges.
He said: “The Geneva convention which is accommodated in our laws; Geneva Convention Act Cap G3, of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Its a convention that was designed to provide protection to prisoners of wars, to people involved in armed conflicts, and associated infractions.”

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Lawmakers Vow To Resolve Rivers Port, BUA Terminal Crisis

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Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon. Datti Garaba Muhammad, says the committee will intervene in the lingering court case between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex and the BUA terminal operators.
The chairman said the committee’s intervention would save the situation and improve business activities in the complex.
Hon. Muhammad spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt while on an oversight function to the NPA, Rivers Port Complex, last Tuesday.
Accompanied by other members, Muhammad said:“We are here to hear the challenges, we want them to furnish us with details of the agreement, we want to see the concession agreement between NPA and BUA terminal”.
He said the committee was ready to bring peace between both parties so as to improve on the revenue accrued to the government.
Muhammad disclosed that both parties had approached the Federal High Court and Court of Arbitration in London over the issue.
He said as a committee, it is their responsibility to oversee both the NPA and the terminal operators doing business in the port complex.
Speaking earlier, the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Engr. Yunusa Ibrahim Anji, had told the committee that NPA had decommissioned berth 8, which collapsed some months ago.
Berth 8 is being operated by BUA terminal operators.
The manager appealed  to the committee to intervene in the lingering issue as it is affecting its revenue.
He said the collapse of the berth and the legal tussle between NPA and the operator were greatly affecting maritime activities in the port.
The manager said Rivers Port Complex is one  of the ports with the highest numbers of private jetties, explaining that the port has over 36 private jetties across the state.

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AfCFTA: MAN Urges Stakeholders To Address Vital Issues

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on stakeholders of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to address vital issues during negotiations to ensure that the overall goal is achieved by the continent.
MAN President, Mr Mansur Ahmed made the call yesterday at the opening ceremony of a two-day African Continental Free Trade Area National Forum, in Lagos.
The event is themed, “Effective Implementation for Industrialisation and Inclusive Economic Development in Nigeria.’
Ahmed said the key issues included technical and political challenges that must be resolved.
According to him, it is important that Nigeria benefits and ensures  she meets the targeted seven per cent economic growth rate expected to take about 100 million people out of poverty.
“President Buhari is committed to lifting 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years; how can we ensure that the AfCFTA leads us towards that journey?,” he said.
Ahmed said the critical dimensions that must be addressed during conversations concerning the AfCFTA should include policies and regulations, rules and conduct of the players.
“The way we merge the processes, the agreements, regulations, institutions and how these work together to ensure that the game is being played in accordance with the rules and expectations.
“The issues need to be defined in a way that we see the complexities; technical and political, to ensure clarity.
“All these must be formulated in a way that all stakeholders understand their roles and obligations and therefore play according to the rules,’’the MAN president said.
Ahmed said that all negotiators were not of the same capacity and inclination, which would require harmonisation on a regional level to resolve issues such as market offer and collaboration.
He urged stakeholders to view the negotiations with a sense of collaboration and not allow any player deemed as too powerful to dominate.
“We must look at the interest of the group as a whole and the interest of the region, and what provides the best long term and sustainable interest of the region.
“There must be a strong commitment by our governments, various institutions and private sector groups to look beyond the norms and look at the goal for the region and continent,’’he said.

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Oil Firm Commissions Projects In Host Communities

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An indigenous oil company operating Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 in Rivers State, Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited, has put smiles on the faces of its host communities with projects estimated at hundreds of millions of Naira.
Projects commissioned recently in Minama, Ifoko, Sangama, Ido and Abonnema towns, include ultra-modern town halls, civic centres and an integrated agro-farm industry that have mopped up hundreds of youths from the unemployment market in the area.
Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Felix Odungweru, who was the Special Guest of Honour commended the communities for the peaceful disposition and cooperation during the execution of the projects and assured that the Government of Chief Nyesom Wike would ensure that multi-national companies operating in the state develop their host communities.
Speaking to newsmen at Sangama in Asari Toru Local Government Area – shortly after commissioning the ultra-modern civic centre, the Cluster Development Board Chairman, Deacon Chrstian Sekibo, thanked the communities for nominating upright members of their communities to the membership of the board who had worked relentlessly to ensure the success of the various projects commissioned.
He promised to provide toilets for Minama Community in Asari-Toru LGA, in response to the people’s demand for toilets in the community.
Deacon Sekibo debunked the insinuation that youth restiveness prevents multi-national companies from developing their host communities, pointing out that the board received the best of cooperation from the communities youth.
“We received the best cooperation from youth of these communities. Their cooperation is an indication these youth in our communities were hungry for development. We could see it in their eyes, actions and attitudes,” he said.
Also speaking to newsmen at Ifoko Town in Asari-Toru LGA, after the commissioning of an ultra-modern town hall, consultant to the board, Dr Godwin MInimah of Godifems Consults Limited, said the interest of the host communities was paramount to Eroton E & P.
The second day of the programme witnessed the commissioning of the integrated agro-farm in Ido Community in Asari-Toru LGA with offices and staff quarters for essential staff.
In his welcome address, Deacon Sekibo said, “upon payment of the 2015/2016 project funds by the joint ventures partners- NNPC/Eroton E&P, the DAA3 board agreed to invest it in an income yielding project and accordingly settled for an agro business. Hence, the integrated agro farm project.
“The farm has poultry with an installed capacity for 15,000 birds; fishery with capacity for 20,000 catfish fingerlings; snailery with capacity for 8,000 snails and piggery with capacity for 144 piglets and pigs.”
Commissioning of the Ido Integrated Agro Farm and the Abonnema civic centre were withnessed by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru, representatives of Eroton company, community chiefs and elders, among others.

 

By: Donatus Ebi

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