The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 500 million Euros loan to finance industrialisation projects and support Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) value chains in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba, disclosed this after the FEC meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the minister, the loan will be secured from the the Credit Suisse AG London to support industry; revitalise ago-industrial processing zones and facilitate the creation of new jobs.
“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 500 million Euros facility to the Bank of Industry.
“The loan is basically to finance major industrialisation projects and micro-small and medium enterprises value 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 its going to be executed through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“The main objective of the loan is to support industry; revitalise ago-industrial processing zones; to facilitate the creation of new jobs.
“We do believe that about 1.2 million jobs will be created through this facility; increase the income of farming communities and promote the inclusion of SMEs and small holder producers in the industrial value chain and the deployment of transportation infrastructure that connect farming communities to processors and market,’’ he said.
Agba said that the loan would be swapped to Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria to mitigate the foreign exchange risk.
He said that the fund would, therefore, be available to Nigerian enterprises at a more affordable rate and in local currency.
On his part, the Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, said that the FEC approved a memo by the ministry seeking for the release 2 million dollars as part of Nigeria’s contribution to the West African Power Pool.
In the meantime, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a Justice Sector Policy as part of deliberate efforts to reform the nation judicial sector for easy access to justice in the country.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the minister, the policy will ensure speedy determination of justice, enhance quality of justice as well as access to justice.
“From the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, two memos were presented for consideration of the Council. The first memo that was taken was a memorandum relating to administration of justice which was about having in place a justice sector reform policy.
“It is a blueprint that sets out a clear vision, objective and interventions for the reform of the justice sector to engender fair, efficient and transparent administration of justice.
“The intention and desire was to have a justice sector reform package that would turn things around for the better as far as the administration of justice is concerned.
“Turn things around relating to access to justice; turn things around relating to speedy administration of justice and turn things around for the purpose of ensuring at the end of the day that we have a consensus approach to the administration of justice.
“So, what was presented in that respect by the Office of the Attorney-General was a policy package that has been worked upon by the executive, judiciary, legislature and multi-dimensional institutions and stakeholders coming about with a roadmap as it relates to speedy administration of justice,’’ he said.
According to him, the three arms of government as well as the Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been over time working on roadmap that was a product of this policy.
He said: “So, what we have in place by way of administration of criminal justice act at a time, which was intended to ensure that we have speedy determination of cases before the court, was indeed a product of that understanding.
“What we had by way of a legislation relating to the Correctional Service Act was indeed a product of that understanding and the same thing with the executive orders that were put in place. So the intention is to work together for the purpose of assisting the justice sector.’’
Malami also revealed that Council approved a memo seeking to repeal the Geneva Convention and re-enact it to “accord greater access to justice by prisoners of war.”
According to the minister, it appears that Nigeria was behind the rest of the world in terms of according prisoners of war certain rights and privileges.
“Geneva Convention, which is accommodated in our laws as `Geneva Convention Act, G3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004’ is a convention that was designed to provide protection to prisoners of wars; to people involve in arm conflicts and associated infractions, for example,’’ he added.