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FG hosts 30 African Countries Thursday, on Trade, Investment Forum

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The Federal Government on Tuesday indicated that all roads would lead to Abuja on November 2 and 3 as major world economies and more than 30 African country representatives will converge for Trade and Investment Facilitation Partnership Forum.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja, also noted that the which event would be co-hosted by Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) in partnership with the WTO Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD), is aimed at boosting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This event is a significant step in the drive toward facilitating trade and investment not only for Nigeria, but sub-regionally and on the African Continent.

“Nigerian and African economies need to be connected, integrated and diversified and facilitating investment and trade will be key to achieving these objectives.

“United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) forecasts that developing countries will need an additional 2.5 trillion dollars annually in foreign and domestic investment to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

“The World Bank estimates that Africa’s total infrastructure investment requirements at roughly 120-150 billion dollars per annum and estimates the gap between infrastructure investment requirements and available financial resources at about 60-80 billion dollars per annum.

“This government is committed to investment facilitation by creating a more investment friendly business climate and making it easier for both domestic and foreign investors to invest,’’ he said.

According to him, Vice-President Yemi Osibajo is expected to declare the event open, and that other dignitaries such as the WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevedo, and Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi would be in attendance.

Others are: the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr Albert Muchanga, and Executive Director of the International Trade Center (ITC), Arancha Gonzalez.

Enelamah said the investment coalition would achieve coherence between the trade and investment policy communities and position the WTO to be more pro-development with actual deliverables for its members.

“Nigeria is part of this coalition because we see investment and trade facilitation as a positive and pro-development agenda, and ensure that the WTO is better responsive to domestic economic priorities,’’ he said.

Mr Kolawole Sofola, Principal Programme Officer, Multilateral Trade Directorate of Trade, said Nigeria had made lot of progress in trading.

Sofola said it was a privilege to have Nigeria among the facilitation partnership forum.

He said ECOWAS was grateful for the role played by Nigeria in facilitating trade agreement among member countries.

“Nigeria contributes more than half of ECOWAS gross domestic product and we know that   trade facilitation enables free movement of trade among member countries,’’ Sofola said.

Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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Economy

LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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