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KTSG invests N200m in rice, cotton production



….As Osinbajo says Africa must reposition its economy to attract investors***

The Katsina State Government says it has invested N200 million in rice and cotton production under the Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state.

Dr Abba Abdullahi, the Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Masari on Agriculture, disclosed this in Katsina on Tuesday, at the opening of a town hall meeting on the programme.

The town hall meeting was organised by the state government in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the co-sponsor of anchor borrowers programme.

“We have rice and cotton farmers that collected the CBN loan under the anchor borrowers programme to boost rice and cotton production and the programme needed supervision.

“We used the funds to supervise and inspect all the rice and cotton farms in the 34 local government areas of the state.

“The Katsina state government also purchased over 35 motorcycles for extension workers to visit rice and cotton farmers with the aim of offering pieces of advice to them,” he said.

Abdullahi said that part of the fund was used for the repair of 15 vehicles for officers involved in supervising the extension workers.

Earlier, Alhaji Shehu Musawa, the Managing Director, State Agricultural and Rural Development Project (KATARDA), said the stakeholders’ meeting was to review how the programme fared during the rainy season.

“Anchor borrowers programme has achieved the desired goal in the state as it has boosted rice and cotton production.

“We are expecting bumper harvest of cotton and rice in the state,” Abdullahi said.

In his contribution, Keystone Bank’s representative, Malam Ahmed Musa, said that the bank would continue to support agricultural programmes in the state.

In the meantime, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Africa to reposition its economy in the direction that will attractive investors because investment depends on the advantages derivable.

Osinbajo made this call while interacting with a committee of African Ambassadors to Indonesia led by the dean of the group, Ms Alice Mageza of Zimbabwe, on the sideline of his two-day working visit to Jakarta.

The Ambassadors include those of Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia.

Mr Laolu Akande, Spokesperson to the Vice President on Media and Publicity disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The statement quoted Osinbajo as saying that Africa’s indices of having the lowest integration statistics as well as the lowest GDP ratio can only be reversed by preparing the continent for quality investments that will benefit the people.

The vice president, who was responding to questions from the Ambassadors on the future of Africa’s economic prosperity, said, “the quality and quantum of potential investors in Africa is huge.

“But that the way that such investments will go will depend on the advantages that the investors get from investing in such economies.

“We in Africa must prepare our economies in that direction that attracts such huge and qualitative investments. It is for us to push and we must push,’’ he said.

On the kinds of investments that Africa desires, Osinbajo said African must focus on the manufacturing sector.

He noted, “the most important thing for Africa is that whoever wants to invest in our countries should start in manufacturing.’’

He, however, urged African diplomats in Indonesia to work together in the quest for attracting investment opportunities to Africa.

Osinbajo said, “if you negotiate together, it is probably going to be more effective than if we negotiate separately.’’

Earlier, Vice President met with Indonesian business leaders under the auspices of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he stressed the need for Indonesian companies to increase their investment portfolios in Nigeria.

“Nigeria would like to see more Indonesian companies invest in the manufacturing sector even though there are quite a few activities going on in Nigeria; there is also room for more collaboration and cooperation.

“The opportunities in the various sectors comprising oil and gas, manufacturing are huge because the major incentive lies in the market, the Nigerian and the West African markets.’’

Giving an overview of ongoing projects in Nigeria and collaborations between Indonesian and Nigerian businesses, Osinbajo said Nigeria would need a rolling stock in its railway revitalization project.

He outlined the various incentives given by the Federal Government to attract investors into Nigeria as, government’s efforts at increasing foreign exchange availability through the NIFEX market.

Others he said include approval of pioneer status for some category of companies to enjoy a range of incentives; establishment of special economic zones; initiatives to increase foreign exchange availability and opening up of marginal fields.

Earlier, some members of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also expressed concern about the declining value of the Indonesia-Nigeria trade which currently stands at $1.70 billion dollars from $3.18 billion in 2012.

The chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Rosan Roeslani said, “being the 15th largest economy in the world, Indonesia through its investors is desirous of increasing its portfolios to levels that justify Nigeria’s position as the country’s biggest trading partner in Africa.’’

He said Osinbajo’s visit to Indonesia and meeting with the business leaders are strong indications that Nigeria is ready to take her pride of place among Indonesia’s biggest trading partners in the world.

On her part, the Chief Executive Officer of Indonesia Exim Bank, Shintya Roesly expressed the readiness of the bank to support the revitalization of trade relations between both countries.

She said this will be through the financing of import and export activities with a view to making even the balance of trade between the two countries.

Roesly stressed the need for creation of a roadmap and the establishment of a working group with timelines to enhance trade development between both countries.

Mr Daniel Purba, the representative of PERTAMINA – Indonesian state-owned oil and Natural Gas Corporation said the company has already opened discussions with stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

According to him, this is with the view to investing in Nigeria’s upstream assets.

There were other interests expressed by investors in the railway, aviation, agriculture and foods sectors.

The Vice President was accompanied to the meeting by Mr Hakeem Balogun, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Indonesia; Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development; Hajiya Zainab Ahmed.

Others include the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning; Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, the Political Adviser to the President, and other top government officials.


Troops Destroy 51 Illegal Refining Sites, Recover Stolen Crude Oil – DHQ



….Destroy 7 dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, one outboard engine, others

The Defence Headquarters says  troops of Operation Delta Safe have  destroyed 51 illegal oil refining sites and recovered stolen crude oil and refined products in the Niger Delta in the last one week.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed  in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also apprehended 58 perpetrators of oil theft and denied them of  estimated sum of N668.7 million

He said the troops destroyed seven dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, 141 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, one outboard engine, one tricycle, one speedboat and one tugboat.

According to him, troops recovered 267,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 567,700 litres of illegally refined AGO and 5,000 litres of DPK.

“Troops has maintained momentum against oil theft and arrested persons involved in oil theft in Bonny and Ikpoba Local Government Areas of Rivers and Edo States respectively.

“Troops also arrested suspected armed robbers and foiled illegal bunkering activities in Oshimili South and Ukwa West of Delta and Abia States respectively,” he said.

In the South East, Buba said  troops of Operation UDO KA arrested 15 suspected criminals and repelled attacks by IPOB/ESN criminals in Anambra, Abia and Imo States.

He said the troops conducted raids and rescued kidnapped hostages in Ishielu and Igbo Eze North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi and Enugu States respectively.

He said the troops neutralised three criminals, rescued five kidnapped hostages and recovered 14 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammo.

In the South West, Buba said  troops of Operation AWATSE foiled armed robbery attacks in Orelope and Olorunsogo Local Government Areas of Oyo State and arrested a gunrunner in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.

According to him, troops rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered two vehicles.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he added.

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NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

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