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President Buhari, AfDB president woos global investors

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President Buhari, AfDB president woo global investors

President Muhammadu Buhari and the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina have urged global businesses and leaders to boldly invest in Nigeria.

In a statement from the Communication and External Relations Department, AfDB, the two leaders made the call at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum in New York.

The Nigerian government and the African Business Roundtable organized the event on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Nigerian president was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

Several others from the private, public, investment and donor communities also spoke at the forum.

The leaders reassured participants that the country was still an investment destination of choice.

Buhari said the overall Nigerian economy was ripe for increased investment.

The president further highlighted his government’s measures to tackle insecurity and improve the country’s business climate.

“Our administration has put in much investment in improving security, and we are committed to doing much more.

“We will continue to give all necessary support to our security outfits to ensure they can tackle the challenge headlong.”

Buhari also highlighted initiatives his government was undertaking to enhance the country’s economic development.

This included intensifying policy reforms, bolstering governance, and encouraging public-private investments in social, human, and physical infrastructure.

“Nigeria could be the fastest growing African economy by 2050 and could move up the global GDP ratings to 14th in the same year.

“Provided we succeed in our efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and strengthen its institutions and infrastructure.”

According to him, Nigeria is already committed to diversifying the economy and the country is also enjoying significant results.

Buhari also cited the new Integrated National Financing Strategy for enhancing the impact of development finance and expanding the country’s ability to finance its Sustainable Development Goals.

The private sector is expected to play a significant role in driving the strategy.

Also speaking, the president of the AfDB said Nigeria had to fix its security situation.

“To attract greater foreign direct investment to Nigeria, we must fix the security situation.

“Capital does not like to be troubled. Ultimately, investment capital must be made comfortable.

Only then can it be attracted.

“With the right conditions in place, we can confidently say Nigeria is a great investment destination.”

Adesina said even though Nigeria faced several challenges, the country remained an attractive investment destination.

He described Nigeria as an investor’s dream with a strong market pull, with a rapidly growing middle class, and burgeoning youth that could create demand and spur entrepreneurship.

“Investors must recognize this and invest.

That’s why the AfDB, together with the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency, is investing 618 million dollars in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme in Nigeria.

“The programme will support the creation of 225 creative start-ups and 451 digital technologies for small and medium-sized enterprises.

They will create 6.1 million jobs and add 6.4 billion dollars to the economy.”

He further said the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Islamic Development Bank had provided 540 million dollars to develop special agro-industrial processing zones in the country.

The funding is expected to strengthen Nigeria’s food and agribusiness value chains and increase its competitiveness.

“That is the power of international partnerships working for Nigeria,” Adesina said.

According to the statement, Nigeria has inaugurated a National Development Plan (2021-2025) to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025.

To achieve this, the country requires an investment commitment of about N348 trillion (about 809 billion dollars), which depends on strong partnerships between the private and public sectors.

Economy

Editor’s Pick: Nigeria is in Good Shape, not Broke, says Finance Minister 

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N206Bn Insertion: Senate committee summons Finance Minister over Humanitarian Affairs Ministry Budget 

…Only that revenue isn’t enough to meet Government’s Expenditure***

Despite the precarious state of the economy, the pathetic status of the Naira and the rising debt profile, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, says Nigeria is not broke, but in good economic standing.  

Ahmed spoke at the 6th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s scorecard, tagged “PMB Scorecard 2015-2023”, organised by the Ministry of Information on Thursday in Abuja.

She said that the country had continued to generate revenue on a regular basis, which is distributed to all the tiers of government.

She added that the country had recorded significant growth in non-oil revenue while improving oil revenue that had dwindled in the last few years.

“We continue to generate revenue on a monthly basis and these revenues are distributed at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Again, to continue with the tradition of transparency, we actually disclose how much is distributed on a monthly basis to the various tiers of government.

“We have witnessed a significant increase in non-oil revenue.

“While oil revenue is underperforming because of criminality, recently NNPC has reported that this has been curtailed and we are already beginning to see the pick up in the production volumes which are that more revenues have started to come to the Federation,” she said.

She said in spite of those remarkable improvements, revenue is still not enough to meet the expenditure of the government, thus necessitating the resort to borrowings.

She, however, said that such borrowings were guided by certain strategies to ensure sustainability.

“Our borrowings have been practical. They are sustainable, they are guarded by debt management strategies.

“There is a debt management board that is chaired by the Vice President, the ministers of Justice, Finance and other ministers as well as the Debt Management Office (DMO).

“The debt management is being followed religiously and our debt is sustainable,” she said.

She added that at 33 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, Nigeria is still the lowest when placed beside countries with equal comparatives.

According to her, “there are no plans to restructure the debt. We do not have to restructure because we have a debt strategy that could be followed closely.

“We make provision in our budgets for debt servicing. It is taken as a first-line charge so we have not defaulted on any loan, external or local.

“So we are comfortable in terms of our ability to pay our debts, so we are not going for any debt relief and we are not going for any debt restructuring,” she said.

Ahmed, however, reiterated that the country is faced with revenue challenges.

“But again, I say we do have a revenue problem despite the increase in revenue because our performance of 8 percent of GDP shows that the revenue is not enough.

“We are a population of 200 million people, and we have a lot of demands on government, both state and federal, to provide service.

“We have to keep working to find out how we can incentivise and enhance the business environment so that small business enterprises can thrive.

“They should be the largest employer of labour and should be the largest contributors to the GDP,” she said.

According to her, it is for those reasons we have reduced income taxes for the smallest businesses.

“We also reduced taxes for medium businesses from 30 percent to 22 percent, to revenues in their businesses to stabilise their businesses, especially during COVID,” she said.

On capital budget releases for 2022, the minister said that the government had so far released N1.7 trillion in a capital budget of N2.7 trillion.

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Economy

NIS Produces 10,846 Passports in 11 Months in Calabar 

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NIS Produces 10,846 Passports in 11 Months in Calabar 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Cross River Command, says a total of 10,846 passports were produced by the command between January and November 2022.

The state controller of the NIS, Chris Baikie, who disclosed this in Calabar on Thursday, said the figure included both E-Passport and the Enhanced E-Passport.

He noted that 1,966 Enhanced E-Passports that took effect from August were produced between August and November while the figure for the E-Passport produced was 8,880.

The controller lamented inadequate office space and manpower as the major challenge affecting operations in the command, however, noted that a total of 670 passports were uncollected within the same period.

Speaking on the issue of inadequate office space, Baikie stressed that this has encouraged indiscipline among staff and also impacted negatively on productivity.

According to him, “It is scandalously inadequate. We need space to offer quality service and for us to be very productive.

“The way we are all presently lumped together is counterproductive and encourages indiscipline where you have both junior and senior staff seated together in one small office.

“It also doesn’t help members of the public because we can’t give them the quality service they deserve.”

The controller said that the command has applied for 33.4 hectares of land from the Cross River government to address the issue.

On the manpower, Baikie said that the present 324 staff strength in the command needs to be doubled to effectively discharge their constitutional responsibility.

Similarly, he said, paucity of funds and lack of logistics were also a hindrance to the command’s operation.

“The only Hilux vehicle the command has is not in a good condition to go outside Calabar.

“You know also that it is part of our statutory responsibility to go round hotels for expatriates that are not cleared but can’t even do that because of lack of vehicles.

“Like the issue of office space, this is also affecting our operation across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state where we have offices,” he stated.

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Economy

FG has no plan to increase fuel pump price – Authority

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FG has no plan to increase fuel pump price – Authority

…As fuel hovers between N200 and N250***

 The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says the Federal Government has no intention of increasing the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) during the festive period.

The General Manager, Corporate Communications, NMDPRA, Mr Kimchi Apollo said this through an advisory which addressed speculations on the increase in price and availability of PMS.

He said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) had imported PMS with current stock levels sufficient for 34 days.

“Consequently, marketers and the general public are advised to avoid panic buying, diversion of products and hoarding.

“In keeping with the Authority’s responsibilities as outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Authority assures the public that it would continue to monitor the supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide, especially during this holiday season,” he said.

The report is that the pump price of PMS is being sold currently between N178 and N180 per litre inside Abuja city centre while the outskirt retail stations dispense fuel between N200 to N250 per litre.

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