NSIA, Old Mutual, UFF Agri-Fund Sign $700m Deal on Agric, Real Estate
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) yesterday signed a total of $700 million-agreement with Old Mutual Investment Group (OMIG) South Africa, and UFF Agri-Fund for the establishment of real estate and agriculture co-investment vehicles, with massive direct investments expected in both sectors.
The signing came on a day the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun disclosed that the federal government had commenced discussions on the privatisation of the country’s railway system to provide necessary infrastructure for agriculture to thrive.
Under the real estate agreement signed, $500 million is expected to be invested in commercial and retail assets with an initial commitment of up to $100 million each from NSIA and Old Mutual, with deal origination and execution to be undertaken jointly by both parties.
The agricultural component of the deal will require both parties to make commitments for an initial vehicle size of $50 million ahead of the targeted $200 million, with deal origination and execution also expected to be undertaken jointly by NSIA and UFF Agri-Fund.
Speaking at the ceremony in Abuja, Adeosun said the agreement marked a critical milestone towards delivering on NSIA’s broader mandate to invest in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
She said the privatisation of the rail system would help address storage issues relating to farm produce, boost competition and ensure that farmers can move goods from the farm to where they can be sold efficiently.
She said lack of infrastructure remained a key challenge to investments in agriculture.
The minister also said the federal government is currently examining the agricultural book with the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) with a view to discounting some asset books in a bid to attract foreign investors.
She said: “One of the biggest problems with agriculture is infrastructure and it’s not that we don’t grow enough, it’s that very often, it (farm produce) rots in the fields because it’s so difficult to move it out or to store it.
“So, there is a lot of investments that need to go in before you go directly into agriculture. As far as our diversification plans are concerned, agriculture is absolutely critical and we are focused on it both in the budget and other areas both directly and indirectly.
“But the most important thing is infrastructure because until you can move goods from the farm to where they are being sold efficiently, we would not be able to be competitive.
“Our fields are as good and fertile as anybody’s else’s one in the world but the problem is that it’s cheaper to move goods from China to Lagos than moving it from Kano to Lagos and that’s because we don’t have the infrastructure. We’ve got to get our rail moving and then, we can begin to scale up direct primary agriculture.”
She noted that the agreements signed was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s concerted efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and attract investments into other core sectors which can stimulate sustainable growth.
Managing Director/Chief Executive, NSIA, Uche Orji said the deals would have multiple effects on agriculture and real estate as institutional investors from outside the country would be involved.
Deals with the proposed investors are expected to be closed and announced soon.
Orji said: “We believe that the real estate and agriculture sectors offer considerable potential for economic growth in Nigeria. Our commitment in these sectors is underpinned by the economic imperatives of urbanization, population growth and enhancement of liquidity for the sectors.
“The real estate vehicle once created alongside the Agriculture Vehicle will be configured to address some of these issues. The NSIA will continue to serve as a catalyst for private sector involvement in key sectors of the economy by exploring partnerships with credible entities such as Old Mutual Investment Group and UFF Agri-Fund.”
Also, Chief Executive, OMIG, Diane Radley, said that the partnership with NSIA was critical step in its plans for commercial real estate and agriculture strategies in Africa.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Petitions NBC to Sanction Channels TV Over Alleged Breach of Broadcasting Code
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, has reportedly filed a petition with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), calling for the sanction of Channels Television for allegedly breaching the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The petition alleges that the TV station allowed its guest, Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate Datti Baba-Ahmed to make several incendiary comments that impugned the integrity of the 25 February 2023 Presidential elections.
According to Tinubu’s petition, Baba-Ahmed claimed that the Labour Party won the election, which is “a fallacy and not correct,” and he alleged that President Buhari should not swear in the President-elect because he did not score 25% of the vote in the FCT, which is a prerequisite for being declared the winner.
Tinubu also accused Baba-Ahmed of making subversive, inciting, and inflammatory comments, which breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The petition calls on NBC to apply sanctions against Channels TV, stating that the TV station’s guest was “not only provocative but also inciting the public and the Labour Party followers to delegitimize the outcome of the elections but also propagate resistance against the incoming duly elected administration of Bola Ahmed-Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.”
This development comes amid tensions and uncertainties surrounding the aftermath of the 2023 Nigerian Presidential elections with some political parties and their supporters contesting the results and calling for a rerun. The Nigerian Broadcasting Code aims to regulate the activities of broadcasters and ensure that they promote national unity, peace, and social harmony, among other objectives.
NBC is yet to respond to Tinubu’s petition or issue any statement on the matter. However, this petition highlights the need for broadcasters and media houses to uphold journalistic ethics and professional standards, especially during sensitive periods like elections.
Court of Appeal Upholds Adeleke’s Victory in Osun State Governorship Election
In a landmark judgement, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the rightful governor of Osun State.
The ruling, which comes as a surprise to many, overturned the decision of the Osun State Governorship Tribunal which had earlier nullified Adeleke’s election victory.
Following the governorship polls in the state, an Election Petition Tribunal had sacked Adeleke from office, citing his failure to secure the majority of lawful votes during the July 16 governorship polls. However, in a unanimous agreement by a three-man panel led by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu, the Court of Appeal quashed the tribunal’s judgment and gave its verdict to uphold Adeleke’s victory.
The Appeal Court Panel revoked the tribunal’s order which directed that a Certificate of Return be withdrawn from Adeleke and issued to his predecessor and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gboyega Oyetola. The panel held that the Osun State Tribunal was wrong to have said that there was overvoting, a claim that only relied on the evidence by Oyetola and the APC, and as such, doesn’t prove their case in any way.
The judge faulted Oyetola and APC, that they only relied on the data from the back end server and failed to look at the voters register which forms the foundation of the whole electoral process and as such, cannot strengthen their allegations of overvoting. The court also resolved in favour of Adeleke on the issue of jurisdiction, stating that section 285(8) of the constitution as amended, the court has every right to entertain the appeal.
The ruling is a significant victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke, who had been locked in a legal battle with the APC over the governorship position since the election. Many Nigerians have applauded the Court of Appeal’s decision as a step towards consolidating the country’s democracy and upholding the rule of law.
The decision has also set a precedent for future electoral disputes in the country, as it highlights the importance of credible evidence in proving electoral malpractice claims. This ruling has shown that allegations of overvoting cannot be sustained without concrete evidence from the voters register, and political parties must be thorough in their investigations and presentation of evidence in such cases.
NIMC: Presidential Council Faults N1000 NIN Fee, Demands Review
The recently announced N1000 National Identification Number (NIN) verification fee for the application, issuance and renewal of international passports by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has been criticised.
The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC faulted the mandated charge and called for a review.
Investors King had earlier reported that NIMC declared that Nigerians living in the country will pay N1000, while Nigerians residing in other African countries will pay $3 or its equivalent in other currencies and those in other continents across the world will pay $10 or its equivalent in other countries as NIN verification fee for application, issuance and renewal of their international passports.
Reacting to the development, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business/PEBEC Secretary, Jumoke Oduwole, in a statement, emphasised the need for a review to make citizens enjoy quicker and less expensive government services.
Oduwole, who commended the collaboration between NIMC and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), said such a partnership will enhance passport services.
She noted that stakeholders are not impressed with the extra charge to be paid for the NIN verification before they can process their passports.
According to her, the outline of the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 signed into law by the President Muhammadu Buhari on February 8, 2023 states that where an applicant requires the service of a ministry, department or agency, the MDA involved is mandated to conduct the necessary verification or certification from relevant MDAs, in respect of the applicant.
Investors King understands that PUBEC was set up in 2016 by President Buhari with the aim of curbing hectic bottlenecks and bureaucratic limitations accompanied with owning and managing business enterprises in Nigeria.
The chairman of the council is the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. PUBEC has since its existence periodically issued EO1 Compliance Reports containing monthly reports of Ministries, Departments and Agencies submitted to the council.
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