FG Approves Three-year External Borrowing Plan
The federal government has approved a three-year rolling external borrowing plan.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held in Abuja yesterday, the Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the approval would be transmitted to the National Assembly immediately.
She said the loans would come from agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, China Exim Bank, and other development agencies like the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Also at the briefing were the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed, Minister for Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, Minister for Finance, Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, who also briefed journalists with respect to FEC’s approval for their respective ministry.
Other highlights of the meeting included the changing of the name of Ministry for Solid Minerals to Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the approval of a new roadmap for the development of the solid minerals sector, approval of contracts to build a new structure called international house at the University of Ibadan and a library at the University of Lagos.
The finance minister said the plan to borrow externally was in line with government’s strategy to focus on concessional debts, low cost loans particularly from multi-lateral agencies.
She said: “So this plan we have put forward today which was approved by the FEC and will be transmitted to the National Assembly for the approval includes:
“Concessional loans average interest rates 1.25 per cent, four to seven year moratorium, 20 years to pay. From agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, China Exim Bank, and other development agencies lke Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).”
Adeosun said the loans would be applied to develop strategic sectors which government believed would help revive the economy.
She said the power sector would receive a significant amount of the loan to take care of projects militating against efficient power generation. She specifically cited transmission.
“This is long term money that will enable us solve some of the problems in that sector,” she added.
Adeosun said the health sector would also benefit from the loan.
She said: “There are projects around polio. There are some money that have been allocated to us to help us do some massive immunisation, in order to control this recent outbreak. This is being provided by the World Bank.
“There is provision for solid minerals and of course I’m very excited about the discovery of nickel. The World Bank is supporting the project by the Ministry of Mines and Steel with $150 million to enable them strengthen their capacity in that area.
“The largest beneficiary of our borrowing is agriculture because it is equally strategic and we have programmes by the minister some of which he inherited and is going to restructure and reform and some are new to the ministry.”
The minister said government would also seek funding through Eurobond.
She said: “The FEC sent a strong signal to everybody that we need to reach out to the National Assembly to get this borrowing plan approved as soon as possible. Because a lot of this money is for developmental projects. We need this money and it is available for us.
“Remember these are foreign exchange coming to our country that will help our economy.”
Answering questions after the briefing, the finance minister said the present administration was on course to lay a solid foundation for Nigeria’s development.
Adeosun dismissed claims that the administration was confused about how to manage the nation’s economy.
According to her, the government has a clear view of what to do to turn the economy around.
She said: “It is the worst possible time for us. Are we confused? Absolutely not. How are we going to get ourselves out of this recession. One, we must make sure that we diversify our economy. There are too many of us to keep on relying on oil. We can all see what happened at the output data of the oil and gas sector. What’s happening in the Niger Delta has dragged down the GDP of the entire economy. We’re too dependent on oil.
We have to invest in capital projects.
“No we are not confused, the time are confusing but we are not confused. We are extremely focused. We know that if we can just bear and get through this difficult period, Nigeria is going to be better for it. If we rely on oil and the price of oil remains low and the quantity of oil remains low, we can’t grow. We have to grow our non oil economy.
“I think that we have a long way to go. We’re not confused and we’re not deceiving ourselves that everything is rosy. It’s not. It’s a difficult time for Nigeria but I think Nigeria is in the right hands and if we can stick to our strategy. We still have some adjustments to make. I think we need to make some adjustments in monetary policy. It’s quite clear we do and we will do that. We’re working on that. We need to try and find a way to support the manufacturing sector better and we will do that.”
While answering question on the figure released by National Bureau of Statistics, Adeosun said the inflation was being pushed by cost and it would be curtailed.
“What we have is cost-push inflation and when you have cost-push inflation it is structural inflation. It is not going to respond to monetary policy tools such as increasing the rate of interest. We have to address the structural causes of the inflation
“The trend, the rate of inflation growth has slowed down and that’s a good sign.”
Access Bank South Africa Begins Operation
Following Access Bank Acquisition of African Banking Corporation (BancABC Mozambique), Access Bank South Africa officially opened its door for business yesterday.
The bank described the development as another step in engraving Access Bank Plc into the continent’s history.
Noting the enthusiasm of all parties leading up to this day, Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe said the SADC region represents the strongest economy on the African continent.
“This means Access Bank SA is firmly seated in one of the principal geographical areas apart from Nigeria, in terms of the size of the economy, and unlocks the gateway to the entire Southern African region,” he was quoted to have said in a statement.
Wigwe highlighted Access Bank’s solid presence in Zambia too, saying the opening of the South African subsidiary cements the Bank’s commitment to sub-Saharan Africa as a portal for exceptional banking opportunities across the continent.
Building on the organisation’s vision of delivering a robust banking operation that connects key African markets, the CEO of Access Bank SA, Bennie van Rooy, described the development as, “an exciting event for the South African banking industry,” as well as the provision of sustainable support to existing customers while appealing to new clients with a business presence across Africa.
“As part of the robust Access Bank family, the South African operations look forward to contributing meaningfully to the achievements and ambitions of the Group. In offering a full suite of financial service products to a market we understand in-depth, Access Bank SA is delighted to grow the family footprint,” he added.
Continuing, Wigwe said the Group would continue to focus on building relationships, as a partner in both businesses and in communities it serves.
“It’s vital that our banking solutions give clients the advantage they need to grow sustainably, with access to smart solutions that help them reach greater goals,” he added.
With its transactional account and online banking, commercial and asset finance, offshore investments and Forex requirements or deposit solutions, Access Bank puts the power of choice in clients’ hands.
“Partnerships with all our clients mean power for them to achieve their aspirations, while Access Bank’s growth brings greater advantages in the financial sector. Like Bennie, I am excited to be on this path with the knowledge and experience of the continent that we share,” said Wigwe.
“We look forward to the opportunities that present themselves with opening doors for individuals and businesses, and growing possibilities as we go.”
Stanbic IBTC’s Upgraded USSD Platform Offers “Bigger And Better” Functionalities
Stanbic IBTC Bank, a member of Standard Bank Group, has upgraded its USSD platform with innovative features and capabilities to improve customer experience.
The upgraded USSD banking platform tagged “bigger and better” will enable customers to make seamless transactions continually.
Some of the new features on the upgraded platform include the bill payment gateway for billers such as the DISCO companies, which will enable customers to pay their electricity bills without stress; auto-airtime top-up, which allows customers to set up a mandate for airtime top-up whenever their balance drops below a set benchmark; as well as direct data top-up.
Speaking on the rationale behind the USSD platform upgrade, Remy Osuagwu, Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said, “We are dedicated to meeting the banking needs of our customers. Improving customers’ experiences at every touchpoint with the brand is critical. We are optimistic that the new features added to our USSD platform will indeed give our customers a bigger and better banking experience.”
Offering customers easy, fast and secure financial transactions, the Stanbic IBTC USSD platform works on any mobile phone. It can be used to purchase airtime, transfer funds, check account balance, request account statements, make bills payment, view transaction history, link a debit card to a wallet and more.
To onboard, customers should dial *909*11*1# to register and enter the last four (4) digits of their debit cards to create an authentication PIN that will be used to approve transactions anytime and anywhere. Existing users on the platform have access to the upgraded functionalities by just dialing *909# and following the prompt.
Remy Osuagwu assured the Bank’s esteemed customers of the organisation’s commitment to continually develop digital banking solutions to meet their needs as they evolve.
ITFC Signs a US$ 250 Million Framework Agreement to Support The Gambia
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, has signed a new 5-Year Framework Agreement in favour of the Government of The Gambia that target to provide up to US$ 50 million to the country on an annual basis.
The agreement, signed with H.E. Mambury Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs (IsDB Governor), is a part of the Corporation’s ongoing efforts to combat the economic repercussions from COVID-19 and strengthen key economic sectors in member countries.
This US$250 million Framework Agreement will provide pre-export financing for major cash crops such as groundnuts and cashew nuts, the main agricultural produce in a sector that is a major employer of the country’s workforce. In addition, this agreement will also facilitate the import of essential agriculture inputs such as fertilizer.
In the energy sector, the financing will enable imports of key commodities such as refined petroleum, which is crucial to generate electricity in the country. Other sectors that will benefit from the five-year framework agreement include the healthcare sector through the import of medicines and health equipment, and the private sector through financing facilities to local banks and financial institutions aimed at boosting local SMEs.
Technical assistance for trade development aimed at building capacity and promoting information exchange and knowledge dissemination are other areas covered in the agreement.
H.E. Mambury Njie, The Gambia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs thanked ITFC on behalf of the Government for its continued support, highlighting that this framework agreement would support national development goals to drive economic diversification and job creation across key growth sectors, whist facilitating trade and investment flows within the country, as well as globally through the country’s participation in agriculture value chains.
Reiterating ITFC’s commitment to supporting its member countries, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “The five-year framework agreement will make way for further cooperation with the Government of The Gambia across key economic sectors whilst fostering greater collaboration with the country’s budding private sector to drive SME growth. In addition to crucial import-export financing, the agreement also has provisions to help develop the country into a stronger trading nation through enhanced capacity development and knowledge transfer programs.”
Since inception in 2008, ITFC has approved a total of US$607 million in favor of The Gambia. From energy to employment through agriculture, it reaffirms ITFC’s proven strategy of investing in key sectors of its member countries and thus contributing towards the development of the priority industries.
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