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$16bn EPZ: FG’s Delay Stalling 150,000 Jobs in N’Delta – Ayiri

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  • $16bn EPZ: FG’s Delay Stalling 150,000 Jobs in N’Delta – Ayiri

The Federal Government has been advised to use the prevailing ceasefire with Niger Delta militants to restart the $16billion Gas Revolution Industrial Park and Escravos Environs Power Supply Project in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Niger Delta activist and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, Chief Ayirimi Emami, made the call in an open letter to President Muhammad Buhari.

He said the move would go a long way to bringing permanent peace to the Niger Delta, stressing that delay in restarting the project is hampering 150,000 possible direct and indirect jobs in the region.

He said, “I have never been an advocate of the use violence to attract Federal or state governments’ attention, but that does not mean that the Niger Delta Region has not been suffering neglect, despite the huge resources derived from the area.

“But now that the so-called ceasefire has been declared by the militants and their sponsors, permit me to strongly appeal that your administration immediately initiate steps to commence work at the multibillion dollar,” he added.

Chief Emami said the determination of the present administration to diversify our economy from over-dependence on crude oil and gas would be greatly enhanced by the projects, which he said could mop over 150,000 youths off the streets.

“The ongoing strides being recorded by the military hierarchy (against terrorists and militants) will maximally achieve its set goals if construction work resumes at the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, GRIP, Ogidigben as well as Escravos Environs Power Supply Project.

“All the Federal and Delta State governments need to do is to create the enabling environment, set the right policy direction as well as ensure adequate security and the project with a massive employment capacity from ready-foreign investors will take-off in earnest.

“The over $16 billion GRIP Project billed to accommodate a major Industrial Gas Hub and Petrochemical, Methanol as well as Fertilizer Plant will create over 150,000 direct and indirect jobs at the construction stage and set the tone for the eagerly anticipated diversification of our economy.

“No doubt, the Agricultural, Manufacturing and Solid Minerals sectors will be greatly boosted, Niger Delta militancy will be brought to non-existence and the ongoing effort to take our country out of recession will be realized,” Emami stated.

In the same vein, the Warri chief appealed to the federal government to revisit the Escravos Environs Power Supply Project, stressing that “This mega project is a part of NGC ELPS System-A Network, which passes the host communities in the Escravos Shore, Warri South-West LGA.

“It must be explicitly stated that 30 oil and gas host/ impacted communities will benefit in the project, which is outside the power supply and distribution network of the National Grid. This is not forgetting the communities’ huge agro-based potentials.”

He lamented that the recent attack on oil facilities have plunged riverside communities in the region into perpetual darkness, noting that with the completion of the project, host communities would have more stake and need to protect gas facilities in their communities.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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Government

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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