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Fashola: Oil Prices Drove Nigeria’s Growth Under Jonathan’s – NOT His Policies

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola
  • Oil Prices Drove Nigeria’s Growth Under Jonathan’s – NOT His Policies

Babatunde Fashola, minister of power works and housing, says the past government led by Goodluck Jonathan cannot say it is responsible for Nigeria’s growth over the past decade.

Fashola said the growth over the past decade was driven by high oil prices, not any economic policy implemented by the Jonathan administration.

The former governor said even Donald Trump who just won the US election knows that infrastructure drives growth, as stated in his inaugural speech.

“In the last decade or so, we experienced growth in the region of about seven, seven and a half, eight percent, but the commentary that followed those growth records was that people were still struggling, and ultimately, the public coined a narrative known as non-inclusive growth,” he said.

“There is a need to invest in infrastructure, and that is the meat of the point. That is the globally tested parameter for driving growth. In the scinece of economic management and governance, nobody has found a different way.

“I say this in the context of those who are tempted to lay some claim to any form of credit about why our economy was growing at seven percent for almost a decade, and I say very very clearly, without mincing words, that I don’t that anybody can fairly lay claim to any economic policy that drove that growth.

“It was growth that was driven by high oil prices. If we agree that infrastructure is the driver of growth, when you get high oil prices, what do you do with it? So, where are those towers, where are those bridges, where are those highways?

“It is fair to concede some initiatives, especially in the same sector in the petroleum industry, about promoting local content, but how far did local content go? It wasn’t in the productive part of oil, the rigs were not locally made, and all the technology wasn’t local.”

Fashola also said flipflop in government policies in the past did not help infrastructural growth, stating that the investor community in Nigeria is so small, and they talk to themselves by day, the same way politicians do to themselves by night.

He emphasized that a flip flop in government policies would make them exit the country almost at the same time.

“Investors must have the assurance that government will not flip flop, and contracts that fail have consequences. There is cost for investors on both sides.

“I recall, just shortly after I became governor, we privatised some refineries, a government came and cancelled it. So we should stop this back and forth,” he said.

Nike Akande, president of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who also spoke at the fifth EU-Nigerian business forum, said “the decline in crude oil price has considerably changed our development focus for good”.

“We are taking steps to reduce our reliance on oil. A lot of attention is now being paid to manufacturing, agriculture and agro allied industries, solid minerals, lCT, entertainment and tourism and many other areas in the non-oil sector.

“The government is also focusing on the development of infrastructure to enhance the productivity of the non-oil sector of the economy, infrastructure provision such as power and transport offers tremendous opportunities for investment which the EU investors can explore at this time.

“Time has come for EU investors to put lesser emphasis impediments in the Nigerian market and pay attention opportunities and potentials in the economy.

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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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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