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FG Pumps $500m into NSIA as Osinbajo Inaugurates New Board

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  • FG Pumps $500m into NSIA as Osinbajo Inaugurates New Board

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday in the Presidential Villa, Abuja inaugurated the new board of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) with the disclosure of fresh injection of $500 million into the scheme.

Osinbajo said the fund was part of the federal government’s drive for economic growth and infrastructure development.

Yesterday’s inauguration of the board was sequel to the earlier approval by the National Economic Council (NEC) in February, this year, of the nominees into the board from the six geo-political zones of the country. Members of the board chaired by Mr. Babajide Zeitlin will serve for a term of four years. While inaugurating the board, Osinbajo charged it to improve on the performance of NSIA by investing in key priority areas of the government such as agriculture and infrastructure.

He also said the board would be held accountable by both NEC and the generality of Nigerians which he said would require them to provide accounts of their stewardship.

“As we navigate the pathway out of recession and into a self-sufficient and diversified economy, it is our expectation that the NSIA will remain increasingly strategic to our na- tion’s growth and development.

“As representatives of the people, our charge is simple: we require you to fundamentally improve the performance of the Authority and strengthen its operations. “Indeed, despite the fiscally constrained environment, this administration has been able to increase the federal government’s commitment to the NSIA by 50 per cent, committing an ad- ditional $500 million though the federal government is committed to saving. “The actual charge with this additional capital is investment.

Thus, as the NSIA moves to the second phase of its existence, the expectation is that the committed capital will be deployed into projects that are in line with the administration’s key priority areas, namely: infrastructure, agriculture, in order to improve our economy. For example, we expect prompt action on the commodities exchange, a vital component of our agricultural reform effort,” Osinbajo stated.

The Acting President who also referred to the conceived modular refineries’ project in the Niger Delta as one key investment that would unlock the economic potential of the country, tasked the board to live up to expectation. “The bar before you is high and all of us are counting on you to deliver” as he proclaimed the board inaugurated to the “glory of the Almighty God and the enduring development of our nation.”

Responding, the board chair- man, Zeitlin, thanked the federal government for the opportunity to serve, assuring that the board membership was “committed to doing so with utmost of integrity and transparency and we look forward to being held accountable.” According to him, the team will remain committed and simultaneously align itself with the policies of both the administration and the economic team.

Answering questions from journalists after the inauguration, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said membership of the board were drawn by an executive search committee set up with the mandate to look for the best hands for the job from all parts of the country.

According to her, the board consists of bankers, lawyers, people with oil and gas experi- ence and entrepreneurs as she expressed confidence that the board would fulfil its mandate. “We are very confident that this board will look after our future resources and provide very good decisions and guid- ance to the execute management in line with the administration’s expectations and requirements,” she said.

Also speaking with journalists, the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, said the team would not only protect the fund for future generations, it would also invest in infrastructure and agriculture in accordance with government priorities. “We are very focused on agriculture, infrastructure more broadly and this is a seasoned team – both the executive management team and a very experienced board. So, this augurs well for the Nigerian nation,” Orji said.

Members of the inaugurated board and their geo-political zones are: Babajide Zetilin (Chairman, South-west), Halima Buba (North-east), Bello Mac- cido (North–west), Lois Laraba Machunga-Disu (North-central), Urum Kalu Eze (South-east) and Asue Ighodalo (South-south).

Other members of board include Uche Orji, Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli and Hanspeter Acheermann.

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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