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Minister: Fed Govt Targets $22b Foreign Investments in Two Years

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  • Minister: Fed Govt Targets $22b Foreign Investments in Two Years

The Federal Government will attract $22 billion private sector investments through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) “Focused Laboratories” in two years, Budget and National Planning Minister Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said yesterday.

Nigerians, he said, may have to wait for that period before reaping the fruit of foreign investments.

The government, through the ERGP, the minister said, planned to create about 15 million jobs by 2020.

“We intend to achieve this principally through stimulating the private sector.

“Our aim is to make Nigeria a more investment-friendly place, a more attractive place for people to do business.

“We have conducted sector specific labs, which we referred to as the ERGP Focus Labs, to bring potential investors and government officials together to seek to remove the bottlenecks and impediments impeding investment projects.

“We identified over $22 billion of potential investments which could be unlocked, if we can remove some of these impediments,” he said.

Udoma said in Nigeria, the government was forced to cut down its growth projections for this year from three per cent to 2.1 per cent due to oil production challenges in the second quarter of the year.

The minister spoke in Bali, Indonesia, at the launch of the Sub Sahara Africa Regional Economic Outlook.

He said it would take at least two years for the full manifestation of the investment potential of the EPRG of the Federal Government.

“I think it will take one or two years before they actually come to fruition.

“However, government has set up a crack team of four experts who were recruited to work with stakeholders in the private sector on ways to actually have the expected investors come in under the economic plan”, the minister said.

He said the flooding in some states affected the agriculture sector as did the herdsmen clashes in certain areas.

On foreign investments, Udoma agreed with the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria must put in place sound macro-economic policy to mitigate risks associated with volatile capital flows.

Director of the IMF’s African Department Mr Abebe Selassie, while presenting the regional outlook, said Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic recovery was expected to continue growing.

He said growth was projected to increase from 2.7 per cent in 2017 to 3.1 per cent in 2018 and 3.8 percent in 2019.

“Growth is set to improve most notably for oil exporters, while non-resource intensive countries continue to grow strongly, with quite a few growing at six per cent or more.”

“While there has been progress in narrowing fiscal deficits, more focus is needed to raise revenues to support continued development spending and to service debt,” he said.

According to the 2018 Sub-Sahara Africa Regional Economic Outlook, to grow, the region must create at least 20 million jobs per year to absorb new entrants into the labor market.

The IMF in the report advised the region to take policy actions to encourage deepening of trade and financial integration, in the context of the African Continental Free Trade.

It also advised the region to remove market distortions, improve the efficiency of public spending, promoting digital connectivity and a flexible education system and fostering an environment that is conducive to private investment and risk taking.

The World Bank Group (WBG) also yesterday urged Nigeria to invest massively in human capital development as a matter of priority or risk having a jobless work force in about 20 years.

Its President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who gave the advice at a briefing at the ongoing 2018 Annual Meetings of the IMF/WBG in Bali described Nigeria is one of the most important countries in Africa and in the world, “so we feel that it will be extremely important for Nigeria to really go on a different level all together in terms of their commitment to investing in human capital.

He said it was important that development actions were guided by data, saying that “Nigeria unfortunately ranks 152 out of 157 countries. He said the World Bank has been quite supportive in providing aid to the country in the health sector, “but we feel that the overall spending in health (about .076 of GDP) is just far too low. The educational outcomes in Nigeria are very, very low,” he added.

The World Bank chief who was responding to a question on what programme the bank has for Nigeria on human capital development, admitted nonetheless that the bank has its own share of the blames for the woes, not only in Nigeria, but the African sub-continent.

He said: Many African countries are in the red zone. I think the World Bank has to take some responsibility for having emphasised hard infrastructure – roads, rails, energy, for a very long time,” stating that the bank has begun to reverse that scenario in the last 20 years. But he said for most African countries, the thinking remains that “we’ll invest in hard infrastructure and then when we grow rich, we’ll have enough money to invest in health and education.”

But that’s the wrong approach, Kim said.

“We’re now saying that’s the wrong approach, you’ve got to start investing in your people right now.” Pointing out that if this option was ignored, it will spell doom for the affected countries because of the ” rapid change in technology and the fact that many low-income jobs will be eliminated.”

He said the bank cannot put a finger on exactly when this prediction will evolve, but said 20years from now look somewhat the time frame.

”Nobody is quite sure how long that will take, but a child born today, in 20years almost certainly, many of the low-skill jobs today will be gone. Ant the requirement for this child to be able to learn throughout his, or her entire life is simply going to get higher. The requirement, the needs are going to get higher and higher,” he stated.

Kim said the World Bank is ready to lend its support to African countries that are ready to take on the gauntlet, saying funding for growing the skills and human capital development, are not only ready, but enlarged.

As he put it: “This is a very loud and strong message to Africa. Africa needs to invest more in health and education,” saying, “our Fund for the poorest countries is 50 per cent larger than it was three years ago because we have financing, we can provide more support for African countries.”

For the bank’s input to achieve the intended results, Kim urged the respective governments to take responsibility for the success of the programme.

He said: “But the message here is that Heads of State and Ministers of finance have to take responsibility,” saying that the long age practice of waiting for grants before action was taken in developing human capital should be done away with and called on Nigeria to answer this call.

“So we hope that this is a loud wake-up-call for leaders throughout the Africa continent, and especially in Nigeria,” he stressed.

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.

Finance

Emefiele Pledges Accommodative Monetary Policy to Boost Economic Growth

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Godwin Emefile

Emefiele Pledges Accommodative Monetary Policy to Boost Economic Growth

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has pledged to adopt accommodative monetary policy stance in 2021 in order to support economic growth in the country.

Emefiele, said this on Friday, while speaking at a CBN/Bankers’ Committee’s initiative for economic growth, which is a one-day special summit on the economy by bank chief executive officers.

The theme of the summit is: “How to Overcome the Pitfalls of Recession.”

Nigeria’s economy recently came out of recession, according to the Gross Domestic Product report for fourth quarter 2020 released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Owing to the slump GDP growth of 0.11 per cent that lifted the economy out of recession, Emefiele said it was imperative that, “we do all we can in 2021 and beyond to ensure that we build on the positive momentum and strengthen our efforts at stimulating growth.”

He expressed optimism that with the discovery and deployment of vaccines worldwide, 2021 would be a year of massive global recovery and Nigeria must not be left out.

“The banks CEOs are here, whether by moral suasion or by force, they will have to participate in this journey. In order to drive and sustain this recovery therefore, we need to sustain the accommodative fiscal and monetary policy measures aimed at improving access to finance for households and businesses.

“Secondly, we must prevent a resurgence in Covid-19 related cases. Thirdly, we must ensure that a significant number of our population is significantly vaccinated and also improve foreign exchange inflows into our country,” he added.

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Banking Sector

CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

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CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

CIT Microfinance Bank Limited says it has disbursed about N16bn loans since it commenced operations as part of its contributions to the financial sector and empowerment of businesses.

The Managing Director of the microfinance bank, Mr Kingsley Eremionkhale, disclosed this during the company’s 10th anniversary in Lagos recently.

He reiterated that the bank was committed to supporting the growth of small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.

“Since inception, we have disbursed loans worth about N16bn. Our operation is not just about profit-making, but we have impacted many lives, empowered many businesses, and done a lot in terms of our core mandate as a microfinance bank.”

While appreciating its customers who had been loyal to it for years, he said it was concerned about their business success.

The managing director said, “We are part of our customers’ businesses. We provide services beyond lending and savings products and we also give financial advisory services.”

He appreciated the customers who had stayed with the financial institution for many years.

The managing director noted that the MfB is a state-licensed bank operating in Lagos, and a subsidiary of Capitalfield Investment Group.

He also attributed the success of the MfB to the board of directors which it said had been supportive, the management team and its workforce in the past 10 years.

While saying that the bank could lay claims to exponential growth, he said the public should expect more from it.

He also said that it was driving its operations through its digital offerings and our e-channels, to improve its services to our customers.

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Finance

FMDQ Approves Valency Agro’s N5.12bn Commercial Paper

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FMDQ

FMDQ Approves Valency Agro’s N5.12bn Commercial Paper

FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited has announced the approval of the quotation of the Valency Agro Nigeria Limited N5.12bn Series 1 Commercial Paper under its N20bn CP Programme on its platform.

The Exchange said in fostering the development of the Nigerian debt capital markets, it had continued to avail its credible and efficient platform as well as tailor its listings and quotations services to suit the needs of issuers and registration members through innovative and uninterrupted service delivery.

It said in a statement on Thursday that the Valency Agro Nigeria CP debut issue came at a time when the Nigerian economy was bedeviled with soaring food prices, amidst compounding challenges of insecurity.

It said the agricultural sector and its attendant transformation agenda had never been more important in driving increased and sustainable production of agricultural products as well as the derived foreign earnings through exports.

The Exchange said the proceeds from the issue of the CP would be applied by Valency Agro towards meeting the mid-term working capital requirements of the various agricultural produce under its portfolio such as cashew, sesame, cocoa and in value addition prior to export.

The Executive Director, Valency Agro Nigeria Limited, Mr Sumit Jain, was quoted as saying, “We are thankful to our investors towards showing their faith in our agenda to grow the agriculture-focused business with a clear aim to maximise value addition and create employment opportunities in Nigeria.

“We would also like to commend the efforts made by FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited’s team to build the reach and FMDQ for their unconditional support for the industry”.

The Head, Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Mr Oluseun Olatidoye, said, “FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited is delighted with the successful debut of the N5.12bn Series 1 CP issued by Valency Agro Nigeria Limited. This reiterates our effort to enable underserved sectors access the debt markets, optimise their capital structure and further deepen the domestic capital markets.

“We are proud of the instrumental role FBNQuest Merchant Bank played in this transaction and appreciate the trust the management of Valency Agro placed in us to assist them. Our clients remain our priority, and we strongly believe their success is our success.”

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