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$1.1bn Brazilian Loan: FG to Create Five Million Jobs

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  • $1.1bn Brazilian Loan: FG to Create Five Million Jobs

Up to five million new jobs will be created in a fresh $1.1bn agricultural loan project with the Brazilian Government, the Nigerian Government disclosed in Abuja on Thursday.

The loan is sourced under a Nigeria-Brazil bilateral project, ‘Green Imperative’, which was launched at the Presidential Villa by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo.

The partnership involves the provision of modern agricultural machinery and support services, including 10,000 tractors to be assembled locally in Nigeria and the establishment of over 707 training centres for Nigerians.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Osinbajo said it was part of the government’s promise to invest in agriculture.

“We cannot bring our nation out of poverty without investment in agriculture. Also, the sheer number of young people coming of age will not only need to be fed but also employed. They want dignified jobs with decent pay,” Osinbajo stated.

He explained that the fascinating aspect of the deal was the emphasis on mechanised agriculture, which he said, would lead to higher yields.

He noted, “Today, we are producing Paddy Rice as much as we need because of mechanisation of agriculture.

“The only way to make the quantum leap required in our economy is what we are doing today with this project, the Green Imperative.”

With mechanised agriculture, the VP believed that the youth would be attracted to farming because of the simplicity that came with the modern farming system.

He added, “One of the reasons young people don’t warm up to agriculture is because it is not mechanised but that will change with this project.

“We have made a significant difference in creating food sufficiency and decent jobs. We have ensured that this will be private sector driven.”

The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, challenged the youth to seize the opportunity offered by the project to create wealth, using agriculture.

“With Brazilian support, we will get to where we want to get to.

“Importation alone does not make a country great, production does. By importation, we also imported poverty and unemployment but this administration is set to reverse all that. Work is prayer in action,” the minister said.

On her part, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, spoke on the loan package, saying that the government went for it as part of the policy on diversifying the economy from oil to non-oil options.

“The project we are launching today will be implemented with a total loan package of $1.1bn majorly from the Brazilian Government, which will be disbursed in four tranches over a period of two years.

“It is pertinent to state here that greater percentage of the loan will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machinery and implements in the form of Completely Knocked Down parts.

“This arrangement is expected to reduce fiduciary risks and create more employment opportunities for our teeming youth and those that will be involved in assembling the machinery and implements.

“Another important benefit of the project is that its implementation will be purely private-sector led in all its operations including the assembling of the machinery/ implements, operation of the service centres and the agro-processing centres.

“The project will be implemented in all the 774 local government areas of the country in phases.

“Let me use this opportunity to sensitise the Nigerian private sector, youth and women to get ready for business. The selection of the participants in this project will be done on merit as our concern is nothing but the success of the project. We will ensure that participation is devoid of politics and any form of nepotism.”

The Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ricardo Guerra de Araujo, confirmed $1.1bn worth of the deal and the other components reeled out by the Nigerian government officials.

But, he called for urgent solutions to post-harvest losses in Nigeria, which he observed accounted for the loss of revenue in billions of Naira yearly.

On the benefits of the deal, the envoy stated, “It has become imperative to make agriculture attractive to young farmers since this is the only way to develop human capital.

“The truth is that agriculture has the potential to create jobs for millions, support small scale farmers to actualise their potential.”

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.

Economy

FIRS Sets N5.9 Trillion Revenue Target for 2021

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FIRS to Generate N5.9 Trillion Revenue  in 2021

Mohammed Nami, the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, on Friday said the agency is projecting total revenue of N5.9 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.

Nami stated this while meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Finance led by Hon. James Falake on the Service’s 2021 budget defence of its proposed Revenue and Expenditure Estimates.

According to the Chairman, N4.26 trillion and N1.64 trillion were expected to come from non-oil and oil components, respectively.

However, Nami put the cost of collecting the projected revenue at N289.25 billion or 7 percent of the proposed total revenue for the year, higher than the N180.76 billion spent in 2020 to fund the three operational expenditure heads for the year.

He said: “Out of the proposed expenditure of N289.25 billion across the three expenditure heads, the sum of N147.08 billion and N94.97 billion are to be expended on Personnel and Overhead Costs against 2020 budgeted sum of N97.36 billion and N43.64 billion respectively. Also, the sum of N47.19 billion is estimated to be expended on capital items against the budgeted sum of N27.80 billion in 2020. The sum is to cater for on-going and new projects for effective revenue drive.

Speaking on while the agency failed to meet its 2020 target, Nami said “There’s lockdown effect on businesses, implementation directive also for us to study, research best practices on tax administration which involves travelling to overseas and we also have to expand offices and create offices more at rural areas to get closer to the taxpayers, we pay rent for those offices and this could be the reason why all these things went up.

“And if you have more staff surely, their salary will go up, taxes that you’re going to pay on their behalf will go up, the National Housing Fund contribution, PENCOM contribution will go up. Those promoted you have to implement a new salary regime for them. There’s also the issue of inflation and exchange rate differential”, he said.

 

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Economy

Gov Emmanuel Attracts $1.4b Fertilizer Plant to Akwa Ibom

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The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has signed an agreement for the citing of a multi billion fertilizer plant in his State.

Governor Emmanuel was part of a Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, that visited Morocco to set out the next steps of the $1.4 Bln fertilizer production plant project launched in June 2018.

The agreement between the OCP Africa, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Akwa Ibom State Government will birth one of the biggest investments in the fertilizer production industry worldwide.

The signing ceremony took place at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UMP6).

Mr. Emmanuel signed one of the agreements of the partnership, which covers a memorandum of understanding between OCP Africa, the Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria and the NSIA on land acquisition, administrative facilitation, and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom State.

Speaking while signing the agreement, Governor Emmanuel said, “Our state is receptive to investments and we are prepared to offer the necessary support to make the project a reality.

“With a site that is suitably located to enable operational logistics and an abundance of gas resources, all that is left is for the parties to accelerate the project development process”, Mr. Udom said.

The agreement reached between the Nigerian Government and the OCP further links OCP, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the NNPC, the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN), and the NSIA.

The two partners agreed to strengthen further their solid partnership leveraging Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate.

This project will lead to a multipurpose industrial platform in Nigeria, which will use Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tons of ammonia and 1 million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025.

The visit of the Nigerian delegation to Morocco takes place within the frame of the partnership sealed between OCP Group and the Nigerian Government to support and develop Nigeria’s agriculture industry.

Following the success of the first phase of Nigeria‘s Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and the progress of the fertilizer production plant project launched in 2018 by OCP and NSIA, the Moroccan phosphates group and the Nigerian government delegation have agreed on the next steps of their joint project which is rapidly taking shape.

Several cooperation agreements were inked on Tuesday at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) by OCP Africa and the Nigerian delegation. Through these deals, OCP reaffirms its unwavering support of agricultural development initiatives in Nigeria including PFI.

OCP Africa and the NSIA have agreed, inter alia, to set up a joint venture which will oversee the development of the industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria.

The OCP has also pledged to supply Nigerian famers with quality fertilizers adapted to the needs of their soil at competitive prices and produced locally.

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Economy

ICPC Says Nigeria Loses $10bn to Illicit Financial Flows 

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says Nigeria accounts for 20 per cent or 10 billion dollars (N3.8 trillion) of the estimated 50 billion dollars that Africa loses to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this during a virtual meeting to review a report on IFFs in relation to tax, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson for ICPC, said in a statement released in Abuja on Friday.

The ICPC Chairman said, “the African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report estimated that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 per cent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.”

The ICPC boss explained that taxes played “very strategic role in the nation’s political economy.”

He said the objective of the meeting was to improve on the awareness on IFFs, especially in the areas of taxation.

The ICPC boss added that the meeting would give participants the opportunity to openly discuss how to effectively use the instrumentality of taxation to curb IFFs through risk-based approach.

“Risk-based approach, that is: monitoring and audit; due process in tax collection; structured tax amnesty framework skewed in public interest; data privacy; timely resolution of audits and payment of tax refunds and intelligence sharing among revenue generating, regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Owasanoye also stated that for the contemporary tax man to remain relevant, he must build his capacity in areas of technology management, solution architects and an astute relationship manager.

The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammad Nani, expressed concerns that IFFs posed a serious threat to the Nigerian economy as the act robbed the nation of resources that were needed for development.

Nani declared that tackling IFFs would expand the country’s tax base and improve revenue generation, which was required for development.

He consequently pushed for policy reforms that would make it difficult for “capital flights” from occurring so that the country would be placed on the path of growth.

Other discussants at the event identified weak regulatory framework, opacity of financial system and lack of capacity amongst others as some of the factors that fuelled IFFs.

The discussants emphasised the need for capacity building of relevant stakeholders as one of the ways to stamp out illicit financial flows.

They commended ICPC for leveraging its corruption prevention mandate to open a new vista in IFFs discourse in Nigeria. (NAN)

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