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Nigeria is The Largest Economy in Africa – UAE

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday, said Nigeria remained the largest economy in Africa.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Embassy of UAE in Abuja and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

It stated that the Embassy had commenced a series of trade and investment promotion activities aimed at bolstering the bilateral trade and investment volume between Nigeria and the UAE.

NAN reports that the trade promotion initiative, was coordinated in collaboration with the UAE International Investment Council (UAEIIC), the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria.

According to the embassy, the initiative focuses on attracting key industry stakeholders and investors across all sectors in Nigeria and the UAE in a bid to develop and explore future trade opportunities.

“Nigeria has been chosen among the 34 selected countries globally participating in the initiative because of its pivotal position as a top investment market in the West African region and its overall economic influence in Africa,” said the statement.

The UAE Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), Sheikh Shakhboot Al Nahyan, expressed satisfaction with the level of trade, political and cultural partnership that existedbetween both countries.

“UAE is the ninth largest exporter to Nigeria globally, the UAE continues to see Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa and also an important, trusted partner.

“For decades, both countries have continued to nurture strong bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.

“To date, we remain Nigeria’s largest trade partner in the Middle East region, accounting for 35 per cent of Nigeria’s total trade with the region,” he said.

He added that over the past few years, there had been high-level political exchanges amid continuing mutual trust between both countries, which led to the signing of several key agreements aimed at solidifying overall bilateral relations.

“It is my desire that the existing relationship continues to grow as the global economy gradually recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Valued at 1.4 billion dollars in 2019, I willlike to see this increase and look forward to working toward this in a mutual beneficial manner, ” he said.

In his remarks, The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, was confident that the UAE/Nigeria ties would continue to grow in areas of trade and investment.

“UAE and Nigeria relationship is witnessing a positive development dominated by cooperation, respect and mutual interests.

“The two countries are enjoying growth rates of bilateral trade, while the volume of non-oil trade exchange reached 1.45 billion dollars by the end of 2019.

“Our goal is to increase non-oil bilateral trade based on huge trade and investment potential and promising opportunities in the two countries’ markets and vital sectors,” he said.

He also added that the Embassy actively partnered with several Nigerian government ministries, parastatals and the private sector in the UAE and Nigeria in the execution of media campaign of the trade and Investment promotion.

The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to make UAE a top destination for exports because of its strategic position in the middle east region.

He said: “Moving forward, we hope to further strengthen our economic ties for economic development with common interest for both countries.

“We reaffirm Nigeria’s readiness to make UAE our preferred leading export markets because of her positioning as a strategic global and regional trade and investment hub.”

The Nigerian Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch Olamilekan Adegbite, said, “Trade between Nigeria and UAE had been on for a long time, albeit informally.

“I look forward to this collaboration to enhance what has been and to open up new vistas.”

The UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Fahad Altaffaq, underscored the need for both countries to jointly expand the spectrum of trade activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While approaching the 40th anniversary of UAE-Nigeria relations, which began in 1982, we plan to continue providing platforms where UAE and Nigerian businesses can connect to identify ventures and opportunities particularly in emerging sectors.

“This includes, Artificial Intelligence (AI) FinTech and Space Exploration. The UAE is a top global investment hub and I encourage Nigerian investors to take advantage of the wide trade and investment opportunities,” he said.

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World Bank Lauds Kogi’s 2020 Financial Statement

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The World Bank has heaped praise on the Government of Kogi State concerning the state’s audited financial statement for 2020. The financial institution was said to have described the financial report as a standard to look up to concerning transparency and accountability in the public sector.

In a statement which was dated November 21, 2021 it was said that the bank made the commendation in a letter which was sent to the Accountant General of the state.

As said in the statement, the letter which was taken by the Kogi State Accountant General on November 2025 was signed by Deborah Hannah Isser, the Task Team Leader of the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS), Nigeria Country Office, Western and Central African Region.

SFTAS is a $750 million programme which has been set up to reward states for meeting any or every one of the indicators which demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, sustainability and accountability.

The indicators, which are nine in number were a byproduct of the former Fiscal Sustainability Plan of the federal government where States would be rewarded for meeting up to 22 targets.

The World Bank had previously backed the federal government to give incentives to the states in order to properly execute the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which has now gone under a revamp as the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators under SFTAS.

Some of the criteria on which judgement will be based on are: improvement in financial reporting and budget reliability, improved cash management, increased openness, citizen participation in the budget process, reduced revenue leakages through the execution of State Treasury Single Account (TSA), a strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud.

The World Bank commended the Kogi State government for preparing its audited financial statements in line with the basis of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

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Nigeria’s Rigid Forex Policy Discouraging Investors, Fueling Inflation – World Bank

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The World Bank has blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s rigid forex policy for the drop in Nigeria’s capital importation and rising inflation rate.

The bank disclosed in its November report, Nigeria Development Update.

Explaining modalities for its position, the World Bank stated that there had been constant pressure on the Nigerian Naira with the current forex policy, forcing the central bank to consistently increase its nominal official exchange rate in an effort to ease some of the pressure.

This, it blamed on the rigid foreign exchange management system of the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying the system has also been responsible for the rising inflation rate in Nigeria.

The report read in part, “The government’s exchange rate management policies continue to discourage investment and fuel inflation. Exchange rate stability is a key CBN policy objective, and to preserve its external reserves the CBN continues to manage FX demand and limit the supply of FX to the market.

“Pressure on the naira remains intense, and while the CBN has raised the nominal official exchange rate three times since the start of the pandemic (by 15 per cent in March 2020, five per cent in August 2020, and seven per cent in May 2021), FX management remains too rigid to respond to external shocks. Meanwhile, exchange-rate management has emerged as one of the key drivers of inflation.”

The World Bank further stated that the central bank foreign exchange system needs to be more flexible to withstand external shocks, especially given Nigeria’s mono-product nature. It added that the NAFEX rate does not reflect the true market rate but the central bank managed rate.

It read in part, “While the CBN supplied an average of $2.5bn to the Investors and Exporters forex window in the months just prior to the COVID-19 crisis, it only supplied an average of $0.5bn in the months thereafter.

“The NAFEX rate, which is now the guiding exchange rate for the economy, continues to be managed and is not fully reflective of market conditions. The parallel market premium over the NAFEX rate reached 29 per cent in August 2021 after the CBN cut off its weekly supply of $20,000 per bureau de change. The CBN has intermittently supplied forex to BDCs since 2005, providing ample opportunities for currency round-tripping.”

The institution however advised that Nigeria adopt a more predictable, transparent and flexible foreign exchange management system in order to attract and sustain private investment flows.

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Nigeria’s Non-oil Revenue Now N1.15 Trillion – Minister of Finance

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Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has said that Nigeria’s non-oil revenue is now N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 percent above the country’s target. This, she claimed, was a result of the federal government’s efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy.

Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2021 Annual Directors Conference which was held on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the event with the theme: “Creating the Future: Deepening the Corporate Governance Practice through Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Generational Collaborations,” was meant to discuss economic development.

Mrs Ahmed added that the recent development was in line with President’s commitment to further diversifying the Nigerian economy which is heavily dependent on oil. She observed that Nigeria was showing resilience in recovery from recession from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which intensely affected global economies.

The minister said the federal government alongside the private sector had implemented a wide range of monetary measures to stimulate economic recovery, growth and development, job creation and improved standards of living.

She also explained that the government was doing everything to improve and diversify Nigeria’s revenue generation.

Nigeria was quickly able to exit recession and is on her way to path of sustainable growth and we are intensifying efforts to grow and diversify our revenue sources to grow revenue from the current 8 per cent.”

“Our non-oil revenues have grown to N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 per cent above set target. We are working on the 2021 finance bill and it’s nearing completion. Also, the recent approval of the medium-term national development plan is an important milestone of Buhari’s commitment to delivering sustainable growth and we require strong support and monitoring during implementation,” she said.

Mrs Ahmed reinforced the government’s decision to do something about infrastructure and reduce the cost of production for businesses in the country.

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