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Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy

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The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.

Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.

The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.

According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.

Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.

The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.

He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.

‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”

Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.

Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.

‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.

Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.

Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.

The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.

Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.

According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.

The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.

Economy

Once Again The National Grid Collapsed

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power project

Nigeria’s electricity transmission system, also known as the National grid, has suffered another system collapse, plunging Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, Kano and other major cities into a blackout.

The collapse, which occurred about 11.00 am on Tuesday, was confirmed by two of the country’s electricity distribution companies in separate messages to their customers.

“We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced across our franchise – Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states – is as a result of the collapse of the national grid,” Kaduna Electric said on Twitter.

Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc, in a text message to its customers, said: “Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the national grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”

The grid, which is being managed by the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.

Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.

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FG Consider Diversification To Generate Revenue

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Naira

As revenue from oil nosedives following incessant global price fluctuations, the Federal Government is now channeling efforts to the development of minerals in the mines and steel industry to shore up foreign exchange earnings.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said on Wednesday that while there had been concerted efforts to develop various minerals in the sector, much emphasis had been placed recently on the development of bitumen, barite and gold.

They told our correspondent in Abuja that the government through the mines and steel ministry was striving to diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil as the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.

They also confirmed that large quantities of gold had been discovered in various locations in Zamfara and Osun states.

Asked if the government had initiated programmes to explore the minerals and boost revenues now that the country’s income had plunged, the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ayodeji Adeyemi, replied in the affirmative.

He said, “Indeed, the ministry has the mandate to generate revenue and diversify the economy through the mines sector.

“And bitumen is one of the key resources which the nation is abundantly endowed with, that has been identified for strategic development.”

To buttress his position, Adeyemi shared some recent presentations of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, where the minister said his ministry was gathering data on some bitumen fields across the country to attract investors.

“A lot of people are interested in bitumen, which is coming from both local and foreign investors. However, we are still acquiring data in some of the fields,” the minister stated.

On barite, the minister said the mines and steel ministry was working on raising the quality of barite produced in Nigeria to an internationally acceptable standard, as certified by the American Petroleum Institute.

Adegbite said his ministry had contracted a consultant to help raise the standard in the local production of barite to ensure that oil industry players make use of barite produced in Nigeria as against importing the commodity from other countries.

He said, “Barite is a critical weighting material in drilling fluids used in the oil industry. We have a lot of barites but the issue is that it is not produced to API standards. However, we are putting a system in place which would be ready to launch in about July.

“We have got the millers who can produce barite to API standard. Hence we will be able to compete with foreigners and it would save Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange in import substitution.”

On the development of gold, officials at the ministry further stated that the commodity had been aggregated for the production of bullion bars and that this was the first time that such aggregation was happening in Nigeria.

They stated that the gold was sourced from artisanal miners, while the final refining to bullion was done in Turkey.

The sources stated that the ministry had registered two refineries that would now refine to LBMA standard when they come on stream. LBMA is the de facto standard, trusted around the world.

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Economy

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.

The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.

But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.

Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.

Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”

The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.

In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”

In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.

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