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Afrexim Bank Disclose Plans To Support Ogun Infrastructure Development With $200M

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The African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) has disclosed its plans to support infrastructure development in Ogun state with $200 million.

The fund, according to the bank, will be dedicated towards projects and other developmental initiatives embarked upon by the incumbent administration in the state.

The president and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Afrexim Bank, Benedict Oramah, who made this known when he led the management of the bank on a courtesy visit to Governor Dapo Abiodun at his Oke-Mosan Office, Abeokuta, on Monday, equally said the bank would partner Ogun in ensuring that the 250-bed Specialist Hospital, Abeokuta, is completed and begins operations soon.

Oramah, while noting that the bank has been investing heavily in the health sector in Africa to develop vaccines and other drugs, declared that Afrexim Bank is also ready to collaborate with the state-owned Gateway Pharmaceuticals in a similar direction.

“We are willing to dedicate an envelope of $200m for projects and initiatives here in Ogun State; we will also be happy to see the hospital project. We will be very pleased to look at this asset and see how we can partner with your government. I assure you that we will consider Gateway Pharmaceuticals in our plans to invest in the health sector,” he hinted.

The Afrexim Bank President, who added that the bank would be working with the state government in its quest to make its road infrastructure more accessible for investors, also said that the bank would be interested in the Cargo Airport being built by the state.

“On the highways, we are also developing, there is connectivity we are looking for in terms of how we connect Nigeria to the Benin Republic and others, connecting Ogun to Lagos and of course to the border. It is something that is of interest to us, if there is any road that goes from here to the border, connecting where you stopped, that will be interesting, we can work with you.

“The airport is also hetoropolis, it is something of importance because we even have a project there called The Quality Assurance Testing Inspection Center. This will be critical for implementing this airport, we can assure you that it is something we would be interested in developing with you.

“We are willing under the $200m envelope that I mentioned, to provide technical assistance which can be granted. We will look at how we can support you to help you develop some ideas, by providing advisory services.

“We can also use our Project Preparation Facility to help prepare projects. For example, this hospital we are talking about, we can use this facility to develop it,” Oramah stated.

Responding, Governor Dapo Abiodun noted that the Quality Assurance Testing Center would complement the International Cargo Airport, adding his administration would continue to do all it can to make Ogun the destination of choice for investors.

Governor Abiodun said his administration had in the last few months embarked on the construction of roads across the state, especially the Ijebu-Ode-Epe, Agbara-Lusada-Atan Roads, which according to him, are capital intensive, expressing his administration’s readiness to receive support from the bank.

“We have built one and we are building another at great expense to the state. These roads are federal roads and they are also commercial roads. We invite Afrexim Bank to partner with us.

“Agbara-Lusada-Atan Road is the road that used to be called the Lagos-Sokoto Expressway. That road in its present state is very shameful and we have since intervened. We have awarded the contract of that road and it will be delivered in 15 months’ time at a great expense to the state. We will concession and toll these roads on completion in order to be able to recoup the investment. We invite Afrexim Bank to come and look at how to partner with us”, he said.

The governor, who also called on the bank to support his administration’s quest to build an international Cargo Airport, said the airport when completed would be a cargo hub for the country and the continent of Africa as a whole.

“Our International Cargo Airport that we are building is our Special Agro-Processing Zone. Construction has started. It is our hope that the construction will be completed before the end of next year. We also invite Afrexim Bank to look at how to partner with us because it promises to be a Cargo hub, not just for Nigeria, but for the entire continent.

“We look forward to seeing the Afrexim Bank create an MSMEs fund that would be targeted at MSMEs and also create clusters that would allow them to access the lands at reduced pricing with a phased payment plan. Such funds would allow the MSMEs to have access to the funding they would need to meet their demands.

“The success of MSMEs is very fundamental to any Industrial revolution. We are an industrial state, so, we have been deliberate with our support for MSMEs to the extent that we are creating clusters for them. We are creating these clusters that will allow them to access the lands at reduced pricing with phased out payment plans so that they can have land, title documents that they can use in leveraging and starting their enterprises”. The governor highlighted.

Governor Abiodun, however, commended the bank’s support towards the production of vaccines and drugs in the African continent and its readiness to partner with Gateway Pharmaceuticals in a similar direction.

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ECOWAS@46: Commission Seeks Trade Partnership With OPS To Deepen Intra-African Trade

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in commemoration of its 46th anniversary has sought partnership with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to deepen intra-African trade and lift millions out of poverty.

This was revealed yesterday by the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, at a webinar organised in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday.

The theme of the webinar is “Optimising Sustainable Trade, Investment and Regional Economic Integration through Effective Partnership between ECOWAS Institutions and the Organised Private Sector”.

Jean-Claude, represented by Mr. Kolawole Sopola, Acting Director, Trade, ECOWAS, said the commission, in recognition of the private sector’s role, created a stronger framework to boost the sector’s capacity for enhanced trade.

He said that the commission had also adopted more than 100 regional standards with 70 others under development on some products.

Brou listed mango, cassava, textile and garments as well as information and communication technology among such products.

“The growing importance of informal trade compels the ECOWAS to create a framework expected to engender more availability and reliability of up to date information on informal trade.

“The framework also seeks to implement reform that is essential to eliminate obstacles to informal trade among others.

“It is important to improve investment, particularly, private investment, in all sectors and I stress that digitalization must be at the center of activities for economic recovery.

“Infrastructural deficit must be addressed as well as sustainable and cheaper energy for the competitiveness of products.”

“The commission is developing projects on roads, renewable energy and education, needed for private sector development; all these to lift millions in the sub-region out of poverty,” he said.

Dr. George Donkor, President of, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) said that many western states showed numerous hurdles to overcome as countries continue to export raw materials, therefore maintaining low levels of development.

Donkor, however, said that reforms were already underway to accelerate the capacities of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to spur private sector development for intra-African trade.

He noted that the EBID 2025 strategy was aimed at ensuring that the private sector benefitted up to 65 percent of the $1.6 billion available facilities.

“A vibrant private sector is key in driving regional integration and securing its active participation and has the potential to create a win-win situation for all participants.

“Increasing credit to the private sector will enhance capacity and the EBID is ready with strategies to ensure that the sector’s capacity is boosted,” he said.

Also, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said that collaboration across societal sectors had emerged as one of the defining concepts of international development in the 21st century.

He stressed the need for ECOWAS member states to work together as a bloc to take advantage of the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“Since the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, various protocols and supplementary protocols regulating member countries conduct have been signed.

“Our world has limited resources — whether financial, natural, or human — and as a society we must optimize their use.

“The fundamental of a good partnership is the ability to bring together diverse resources in ways that we can together achieve more impact, greater sustainability and increased value for all.

“This is so because it emphasises the need to work together as a bloc to leverage and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“My Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the vision of the commission is taken to the next level,” he said.

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IMF Retains 2.5 Percent Economic Growth Estimate For Nigeria

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has retained Nigeria’s 2.5 percent economic growth forecast for 2021.

The institution said this in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) for July titled “Fault Lines Widen in the Global Recovery” released on Tuesday in Washington DC.

According to it, the slow rollout of vaccines is the main factor weighing on the recovery for Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) which Nigeria is part of.

It also retained its 6.0 percent growth forecast for the global economy for 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, adding that though the global forecast was unchanged from the April 2021 WEO, there were offsetting revisions.

The IMF had at its 2021 Virtual Spring Meetings in April, projected a 2.5 percent growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2021, up from 1.5 percent it projected in January.

It said that in LIDCs, the overall fiscal deficit in 2021 was revised up by 0.3 percentage points from the April 2021 WEO, mainly because of the re-emergence of fuel subsidies as well as the additional COVID-19 and security related support in Nigeria.

“Still, at 5.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the overall fiscal deficit remains well below that of advanced and emerging market economies, reflecting financing constraints, about 60 percent of LIDCs are assessed to be at high risk of or in debt distress.

“The public debt-to-GDP ratio for 2021 is projected at 48.5 percent.

“Several LIDCs have announced an intention to restructure their debts and some have sought debt relief under the G20 Common Framework (Chad, Ethiopia, and Zambia),” it said.

On the global scene, the IMF said that uncertainty surrounding the global baseline remain high, primarily related to the prospects of emerging market and developing economies.

It added that although growth could turn out to be stronger than projected, downside risks dominated in the near term.

“On the upside, better global cooperation on vaccines could help prevent renewed waves of infection and the emergence of new variants, end the health crisis sooner than assumed, and allow for faster normalisation of activity, particularly among emerging market and developing economies.

“Moreover, a sooner-than-anticipated end to the health crisis could lead to a faster-than-expected release of excess savings by households, higher confidence and more front-loaded investment spending by firms.”

On the downside, it said growth would be weaker than projected if logistical hurdles in procuring and distributing vaccines in emerging markets and developing economies led to an even slower pace of vaccination than assumed.

The report added that such delays would allow new variants to spread, with possibly higher risks of breakthrough infections among vaccinated populations.

“Emerging market and developing economies, in particular, could face a double hit from tighter external financial conditions and the worsening health crisis, further widening the fault lines in the global recovery.

“Weaker growth would, in turn, further adversely affect debt dynamics and compound fiscal risks.

“Finally, social unrest, geopolitical tensions, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, or weather-related natural disasters, which have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change could further weigh on the recovery.”

On ensuring a fast-paced recovery, the IMF said the highest priority was to ensure rapid, worldwide access to vaccines and substantially hasten the timeline of rollout relative to the assumed baseline pace.

According to it, the global community needs to vastly step up efforts to vaccinate adequate numbers of people and ensure global herd immunity.

This, it said, would save lives, prevent new variants from emerging and add trillions to the global economic recovery.

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FG to Put an End to N360 Billion Annual Electricity Subsidy Payments in 2022 – Osinbajo

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Electricity - Investors King

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said the Federal Government will end an estimated N360 billion annual subsidy payments in the electricity sector in 2022. This represents a monthly subsidy payment of N30 billion.

Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking at the 14th Nigerian Association for Energy Economics/IAEE conference in Abuja on Monday.

At the conference titled “Strategic responses of energy sector to COVID-19 impacts on African economies“, the vice president, who was represented by Engr. Ahmad Zakari, the Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, said the federal government would be investing over $3 billion in the sector to strengthen distribution and transmission infrastructure across the nation.

He stated that the numerous efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari at ensuring the power sector plays a critical role in the growth of the nation’s social and economic well-being will materialise fully once the ongoing reform in the energy sector is complete.

He said: “Electricity tariff reforms with service-based tariff has led to collections from the electricity sector by 63 per cent, increasing revenue assurance for gas producers and stabilizing the value chain.

“It is anticipated that all electricity market revenues will be obtained from the market with limited subsidy from next year as reforms in metering and efficiency with the DISCOs continue to improve.

“Accelerated investment in transmission and distribution, over $3 billion will be out into this sub-segment of the electricity value chain that will put us on the path to delivering 10 gigawatts through the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Siemens partnership, World Bank and Africa Development Bank, and others.”

He said as the electricity sector continued to be stabilized, more power was needed for the country’s large population.

“That is why this administration continues to invest in generation to cater for our current and future needs,” he said.

Osinbajo charged the participants to come up with solutions to key energy challenges facing the country, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and energy transition.

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