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Ekiti Has Attracted Over $100M Investment in Three Years – Governor Fayemi

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Kayode Fayemi

Governor of Nigeria’s Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that his administration had attracted over $100 million investment to the southwest state in the last three years to buoy its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Fayemi said he was able to accomplish the feat through offering of waivers to investors on payment of some statutory fees and partnership with private investment to boost the economy.

The governor, who said this in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, during a workshop organised by the Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency for State officials on Nigerian Investment certification programme for states (NICPS) was represented by the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Chief Muyiwa Olumilua.

While noting that his government had created veritable platform to ease means of doing businesses to drive economic development, Fayemi said, “In the last three years, we introduced some reforms to make establishment of business easier, which included granting of business premises waiver, Automation of PAYE registration, introduction of online payments for construction and setting of High Court minimum thresholds at six judgments per quarter.

“All these were put in place to attract new businesses to Ekiti. In totality, we have attracted over $100m to Ekiti since 2018. Ikun Dairy Farm alone gulped $5m, which we achieved through partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited and we are making similar progress in other agro based companies”.

The Ekiti governor said the NIPC certification programme was introduced to support investors for business promotion, job creation and economic diversification.

According to him, the government has been partnering intending investors via provision of accurate information on business opportunities, allocation of buildings and sites that were investment-friendly and maintaining marketing standard that could boost their investments.

Special Adviser to the Governor and Director General, Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency, Mr. Ayoola Owolabi, also said the training was conceptualised to enhance promotion of private investments in the state.

Owolabi stressed that improving business environment was critical to the Fayemi government policy thrust and that accounted for the establishment of the EKDIPA with the mandate to work with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for effective delivery of government’s focus in investment.

“This training deals majorly with knowledge that will enhance contracts and registering of businesses. Through serious investment drive, we have worked for the resuscitation of Ikun Dairy Farm in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited while Ikogosi Warm Spring and Resort, Ire Burnt Brick, Ekiti House in Abuja and Lagos are at advanced stages of Public Private Partnership,” he said.

The Southwest Zonal Head, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mr. Hassan Lawal, said the training showed the eagerness of the Fayemi government to develop investment for economic growth and development in the state.

“Working with stakeholders is very necessary, because you can’t develop business alone. Our focus is to improve the IGR of the states. We don’t want them to rely alone on monthly federal allocation and this can only be achieved with investment promotion, where our youth can be more engaged and productive”.

Also at the commissioning of a multi-million naira integrated snail farm in Okemesi-Ekiti, Fayemi affirmed that the Egbeja Snail Farm which will produce 2,600 metric tons of snails per annum, is a private initiative of Farmkonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited.

The governor said many investors prefer to invest in the state because of the ease of doing business policy of his administration and sundry supports the government offers prospective investors, including land and tax holidays.

“You will recall that the state governments efforts on agriculture and agribusiness over the last two years had already attracted almost a hundred million dollars investment in the agricultural sector to Ekiti State via the Ikun Dairy Farm by Promasidor Nigeria; FMS Agro, JK Rice, Stallion Rice, Dangote rice, Promise Points and many more that are located in our special agricultural processing zones where all the facilities are being provided such as good roads, irrigation facilities, schools etc.

“Our ease of doing business personnel would continue to work with all investors while intending investors will enjoy necessary support including ease of doing business registration, land allocation, issuance of C of O and tax holidays for certain category of business,” he added.

Commissioning the Egbeja Farm, Fayemi promised to continue to provide the enabling environment and strengthen the ease of doing business policy to attract more investors into Ekiti.

The governor said the new snail farm would produce a minimum of 2,600 metric tons of snail per annum and provide opportunity for the extraction of slime for use by beauty care and pharmaceutical companies across the world.

He said the project would not only place Ekiti in the world market for the exportation of snails and slime but would also complement the vision of his administration in providing job opportunities for the youth population as the project has the capacity to engage over 2,000 personnel across various sectors of the initiative.

Fayemi, who undertook a guided tour of facilities on the farm, explained that the Egbeja snail village project was a demonstration and commitment of his administration’s quest for a complete agribusiness value chain“ from farm to fork where there will be value addition that would go beyond primary production to include processing, marketing and delivery to our various dining table.”

He added: “Only last week, we flagged off the first phase of a 1000 kilometre rural access and Agricultural Marketing Project initiative, which is a state-wide rural road project. This is an addition to the ongoing road projects that cut across the three senatorial districts of Ekiti State.

“Our rural road project is strategically structured to link our farmstead and hinterland to the major roads in order to enhance movement of farm produce to the market and by the time we complete all the ongoing road projects, particularly the ring road and the cargo airport, agribusiness in Ekiti State will experience unprecedented growth.”

Azeez Oluwole, the initiator of the project and founder of Farmkonnect Agribusiness, said the project was proposed to occupy a 100,000 square metre of land to make it the largest place of snail farms in Africa and the second in the world.

He said the construction of the structures of the farm would continue for the next two years and is going to be technologically driven. According to him, the setting up of the snail project in Ekiti was informed by the friendly-investment environment made possible by the ease of doing business policy of the Fayemi-led administration

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Economy

FG Plans To Deliver 15 Projects Across The Country With $4B Foreign Loans

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Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s Presidency has explained that a total of 15 projects, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, are to be financed with more than $4 billion from multilateral institutions.

Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity stated on Saturday in Abuja that the loan is under the 2018-2021 medium-term (rolling) external borrowing plan.

He revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had already requested the Senate to approve sovereign loans of $4.054billion and €710million as well as grant components of $125million for the proposed projects.

He quoted the letter by the president as saying that the sovereign loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).

He said: “The President’s request to the Senate listed 15 proposed pipeline projects, the objectives, the implementation period, benefiting states, as well as the implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“A breakdown of the Addendum to the Proposed Pipeline Projects for the 2018-2021 Medium Term (rolling) External Borrowing Plan shows that the World Bank is expected to finance seven projects including the $125million grant for ‘Better Education Services for All’.’’

According to him, the Global Partnership for Education grant is expected to increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states.

He expressed the hope that the grant, which would be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), would strengthen accountability for results in basic Education in Katsina, Oyo and Adamawa States.

Other projects to be financed by the World Bank, according to Shehu, are the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results as well as the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.

He said the benefiting states for the agro-processing project included, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Enugu and Lagos with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the implementing ministry.

The presidential aide stated that the objective of the project was to enhance the agricultural productivity of small and medium-scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states.

Shehu added that the World Bank would also be financing the Nigeria Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Imo and Plateau States, for the next five years.

According to him, the project, when completed, is expected to improve rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene nationwide towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water supply and sanitation by 2030.

“Under the external borrowing plan, the World Bank-supported projects also include Nigeria’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (COPREP), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“The project, which has an implementation period of five years, will respond to threats posed by COVID-19 through the procurement of vaccines.

“Furthermore, no fewer than 29 states are listed as beneficiaries of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Arid Zone Landscape project, which is expected to reduce natural resource management conflicts in dry and semi-arid ecosystems in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He gave the names of the benefiting states for the project to be co-financed by the World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) to include: Akwa Ibom, Borno, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Plateau, Abia and Nasarawa.

Others are; Delta, Niger, Gombe, Imo, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ondo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Benue, Yobe and Kwara.

He said the World Bank would also be funding the Livestock Productivity and Resilience project in no fewer than 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while the China EXIM Bank is expected to finance the construction of the branch line of Apapa-TinCan Island Port, under the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.

Shehu said: “The French Development Agency will finance two projects, which include the National Digital Identity Management project and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project.

“The digital identity project will be co-financed with World Bank and EIB.

“The Value Chain Development Programme to be financed by IFAD and implemented in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and the Kogi States will empower 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders, respectively.

“The loan facility to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the construction of the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with branch to Dutse.

“The specific project title, Kano-Maradi SGR with a branch to Dutse, has an implementation period of 30 months and will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

“The Chinese African Development Fund through the Bank of China is expected to provide a loan facility of $325 million for the establishment of three power and renewable energy projects including solar cells production facility Phase 1 & II, electric power transformer production, Plants 1, II, III and high voltage testing laboratory.

“The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) will implement the project aimed at increasing local capacity and capability in the development of power and renewable energy technologies and infrastructure,’’ he further disclosed.

Shehu revealed that Credit Suisse would finance major industrialization projects as well as micro, small and medium enterprises schemes to be executed by the Bank of Industry.

He said the SINOSURE and Standard Chartered Bank would also provide funds for the provision of 17MW Hybrid Solar Power infrastructure for the National Assembly (NASS) complex. “The project, with an implementation period of five years, is expected to address NASS power supply deficit and reduce the higher overhead burdensome cost of running and maintaining fossil fuel generators (25MW installed capacity) to power the assembly complex,’’ he added.

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SERAP Urged House of Reps To Reject Buhari’s Fresh $4B, €710M Loan Request

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SERAP- Investors King

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $4 billion and €710 million until the publication of details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015 by the government.

President Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.” The request was contained in a letter dated 24 August, 2021.

In an open letter dated 18 September 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”

SERAP said: “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.”

According to SERAP, “Accumulation of excessive debts and unsustainable debt-servicing are inconsistent with the government’s international obligations to use the country’s maximum available resources to achieve progressively the realisation of economic and social rights, and access of Nigerians to basic public services.”

The letter, read in part: “The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.”

“SERAP urges you to urgently propose a resolution and push for constitutional amendment on debt limit, with the intent of reducing national debt and deficits. This recommendation is entirely consistent with the constitutional oversight functions and spending powers of the National Assembly, and the country’s international anti-corruption and human rights obligations.”

“Indiscriminate borrowing has an effect on the full enjoyment of Nigerians’ economic and social rights. Spending large portion of the country’s yearly budget to service debts has limited the ability of the government to ensure access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to minimal health care, education, clean water, and other human needs.”

“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.

“The National Assembly under your leadership has a constitutional responsibility to urgently address the country’s debt crisis, which is exacerbated by overspending on lavish allowances for high-ranking public officials, lack of transparency and accountability, as well as the absence of political will to recover trillions of naira reported to be missing or mismanaged by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.

“The National Assembly should stop the government from borrowing behind the people’s backs. Lack of information about details of specific projects on which loans are spent, and on loan conditions creates incentives for corruption, and limits citizens’ ability to scrutinise the legality and consistency of loans with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), as well as to hold authorities to account.

“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35 trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679 trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31 trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.

“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education.”

The letter was copied to chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.

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Remittances To Africa Projected to Drop By 5.4% in 2021: UNECA

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Remittance-Investors king

According to a new report from United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), remittances to Africa are projected to drop by 5.4 percent to $41 billion in 2021 from $44 billion last year.

The report notes that the bleak situation has been compounded by the high cost of sending money to Africa from abroad, as the cost of remittances to Africa remains the highest in the world at 8.9 percent.

Remittances are an essential part of economic activity in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), including Africa. Due to the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, global remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 percent in 2020. For Africa, remittances are projected to drop by 5.4 percent to $41 billion in 2021 from $44 billion last year, according to a new report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) projects remittances.

The report, titled “African regional review of the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”, notes that the projected fall is mainly due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers, who tend to be more vulnerable to loss of employment and wages amid the pandemic.

The report adds that the bleak situation has been compounded by the high cost of sending money to Africa from abroad as the cost of remittances to Africa remains the highest in the world at 8.9 percent.

“A migrant sending $200 to his/her family in Africa pays an estimated nine percent of the value of the transaction, indicating that the continent is still far from achieving the three percent target set out in Sustainable Development Goal 10,” the report stated.

This signals huge deficits in millions of African households depending on their friends and relatives abroad for a financial lifeline, thus threatening a perpetuation of macroeconomic imbalances on the continent.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and Sustainable Development Goal indicator 10(c) provides that countries should, by 2030, reduce to less than three percent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than five percent.

In response, some African countries have taken action to lower the costs of remittance transfers by offering diaspora bonds to investors and relaxing foreign exchange controls to allow for electronic and mobile money transfers at reduced costs.

“It should be noted, in that regard, that the use of digital money transfer platforms reduces transfer fees in Africa by an average of 7 percent,” says the report.

“Private financial institutions also offer incentives to encourage members of diaspora communities to use their services, including low transaction fees for remittances, and facilitate diaspora-initiated projects, especially in the real estate sector. These measures all promote the financial inclusion of migrants and their families.”

The report recommends that member States support migrants and their families through adopting laws and regulations to facilitate the sending and receiving of remittances, including by fostering competition among banks and other remittance handling agencies to establish low-cost transfer mechanisms.

In addition, the report recommends that African countries make every effort to reduce the transfer costs associated with remittance payments by making more extensive use of digital transfer solutions, such as MPESA, and by streamlining the regulatory constraints associated with international money transfers.

Finally, the report concludes that the African States should also engage with destination countries to identify ways to enhance the provision of basic services to migrants in those countries as remittances are a primary source of national income for at least 25 African countries, all of which have large diaspora populations.

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