On his first official visit to Africa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer and Vice President Thomas Östros today formally opened the EIB’s new Nairobi Hub with Kenyan Finance Minister, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Kanacho Yatani.
Ahead of the launch of the EIB’s strengthened presence in Africa President Hoyer joined the CEO’s of Co-Operative Bank, Trade and Development Bank and International Housing Solutions to announce EUR 400 million of transformational new financing to help the Kenyan private sector recover from COVID, strengthen investment in fragile regions across East Africa and construct affordable and energy efficient housing.
“At the European Investment Bank we are committed to enhancing the impact of our sustainable investment around the world in close cooperation with our global partners and through an increased local presence of our technical, environmental and financing experts. The EIB’s new Nairobi Hub opened today marks a milestone in the EU Bank’s engagement in Kenya and builds on our 56 years of operations in Africa. In the coming weeks the EIB will launch a dedicated development branch that will further intensify the EIB’s contribution to addressing global and local investment challenges.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
“The EIB’s new Nairobi Hub will open a new chapter for the bank’s cooperation with Kenyan, African, Team Europe and global partners. It will allow the EIB to better respond to private and public investment priorities and build on best-practice engagement with project partners. It is a pleasure to be in Nairobi for the first high-level EIB visit to Africa since the pandemic and join political, business, banking and civil society stakeholders for today’s formal launch.” said Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President.
The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Henriette Geiger, noted: “We are honoured that the EIB has chosen Nairobi as the location for its regional hub. This is a testament to the growing importance of Nairobi as gateway to the East Africa region, and Kenya as a strategic partner to the European Union, through which we are engaging in different spheres, including trade and investment.”
The EIB Nairobi Hub was formally launched in Kenya in the presence of government, business and banking leaders, civil society and African and European diplomats.
Strengthening the impact of EIB engagement in Africa
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and the new Nairobi Hub will further enhance the impact of EIB technical and financial support for high-impact investment across East Africa. This will build on the EIB’s engagement in Kenya since the start of operations in 1976 and opening of the EIB’s East Africa representation in 2005.
In the coming months new Nairobi Hub will expand and increase its expertise on climate action, innovation and digital investment, in close cooperation with East Africa based partners.
In September the European Investment Bank’s shareholders, the 27 EU member states approved plans to strengthen its global development engagement and the EIB will launch a dedicated development branch in the beginning of 2022.
EUR 400 million new EIB support for business impacted by COVID, fragile regions and housing
Ahead of the formal opening the EIB confirmed new support for transformational investment across East Africa.
This includes backing EUR 50 million of new investment by Kenyan private sector firms in sectors most challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic in a new business financing scheme in partnership with Co-Operative Bank.
The EIB also agreed its first ever targeted support to unlock investment in fragile regions and overcome challenges linked to climate change, poverty and instability. The new EUR 163 million initiative with the COMESA Trade and Development Bank will finance projects across East and Southern Africa.
Construction of thousands of more affordable and energy efficient homes in Kenya will be accelerated in a EUR 180 million programme with African partner International Housing Solutions.
Building on EIB engagement with African financial partners
Last year the EIB provided more than EUR 5 billion of new financing to support more than EUR 12 billion of transformational private and public investment across Africa.
This includes launching new targeted financial initiatives in collaboration with African banks and financial institutions to help business recover from COVID-19 challenges, accelerate climate finance, improve access to finance by female-led business and enhance financing for rural small holders.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
Nigeria’s Tax Revolution: Shifting Burden to the Wealthy and Streamlining the System
President Bola Tinubu’s administration is set to revolutionize the nation’s tax system.
The ambitious plan seeks to redistribute the tax burden, making the wealthy pay their fair share while stimulating business growth through corporate tax cuts.
The cornerstone of this tax reform initiative is a push to increase Nigeria’s tax revenue from 11% to 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within three years.
Spearheading this transformation is Taiwo Oyedele, who leads a panel appointed by President Tinubu.
Oyedele articulated the primary objectives of the reform, saying “We aim to make the rich pay what is fair and protect those in poverty.”
This move is crucial in a country where extreme wealth disparities persist, with only a small fraction of the population enjoying immense riches.
Notably, the plan also includes a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, which currently stands at an effective rate of over 40%.
The aim is to benchmark this rate against Nigeria’s international peers, fostering a more business-friendly environment.
Nigeria’s tax system has long been plagued by complexity, with nearly 70 different taxes and overlapping jurisdictions.
The reform initiative seeks to simplify this by streamlining tax structures and drastically reducing the number of taxes to single digits.
Also, a tax amnesty is under consideration, aimed at encouraging tax compliance and offering relief for past debts. The hope is that by fostering transparency and accountability, more Nigerians will willingly contribute to the country’s fiscal health.
In a nation where government debt has surged dramatically in recent years, this tax revolution is seen as a pivotal step towards reducing the deficit and ensuring sustainable economic growth.
Federal Government’s $3 Billion Rescue Plan to Bolster Naira Stability
The National Economic Council (NEC) has confirmed the deployment of the $3 billion emergency loan-for-crude oil, secured by the Federal Government in August, for the stabilization of the national currency.
The naira’s value has been under siege, with fluctuations in the Investors & Exporters’ window and a parallel market rate that briefly hit N1000/$ this month.
Addressing reporters following the 136th NEC meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule expressed confidence in the plan.
He stated, “With the plan that will come out and with all these items that have been listed on the improvement of revenue, the $3 billion shall be useful to us down the line.”
The emergency loan, secured from Afrexim Bank, was initially intended to relieve pressure on the naira, facilitate the settlement of taxes and royalties in advance, and provide the Federal Government with vital dollar liquidity for naira stabilization.
The recent nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor by President Bola Tinubu has already shown promise.
The naira experienced a boost in the black market, strengthening by N10 against the dollar, closing at N990/$1.
Governor Sule indicated that the implementation of the intervention would require careful planning and time.
He emphasized the need for the new CBN team to devise effective strategies. In response to inquiries about a supplementary budget, Sule stated that there is no immediate need for one, as the situation does not warrant it.
As Nigeria’s economic landscape faces evolving challenges, the NEC’s decision to harness the $3 billion loan offers a glimmer of hope for a more stable naira in the near future.
Former FIRS Chairman Muhammad Nami Accused of Controversial N6 Billion Payments After Sudden Exit
Documents reveal questionable approvals and alleged backdating, raising concerns over financial misconduct
Muhammad Nami, the former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), is under scrutiny for approving payments totaling N6 billion to contractors and consultants just days after his abrupt removal from office.
Documents obtained by TheCable shed light on these controversial transactions.
Nami, who was succeeded by Zacchaeus Adedeji, greenlit the payments on September 16, two days after his removal on September 14.
Sources privy to the situation, although not authorized to speak publicly, claim that Nami directed staff to work over the weekend to finalize these transactions.
Additionally, files were allegedly moved from the FIRS headquarters to his residence, where they were purportedly “backdated and signed.”
Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising revelation is that Nami transferred approximately N5 billion from the FIRS account to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) without apparent justification.
It is reported that the FIRS director of finance and accounts reluctantly approved these payments after warning Nami about potential repercussions.
Nami allegedly reassured his subordinates that the incoming FIRS chairman would remain oblivious to these approvals.
Also, documents indicate that Nami approved significant payments, including N1.4 billion for a ‘Business Case for Strategic Leadership’ retreat, N250 million for FIRS Data Mining Management and Analytics in Taxation Course, and N221 million for a ‘Skill Development and Management Improvement Workshop Training.’
Curiously, Nami also appropriated over N81 million for a study visit to the Inland Revenue of Malaysia.
The FIRS, when contacted for comment, remained tight-lipped about the situation. Spokesperson Abdullahi Ismaila stated that he had no knowledge of the payments, while Tobi Johannes, Nami’s former media aide, distanced himself from the matter, emphasizing that his role ceased when Nami’s tenure ended.
These revelations have ignited concerns about financial misconduct within the FIRS and have raised questions about the oversight and accountability of government agencies. The full extent of these allegations is yet to be determined as investigations into the payments and their legitimacy continue.
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