President Nana Akufo-Addo today visited the Luxembourg headquarters of the European Investment Bank and welcomed EUR 82.5 million Team Europe support for new investment to strengthen healthcare, provision of specialist medical equipment and medicines across Ghana under the national COVID-19 Health Response Plan.
The concessional Team Europe financing package comprises a EUR 75 million loan from the EIB and EUR 7.5 million European Commission grant.
The new loan, representing the EIB’s largest support for COVID related health investment in sub-Saharan Africa, was signed by Hon Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President, in the presence of President Nana Akufo-Addo, EIB President Werner Hoyer and Harriet Siaw-Boateng, Ambassador of Ghana to the European Union.
“Strengthened cooperation between Africa and multilateral development partners is crucial to share global best practice and ensure a rapid response to health, social and economic challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Investment Bank and the European Union are key partners for Ghana and I welcome their support for our national COVID-19 Health Response Plan. Ghanaian and EIB experts have worked tirelessly in recent months to finalise this initiative, since President Hoyer and I met earlier this year. Specialist healthcare and medical services will benefit from both the EIB’s largest backing for COVID health resilience in Africa and EU grant support.” said President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Ghana has taken significant steps to manage the impact of COVID and to unlock long-term investment. A few months ago President Akufo-Addo and I confirmed EIB backing for the Development Bank of Ghana. It is an honour to welcome our Ghanaian friends to our Luxembourg headquarters to discuss how to improve our partnership in the years ahead and increase impact.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
“Ghana is a key partner for the EU. We are committed to step up our strategic partnership bilaterally, supporting our renewed partnership with Africa. Europe and Ghana stand side by side to tackle the health challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, including diagnosis, treatment and vaccination. The new Team Europe support for Ghana’s COVID-19 Health Response Plan will strengthen public health systems and enhance resilience to the pandemic and future health threats across Ghana through new investment backed by the European Union and European Investment Bank.” said Jutta Urpilainen, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss recent EIB support for the retrofit of the Kpong Dam, Development Bank Ghana and COVAX, explore future cooperation to support local vaccine manufacturing and outline the EIB’s strengthened engagement in Africa through a new dedicated development finance branch to be launched in the new year.
Largest national EIB support for health investment in Africa
The new agreement with Ghana represents the largest national EIB financing for COVID related health investment in Africa.
The EIB and EU backed health investment will improve medical treatment for patients with COVID at Treatment and Isolation Centres and Intensive Care Units, as well as measures to detect and contain the virus and slow down transmission. The initiative will both enhance medical treatment during the pandemic and enhance public health in the years ahead.
Ghana was the first country in Africa to receive COVID-19 vaccines under the EIB and EU backed COVAX initiative. EIB experts also briefed President Akufo-Addo on plans to further accelerate delivery of vaccines across sub-Saharan Africa.
EIB strengthening cooperation with Ghana to improve business access to finance
The EIB is finalising new support for business investment in Ghana with ECOBANK that is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
This follows the formal agreement in May this year between President Akufo Addo and EIB President Werner Hoyer for EUR 170 million EIB backing for the new Development Bank Ghana. This represented the largest ever EIB engagement in Ghana and most significant support for a national development finance institution in Africa.
Once operational Development Bank Ghana will increase access to long-term finance and boost job creation for thousands of businesses in key sectors, including agribusiness, manufacturing, ICT, tourism and other services across Ghana.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and has financed transformational investment across Ghana, including renewable energy at the Kpong Dam, business and services since 1976.
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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