The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved an equity investment of $20 million in the Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I, in support of its target to mobilize private capital for infrastructure across the continent.
The Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I is a pan-African infrastructure private equity fund that is mobilizing up to $500 million for investment and value creation in strategic infrastructure sectors. These include power, energy, digital and social infrastructure, transportation, logistics, and water and sanitation.
The fund is sponsored by Africa50, an infrastructure investment platform established by governments and the African Development Bank. Africa50 brings infrastructure project development and financing under one umbrella. Africa50 has a strong track record of investments in the private sector and of projects undertaken under a Public Private-Partnership (PPP) framework.
The mobilization of private capital is critical to closing the infrastructure financing gap in Africa, especially given the limited fiscal space of African governments which currently provide the largest source of infrastructure funding on the continent.
The Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I was established as a vehicle to help execute Africa50’s mandate of mobilizing private capital and accelerating further investment flows into African infrastructure by targeting private and institutional investors.
African Development Bank Director for the Industrial and Trade Development Department, Abdu Mukhtar said the Bank’s investment in the Fund underlined its strategic nature and the fact that the Bank prioritizes investing in strategic infrastructure sectors that contribute to closing Africa’s infrastructure financing gap (estimated at $68-108 billion annually).
“The Bank’s investment will support Africa50 to crowd-in private capital into African infrastructure through a private equity fund vehicle that private investors better understand and are more comfortable investing in,” Mukhtar said.
Commenting on the approval, Wale Shonibare, African Development Bank’s Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulations said the Bank’s support for the Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I aligned with its High Five objectives. “It also strengthens the Bank’s already existing partnerships with the Africa50 Group on initiatives such as the African Sovereign Investors Forum and the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa,” Shonibare added.
Alain Ebobissé, CEO of the Africa50 Group, said: “We are highly appreciative of the African Development Bank’s support for the Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the African Development Bank and other investors to make a meaningful contribution to improving the infrastructure landscape on the continent.”
By leveraging private capital for infrastructure investment, The Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I can help create jobs, strengthen healthcare access, improve education access through digital technologies, enhance access to financial services and financial inclusion through fintech investments, and reduce the impact of climate change. The fund is projected to create 3,278 full-time equivalent jobs over the period 2023-2035, including 1,676 jobs for women. In addition, the fund is expected to contribute to fostering regional integration through improvements in transport and logistics infrastructure that can lead to increased inter and intra-regional trade.
The African Development Bank and partners in the new fund will continue to provide growth capital and infrastructure equity to support the urgent need to accelerate private sector funding toward bridging the infrastructure financing gap in Africa.
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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