- China to US: Your Claims on Our Loans to Africa Ridiculous
China yesterday described as ridiculous the United States advice to African governments to be wary of Chinese loans, saying that such loans are already visible and speaking for itself.
It also emerged yesterday that due to the unorganised nature of gemstone business in Nigeria, the country contributes about 10 per cent of about $12 billion revenue generated annually by Thailand from gemstone.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on his first diplomatic trip to the continent, said on Thursday that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China.
Tillerson also said that Chinese investments “do not bring significant job locally” and criticised how Beijing structured loans to African government.
But the Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Zhao Linxiang, bitterly criticised the United States at a news briefing in Abuja, citing the Lagos – Ibadan rail line and the Mambila Dam projects among the visible projects engaged with Chinese loan facility.
Linxiang said Chinese loans to Africa were aimed at implementing major China-Africa cooperation projects and promoting sustainable development in the continent.
“African people should know the role the Chinese loans play in your economy; that is the most important thing.
“Except the Chinese Government, which other government provides loans to African countries without critical conditions. No Western country.
“How can they say they suspect Chinese loans; it is ridiculous. Without funds how can you develop a country?”
He disclosed that China was able to turn around her economy when she opened her doors to the world and accepted loans from other countries.
The envoy who noted that the China-Africa relations allowed for win-win benefits for both parties, added that as part of deepening relationship with Africa, it has planned an international expo for November, aimed at addressing balance in trade between China and her major partners.
China’s bilateral trade with Nigeria, from Jan. to Nov. 2017, stood at $12.3bn with more Chinese exports to Nigeria.
He said the “Expo Nigeria” would be an opportunity for the country to expand her exports to and share business opportunities with China and other participating countries.
“It is believed that this upcoming China International Import Expo will breathe new life into the bilateral trade cooperation and create the biggest opportunity to enhance the bilateral trade position to a new level.
“It is believed that this expo will give the Nigerian people and businessmen a great platform to show what Nigeria looks like to China and the rest of the world.”
He added that the Chinese Economic Office in Lagos was collaborating with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses interested in participating in the event.
Zhao said that China had invited eight other African countries with which the country hoped to improve trade relations, adding that 100 countries were expected to participate at the import expo.
Nigeria Contributes 10% to Thailand’s $12bn Gemstone Market, Says ACCI
Meanwhile, it has emerged that due to the unorganised nature of gemstone business in Nigeria, the country contributes about 10 per cent of about $12 billion revenue generated annually by Thailand from gemstone.
This disclosure was made on Thursday by the President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode in his opening remark on the occasion of the First Annual General Meeting of the Gemstone Miners and Marketers Association of Nigeria (GMMAN) in Abuja.
Kayode tho was represented by the 2nd Deputy President of ACCI, Mr. Emeka Obegolu, said because of the vast deposit of solid mineral in the country, Nigeria should earn the maxim, “the land of gems”.
“This journey started sometimes in August 2016, after I visited the Gem and Jewelry fair in Bangkok, Thailand, at the invitation of the Thai Government. At a conference at that fair, it was pointed out that the gemstone industry in Thailand contributed about $12 billion annually to the GDP. Of that amount, about 10% of the gemstone were said to have come from Nigeria,” he said.
Quoting Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode put the average value of gemstone export from Nigeria at $3 billion dollars annually.
He said the global jewelry business will hit £150 billion by the year 2020, adding that China, India, United States, Hong Kong and Switzerland are major importers of gemstones.
He said: “With this high demand in the gemstone sector, Nigeria has the potential to grow her economy through the gemstone sector especially now that the country is returning to the path of sustainable development through the non-oil sector.
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks on Looted Palliatives, Explains Delay
Looted Palliatives: Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks
Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has spoken on the recent actions of criminals and thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protest and looted warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept for distributions.
The group refuted claims that the stolen items were hoarded for certain people instead of distribution to the vulnerable they were meant for. This is despite the fact that some of the palliatives were already rotten by the time criminals broke into the warehouses.
Some of the looters, who spoke with the press, said a sizeable number of the items were already rotten and destroyed by rodents, while one of the lawmakers tasked with distribution claimed he planned to distribute the items on his birthday. A statement that angered many Nigerians.
However, in a statement issued on behalf of the group by Osita Nwanisobi, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, on Monday, CACOVID said due to the huge size of the items meant to be distributed, the complex process involved in manufacturing, packaging and the eventual distribution to 2 million most vulnerable families across the 774 local government in the country, the group agreed to conduct the supply in stages, especially given locked down imposed by the Federal Government during the period.
The statement reads, “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various State Government warehouses across the country.
“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desist from these raids, in order to allow the States to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to procure, deliver, and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support towards the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdowns and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner.
“The very large size of the order and the production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.”
Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest
Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.
Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.
According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.
This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.
Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.
NIMC to Register, Issue 2.5 million National Identification Monthly
The National Identity Management Commission has said it would improve registration and issuance of the National Identification Numbers to both Nigerians and legal residents to the current 500,000 to 2.5 million per month.
Aliya Aziz, Director-General, NIMC, said this was the commission’s renewed commitment towards the provision of identity services to the nation.
He gave the assurance while playing host to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who was on an official visit to the commission’s head office in Abuja.
Aziz said in a statement issued in Abuja by the Head, Corporate Communication, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, that the commission would meet and surpass the monthly target.
This, he said, would be part of the policy statements in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.
The NIMC boss told his guest that the commission had competent human resources and was looking forward to government support and intervention in injecting the much needed material resources to realise the set objectives.
Pantami charged the commission to increase and improve its performance with regards to NIN registration and issuance, as he also reiterated the target of 2.5 million monthly enrolments.
The minister told his host that the importance of digital identity in actualising the digital economy goals could not be overemphasised and commended the strides recorded by the NIMC despite limited resources.
He assured the commission of government’s support and guidance towards ensuring the fulfilment of its mandate, adding that he had initiated moves to improve staff welfare at the NIMC.
Pantami also assured the NIMC management and staff of his resolve to improve the state of the current infrastructure and equipment to enable the commission to sustain its performance.
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