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Nigeria Can Access £750m Infrastructure Funding – UK agency

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  • Nigeria Can Access £750m Infrastructure Funding – UK agency

The United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade has said it has the ability to support infrastructure projects in African countries, including Nigeria, with lending and guarantees.

The DIT said in a statement on Tuesday that it could enable the provision of the facilities through the UK Export Finance, the country’s export credit agency.

It said loans could be extended in the local currencies of nine African countries for projects ranging from transportation, mining and general construction, but such projects must include at least 20 per cent UK content and meet all other lending criteria.

The UK’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith, stated, “For example, the UKEF has the ability to support infrastructure projects in South Africa (up to £4bn), Kenya (up to £1bn) and Nigeria (up to £750m).

“Africa’s infrastructure challenges not only inhibit its ability to trade with the rest of the world but are also a significant obstacle to intra-African trade, both of which are critical to the continent’s economic growth agenda.”

He described finance as a critical component of infrastructure development, adding that “the combined risk appetite of £21.4bn we have across the region to facilitate projects is a clear sign of the UK’s belief in Africa’s long-term economic growth trajectory.”

Wade-Smith, however, noted that the projects must meet all the lending requirements before funding would be disbursed.

“But in terms of capacity, we have the ability to provide significant funding for infrastructure projects across Africa,” he added.

According to him, there is enormous scope for Africa to boost its exports to the UK and other parts of the world if it can address its infrastructure backlog.

“The research shows that in the long-term, trade is better than aid and without adequate infrastructure, it will be very difficult for Africa to boost its ability to buy and sell with the rest of the world,” he noted.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Transcorp Hotel to Layoff 40 Percent of its Staff as COVID-19 Bites

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Transcorp Hotel Cuts Jobs as COVID-19 Bites

Transcorp Hotels Plc has joined the numbers of companies laying off amid severe negative impacts of COVID-19 on operations.

The hotel Managing Director, Mrs Dupe Olusola, in a statement titled “Transcorp Hotels hard hit by impact of COVID-19,” said the demand for the hotel services had plunged to five percent due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.

Therefore, the management of the hotel said it would take steps to ensure business continues despite the ongoing challenges and losses suffered.

Olusola said, “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed.

“The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015.

“The slow pick-up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than five per cent.

She added, “Despite the losses incurred we have fulfilled our obligations to staff.

“At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100 per cent salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April.

“We also activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans.

“We suspended further acquisition and investment in fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs.

“Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive.

“To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40 per cent, and our reward system will be optimised.”

She added that negotiations were ongoing to ensure that employees who would be impacted were adequately compensated given the peculiarities of the economy at this time.

A health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs, especially during the pandemic, among other payment settlements, will be activated,” she said.

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N-power: More Than 5 million People Applies for Batch C

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Over 5 million People Applied for Batch C N-power Program

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development has said a total of 5,042,001 people applied for the just concluded Batch C of N-power.

The ministry said enrollment portals were opened on June 26th and closed on the 9th of August.

However, Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq has assured Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent and followed due diligence.

She said: “As we renew our commitment to the service of humanity, I will like to seize this opportunity to once again state that we have successfully exited Batch A and B of the N-Power beneficiaries in June and July respectively and we are still working towards ensuring a transition plan that will further engage or absorb them into other programmes.

“We have also received over 5 million applications from proposed N-Power Batch C and we are currently in the process of selecting the qualified beneficiaries coming into the programme.

“I assure all the applicants and Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent.

“Furthermore, I wish to reiterate that I have given approval for the payment of stipends for the exited beneficiaries of batches A and B up to the month of June 2020 including that of the independent monitors.”

According to Farouq, “Also, the final payment of stipend for Batch B is almost ready for transmission to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for final checks and payment.”

“I, therefore, appeal for patience and understanding from beneficiaries omitted for payment in previous months and those in batch B who are to get their final payment.

She added that “the N-Power program is aimed to provide the Nigerian youths with opportunities to gain skills for employability and entrepreneurship which will also go along way in assisting the country towards the post-Covid 19 economic recovery.”

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FG to Engage Private Sector to Absorb N-power Beneficiaries as Batch C Selection Begins

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Private Sector to Absorb N-power Beneficiaries, Says FG

The Federal Government has said beneficiaries of the N-power scheme will be absorbed into government entrepreneurship schemes.

Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made the announcement in a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Information in the Ministry, Mrs Rhoda Iliya, following the outcry that trailed the exit of Batch A and Batch B despite the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report showing the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1 percent in the second quarter of the year.

The minister also said the federal government is engaging private businesses to join government in creating permanent jobs for the exited N-power beneficiaries.

She, however, noted that the selection of Batch C applicants has started and the list of the successful candidates will be announced on the organisation’s official website.

According to the Ministry, a total of 5,042,001 Nigerians applied for the Batch C N-power program between June 26 and August 9th, 2020 when the program ended.

“The commencement of the Batch C enrolment is sequel to far-reaching consultations and a review of the submissions on the reform and realignment of the programme for greater efficiency.

“Batch C is also being enrolled to provide opportunities for more Nigerian youth to access the programme, in furtherance of the President’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

“This will create opportunities that will enhance the productivity of the Nigerian youth for entrepreneurship.

“Applications will be conducted using a hybrid system of enrolment to ensure that all Nigerians are given an opportunity to participate.

“As a Ministry that caters for the vulnerable, we will also make special considerations for persons living with disabilities.

“Online portal would be open to receive applications from noon on June 26, 2020 and will provide a level playing field for all applicants.

“As part of the Ministry’s reforms to make the programme more efficient, all applicants must supply their Bank Verification Number , in their application.

“This is to ensure a streamlined and transparent selection process. Once applications are submitted, the Ministry will review submissions and publish a list of successful applicants.

“Past beneficiaries are not eligible to participate in the application process. Comprehensive details for the new batch will be announced in the coming weeks,” Farouq said.

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