Aso Villa Reads for 18/10/2018
Every day, we bring you the best stories that the media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria
“The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has become the first capital market regulator to participate in the flagship pan African programme, designed to strengthen the content’s capital markets. Over a three year period, FSD Africa, a UK funded non-profit company, will provide funding to build the capacity of the capital market regulators across the continent, providing world-class technical assistance, encouraging closer collaboration among regulators and conducting research to support the development of new policies and regulations. Through the programme, FSD Africa will assist SEC Nigeria in several ways. First, it will fund an institutional capacity audit to identify strengths and areas of improvement in the SEC Nigeria’s operations as well as provide support to implement recommendations. It will also help in promoting fintech regulations. Lastly, it will play a role in encouraging greater collaboration and knowledge management sharing with other African capital market regulators.” Business Day (Thursday 18th October 2018, page 31) reported this.
Punch reported that “the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the issuance of $2.9bn and other securities in Eurobond from the international capital market. The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Ahmed said the Eurobond provided for in the 2018 Appropriation Act was meant to finance capital projects of the budget. She added that N374.618m was also approved as payment for the transaction partners.”
“The Federal Government has approved N74 billion to Akwa Ibom State government for the construction and rehabilitation of federal roads. Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyangeyen, who made the disclosure, said the federal government was indebted to the state to the tune of N142 billion expended on the construction and rehabilitation of federal roads. Inyangeyen, however, lamented that the state government was yet to access the N74billion approved by President Muhammadu Buhari. He said: “The state government would have used the money to finance some key projects as well as fix erosion and challenges posed by flood in some communities in the state.” Vanguard reported it.
“Investors are putting money behind off grid solutions to the country’s power challenge. An estimated $410million (N25bn) worth of funding has gone into the Nigerian off grid space this year, Business Day calculating show. Analysts say this show that the off grid market in the country is coming of age as innovative businesses are getting access to critical capital, technical and government support to provide energy access for over 70million people without power.” According to Business Day (Thursday 18th October 2018, page 1&42), “a $350million world bank loan emerge the game changer this year but shell Nigeria seeded company, All on, an impact investment firm based in Lagos, in partnership with the US African Development Foundation (USADF), African Development Bank (AfDB), and government support through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the story of access in rural communities in Nigeria and even in large city centres like Lagos and the Abuja is changing.“
“Nigeria moved up 10 places in the Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday. Africa’s largest economy moved from its 2017 spot of 125 to 115.According to the report, national competitiveness is measured by the institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. Nigeria had an overall score of 47.6 out of a total score of 100. The report did its ranking based on 98 indicators organised in 12 categories. The categories are health, skills, financial system, infrastructure, institutions, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, product market, labour market, market size, business dynamism and innovation capacity. Nigeria scored 42 in the institution indicator, 42 in infrastructure, 26 in ICT adoption, 56 in macroeconomic stability, 51 in health and 40 in skills. It also scored 52, 59, 44, 71, 55 and 31 in product market, labour market, financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capacity respectively. “Nigeria, Yemen, South Africa, Pakistan and the Philippines are other countries with notable problems related to violence, crime or terrorism, and where the police are considered unreliable,” the report read”. This was reported by The Cable.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that as at August 20 2018, the total amount released under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to participating banks for disbursement since the inception of the scheme is N615.43 billion. The fund was for a total 568 projects.In addition, a total of N499.22 million was guaranteed to 4,172 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) in August 2018.The amount represented a respective increase of 32.9 per cent and 7.8 per cent above the levels at the end of July, 2018 and the corresponding period of 2017. This Day reported that “the CBN disclosed this in its monthly report for August 2018. Sub-sectoral analysis showed that food crop obtained the largest share of N318.50 million (63.8 per cent), guaranteed to 3,345 beneficiaries; livestock got N63.35 million (12.7 per cent), guaranteed to 242 beneficiaries; fisheries sub-sector received N62.92 million (12.6 per cent), guaranteed to 272 beneficiaries; cash crop got N40.54 million (8.12 per cent), guaranteed to 245 beneficiaries.”
Daily Trust reports that “the governing council, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has suspended the Executive Secretary of the scheme, Prof Usman Yusuf indefinitely to pave way for investigation into allegations leveled against him. The chairman of the governing council, Dr Eyantu Ifenne at a briefing in the scheme head quarter on Thursday said, based on the review of various documents on allegations leveled against him, they have resolved to constitute an administrative panel to investigate and submit their report in the next three months. “The ES is suspended indefinitely to pave unfettered space for the committee to do thorough investigations into the matter.” Dr Efene added that approval has been gotten from the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole. “The council has also resolved that Dr Abubakar Sadiq Adamu immediately step into the acting capacity of the ES to allow activities to run smoothly.” Prof Yusuf was suspended by the Minister of Health in July, 2017 but was called back by the presidency in February, 2018.
“With Nigeria being Norway’s largest trade partner on the continent, both economies have stressed the need to strengthen the bilateral ties even further. Indeed, both economies with apparently the same Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size believe that fresh investment opportunities abound for both countries to be explored as trade volume between both countries stood at $30 billion. The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud, explained that there is a lot both countries can do together, pointing out that Norway is currently making plans to increase investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry with focus also on the power sector.
The Ambassador at a stakeholders’ meeting to present and promote the investment opportunities and incentives in Norway for prospective Nigerian investors in Lagos, advised that Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can only be competitive globally if the sector gets stable and cheap power supply.” Guardian reports that the diplomat said that “Nigeria needs renewable energy to take root in the country and incentivize investments. The power sector needs to be regulated and organised to attract investments. There are huge investment opportunities in the power sector and there is also need to secure these investments.” He tasked the managers of the Nigerian economy to deploy the use of technology in all sectors of the economy to achieve accelerated economic growth.”
The Cable reports that “Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, says the Buhari-led administration chose to save the naira instead of building reserves. Emefiele, who made this known to journalists on Sunday in Bali, Indonesia, said it is difficult to talk about building reserves at the moment. “We are going to need to build buffers but unfortunately I must say that we are in a period where it is difficult to talk about building reserves,” he said at a press conference to mark the end of 2018 annual meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. You can only build reserve buffers if you want to hold on to the reserves while allowing your currency to go and wherever it goes is something else. It is a choice we have to make and at this time, the choice for Nigeria is to maintain a stable exchange rate so that businesses can plan and we don’t create problems in the banking system. Naturally, when this happens, it results in weakening of assets, rising non-performing loans and other wide implications. This is why we will maintain the posture we have and we believe that it is sustainable in the short run.” Nigeria’s foreign reserves currently stand above $43.3 billion — one of the highest figures recorded since the 2014 oil price crash.”
“The Federal Government has extended the ongoing verification exercise of workers of ex-Nigeria Airways Limited (in liquidation), and assured that the exercise will not end until everybody is captured. In a statement, Mr. Paul Ella Abechi, Special Adviser, Media and Communication to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said the minister gave the assurance during her on the spot assessment of the exercise across the three centres yesterday.” Daily Trust reports that “she said an additional desk had been made available to address all complaints. The centres are located in Kano, Enugu and Lagos. The minister, who was represented by the Secretary, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), Dr. Mohammed Dikwa, appealed to all participants to be patient with the officials until they were all attended to. She said over 6,000 former staff of the liquidated Nigeria Airways spread across the three centres would be attended to during the period of the exercise. She added that 40 per cent would be attended to in the Kano centre, while 50 and 10 per cent would be attended to in Lagos and Enugu centres respectively”.