Vice President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo said the Buhari administration will expand the N-Power scheme to accommodate one million beneficiaries in the next phase.

This followed the successes recorded so far and the growing need for government’s direct intervention in job creation.

The Vice President spoke in response to a variety of questions from Nigerians across different professions and persuasions, at a town hall meeting in Abuja on Monday.

He said the N-Power programme would become the largest post-tertiary job scheme in Africa.

“The idea of N-Power is supposed to be government’s own programme of direct employment and training. At the moment, we have taken up to 500,000 and in the next phase we are looking at another 200,000 and closely followed by another 300,000.

“In all, we will be employing up to a million, and that will be the largest post-tertiary job programme in the entire Africa. The reason why we have done this is because of the employment problems that we have. We may not be able to engage everybody but at least government must give some direct provision of jobs.”

Prof. Osinbajo explained further that though government could not pay more than the N30,000 currently paid to beneficiaries and also fix all the unemployment issues, it is working on creating the enabling environment to ensure that beneficiaries as well as other unemployed Nigerians become useful to themselves.

“It is infrastructure that will create the opportunities to provide more jobs, especially through manufacturing and Industry.

“So, we are doing roads and rail, providing power; that is the way we can develop industry. We are energizing our markets at the moment, putting solar power in the markets. We have designated 300 markets, we have done Ariaria in the South East, Sabon Gari in Kano, Sura in Lagos, Isikan in Ondo, Gbagi in Oyo and we are expanding so that more people can work.”

On the need to engage more women in productive activities, Prof. Osinbajo said: “one of the ways the Buhari administration is engaging more women is through our GEEP loans.”

“56% of our GEEP loans go to the women. So there is a lot of preferential advantage that we give to women and this is because women are effective managers of resources; they pay back these loans when they are given.”

Speaking on the misconceptions about the borrowing arrangements of the Buhari administration, the Vice President said, the country, under President Buhari, was not in a terribly bad debt situation as insinuated in some quarters.

According to him, very frequently you find people creating fear about the issue of debt and saying that this government has borrowed more than previous governments.

“I want to give you the facts and figures on the debt issue. The dollar denominated debts of Nigeria – that is the debts of the Federal Government, the States and Local governments.

“In 2010, Nigeria’s debt was $35 billion; 2011, it was $41billion; in 2012, it was $48 billion, in 2013, it became $64 billion; 2014, it rose to $67 billion; 2015, it fell to $63 billion; 2016, $57 billion; 2017, $70 billion; 2018, it is $73 billion. So, the difference between 2015 and now is $10 billion.

“One of the things that I always want you to bear in mind is that when oil prices are at their highest, between 2010 and 2014 that was when we had the sharpest rise in debts.”

Continuing on the debt issue, Prof. Osinbajo said “the other thing that I want us to bear in mind is what is called debt to GDP. Our debt to GDP is one of the lowest among the countries that are frequently compared to us. Our debt to GDP is 20%. When you compare it to other countries, you will see that Ghana is about 68% whereas Ethiopia’s is 48%. In terms of the size of our economy and debt, we are doing okay”

He, however, agreed that “Nigeria may have an issue with debt to revenue”, noting that “we are not collecting enough revenue compared to what we want to spend.”

“Are we collecting enough taxes? If you look at the FIRS figures, it says 914 Nigerians pay the self-assessed tax of more than N10 million. Of the 914, 912 live in Lagos and the other 2 live in Ogun state, no other Nigerian outside of Lagos and Ogun pay the self-assessed tax of more than N10 million. So, we are simply not collecting enough revenue,” he added.

The Vice President said the Federal Government in collaboration with the States was working on harmonizing tax collections in order to address issues relating to multiple collection of taxes.

“This is a problem that we are dealing with all across Nigeria. It is one of the issues we are dealing with under the ease of doing business. We are addressing the sub-national. How we can harmonize taxes. The second phase of our ease of doing business is focused on the collection of multiple taxes; there is no reason why that should continue.”

On the ASUU strike, the Vice President said that government is engaging the leadership of the union, noting that “the next meeting is on Thursday, November 15, 2018”.

He, however, explained that “we are dealing with a population of about 200 million people who depend on a budget of about N8.6 trillion and of that amount, 70% of it goes to salaries and overheads, and it goes to less than 2 million people. It is impossible to answer to all of the monetary needs of people by the size of the federal budget”.

On healthcare financing, Prof. Osinbajo said the Buhari administration has done much even as it has earned 60 per cent less than the previous administrations.

“The first thing to bear in mind is that health care financing has suffered over the years even when we were earning the most money, we were underfunding healthcare.

“In 2015 when we came in, the healthcare budget was N22.7 billion and as of today we moved that to N86.5 billion and we are earning 60% less. Education was N23 billion in 2015, now it is N102 billion. The issue really is one of government commitment. For the first time, in the 2018 budget, we are setting aside 1% of our consolidated revenue to the health sector.”

Earlier, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah; Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; and Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Audu Ogbeh, responded separately to issues relating to their various ministries.

The town hall meeting was organized by Act Now, a non-political group that works in promoting transparency and good governance as well as youth participation in governance.

 

Source: PmNews

HSBC and UBS have closed their offices in Nigeria, the country’s central bank said in a report on Friday as it revealed foreign investment had fallen sharply from a year ago.

The bank said foreign direct investment in Nigeria fell to 379.84 billion naira ($1.2 billion) in the first half of the year from 532.63 billion naira ($1.7 billion) a year earlier.

It did not given reasons for the bank closures.

HSBC was not available to comment and UBS declined to comment.

The central bank said the outlook for the Nigerian economy in the second half was “optimistic” given higher oil prices and production but rising foreign debt and uncertainty surrounding the 2019 presidential election was a drawback.

Investor confidence in the West African country has been shaken since the central bank in August ordered MTN to bring back $8.1 billion to the country, part of profits which the South African telecoms firm sent abroad.

An HSBC research note dated July 18 said a second Buhari term “raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term, particularly if there is no move towards completing reform of the exchange rate system or fiscal adjustments that diversify government revenues away from oil.”

The Nigerian Presidency has reacted furiously after British multinational banks report. In a statement, the Presidency accused the bank of thriving on "grand corruption" and helping past and present Nigerian leaders launder billions of naira.

LOAN LOSSES

The central bank also said three lenders failed to meet its minimum liquidity ratio of 30 percent, without naming them.

It added that non-performing loans (NPLs) have dropped to 12.4 percent as at June 2018 from 15 percent a year ago, still a long way above its 5 percent threshold.

“To further consolidate on the improvement, the Central Bank of Nigeria directed banks to intensify efforts at debt recovery, realisation of collateral for lost facilities and strengthening their risk management processes,” it said in the report.

In September, the regulator withdrew the license of Skye Bank for failing to recapitalise. It then transferred Skye’s assets to a “bridge bank” Polaris wholly-owned by the state-backed asset management company AMCON.

Nigerian banks have been trying to raise fresh capital after huge loan losses worsened by an economy that has just emerged from a recession. Diamond Bank last week denied it was in talks with investors to raise cash but said it was managing its capital, which borders on the regulatory minimum, to grow.

Another lender Unity Bank has been seeking to raise fresh funds to recapitalise.

 

Credit - Reuters

President of Ghana‎, Nana Akufo-Addo‎ has stressed that Nigeria needs to get it’s policy formulation and implementation right, by necessitating value addition, particularly in the oil sector.
 
Akufo-Addo, who was guest speaker at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN 46th annual general meeting and lecture in Lagos, with the theme; “Mainstreaming Policies To Catalyze Industrial Renaissance”, was represented by Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior minister of Ghana, noted that Nigeria as a big brother to other African countries, need to lead in the area of policies that would make Africa economically sufficient and self-sustaining.
 
‎”Our lazy approach of always rushing to the international market to sell our resources in their raw state which fetch us peanuts must stop. It is far better to leave our resources untapped till our future generations rise up to the challenge and conscientiously develop the best policy-mix that prioritises industrialization as the most convenient cause to drive the much needed effects in our socio-economic development”.
 
‎”Why should Nigeria find it difficult to maximize the fruit of their oil industry for the benefit of her people? Our policies must of necessity move in the direction of value addition – i.e. processing of our raw materials.‎ It is all a function of how defective we have developed the appropriate policy framework to support institutionalization of mechanisms that effectively trigger a more holistic and functional industrialization policy and drive”.
 
Akufo-Addo also added that beyond policies, Africa needs to have the right economic pilots and advisory council and end an era where weak‎ boards are appointed to run strategic economic positions.
 
‎”One other challenge we face in our industrial thinking is our inability to forge and institute a strong and relevant corporate governance culture, systems and processes to drive the purpose, strategy and the vision of our business models. This often lead to the creation of weak, irrelevant boards of governors who are active and rubber stamping of what has been so determined rather than giving a strong and effective responses to counter decisions that are not in the interest of the organizational development”.
 
“Having effective policy alone is not enough. We should have men and women of substance who are resolute and driven by results and understand the policy framework guiding the business environment to play their effective advisory roles for our investment. Let us therefore begin to be circumspect with those we put at the helm of affairs as board members to advise us on the productive application of our investment”.
 
The Ghanaian ‎President did not fail to address the trade issues affecting Africa in general, while mentioning models that could propel the African continent to economic viability.
 
‎”Africa has a population of about 1.3 billion people. Yet our combined GDP is about $2.2 trillion. When we compare to USA with a population of about 328 million people with a GDP of about $18.3 trillion. Same with Europe with a population of about 743 million and a GDP of about $17.3 trillion. By population, Africa is about 4 times that of the USA. Yet, USA’s GDP is about 8times that of Africa. Yet, we are the most endowed continent on earth.
 
“This means that Africa must begin to trade among ourselves concentrating on areas of comparative advantage. We must begin to break the trade barriers among ourselves and form alliances with the various countries Associations of Industries and Chambers of Commerce of the various countries. Through these associations, we may get to know the needs of the various countries and where they are opportunities of trade”.
 
On the ‎Africa Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Akufo-Addo maintained that, the agreement is “critical to our economic development especially its ability to boost private sector multinational businesses within the framework of Public-Private Partnerships in a free movement of goods, services and people”. But, “it is important that we do not rush into taking decisions that will not have the buy-in from all critical stakeholders who drive business growth in Africa”.
 
‎”I welcome the organizers of the AfCFTA to adopt the bold strategy to undertake a wider consultation with all stakeholders in the massive sensitization and road show programme across Africa, and I am happy that this activity is done in consultation with and within the framework of the African Union Commission of Trade and Industry”, he maintained.
 
“Once we get both inter- and intra-Africa trade, investment and industrialization policy mix on the right tangent, we stand the chance of leading the new frontier to affect global industrial decisions for the interest of our people”.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
During the visit of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Nigeria, Volkswagen took the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of both the Chancellor and His Excellency, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in that country. The Head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Region, Thomas Schaefer signed the agreement on behalf of Volkswagen with the Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah.
 
The Volkswagen Brand thus took the next step in expanding its influence and presence in Sub-Saharan Africa. This comes a day after the signing of the MoU in Ghana in the presence of Chancellor Merkel and Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia whereby Volkswagen committed to set up a vehicle assembly and conduct a detailed feasibility study for the development of an integrated Mobility Solution in Ghana.
 
In the MoU, Volkswagen undertakes to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub on the West Coast of Africa. This will include establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees. The academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.
 
In turn the Nigerian Government undertakes to accelerate the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Policy, currently under consideration. This includes the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.
 
The Government has committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in Nigeria.
 
Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, who signed on behalf of his government, said: “The MoU is a major step in our walk towards the development of the automotive industry to achieve its potential contribution to the continuous economic development of the country.”
 
“We believe in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering with relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria. Our overall objective is to restore assembly and develop local content, thereby creating employment, acquiring technology and reducing pressure on the country’s balance of payment, ” added Dr. Enelamah
 
Thomas Schaefer commented: “This week Volkswagen has been able to demonstrate with conviction that it is serious about its intentions in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are well placed to become a dominant player in Africa, as the continent continues to stabilise and develop economically, as the last frontier for the automotive industry.”
 
Volkswagen has a fully-fledged manufacturing facility in South Africa, and assembles vehicles in Kenya, Algeria as well as in Rwanda, in conjunction with an Integrated Mobility Solution offering Community Car Sharing and shortly to be launched Ride Hailing.
 
Under its TRANSFORM 2025+ brand strategy, Volkswagen is strengthening the regions and focusing on new up-and-coming markets. Alongside North and South America as well as China, the Sub-Sahara region plays an increasingly important role. Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region could develop into an automotive growth market of the future.
 
Volkswagen will continue to grow its importer network in Sub-Saharan Africa and explore other opportunities for growth and development. As a next step, exploratory talks are being held with the Government of Ethiopia.
 
“We are only starting with our initiatives in Africa and will continue to develop sales and service networks where applicable. We are also looking at future assembly locations to determine if the markets have the potential and the necessary policy frameworks to be developed, to accommodate vehicle assembly,” added Schaefer.
 
Thomas Schaefer is also the President of the Association of African Automobile Manufacturers and stated in his capacity as the President that he believed that it was important that a Pan African Auto pact be developed to promote and grow a connected Auto Industry in Africa.
 
“Africa’s time is now and with good alignment between the African countries with automotive aspirations we can create intra African trade and a Win-Win situation for all,” concluded Schaefer.
 
 
Source: Vanguard
The UK Government has announced a new £70-million programme to create 100,000 jobs in Nigeria says the Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.
 
Baldwin said this during a business event as part of the activities for Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Nigeria on Wednesday.
 
Baldwin, who led a business delegation to the event, said that the programme would raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.
 
“We are here today to talk about technology links between the UK Fintech sector and the Nigerian Fintech sector and will bring inward investment in terms of this important sector of technology.
 
“Today, it is all about celebrating those links through technology and I am very excited that the Prime Minister is announcing today a new £70 million programme that will create some 100,000 jobs in Nigeria and will also raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.”
 
The minister said that the event was celebrating the role of growing businesses and entrepreneurs and also highlighted the partnerships of both countries in the area of technological development.
 
She added that the delegation consisted of various UK businesses were willing to invest “the kind of capital that creates jobs”.
 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Ministers of Finance and Power, Works and Housing, Kemi Adeosun and Babatunde Fashola respectively, attended the event.
 
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was keen on driving technology development in the country in support of the government’s economic growth plan.
 
The vice president said there was the need to create the right environment for technology companies to thrive and further gave an assurance of the government’s commitment to support innovation in the country.
 
“I think just looking at some of the start-ups that we see today, many of them started while the recession was on and they proved, by just a number of jobs, value and wealth created, that this is the future starting today.
 
“This is why we have started up first with the creativity and technology advisory group; many of these start-ups are members of this group where they help to formulate policies with Federal Government policy makers especially in fintech, which are some of the new areas we need to formulate policies.
 
NAN also reports that the event, held at Ventures Park, an innovation hub and co-working space for entrepreneurs, showcased a number of products from start-up entrepreneurs.
 
The founder of Ventures Park, Mr. Kola Aina, said that the government’s `ease of doing business’ policy had been “relatively helpful” to the growth of small and medium-scale business in the country.
 
“There is also a lot of talk about incentives like the pioneer start-ups programmes that we are looking to see how start-ups can begin to benefit from.
 
“More than ever before, we are starting to see a lot of support from the government.”
 
The event simultaneously held a panel discussion highlighting opportunities for doing business among businessmen of both countries.
 
The panel included Fashola, Adeosun and other key government representatives.
 
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman, was also part of the discussions alongside several other UK businessmen.
 
May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of some African countries.
 
The Prime Minister is expected in Nairobi on Thursday, where she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
 
The prime minister is on a trade mission in an attempt to bolster Britain’s post-Brexit fortunes. This is her first visit to Africa since she became prime minister in 2016.
 
She is accompanied by a 30-man business delegation as part of her efforts to “deepen and strengthen” partnerships around the world as the UK prepares to leave the European Union next year.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has arrived at FMDQ Security Exchange building, Victoria Island, Lagos, for a meeting with the Nigerian business community.
 
The prime minister, accompanied by members of her trade delegation, arrived at the venue at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday.
 
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Femi Otedola, and Mr. Tony Elumelu, among others, had earlier assembled at the venue.
 
The meeting, expected to last for 40 minutes, would provide an opportunity for forging more bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
 
May had earlier on Wednesday afternoon arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, in Lagos after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
 
She is billed to spend time with victims of modern slavery during her brief stay in the nation’s commercial hub.
 
The prime minister’s visit to Lagos comes barely eight weeks after the French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, visited the African Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos.
 
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, accompanied by his deputy, among other state officials, received the prime minister at the airport.
 
After the reception, May drove out of the airport to attend to her engagements in the state.
 
After May’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria and Britain signed agreements on Defence and Security partnership, among others.
 
May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of three African countries.
 
 
Vanguard...
Theresa May will lead an ambitious trip to Africa this week on her first visit to the continent as Prime Minister.
 
She’ll be the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013, and the first to go to Kenya for over 30 years.
 
This visit comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for a truly Global Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.
 
The Prime Minister’s central message will be focused on a renewed partnership between the UK and Africa, which will seek to maximise shared opportunities and tackle common challenges in a continent that is growing at a rapid pace – from the Sahara to South Africa.
 
She will use a speech on the opening day of the visit in Cape Town to set out how we can build this partnership side by side with Africa, particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK to a continent that is home to 16% of the world’s people but just 3% of FDI and 3% of global goods trade.
 
As Africa seeks to meet the needs of its growing population the visit will also emphasise that it is in the world’s interest to help secure African stability, jobs and growth because conflict, poor work prospects and economic instability will continue to encourage migration and dangerous journeys to Europe.
 
Because nations cannot prosper without security, the Prime Minister will also use the visit to announce further support to tackle instability across the region.
 
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
 
Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy, and as longstanding partners this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together.
 
A more prosperous, growing and trading Africa is in all of our interests and its incredible potential will only be realised through a concerted partnership between governments, global institutions and business.
 
As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships. This week I am looking forward to discussing how we can do that alongside Africa to help deliver important investment and jobs as well as continue to work together to maintain stability and security.
 
 
I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa and to become the first UK Prime Minister in over 30 years to visit Kenya.
 
The Prime Minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMEs – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations. The delegation shows the breadth and depth of British expertise in technology, infrastructure, and financial and professional services.
 
Delegates include:
 
the London Stock Exchange
Cardiff-based cooling technology firm Sure Chill
solar tech provider Northumbria Energy from North Tyneside
London-based start-up Farm.ink who have created a knowledge-sharing mobile platform for farmers
Northern Irish agri-tech leader Devenish Nutrition
the world-renowned Scotch Whisky Association and Midlands manufacturing giant JCB
Also travelling are Trade Minister George Hollingbery and Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin. Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will join the visit in South Africa to support the Welsh companies in the business delegation, while the Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman is also accompanying the Prime Minister.
 
The Prime Minister will begin her trip in Cape Town in South Africa where she’ll see President Cyril Ramaphosa and meet young people and business leaders.
 
While in South Africa the Prime Minister will present the Mendi bell to President Ramaphosa in a ceremony at Cape Town’s presidential office the Tuynhuys – over a century after it was lost in a shipwreck.
 
Over 600 troops, the majority black South Africans, died when the Mendi tragically sank in the English Channel in 1917, on their way to join the Allied forces on the Western Front. It was the worst maritime disaster in South Africa’s history, and the Mendi has become a symbol of the country’s First World War remembrance.
 
In Nigeria the Prime Minister will meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and spend time in Lagos meeting victims of modern slavery – a cause Theresa May has worked passionately to tackle.
 
In Nairobi she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers training troops from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
 
She will also commit to helping support the next generation of energetic, ambitious young Kenyans as they seek to build a more prosperous country in the years ahead.
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
United States President, Donald Trump, has called his Nigeria counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, “so lifeless,” after their April meeting.
 
Buhari and Trump met at the White House on April 30. Both leaders discussed issues bordering on fighting terrorism and economic growth.
 
Punch quoted Global business newspaper, Financial Times, in a recent publication, as saying that as Trump is set to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the newspaper, in an article titled, ‘Africa looks for something new out of Trump,’ claimed that the US leader described Buhari, whom he met officially in April, as ‘so lifeless.’
 
The paper added that Trump warned his aides that he never wanted to meet someone ‘so lifeless’ again.
 
“The first meeting with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April ended with the US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter,” Financial Times claimed.
 
Trump had, at a meet-the-press held by the two leaders, praised the Buhari administration. He commended the President’s effort in tackling corruption and insurgency.
 
The 72-year-old American president had then called Nigeria one of the most beautiful places on earth, adding that he would love to visit someday.
 
 
Source: Punch
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, next week inaugurate the $250million state-of-the-art International Breweries in Ogun State.
 
The brewery, said to be the biggest in West Africa, is located at kilometre 3, Flowergate Industrial Scheme, along the Abeokuta-Sagamu Expressway.
 
The Plant Manager, Tony Agah, speaking to journalists at the premises of the factory, said the plant is the brewer’s fourth brewery in Nigeria after those in Ilesa, Onitsha, and Port-Harcourt.
 
According to him, about 90 per cent of the company’s raw materials would be sourced locally, adding that it had already employed 300 staff.
 
 
Agah said the brewery would have significant multiplier impact on the value chain within Ogun State and its environs as well as provide direct and indirect employment for the people, and also support Nigeria’s foreign direct investment aspiration.
 
The Managing Director, Annabelle Degroot, speaking about the inauguration, described the plant as a major step towards its strategic goal of producing high-quality drinks locally.
 
Her words: “Objectively, International Breweries Plc is a brand that places a premium on quality. Bearing this in mind, we will spare no expense or effort in ensuring that Nigerians are treated to the best traditions in brewing, with outstanding recipes, superior ingredients, innovation and world class techniques. The outcome is to ensure satisfaction and enjoyment for our consumers.”
 
Degroot added that the plant would provide a great opportunity to engage qualified locals, who are excited about the prospects of forging a career with the brand, while thousands of both direct and indirect jobs would be created.
 
She said: “One of the objectives of the company is to create job opportunities for the people of Ogun State as well as Nigerians in general. The plant will also be instrumental in empowering farmers as most of the raw materials required will be sourced locally. This will, in turn, contribute to the economic development of the country.”
 
International Brewery is one of the 300 companies that the Governor Ibikunle Amosun administration has attracted to the State since assumption of power in 2011.
 
 
Tribune

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed an Instrument of Accession to the International Cocoa Agreement (ICA), 2010.

The pact was the seventh ICA adopted at the United Nations Cocoa Conference in 2010 following the contribution of ICA, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1986, 1993 and ICA, 2001 to the development of the world cocoa economy.

The ICA, 2010 was administered by the International Cocoa Organization, which was established by the ICA, 1972 and functions through the International Cocoa Council, the highest authority of the organization.

A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said that decision followed the approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for Nigeria to accede to the agreement.

Following the execution of the instrument of accession, Nigeria undertakes “faithfully to abide by all the stipulations therein contained” in the agreement, according to the statement.

“Among other benefits, the agreement is expected to strengthen cooperation between exporting and importing member countries; improve their cocoa economies through active and better focused project development and strategies for capacity-building,” the statement read.

It is also expected to build on the successes of the 2001 Agreement by “implementing measures leading to an increase in the income of cocoa farmers and by supporting cocoa producers in improving the functioning of their cocoa economies.”

The statement added that the 2010 agreement would also “deliver cocoa of better quality, take effective account of food-safety issues and help establish social, economic and environmental sustainability, so that farmers are rewarded for producing cocoa that meets ethical and environmental considerations.”

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the ICA, 2010 was agreed with a view to strengthening the global cocoa sector, supporting its sustainable development and increasing the benefits to all stakeholders.

It highlighted eleven objectives as rationales for the pact, they comprise to; promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy; provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments, and with the private sector; contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of Member countries; obtain fair prices leading to equitable economic returns to both producers and consumers in the cocoa value chain.

The objectives also include to; promote a sustainable cocoa economy; encourage research and the implementation of its findings; promote transparency in the world cocoa economy, and in particular in the cocoa trade, as well as to promote the elimination of trade barriers; promote and to encourage; consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products in order to increase demand for cocoa.

Others include to; encourage Members to promote cocoa quality and to develop appropriate food safety procedures in the cocoa sector; encourage Members to develop and implement strategies to enhance the capacity of local communities and small-scale farmers to benefit from cocoa production and thereby contribute to poverty alleviation; facilitate the availability of information on financial tools and services that can assist cocoa producers, including access to credit and approaches to managing risk.

Currently, Nigeria rely on crude oil as its major source of revenue, accounting for about 70 percent of its total revenue and over 90 percent for its export earnings. The nation’s economy recorded its worst decline since 1987 in 2016 on the back of drop in the prices of crude oil in the international market in 2014.

Nigeria recorded five consecutive negative Gross Domestic Product growth rates from -0.67 percent in Q1 2016 to -0.91 percent in Q1 2017. It officially emerged from recession in Q3 2017 after two consecutive positive GDP growth. A development which had prompted the Federal Government to devise other means to diversify the economy away from oil into solid minerals, agriculture, among others to forestall a recurrence of the 2016 economic distress.

With the latest agreement, Nigeria is now a cocoa exporting member of the International Cocoa Organization and the International Cocoa Council, implying cocoa could become another alternative source of revenue generation and foreign exchange earnings as global organizations renewed their efforts to develop the cocoa sector.

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