The African Development Bank has said that it is strongly in support of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Nigerian Government refuting earlier claims that it has called off $400m loans to Nigeria.
Director, Communication and External Relations of AfDB, Victor Oladokun, in a statement on Tuesday, said AfDB says it ”strongly supports the ERGP and efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency.”
The AfDB in the statement added that AfDB is highly encouraged by the economic recovery of Nigeria.
“The African Development Bank wishes to categorically refute the statement that it has “called off loans to Nigeria”, as reported in Reuters and credited to Vice President Amadou Hott.
“The African Development Bank is highly encouraged by the Economic Recovery of Nigeria from the recession and salutes the government’s efforts towards diversification of the economy.
“The Bank also strongly supports the Economic and Growth Recovery plan of the government and efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency,” the statement read.
Oladokun explained further that apart from the $600 million loan approved by the Board of the AfDB, an additional $400 million support could be considered to support Nigeria’s economy.
“In November 2016, the Board of the African Development Bank approved a $600 million loan to support Nigeria’s efforts to cope with macroeconomic and fiscal shocks that arose from the massive decline in the price of crude oil.
“An additional $400 million support could be considered, if requested and approved by the Board, as part of a larger coordinated effort with other development partners, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”
The statement added that the African Development Bank is in consultations with the government on how best to continue its support for Nigeria’s laudable Economic and Growth Recovery Plan through investment projects that will help address existing structural challenges, including infrastructure, power, agriculture and support to boost the private sector and jobs creation.
The Bank assures the Nigerian government of its full support for its continued reforms to diversify the economy and boost economic growth and development.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will formally launch the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, April 5.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, revealed that the ceremony will take place at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The statement explained that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.
The ERGP, which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development, was made public on March 7, while President Buhari was on his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.
The Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, had said the ceremonial presentation will take place when the President returns from his vacation.
The Federal Government has released the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development.
This was according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James.
According to the statement, the development of the plan went through a rigorous process including wide consultation and robust engagements with stakeholders from a range of relevant fields.
They include: economic experts from the public and private sectors, academia, the Organised Private Sector, Civil Society groups, Organised Labour, sub-regional governments, International Development Partners (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly.
The statement hinted that the Plan has been approved by the Federal Executive Council, adding that its ceremonial presentation would take place when President Muhammadu Buhari returns from vacation.
Achieving Structural Economic Change
The statement read: “The core vision of the Plan is one of sustained inclusive growth. There is an urgent need as a nation to drive structural economic transformation with an emphasis on improving both public and private sector efficiency.
“The aim is to increase national productivity and achieve sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy and achieve maximum welfare for the citizens, beginning with food and energy security.
“The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy. Overall, the Plan is expected to deliver on Five key broad outcomes namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.
“Realising that the country’s economy would remain on a path of decline if nothing was immediately done to change the trajectory, the present administration, when it assumed office, embarked on strategic moves to halt the trend and redirect the course of the country’s economy and growth process.
A Knowledge-Based Economy
“The process started with the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget of Change as a short-term intervention. The ERGP, a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, builds on the SIP and has been developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.
“The Plan seeks to eliminate the bottlenecks that impede innovations and market based solutions, recognises the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy, and is consistent with the aspirations of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The ERGP differs in several ways from previous strategies and plans as it:
is anchored on focused implementation which is at the core of the delivery strategy over the next four years;
outlines bold initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatising selected public enterprises/assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent by 2018;
builds on existing sectoral plans such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master-plan;
signals a changing relationship between the public and private sector based on close partnership.
utilises the value of the merger of budget and planning functions into one Ministry to create a better and stronger link between annual budgets and the ERGP; and
provides for strong coordination with the States to ensure that the Federal and sub-regional governments work towards the same goals.
Vision Of Inclusive Growth
“The thinking behind the development of the Plan was driven by several fundamental principles, including a focus on tackling constraints to growth; leveraging the power of the private sector and promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, as well as allowing markets to function.
“The Plan has three broad strategic objectives which are expected to help achieve the vision of inclusive growth: restoring growth, investing in the people, and building a globally competitive economy.
“The ERGP focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification by undertaking fiscal stimulus, ensuring monetary stability and improving the external balance of trade.
“The delivery mechanism has been identified as a major determining factor in the successful implementation of the Plan. The implementation strategy therefore focuses on prioritising the identified strategies, establishing a clear system of accountability for well-defined assignment of responsibilities, setting targets and developing detailed action plans, allocating resources to prioritised interventions, creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment, developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, and using effective communication strategies”.
Having cemented its status as the foremost business personalities meeting dedicated to the development of the African private sector, the Africa CEO Forum is set to kick off its 5th edition, themed: “re-thinking Africa’s business model”.
The 2017 edition, set to take place in Geneva, would focus on how to succeed in this new economic cycle on the continent.
Slated to hold between March 20 and 21, the programme would bring together more than 1000 personalities, key decision makers in industry, finance and politics from the African continent and around the globe.
The Africa CEO forum 2017 would open the debate with the economic boom of the 2000s, the context of economic growth in Africa and the critical decisions that must be taken to reach rapid and sustainable growth.
Other themes to be discussed include: Unleashing innovation and the entrepreneurial potential of youth and women, making Africa more attractive for international investors, turning African stock exchanges into competitive powerhouses and creating the next generation of African exporters.
The forum would also offer 20 sessions for debate and reflection, allowing participants to hit strategic topics for driving African corporate growth including: digital transformation, fintech, agri-business, private equity, emerging African champions, electricity and innovation.
Some of the African and international personalities slated to take part in the discussion and debate include:
President, African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, CEO Unilever, Paul Polman, President, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mo Ibrahim, CEO, OTMT Investments, Naguib Sawiris, Chairperson, MTN, Phuthuma Nhleko, Co-Founder and Group Executive Director, Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, CEO, United Capital, Oluwatoyin Sanni, Chairperson, Firstbank, Ibukun Awosika, CEO, Mohammed Enterprises, Mohammed Dewji, CEO, Africa and Middle East, Orange, Bruno Mettling, CEO, MSC, Diego Aponte, CEO, Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah, CEO, Rougier, Marie-Yvonne Charlemagne, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Sola David-Borha, CEO, Uchumi Supermarkets, Julius Kipng’etich, CEO, Cevital, Issad Rebrab, CEO, Casablanca Finance City Authority, Saïd Ibrahimi, CEO, NSIA, Jean Kacou Diagou.
The Nigerian Air Force has pledged to provide logistics during the rebuilding of the northeast ravaged by over seven years of insurgency.
While receiving members of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, revealed that the Air Force was setting up an operation theatre for the hospital in Bama as part of efforts to improve health care for Internally Displaced Persons in the region.
The Vice Chairman of the committee, Mr Tijani Tumsah, explained that the committee was negotiating a loan facility of about $400 million from the World Bank and the African Development Bank to commence the project.
“We seek the collaboration of the Nigerian Air Force in a lot of areas. Some of the areas include using your experiences in countering violent extremism, disarmament, mobilisation, re-integration of civilian JTF, counter-radicalisation programmes, construction and renovation of schools and roads among others,” he told the Air Chief.
Assuring the committee of the force’s support, Air Marshall Abubakar said: “I want to say that we are open anytime you feel that we can be of support to you and we are most willing to support in the area of reconstruction and renovation.
“We have also made it clear that we have directorate of works that is building our works and renovating accommodation in all our barracks. They are building the post-housing projects for our officers and we believe that they are there and if there is need for us to support your reconstruction efforts we will not hesitate to deploy them to see how they can assist you”
The Chief of Air Staff further assured the committee members that the Air Force could help move materials from any part of Nigeria to Maiduguri through its C-130 aircraft, which he said could carry up to 20,000 kilograms.
“We are willing to support you and give you this aircraft,” he added.
As Nigeria battles with economic recession and the dire need to raise funds, particular foreign exchange, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is looking to provide over $4billion dollars between 2016 and 2017.
President of the bank and Nigeria’s former agriculture minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina who is on his first official visit to Nigeria in his capacity as president of the AfDB says the funds would be used to develop the power and agriculture sectors in the country.
Dr. Adesina was speaking after holding talks with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital.
The plan includes; $1 billion of budget support, $300 million to create jobs for 185,000 youths, $250 million towards northeast infrastructure development, and $1 million grant to deal with challenges of internally displaced persons (IDPs),
It also includes $300 million for infrastructure development around Abuja, and $200 million for Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to deepen electricity facilities.
While holding talks with the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Dr Adesina had said that “deepening the level of diversification in critical sectors” such as agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing, was of particular importance.
“I expect that our portfolio in Nigeria will not decrease – it will actually grow. We expect to invest in Nigeria, by 2019, a total of $10 billion,” said Adesina,
The Finance Minister allayed fears that the country could be over-borrowing. “What we are trying to do is to ensure that this money we are borrowing, we use it on the key infrastructure that will drive the economy,” she said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given the assurance that Nigeria has the people and the resources to surmount her economic problems.
He gave the assurance while receiving President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, at State House, Abuja, on Monday.
President Buhari said: “God has given us people and resources. It will take hard work on our part, but we will make it. We will get out of our problems. We are determined to produce what we eat, and stop importation. We will also chase those who stole, and get them to refund.”
The President said the country appreciates helping hands being lent by the ADB, assuring Nigerian-born Adesina, who was the immediate past Minister of Agriculture, that “we will not let you down. Your country won’t disappoint you.”
Too Big To Fail
Adesina appreciated President Buhari for the support the country gave when he ran for ADB presidency, thus making him the first Nigerian to occupy such position since the bank was established in 1964.
He also lauded the Nigerian President for successes recorded in securing the country, particularly in the North East, noting that “there can be no development without adequate security.”
The ADB boss described recent economic decisions taken in the country as “bold, tough, uncomfortable, but right,” adding that Nigeria would reap the dividends in the short and long run.
“You can count on the ADB as a true friend of Nigeria. You should support massive investment in infrastructure, and we are here to also support. Closing the infrastructure deficit will enable growth, and create employment. Nigeria is too big to fail,” Adesina said.
Packages For Nigeria
The ADB President unfolded the packages his institution has for Nigeria, which include; $1 billion of budget support, $300 million to create jobs for 185,000 youths, $250 million towards North East infrastructure development, $1 million grant to deal with challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), $300 million for infrastructure development around Abuja, $200 million for Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to deepen facilities, among others.
Dr Adesina expressed delight with what he called “President Buhari’s push on anti-corruption, and stance on governance,” adding that building institutions was critical.
To that end, he said ADB would give a total of $4.8 million as grant for institutional support, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) getting $2 million, and $1million to Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). “You can always count on my support, and that of the ADB,” he concluded.
The Nigerian government is set to inject an additional 350 billion Naira ($1.1 billion) into the economy and raise $1 billion from Euro-bonds by mid-December to ease the recession.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, told reporters in Abuja on Friday that the additional funding, on top of the initial 420 billion Naira released in May, was primarily for capital expenditure projects that would also involve support from local banks and transaction partners.
“We are raising money. As you know the Euro-bond capital raise is on.
“We are about to appoint advisers so we we will be raising additional $1 billion.
“Two weeks ago we approved the external borrowing plan and that was very important,” the Minister said.
Plans To Borrow
According to her, the government plans to borrow a total of 1.8 trillion Naira at home and abroad to fund an expected budget deficit of 2.2 trillion Naira.
In an attempt to reviving the crashed economy, the government has approved borrowing from the African Development Bank, China, Japan and World Bank with rates of 1.25 per cent and a 20-year maturity.
“When we said we will borrow, we said we will borrow the cheapest money first.
“We have approvals in that plan from the World Bank, ADB, with interest rates as low as 1.5 per cent and tenures as low as forty years to intervene in some specific areas which include agriculture, education, health, rebuilding of the northeast and of course the railway project that are very key to what we are doing,” Mrs Adeosun explained.
Bureaucracy in the civil service is an issue that critics have asked the government to address to hasting the release of funds that would provide needed infrastructures and add impetus to the economy to cushion the effect of the recession on Nigerians.
The Minister also pointed out that the issue with fiscal initiatives was that “there is always a lag”.
“There is always a time difference between when you release money and when it has an effect. We are trying to work on how we can shorten that lag,” the Minister stated.
She highlighted that some of the delays were in the procurement process, which, according to her, were being looked into, with the government doing its best to speed up the process.
Another area that the government is looking to push funds to, according to the Minister, is the Social Intervention Programme, which she said would receive 60 billion Naira. “That is very important in terms of putting money into peoples pocket,” she stressed.
She told reporters that the allocation was an addition to earlier releases, aimed at boosting the economy.
Mrs Adeosun said that before the allocation of the 60 billion Naira the government had spent over 400 billion Naira on capital.
Economy In Recession
Nigeria’s economy had glided into recession few weeks ago, after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.
According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.
The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.
During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.
The oil-rich nation’s economy suffered a set-back when the price of crude oil dropped, dipping the nation’s revenue.
The situation was, however, compounded by the resurgence of militants activities in the south-south region where there nation’s wealth is.
A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers have attacked different oil installations in Niger Delta, forcing some oil companies to declare force majeure.
Their activities have lowered the nation’s crude oil output by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.56 million bpd in the last few months.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last week expressed optimism that the economic recession the country is battling with would ease out soon.
He said changes would come ‘once the Federal Government is able to resolve the issues concerning the pipeline vandalism and focus on sustainable diversification policy’.
The Vice President gave the assurance while speaking to reporters at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun State.
The current administration of the All Progressives Congress has also blamed the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party for the recession, saying that the previous administration refused to invest in infrastructure and save money for the nation when the price of crude oil was over $100 per barrel.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has described reports on social media linking it and Dangote group with a plan to ‘flood’ the country with genetically modified rice (GMO) as extremely uncharitable.
In a statement on Monday, by the spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, the government warned purveyors of such malicious information and those thinking of embarking on the same route to have a rethink and retrace their steps.
Explaining government’s involvement in boosting production of rice in Nigeria, the Federal Government said it signed a $1 billion Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) for investment in integrated rice project with Dangote Industries Ltd.
“Further to this agreement, Dangote Industries Limited this year cultivated over 8,000 hectares in Hadejia, Jigawa state, creating over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for farmers who are the major beneficiaries of the scheme.
“In consolidation of the rice project of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari administration is also in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other reputable companies to tap into the vast potentials in the private sector and broadening the economic base of the country.
“The gains of the diversification drive especially in the Agriculture sector are already yielding dividends, as shown by the recent statistics in the sector as published by the National Bureau of Statistics,” the statement read.
According to the Federal Government, these engagements would continue until the present administration has laid a solid foundation for the economic development of the nation.
It further described the reports about plans to import genetically modified rice as ridiculous, insisting that it was wholly devoted to the generation of employment for Nigerians especially through Agriculture.
“It is unfortunate that while the Buhari administration is working assiduously with well-meaning Nigerians to bring the country out of the current economic situation it has found itself, a few self-serving individuals are bent on distracting the administration from the avowed focus to reflate the fortunes of the country through the diversification of the economy which, very soon, Nigerians will begin to see and experience the results,” the spokesman for President Buhari wrote.
Mr Adesina pointed out that President Buhari has said repeatedly that, “we have the capacity to feed ourselves in Nigeria and even export from what we produce in the country”.
President Buhari has also said that through the provision of 200 billion Naira by the CBN for small-holder farmers and processors involved in local production of rice and other grains, rice importation will hopefully stop in the next three years.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has started the process of initializing the implementation of critical infrastructure developmental projects in Abia State with an inspection visit to some of the deplorable roads at Aba the commercial hub of the state.
The bank’s representative, Mwila Katabula, during a visit to the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, at the Executive Chambers of Government House, Umuahia, expressed their readiness to partner with the state in areas as stipulated by the government.
The aim is to upgrade and rehabilitate some collapsed roads amongst others so as to empower the people and thereby boosting and enhancing economic development of the state.
At the Obohia Road, the need to de-congest the city centre and issue of water challenge was at the front burner.
But at Ngwa Road Market, the road infrastructure had totally collapsed, as flood had entered most of the shops. The traders had to sweep the water out; a situation they hoped would end soon.
The partnership would allow the state assess a grant-aid of 200 million dollars to rebuild infrastructure but only when all the adequate facility as penned down by the bank are put in place.
It was the second visit of the team of Africa Development Bank to Abia State, after the last visit in 2014, this time to continue with the discussion in areas of work implementation.
African leaders at the African Development Bank meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, have agreed to prioritise the development of energy sources, with the maximum use of fossil fuel and coal, even as they advance important issues around climate change.
The leaders say the African continent cannot afford to miss out on the fourth industrial revolution, having missed out of industrial development in the past.
Light Up Africa
They observed that the greatest hitch to Africa’s development was lack of energy to power its growth and that the continent was tired of living in the dark.
An Anglo meeting they call it, with discussions focused on energy to light up Africa over the next decade and the impact of climate change on Africa.
Heads of government from all 54 African countries and beyond are interested in accelerated growth in the continent which has been hinged on energy, the absence of which Africa has remained behind in global development.
Amidst the need for development, climate change is a major concern.
Africa is said to be the continent that will continue to be affected as the global warming effects worsen, but the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said development must come first with Africa’s natural resources harnessed.
“For us here, development must come first.
“What we really need is for our fossil fuel solutions – coal fired plants, hydro-power- and that is why we are saying at this conference that you can’t de-emphasise our natural resource endowments, especially if we want to advance in technology.
“We must prioritise development because poverty kills thousands of people just as climate change does,” Professor Osinbajo said.
The Prime Minister of Tanzania, Kassim Majaliwa, stressed that there were also other needs that must be tackled to light up Africa and stem the impact of climate change.
Discussions so far at the meeting showed that African leaders will put steam to development on the continent with energy on the frontline, but they also have the task of persuading the rest of the world for more support in climate finance, expertise and technology.
That way development in Africa will go hand in hand with stemmed environmental impact.