FG Launches First Sugarcane Bio-Factory In Zaria

SugarcaneThe Federal Government has commissioned the first Sugarcane Bio-factory at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State as part of efforts to achieve national self-sufficiency in the nation’s sugar requirements.

Commissioning the factory on Monday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said that the inauguration of the one-million seedling per annum capacity bio-factory was the first in the series of bio-factories to be established in the next five years, with combined capacity estimated at 12.5million cane seedlings per annum.

He explained that the provision of high grade and quality seedlings of sugarcane is essential for the attainment of the set goals of the National Sugar Master Plan.

The production of sugar has been described as an integrated process with field and factory processes that are inter-dependent and mutually inclusive.

Thus, efficiency in the cultivation and supply of sugarcane is essential for efficient milling and production of sugar and associated by-products such as ethanol and electricity.

This facility, according to Mr Aganga, is designed to address all the critical challenges facing Nigeria’s sugar industry.

Its commissioning therefore marks another milestone in the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan, which was approved by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in September 2012.

The ultimate goal is to make Nigeria’s manufacturing sector highly competitive and dynamic.

Speaking during the event, the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ibrahim Garba, said that the project is a proactive approach for alleviating problems of sugacane production in Nigeria and will also support the efforts being made by the National Sugar Master Plan in ensuring sustainable sugarcane production by the year 2020.

As the factory settles down for production, Nigerians would hope that this addresses the short supply of sugar needed by many industries for the production of daily consumables and also create more job for the teeming population.

Nigeria Loses $3.3 Billion To Iron Ore Imports Yearly- Aganga

NigeriaThe Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, has confirmed that Nigeria loses over $3.3 billion every year to import items like roofing sheets, nails, roof tiles head pans, wire gauze that are produced from steel and iron ore minerals.

He added that the money spent on the importation may increase from $3.3 billion to $15 billion in the next decade if necessary measures are not put in place in the nation’s industrial policy.

He further noted that despite Nigeria being the second largest producer of steel and iron ore in Africa, it imports products from steel and iron into the country every year.

Speaking during the pre-commissioning visit to a cold roll mill and steel industry in Ilorin, the Minister said that any country that relies entirely on exporting raw materials without having a strong industrial and related services sector would remain poor.

The Minister, who said that the Industrial Revolution Plan of the present government is the most robust and comprehensive industrial plan Nigeria has ever had, added that the objective of the policy is to diversify the nation’s economy and revenue sources.

President Jonathan Leaves For ECOWAS Summit In Accra

jonathan_goodluck3President Goodluck Jonathan will leave Abuja on Wednesday for Accra to participate in the Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government scheduled to open in the Ghanaian capital on Thursday.

The Nigerian President and other Heads of State and Government attending the two-day summit are expected to consider and adopt the 2014 Interim Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

They will also deliberate on the report of the 72nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers as well as the report of the 32nd Session of the regional body’s Mediation and Security Council.

Security challenges in some West African countries and how to tackle them are issues expected to top discussions.

For over four years, the Nigerian Armed Forces have been trying to contain insurgency in the northeast. A terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in the region.

In neighbouring Cameroon and Niger Republic, members of the terrorist group have also attacked villages. Nigeria and the neighbouring countries are considering review of some treaties that could birth the collaboration of both countries’ military forces in the fight against the insurgents.

President Jonathan will be accompanied to the Summit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga.

The Nigerian delegates will return to Nigeria at the conclusion of the summit on Friday.

Jonathan Leads Delegation To AU Summit

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan will lead Nigeria’s delegation to the African Union’s Summit on Financing Infrastructure Development scheduled to hold in Dakar, the Senegalese capital on Sunday.

A statement by the spokesman for the president, Reuben Abati, said that the President would depart Abuja on Saturday with the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga amongst others.

Nigeria’s delegation will join other participating Heads of State and Government, representatives of the United Nations, the African Union, global financial institutions and leading investors in deliberations at the summit aimed at accelerating the implementation of key priority infrastructure projects within the framework of the African Union’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.

According to Abati, The President and other participants at the Summit which is being convened under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) will also brainstorm on the mobilisation of domestic financial resources for infrastructure development, the creation of conducive policy environments to enhance investments in infrastructure development and the leveraging of Public-Private Partnerships for continental infrastructure transformation.

The summit is expected to pay particular attention to the evolution of fresh strategies for the financing of high priority infrastructure projects such as regional road and rail networks, power supply and ports development. 

President Jonathan, who will also be accompanied by the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed and his Special Adviser on NEPAD, Ambassador Fidelia Njeze, will return to Abuja at the conclusion of the summit on Sunday.

Nigeria’s President To Meet With Investors In London

President Goodluck Jonathan will be visiting the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a three-day meeting with foreign investors.

The meeting is aimed at attracting more investments to Nigeria.

Issues that would be discussed at the meeting of Nigeria’s Honourary International Investors’ Council include generating long-term affordable finance for Nigeria’s real sector, developing Nigeria’s private equity and venture capital sectors to attract more foreign investments and Nigeria’s information and communications technology master-plan.

The government’s spokesman, Ruben Abati, said that the council’s meeting, coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, would also feature a review of Nigeria’s existing investment policies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based international organization dedicated to the promotion of policies that would improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

“President Jonathan will be accompanied by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Nenadi Usman, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon. Isiaka Bawa, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.

Others on the President’s entourage include the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of Special Duties, Mr. Kabiru Turaki, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri and heads of relevant government agencies”, Abati said in a statement on Tuesday.

The accompanying Ministers and heads of agencies will brief the gathering on developments in their areas of responsibility, and also lead discussions on proposals for overcoming identified challenges.

Some members of the council are the CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Mr. Mohammed al Shaibani, a former South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alec Erwin and the Vice President of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group in Europe and Middle-East and Africa, Mr. Olivier Suinat.

The President is expected back in Nigeria at the weekend.

Foreign investment in Nigeria hits $9billion

Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) hit $8.9 billion in 2011.

That’s according to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga.

The figure represents 16 per cent of Africa’s total FDI of $55 billion in 2011, making it the leading investment destination in Africa.

Mr Aganga attributed the increase to growing investor confidence.

According to him, the federal government is committed to consolidating on the gains so far recorded by strengthening the one-stop investment centre of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).


Aganga seeks improved export of Nigeria’s non-oil products

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga on Monday said now is the time for Nigeria to secure her own share of global wealth by boosting export of manufactured goods.

The Minister, who made this call at the third Nigeria non-oil export conference, exhibition and awards, disclosed that the country spends millions of foreign exchange importing finished products made from raw material exported to other countries which paint a ridiculous picture of Nigeria in the global market.

Mr Aganga called on Nigerians to expand and promote the nation’s non-oil exports by identifying pragmatic solutions to the critical issues impeding the country’s export growth to make lasting changes.

Three key issues that were discussed at the conference were quality assurance, packaging and branding and incentives for production.

These were identified as the main obstacles to launching Nigerian products in the global markets especially with the fierce competition by manufacturers from other countries.

The conference is set up to discuss issues with Nigeria’s non-oil exports and find acceptable solutions.

Corruption and lack of power is killing small businesses in Nigeria: World Bank

Poor electricity supply and corruption have been identified as some of the challenges to investment in Nigeria.

A World Investment report conducted by the World Bank on the investment climate in Nigeria which focused on 26 states in the country shows that 4.3 per cent of sales in the manufacturing sector was lost as a result of power failure.

Lead Private Sector Development specialist at the World Bank, Mr Michael Wong, who presented the report in Abuja on Thursday, called for the implementation of policies that would boost economic development in the country.

The last time the World Bank released a report on doing business in Nigeria was two years ago.

The latest report examined some of the challenges confronting the growth of small businesses in the country and problems such as insufficient power supply, lack of funding and corruption were identified as the key factors, just as they were identified in the last report.

World Bank’s Country Director in Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, also asserted that “Nigeria has the most attractive environment for investment because Nigeria is a large market in the continent; it is the second largest economy in the continent. It is a market that any investor cannot ignore with over 160 million people and a gateway to ECOWAS.”

“For me, while we say the country’s current investment climate could be better in terms of providing electricity, access to finance and other things, you should also look at the huge opportunities for investment in Nigeria” she stated.

But in spite of these challenges the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga believes that there is hope for the country.

According to the Minister, despite all the challenges, Nigeria’s global ranking on investment flow rose to 47 per cent last year.

He added that Nigeria’s growth rate in the past 10 years has consistently remained at seven per cent.

However, experts at the presentation of the report opined that these figures and percentage have not translated into job creation and address the widespread poverty in the country.

They agreed that the Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) sector of the nation’s economy must be given more priority in government policies.

The federal government declared that it will deliberate on the World Bank’s report to find a lasting solution to issues identified as setbacks to improving investment in the country.


Jonathan to leave for Brussels on Wednesday

President Goodluck  Jonathan will on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting, depart for Brussels, the European Union capital, on a one-day official visit to Belgium.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the president on Media, Dr Reuben Abati, announced on Tuesday that President Jonathan is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Summit of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Brussels on Thursday.

Accompanying the president on the one day trip will be the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Senator Dahiru Kuta and Honourable Chinda Ogundu will also be amongst the pack.

President Jonathan is expected to meet with the Nigerian Community in Belgium before he returns to Abuja on Thursday evening.