Senate Begins Public Hearing Into MTN’s Fraud Allegation

Senate on Whistle Blowers Bill and Witness Protection BillThe Senate has begun investigation of alleged connivance of communication giant, MTN and some banks in the repatriation of $13.92 billion out of Nigeria between 2006 and 2016.

The probe kicked off on Thursday at a public hearing in the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

A lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, claimed that MTN did not request for a ‘certificate of capital importation’ from its bankers, Standard Chartered Bank within the regulatory period of 24 hours of the inflow.

Giving his testimony, a member of the MTN Board, Mr Pascal Dozie, described the allegation as false, saying the company never contemplated breaking any Nigerian law.

He further explained why his company did not request for the said certificate.

The Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Mr Jim Obazee, blamed the failure of regulatory agencies such as the CBN for the gradual depletion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, was also scheduled to give his testimony on the allegations leveled against him in the matter but left immediately after the opening ceremony.

This annoyed the Senate Committee on Banking and they threatened to sanction him for what seemed like a refusal to verbally address the accusations.

They also promised to analyse the documents submitted by all concerned parties in the next few days.

Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, earlier hinted that the lawmakers had engaged the services of foreign and local forensic experts to investigate the alleged scam.

He told reporters at the National Assembly that the committee had also invited the management of the MTN and other stakeholders for questioning.

Senate Probes MTN Over Alleged $13.9bn Money Laundering

Senate Probes MTN Over Alleged $13.9bn Money LaunderingThe Nigerian Senate has launched an investigation into the alleged money laundering by Nigeria’s telecommunication giant, MTN.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, made the disclosure on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Senator Ibrahim said the committee had engaged the services of foreign and local forensic experts to investigate the alleged $13.9 billion scam by MTN.

He told reporters at the National Assembly that the committee had also invited the management of the MTN and other stakeholders.

The other stakeholders invited are Central Bank of Nigeria, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Elenemah‎.

The probe follows the directive by the Upper House to investigate the alleged illegal transfer of the said sum by MTN in connivance with some Nigerians.

The transaction was purportedly facilitated by four commercial banks in Nigeria.

President Buhari Arrives In China

Muhammadu-Buhari-Arrives-ChinaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has arrived in the People’s Republic of China for a state visit.

According to the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari was welcomed at the Beijing Capital International Airport by China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Cheng Guoping, alongside other senior Chinese government officials.

Also at the airport were the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, and the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam.

Other Nigerian government’s functionaries at the airport were the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and Minister of Defence, Dan Monsur Ali.

The President left Abuja on Sunday for a working visit to China aimed at securing greater support from Beijing for the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing sectors.

Considering Chinese Panda Bond

It is expected that in the course of the visit, several new agreements and memorandums of understanding to boost trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China would be concluded and signed.

The agreements include a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples’ Republic of China to boost industrial activities and infrastructural development in Nigeria.

Others are a Framework Agreement between the Federal Ministry of Communications and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and China on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-finance
Minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria was also considering Japanese bond

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had told reporters after a meeting with the business and investment community early on Saturday in Lagos, that the government was considering the possibility of issuing Chinese panda bond to make up for the deficit in the 2016 budget.

She said that the government’s objective was to borrow the cheapest possible money.

The breakfast meeting focused on the imperatives for fiscal discipline, investment and diversification of the domestic economy in the face of strong local and international headwinds such as the steady decline in oil prices and weak global economic growth.

Jonathan Performs Groundbreaking Of Gas Industrial Park

JonathanNigeria may be set for a major gas revolution with the flag off of the Gas Industrial Park in Delta State, South South Nigeria.

This indication was given by the President Jonathan on Thursday while performing the groundbreaking of the project which he believes would generate much needed revenue for the country when it starts functioning.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the park would be designated a free trade zone, and is expected to generate large number of jobs for all Nigerians.

President Jonathan expressed optimism that the project, which is believed will be Africa’s biggest gas industrial hub, would be executed to international standard and attract many gas related industries from across the world.

The park is expected to consist of industries, which would produce fertilizers, petrochemicals, methanol and other related products.

Thursday’s groundbreaking comes after several attempts to kick-off the project were frustrated as a result of the tussle between the Ijaw and Itshekiri over the ownership of the land on which the facility is located.

Present at the ceremony were traditional rulers, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe; Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, top government functionaries and member of the community.

Aganga Says Nigeria Accounts For 75% New Investments In Africa

The_minister_of_trade_and_investment_Olusegun_AgangaThe Minister of Trade and Investment in Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Aganga, has given the nation’s economy a clean bill of health, saying that despite the challenges of poor infrastructural development, epileptic power supply, insecurity in some states in the north-east, Nigeria’s economy still accounts for 75 per cent of new investments in Africa.

Mr Aganga made the claim in Ota, Ogun state, in south-west Nigeria while delivering a lecture on “the emergence of Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy and challenges for the future”.

The Minister gave a bit by bit economic development indices of Nigeria in the last couple of years, emphasising that Nigeria has been attracting investment capital rather than aid money. He attributed it to the many economic development initiatives being put in place by the Federal Government

In his speech, the Vice Chancellor of the Bells University of Technology, Professor Isaac Adeyemi, stressed that knowledge economy, research, innovation and Education must be adequately funded by the government at all levels to ensure Nigeria achieves its vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020.

In his goodwill message, the Chairman of the occasion, Professor Akin Maboogunje, told participants that aside from America, “Nigeria is the only country that can lay claim to Manifest Destiny”, adding that the country has larger concentration of proactive and talented people.

Youths who were present at the occasion were urged to make themselves readily available for the challenges of the 21st century so that Nigeria, as the current largest economy in Africa, could take its rightful place in the comity of great economies of the world.

Nigeria Targets 80 Billion Dollars Asian Investment In Next Two Years

NigeriaThe Federal Government has announced a target of 80billion dollars investment inflow from Asian countries in the next two years.

Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, who spoke at a meeting with heads of missions of Asian countries in New Delhi, India, said that the drive became necessary following the emergence of Asian countries as leaders in trade relations with Nigeria.

It was a think tank by government officials and ambassadors from 14 Asian countries to make Nigeria a major trade and investment hub.

The Minister said that there was the need to persistently push for the recognition of Nigeria as the preferred investment destination across the globe.

For over six hours, the officials deliberated on how to achieve this set mandate.

One after the other, heads of agencies charged with the mandate of improving investment inflows into the country through oil and non oil exports also took time to explain why the ambassadors should improve investment ties with their countries of assignment.

When the meeting was over, it was resolved that a target of 80billion naira from countries in the Asian region for the next two years is key to employment generation and poverty reduction in the country.

The ambassadors expressed willingness to ensure an upward trend.

Trade volume between Nigeria and countries in the Asian continent currently stands at 40billion dollars with India and China topping the list with over 2.9trillion naira and 2.1trillion naira respectively.

It was the first time in over 50 years that government officials would be deliberating to improve trade ties between Nigeria and Asian countries.

What many Nigerians expect in the days ahead is that resolution reached at the meeting would translate into concrete actions that would turn around the socio-economic development of the country.

Return And Invest, FG Tells Nigerians In US

Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has assured members of the international business community willing to do business in Nigeria of a friendly business environment laced with strong return on investment.

Speaking at a forum in New York, Aganga told a group of business men and women that government  has put in place the right polices that will support growth.

Also, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is calling on more investors to participate in the Ogidigben Industrial Park project in Delta State.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who made this call during a panel discussion on power at the Nigeria Investment Summit in New York, said the gas-based industrial park offers investment opportunities in petrochemical, fertilizer, methanol and other non-oil sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Yakubu, who was represented by the Group Executive Director, Gas and Power, Dr. David Ige, said in a statement on Wednesday that the project was the choice destination for quick return on investment.

The statement was signed by the Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ms. Tumini Green.

The Federal Government and the private sector are expected to invest $15bn (N2.39tn) in the 2,700-hectare gas-based industrial park. The contractors were expected to have moved to the project site since June.

The NNPC had during the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, United State in May, 2013, said the clearing and preparatory activities would begin at the Ogidigben site in June.

Ige, who spoke for the corporation, had said, “Though this project is late relative to our timing, we are making progress. Our plan is that in the next one month or two, we are going to move to site for site clearing and construction will begin.

“The Ogidigben Industrial Park will have a fertilizer plant, a petrochemical plant, a central processing facility and a power plant of 350-megawatt capacity. There will be big commercial and residential areas. It is going to be the biggest gas-based industrial park in Africa.”

FG Designs New National Industrial Revolution Plan

In a bid to develop the non-oil sector of the nation’s economy and fast-track industrial development, the Federal Government has announced that it is developing a national industrial revolution plan to give impetus to other spheres of the economy.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Segun Aganga, made this disclosure in Ijebu Mushin, Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State during a facility tour of Tulip, a private cocoa processing factory located in the area.

While expressing the commitment of the Federal Government towards industrial revolution, the Minister urged Nigerians and the international community to focus less on those negative things about the country.

The Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun who was represented by the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Bimbo Ashiru, used the occasion to assure investors in the state of adequate security and conducive atmosphere for business growth and development.

The occasion also witnessed the signing of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding by the Federal Government, the Kingdom of Netherlands and the cocoa processing factory in Ogun State.

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.

Canadian envoy express confidence in Nigeria’s economy

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter, has stated that Canada is currently working on strategies aimed at increasing its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria within the next few years due to enhanced confidence in the Nigerian economy.

Cooter disclosed this during a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja.

The Canadian envoy noted that as part of efforts to strengthen trade and investment relationship between the two countries, more Canadian companies had already indicated their willingness to invest in infrastructural projects across Nigeria.

He explained that the move was a follow-up to the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission meeting held between the Minister of Trade and Investment; Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Abuja recently.

“Two weeks ago, the Nigeria –Canada Bi-National Commission met in Abuja and the centerpiece of that Bi-National Commission was how to build and strengthen economic relationships between Nigeria and Canada. This is one of the reasons we have brought the Senior Executives of SNC Lavalin, one of the leading engineering and Construction Company in Canada, and as top five in the world” he said.

“They have been in Nigeria before, in fact, they were here about 25 years ago. That time, they thought that this was not the best place to invest but today, there is a wind of change going on in Nigeria’s investment landscape which is being driven by the Minister of Trade and Investment. Therefore, we are looking at areas where Canadian companies can invest in Nigeria and how they can form partnerships in Nigeria in line with the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission” he added.

Present at the meeting were Senior Executives of SNC Lavalin, Canada’s biggest engineering and Construction Company, led by the company’s Executive Vice-President, Mr. Michael Novak, and Senior Vice-President, Product and Market Growth, Dr. Mark Hall.

Speaking during the meeting, Mr Aganga said that the Federal Government would partner genuine investors who are willing to invest in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such an infrastructure, mining, petrochemical and agri-business in order to create jobs for the Nigerian people.

“We have a big infrastructure deficit in Nigeria and that is why the Federal Government is very concerned to bridge the gap by developing the critical infrastructure required to drive our industrial development, especially in those areas where we have comparative and competitive advantage such as mining, petrochemical, agri-business and even the Small and Medium Enterprises sector” he said.

The Minister also added that the government is ready to “work with foreign investors who are interested in investing in infrastructure projects. For those who are interested in Public Private Partnership in the area of infrastructure development, we will link them up with key government agencies such the Infrastructure Concession and Regulation Commission and other ministries or agencies for the necessary action.”

Also speaking during the meeting, the Executive Vice President, SNC Lavalin, Mr. Michael Novak, said the company would explore the Public Private Partnership option to invest in key infrastructural projects in Nigeria.

Korea-Nigeria sign agreement on industrial cooperation

Nigeria and South Korea have agreed on an industrial cooperation strategy to promote the development of petrochemical and automotive industries and other major sectors in both countries.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga and his Korean counterpart, Hong Suk-Woo.

Both countries made the commitment at the Korea-Africa industry cooperation forum in Seoul.

According to details of the agreement, Korea will provide all the necessary support to major Korean companies, who want to partner Nigeria on the development of the petrochemical and automotive sectors.

The two ministers also set in motion, plans to create the Korea-Nigeria trade and investment council in order to strengthen their new partnership and to learn from one another.