Military, Hospital Wares To Be Produced Locally, Says FG

 

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a mandate that all uniform services and theatre wears in hospitals and medical facilities be sourced locally from the Nigerian cotton textile and garment sector.

Mr Emefiele who disclosed this at a meeting with representatives of the military, paramilitary organizations and stakeholders from the garment and textile sector in Abuja on Thursday, said that the aim is to revive the nation’s textile industry which has remained moribund for over three decades.

“We have the mandate of Mr President to ensure that all uniform services and theatre wears in hospitals and medical facilities be sourced locally from the Nigerian cotton textile and garment sector.

“The bureau of public procurement has been notified to enforce compliance amongst the MDA’s.”

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He added that strategies have been adopted which will facilitate long term contract for production and ensure that quality and security will be put into consideration.

“Our model in achieving this presidential directive is to facilitate long term contract, at least five years or more between yourselves with our textiles and garment factories to produce uniforms for our armed forces and uniformed services, using local fabrics and textile materials.

“We are not naïve of the fact that the nature of your jobs will warrant special quality and security around the production of the wears.”

The governor pledged that the CBN’s team will work with their nominees to ensure requisite quality and security associated with the uniforms.

“Our team will work with your nominees towards ensuring requisite quality and security associated with your uniforms.”

FG Asks CBN To Extend BVN To Microfinance Banks

FG Asks CBN To Extend BVN To Microfinance BanksThe Federal Government has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the requirement for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) to account holders in microfinance banks.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, stated this in a letter to the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

She explained that this would help to identify bank accounts which might have been opened and operated for ghost workers by fraudulent syndicates.

The use of BVN for bank transactions is only limited to account holders in the deposit money banks.

The CBN had in September 2016 announced plans to extend the BVN exercise to the microfinance banking sector.

However, the apex bank is yet to implement the extension.

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have succeeded in halting an attempt by Etisalat’s creditors to take over the company.

A statement by the spokesman for NCC, Tony Ojobo, said reprieve came for the mobile network operator during a meeting held on Friday.

According to the statement, receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive.

“The meeting, which held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

“The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

“CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear that everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

“Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while the consortium of banks meet their obligations to their customers, a meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward.

“The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon,” the statement read.

FG Begins Verification Of Monthly Budget Support Facility

Yemi Osinbajo, NEC, Budget Support Facility, VerificationThe Federal Government has commenced the verification of its monthly Budget Support Facility to the states.

The importance of the exercise is to ensure that benefiting state governments comply with the mutually agreed Fiscal Sustainability Plan prescribed by the National Economic Council (NEC).

The resolution was reached at the first NEC meeting in 2017, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that eight accounting firms have been appointed and had already begun the audit process.

She also told the council that the balance in excess crude account stands at $2,458,382,844.03 as at February 15, 2017.

The minister hinted that the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) plans to increase domestic infrastructure investment in 2017, as there are compelling opportunities in the environment.

She explained that the focus would be on social infrastructure, including affordable housing and healthcare through the development of specialist hospitals and to this end, the council has decided to inject a fresh $250 million into the Sovereign Wealth Fund sourced from the excess crude account.

On agriculture, the council was informed of the massive wheat production in Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Zamfara states among others.

The State Governors at the meeting, however, appealed to the Federal Government to make plans for the purchase of excess wheat to ensure price stability and sustainable production.

The council subsequently agreed to discuss and make adequate buy-back arrangements in order to support price stability.

After a brief presentation on foreign exchange policy options by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, members of the council generally expressed concern over the current situation of the exchange rate.

They called for an urgent review of the current policy, especially the gap between interbank and the parallel market rates.

In his response, Mr Emefiele sued for patience and understanding, assuring the council that the situation was being closely managed.

CBN Assures Nigerians Of Policies To Strengthen Naira

Naira, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerians, Godwin EmefieleThe Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, says the apex bank will continue to come up with policies to strengthen the naira.

The CBN Governor added that he expects the naira to stabilise while inflationary pressure is expected to reduce.

He made the remarks on Tuesday at the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting for the year in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

At the meeting to evaluate the economy’s performance in the last quarter of 2016, Mr Emefiele gave an overview of the international market and how it has affected the domestic economy.

He noted that the apex bank would come up with policies to increase Nigeria’s foreign reserve which currently stands at $28.9 billion.

The apex bank governor also assured Nigerians of a more resilient economy in 2017 which he said would be driven by agriculture and diversification of the economy.

He added that the bank would make the foreign exchange available for manufacturers and other businesses.

CBN To Ease Access To Funds For SMEs

Godwin-Emefiele-Governor-of-Central-Bank-NigeriaThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has promised to streamline logistics and mechanisms to ease access to funds for the development of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs).

The Governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who announced the plan on Tuesday, said that of the 220 billion Naira earmarked for the sector in 2014 only about 80 billion Naira had been accessed so far.

He gave the update during the fact finding mission of the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodity and Production led by the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu.

Also at the meeting was the Governor of Ogun State, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, who asked for more funds for cooperative societies in the agricultural sector to grow the state’s economy.

Earlier, the task force was taken round some of the farms in the state, where the farmers laid bare their demands, with access to financing topping their list.

The coordinator of Eriwe Fish Farm Village, Professor Olanipekun Alausa, spoke on behalf of some fish farmers in the state before they moved from farm to farm in Ijebu Ode, Kotopo Greenhouse Farm in Abeokuta and Eweje Farm Settlement.

The task force members were conducted round the farms where the CBN governor assured the farmers of easy access to SMEs funds.

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, also reeled out some of the plans of the Federal Government for the sector for cooperative societies in the state.

Findings by this task force is expected to form the fulcrum for the extended Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government for the state.

CBN Optimistic Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Will Enhance Rice Sufficiency

CBN, anchor borrowers' programme, rice sufficiencyThe Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, says in less than five years, Nigeria would become self-sufficient in rice production, going by the actions and on-going support of the government to farmers and Nigerians interested in farming.

Mr Emefiele who led the Presidential Task Force on rice and wheat production to Cross River state for an assessment tour, said three billion out of the 26 billion set aside for the anchor borrowers’ programme has been given to Cross River where up to 78,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the rice production programme.

The State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade said Cross River has set aside 18,000 square km of land for rice farming, with 5,800 participating farmers and another 12,000 set to join in the next planting season.

He therefore expressed optimism about the state’s rice yield in the near future.

Although the CBN Chief believes that forex restriction on rice importation will boost Nigeria’s chances of rice sufficiency before 2020, chairman of the Presidential Task Force on rice and wheat, Senator Atiku Bagudu, expects significant sufficiency by 2017.

Nigeria consumes about 6 million metric tonnes of rice per annum but produces less than half of that.

CBN, anchor borrowers' programme, rice sufficiencyThere are currently 40 integrated rice mills in the country, which are expected to process up to 5 metric tonnes of rice per hour.

Meanwhile, the country has 36 silos targeted to store up to 100 million metric tonnes of rice.

Mr Emefiele insists that the nation’s scarce foreign reserve would not be used to import any agricultural product the nation has in abundance.

He emphasised that the bank is set to support anyone ready to farm rice, cassava, palm, and other agricultural products to feed the nation and create export opportunities.

FG, CBN Restates Commitment To Boost Rice Production To End Importation

Audu-Ogbeh-Bank-Of-AgricultureThe Federal Government is set to support the Niger state government with irrigation equipment, to enabled its rice farmers in the production of one million metric tons of rice by the end of this year’s dry season farming.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogheh made this known at Sachi village, Lavun Local Government of Niger state in an inspection tour of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Program of States. He added that so far about 2 billion Naira has been spent through the scheme in the state.

He said that over 2,000 farmers from 57 cooperatives had so far benefited from the program in Niger State, hence 1,700 are preparing for this dry season farming and 907 cotton farmers are to benefit from the CBN programme.

The Minister informed that soon Nigeria will be able to feed the nation with rice produce and export, just as the provision of irrigation facilities to increase output  includes: solar power water pumping machines, small rice milling facilities, thrashers and combine harvesters to ease the processing of rice produce to boost their economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in his remarks applauded the Niger State Government and the cooperatives for their zeal for the 30,000 hectres of land for the programme.

He noted that 2 billion Naira had been disbursed for 14,000 farmers in the state so far under the program.

He assured of speedy process of the scheme by considering the comparative advantage of Niger State in rice production, adding that the state is in competition with Kebbi state.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State at the event expressed the determination of the state government in assisting farmers to improved production while awaiting the promised rice mills so as to take off immediately.

Governor Bello stressed the need for a template on the technical specifications from the committee, assured of 90,000 square kilometers awaiting for cultivation hence other senatorial zones of the state to be taken in to consideration.

He expressed satisfaction over the support from CBN and Federal government as this has created jobs for the youths in the area, while calling for the support in the area of irrigation system to ease dry season farming in the state.

Meanwhile, the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Badugu appreciated the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring sustainable dry season farming in the country and actualizing the feeding of Nigerians.

The leader of the Anchor Scheme Cooperatives, Ahmed Muhammadu expressed happiness over the CBN program but said that they were challenged with lack of irrigation equipment which if not provided, would hinder the actualization of the dry season farming in the area.

El-Rufai Flags Off Construction Of Potato Factory In Kaduna

Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, Potato Factory Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, has flagged off the construction of a Potato Farm and Processing factory worth $120 million, in line with his administration’s economic diversification programme.

The factory, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. It is located at Manchok in Kaura Local Government Area of the state in northwest Nigeria.

The proposed factory is being constructed in partnership with Vicampro International, an agro-based company with branches in several countries.

At the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed factory on Saturday, Governor El-Rufai said the processing facility would earn foreign exchange and reduce over-dependence on oil.

He stated further that the state government was committed to promoting agricultural practices to fast track development, diversify the economy and boost Internally Generated Revenue.

Reduction Of Poverty

The Governor appealed to the host community to support and cooperate with Vicampro, in order to pave way for the attainment of its mission.


He expressed the belief that the return of vibrant economic activities and the reduction of poverty among the populace would drive prosperity and reduce the divisions that became pronounced as the state’s economy entered dire straits from the late 1980s.

In his remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, spoke on the issue of access to finance, which he said remained a major challenge of most investors.

He pledged that the issue was being addressed to ensure that investors with viable ideas were given the necessary support.

Need For Diversification

The CBN Governor, who said the drop in oil prices had affected Nigeria’s economy drastically, suggested further diversification as the only alternative to overcome the economic crisis.

He assured the people that the CBN would collaborate with the Kaduna State government to translate the idea to reality for the benefit of all.

On her part, the Minister of State of Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, described the development as a giant stride towards moving the nation’s economy forward.

Giving the details of the project, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), Gambo Hamza, explained that to successfully run the plant, the factory would need about 10,000 hectares of land for potato cultivation.

He added that upon completion, the factory would have the capacity to process 2,500 tonnes of potatoes daily and create at least 30,000 jobs.

In his remark, the Managing Director of Vicampro, Michael Agbogbo, said the company would produce French fries, Irish flakes and biscuits for local and international consumption.

The residents of Manchok on their part, lauded the investment and expressed hopes that it would improve their community’s economy and provide jobs for them.

National Economic Council Approves FG’s Strategies To End Recession

Adeosun, GovernorsThe National Economic Council has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategies to pull the economy out of recession.

This was done during its meeting in Abuja, chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The council of ministers and governors debriefed the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma as well as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the strategies to take the country out of the woods.

Briefing State House correspondents after the closed-door meeting, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Yetunde Onanuga, said that the Central Bank would henceforth adopt best options to manage the situation.

Other areas of urgent intervention were also agreed upon by the council to immediately inject larger funds into the economy, including meaningful diversification and more stringent importation cuts.

Intervention of affordable housing was also among urgent issues discussed, which the council said a target of one billion naira fund has been set up to create a blended pool of long term funds for housing development finance and mortgage provision aimed at delivering 500,000 housing units annually.

The council commended members of the National Economic Team for their diligence and hard work.

The council’s declaration comes barely 24 hours after the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet and redeploy the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Budget and National Planning from their present ministries.

Senate-Ike-Ekweremadu
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

As the Senate began debate on the state of the economy on Wednesday, Ekweremadu said that he was not impressed with the performance of the two ministers and believes they would perform better in other ministries.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s GDP contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

The report came just as militant activities have resurged in the Niger Delta, causing the revenue of the nation which comes largely from crude oil sales to drop.

The price of crude, which had dropped in the international market, already taking its toll on the nation’s economy was compounded by the attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Negative Growth Since 2012
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had recently said that the country had been in negative growth since 2012 with the hope that it would avoid recession but since the reality of the recession has dawned on the nation, the government was prepared to address it.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-Finance-Nigeria-on-Economy
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

She said that the tactical plan of the Nigerian government to address its economic challenges would not change in spite of the official confirmation that the country had gone into a recession.

Mrs Adeosun was the guest of Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, September 20, where she explained that the solution to Nigeria’s problem remained the same from years past.

“Our plans haven’t changed. We need to stimulate the economy and we are going to do so largely by redirecting expenditure from recurrent into capital because we believe that capital expenditure will create jobs and create more productivity in the economy in the long run and help us to diversify,” she said.

She maintained that getting out of recession remains dependent on how productive the economy becomes as well as how well it can create jobs. “we’ve got to invest in our capital infrastructure,” she said.

Set To Inject Funds
The Minister had few days earlier said that the government was 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.

She had told reporters in Abuja 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.

Udoma-Udoma
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma

“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.

While local investors feel neglected despite being in greater majority than the foreign investors for which the government is looking to attract back to Nigeria, the Minister for Budget, Senator Udoma Udoma, had reassuring words.

“We are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria and we believe that, working together with the private sector, we must surely transform this economy,” he told businessmen during a quarterly business briefing at the Presidential Villa with private sector stakeholders.

MPC Leaves All Rates Unchanged

Godwin-Emefiele-Governor-of-Central-Bank-NigeriaThe Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has retained all key indicators.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday read the communique announcing decisions reached at its September meeting in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The committee agreed to keep the Monetary Policy Rate at 14 per cent, the Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.50 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

Mr Emefiele explained that while challenges in the economy remain, monetary policy alone cannot boost growth. “Cutting interest rates is not advisable and the current stance will help to limit inflation,” he said.

“The committee assessed the relevant risks and concluded that the economy continued to face elevated risks on both price and output fronts.

“However, given its primary mandate and considering its limitations of its instruments with respect to output, the committee elected to retain the restrictive stance of policy invoked at its last meeting where it raised the Monetary Policy Rate from 12 to 14 per cent.

MPC-LEAVES-RATES-UNCHANGED

“Conscious of the need to allow this and other measures like the foreign exchange reforms to work truthfully, it decided to retain all monetary policy instrument at their current levels,” the apex bank boss stated.

He said that all 10 Monetary Policy Committee members voted to retain the MPR at 14 per cent, retain the CRR at 22.5 per cent, retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent and retain the asymmetric window at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

The Minister of Finance had expected that the committee would lower key interest rates.

Kemi adeosun, recession, Finance Minister, CBN

Speaking on Channels Television earlier in the day, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said that this would help stimulate the economy, especially as the government plans to boost the economy without increasing debt servicing costs.

At the last committee meeting in July, the benchmark Monetary Policy Rate was raised from 12 per cent, to 14 per cent, while the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio were both retained, at 22.50 per cent and 30 per cent each.

Nigeria is currently in a recession after official data from the National Bureau of Statistic showed that its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 2.06 percent in the second quarter, sending Africa’s biggest economy into a recession after a decline in the first quarter.

Ending Recession: Our Strategy Has Not Changed – Adeosun

Kemi adeosun, recession, Finance Minister, CBNThe Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, says the tactical plan of the Nigerian government to address its economic challenges has not changed in spite of the official confirmation that the country had gone into a recession.

Mrs Adeosun was the guest of Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, September 20, where the conversation centered on the state of the Nigerian economy.

She recalled that the country had been in negative growth since 2012 with the hope that it would avoid recession but since the reality of the recession has dawned on the nation, the government is prepared to address it.

“Our plans haven’t changed. We need to stimulate the economy and we are going to do so largely by redirecting expenditure from recurrent into capital because we believe that capital expenditure will create jobs and create more productivity in the economy in the long run and help us to diversify,” she said.

The Finance Minister noted that the solution to Nigeria’s problem has been the same and getting out of recession remains dependent on how productive the economy becomes as well as how well it can create jobs.

“To do so, we’ve got to invest in our capital infrastructure,” she maintained.

Emergency Powers

There have been talks about the executive arm of government sending a bill to the legislature seeking executive powers for the President to help drag the economy out of recession and Mrs Adeosun explained the rationale behind the bill.

She said: “There are a number of bottlenecks that we have already identified and which we think that given where we are, it might be worthy looking at how to unlock them.

“For example, we have pumped a fairly large amount of capital into the economy through various ministries, departments and agencies, some of whom have deployed it very quickly and are ready for more and we are about to release another tranche of 350 billion.

“But there are some ministries that have been slowed down by the procurement processes. It is about transparency versus speed. We want open tenders because that gives us the best price and that is what also gives opportunities to Nigerians to bid for and to get government contracts.

“If it is taking four to 16 weeks to get through the bureaucracy, at this point in time we think we can’t afford those delays. So we need to say ‘look, procurement laws are made for usual times and these are unusual times, can we look at relaxing some of the condition?’

“Similarly there is a transaction we are working on at the moment which is a very pivotal transaction with General Electric – they want to run freight on our own rail system which will create huge number of jobs across the country.

“But it’s bogged down in rules that say you’ve got to do this and that you’ve got to advertise and keep it up for a while. We don’t have that time.

“So there are some areas where I think it would be useful to have some legislative amendments.”

The Worst Is Over

The Minister also agreed with an earlier statement by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele that the worst of the recession was over.

She explained that the level of problems that the economy has had to deal with  – ranging from the drop in oil price to the Niger Delta crisis that led to drop in oil production quantity are indeed the worst that could only have been imagined.

“So our worst case scenario in terms of our planning has already happened and I think that is probably what he was trying to say.

“From now on, the only way really is up. The only way is recovery, the only way is forward,” she assured Nigerians.

Low Interest Rates

As Nigerians await the outcome of the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, the Minister of Finance hoped that the committee would lower key interest rates.

Mrs Adeosun believes that this will help stimulate the economy, especially as the government plans to boost the economy without increasing debt servicing costs.

At the last committee meeting in July, the benchmark Monetary Policy Rate was raised from 12 percent, to 14 percent, while the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio were both retained, at 22.50 per cent and 30 per cent each.

The CBN is also expected to give an update on new flexible forex market.