Archive | February 2014

Trouble? Or a Sign of Change?

Trouble? Or a Sign of Change?

While the Economist may be freaking out about the departure of CBN Governor Sansui and the ramifications his departure will have on the Nigerian 2015 election cycle, I have a different take on it.  With the suspension of a governor who clearly despised the administration he was working under, Jonathan has a much better chance of finding someone willing to work with both the President and Finance Minister to get to the bottom of this mess.  Since the 20 billion was reported missing, Jonathan launched three investigations to discover the culprit, to no avail. But, if Sansui was such a crusader of anti-corruption, why was the money never found?

In addition, these fears should be mitigated by the fact that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, is launching a probe from the Finance Ministry into the NNPC, a move that is both new and has the potential for real results as she herself is known for battling corruption.

Sansui may have started out as someone dedicated to wiping out corruption, but he allowed his own personal political desires to get in the way of a Nigerian recovery, and honestly, I would not be surprised to see his name on the Presidential ballot in 2015 as a way to try and stoke his ego further.

Don’t give up on Nigeria yet, just give the administration time to smooth out its internal issues, and watch and see when and where the money turns up.

Article Below:

Now for the fallout

The president’s decision to get rid of the central-bank governor is bad news

WHEN President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Lamido Sanusi, the governor of Nigeria’s central bank, on February 20th, he succeeded in removing an opponent. But over the past week it has become clear that this small victory has come at a steep price. Not only has Mr Jonathan signalled his unwillingness to tackle the rampant corruption that is eating away at his country—he has also scared foreign investors and presented an open goal to his political enemies.

The outspoken Mr Sanusi courted a stormy end to his tenure, due to finish in June, by accusing the state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), of failing to remit $20 billion in revenues to government accounts. The ministry of finance puts the figure at $10.8 billion. Mr Jonathan says he suspended Mr Sanusi because of “financial recklessness and misconduct” and “far-reaching irregularities” at the bank. But the decision came just days after Mr Sanusi presented detailed evidence to a Senate committee investigating alleged fraud and mismanagement at the NNPC. Most concluded that the suspension was politically motivated.

Investors are spooked, interpreting the decision as a sign of the authorities’ lack of stomach for fighting corruption. Already, $2 billion of the $9 billion in foreign cash invested in Nigerian bonds has moved out; bankers predict more will follow. The naira plunged to an all-time low of 169 to the dollar on February 20th. Sarah Alade, a highly regarded technocrat who will run the bank until June, has pledged to continue to support the currency. But the foreign-exchange reserves she needs to do so have fallen by almost 14% from 12 months ago.

The controversy has a strong political tinge. The Senate’s investigation was prompted by a leaked letter from Mr Sanusi to the president in which he accused the NNPC of violating the law. This put him in conflict with Diezani Alison-Madueke, the petroleum minister and a close ally of Mr Jonathan’s. The NNPC has repeatedly denied the allegations. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, says an independent audit must establish the truth. Many see her outspokenness as a sign she doubts that Mr Jonathan will hold a credible inquiry. “The key question we need answered is what is the correct amount,” she says. “We need urgent action to bring this to the fore.”

Mr Sanusi’s treatment undermines confidence that this will happen. It is not the first time there has been scrutiny of the NNPC, part of a rotten oil industry whose leakages undermine Nigeria’s macroeconomic stability. Eighteen months ago the former anti-corruption tsar, Nuhu Ribadu, claimed tens of billions of dollars in oil-and-gas revenue had been siphoned off in 2002-12. The president ordered three reports into it, but they never saw the light of day—if they exist at all—and no one was prosecuted. Months later the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, part of a global lobby for transparency in natural-resource revenues, revealed a leakage of more than $9.8 billion in 1999-2008.

Mr Sanusi’s suspension has also provided ammunition for Mr Jonathan’s political opponents in the run-up to the elections in 2015. The All Progressives Congress, the main opposition party, described it as “the clearest indication yet that President Jonathan…is willing to silence any whistle-blower”. Although acclaimed abroad, Mr Sanusi has a mixed reputation at home. He tackled widespread financial fraud and overhauled Nigeria’s banks during a banking crash in 2009. He has stabilised inflation in single digits and cracked down on money-laundering. But his staff say he has dragged the bank into politics. His blunt outbursts criticising Nigeria’s governance propelled the legislature to propose a bill (which failed to pass) compromising the bank’s independence. Some accuse him of having political ambitions of his own.

The Senate is due to confirm Mr Jonathan’s new choice of governor, Godwin Emefiele, who heads Zenith, a private bank. He is expected to keep quiet and stick to tight monetary policy. “He is hardly seen nor heard—a typical attribute of the central banker the Nigerian establishment prefers,” says Oluseun Onigbinde, an economist at BudgIT, a start-up that publishes Nigerian economic data on social media.

Investors want the stability that came from Mr Sanusi’s policies and which Mr Emefiele supposedly seeks. But they are losing faith in Mr Jonathan’s administration. Thanks to its vast oil-and-gas reserves and the vitality of its 170m people, Nigeria remains hugely attractive. But Mr Sanusi’s tumultuous exit is another instance of the country’s squandered potential.

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The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Nigeria to seek accelerated African tech transformation

February 21, 2014 • Mobile and TelecomsTop Stories

 

The UN Economic Commission for Africa in collaboration with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Ministry of Communications Technology (FMCT), and Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) will hold a high level policy dialogue on the theme: Science, Technology, and Innovation and the African Transformation Agenda, on 24-25 March 2014 in Abuja.

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan. (image credit: UK Cabinet Office)

The dialogue was announced this week by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria during the inauguration ceremony of the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), of which he is Chairman.

The meeting will bring together high level policy makers and experts from across the continent in the areas of science, technology and innovation to discuss and deepen understanding on how technology and innovations can be deliberately and purposefully applied to accelerate the African transformation agenda, improve the life chances of Africans and enhance the competitiveness of Africa’s economies.

According to the organizers, the objective is to bring together policy makers, technology and innovation leaders from academia, the private and public sectors, the international development community and other opinion makers and leaders (from within and outside Africa) to examine collectively the directions in which science, technology and innovation can be carefully and deliberately deployed to support and accelerate the African transformation agenda and contribute to agreed societal priorities.

More precisely, the high level policy dialogue will aim to:

a. Surface the leading issues hindering the development, transfer and diffusion of technologies in Africa to identify short term, medium term and long-term actions to address them;

b. Contribute to a deeper understanding of how new technologies and innovation can contribute much more effectively to the transformation of Africa’s economies and the impediments to harnessing technologies and innovation for Africa’s development;

c. Facilitate dialogue between African policy makers, researchers and leading academics, the private sector and stakeholders working on Science and Technology Innovation on the pathways and modalities to accelerate the transfer to, and development and diffusion of technologies in Africa;

d. Build sustainable partnerships among participants to advance STI policy making in Africa in general and the promotion of the application of technology to deal with Africa’s multifarious challenges;

e. Propose a set of ideas and issues that will guide and inform ECA’s future programme of work;

f. Result in a set of recommendations for consideration and adoption by African countries, their regional organizations and institutions, development partners and the international community.

An Audit? Why is This Important to Businesses?

An Audit? Why is This Important to Businesses?

Often times, audits are not a good thing.  They’re stressful, indicative of a problem, and occasionally just spiteful. So why is this audit special? It’s special because it means that Nigeria is taking responsibility, it’s special because a real corruption fighter in Ngoze Okonjo-Iweala is stepping up to promote sound business sense, and it’s special because it’s a sign that Nigeria is moving forward. 

Article below.

Nigeria: Minister Demands Urgent Action On Audit

Posted: Feb, 26 2014, 1:02PM
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has asked for urgent action with regard to an independent forensic audit of conflicting claims of unaccounted funds made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamdio Sanusi.

“My position on this has been clear from the start,” a statement from her office said today.  “The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8 bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20 bn being mentioned.”

She said she has therefore since 13th February called for an independent forensic audit.

“President Goodluck Jonathan indeed announced last night that there will be an investigation into whether there are any funds missing from NNPC,” the statement said.  “He also indicated that the correct process needs to be followed in this investigation and I understand that the entity that has the proper authority to initiate such an investigation is the Auditor-General of the federation.”

She said she would like to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor- General, undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditors.”

It is unclear if the government, given its high tolerance of malfeasance at the NNPC over the years, will truly push for such an investigation, especially by a body over which it will have no control, which could lead to unprecedented damage.  Many Nigerians want to see a forensic audit spanning the period since 1999.

KIA Investing in Nigeria: A New Opportunity?

KIA Investing in Nigeria: A New Opportunity?

KIA, Dana Motors Signs Deal To Build Assembly Plant In Nigeria

kia
 

VENTURES AFRICA- Kia Motors, a South Korea auto-giant, has signed an agreement with Dana Motors Limited to set up a vehicle assembly plant in Nigeria within the next 2 years.

The agreement, which was signed by Dana Managing Director, Mr. Jacky Hathiramani and KMC official, Mr. Homer Kim, shows the the auto-maker’s commitment to the development of the country’s auto industry, the company said in a statement.

Kia’s decision to set up plant in Nigeria came at the heel of Nigeria’s new auto policy, which raised the import duty on fully built cars from 22 per cent to 70 per cent, to discourage vehicle importation and encourage local production.

When fully implemented, the policy has the capacity to create significant good quality employment and wide range of technologically advanced manufacturing opportunities.

According to a data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, a total of 400,000 vehicles (300,000 used and 100,000 new) valued at N550 billion (US$3.451 billion ) were imported in 2012 alone.

Hathiramani said the new policy sets the stage for a new era of industrial, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises development in the country.

Dana explained that the would lead to more jobs, skills acquisition and ultimately the production of cost effective vehicles.

10 Reasons to Invest in Africa in 2014

10 Reasons to Invest in Africa in 2014

10 Reasons to Invest in Africa in 2014

27 Jan, 2014

 

This article is re-published with permission from Ventures Africa.

Ventures African is a business online publication that publishes Ventures Africa, a pan-African business magazine that chronicles the success stories of African entrepreneurs and business leaders. Ventures Africa magazine is available at key newsstands and bookstores across Africa, UK, UAE, Singapore and U.S.

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Robust growth has brought new sources of FDI to Africa and provided huge opportunities for growth-seeking investors.

 

Oluwabusayo Sotunde 

“If your yam is white, you should cover it while you eat,” an African proverb reads. Put in context of the recent economic resurgence across the continent, the question posed will read: should the Africa rising swansong be overplayed or understated? Should Africa focus on making it work instead of reveling in potential?

For the best part of the years preceding the notoriously famous prediction by The Economist, which labeled the continent as “hopeless”, owing to political instability and incessant wars at the time, Africa’s steady economic rise has been a regular feature in the media. The continent, now a firm favorite for foreign investors, with several of its economies amongst the fastest growing markets in the world, has been on the upward trajectory since the turn of the millennium, despite the global economic crises and the recent austere situations in Europe, making the envy of other markets.

Also, investors and business owners now pay more attention to Africa’s emerging markets and the continent’s future looks bright. But, surely, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure Africa actually births its potential. Below, are 10 things you need to know about Africa and its economic resurgence.

The role of small businesses

Small businesses now play a pivotal role in several African countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, the support for entrepreneurship is on the rise – making it easier for people to create jobs for themselves. For example, The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that there are over 17 million SMEs in Nigeria, which is Africa’s second largest economy and most populous nation with over 160 million people. Similar stories also abound in other sub-Saharan African nations.

According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 sub-Saharan African Report, the region is now experiencing what is called “entrepreneurial revolution” that has reinvigorated it with new opportunities, increased employment and a robust rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is acclaimed as one of the highest in the world.

Doing business in Africa is now easier

Africa is now home to more international private firms. This is due to the increasing adoption of seamless business policies, lowered corporate taxes, and strengthened regulatory and legal systems in some countries.

The World Bank’s “Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises” released in October 2013 reported that sub-Saharan Africa continues to record a large number of reforms aimed at easing the regulatory burden on local entrepreneurs, with 66 reforms adopted in the past year (June 2, 2012 – June 1, 2013).

Of the 189 nations surveyed globally, 18 African economies made the top 50 most reformed economies. Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Burundi are among the global top 10 improvers in making the biggest improvement in business regulations.

This year, Mauritius at 20 position, Rwanda 32, South Africa 41, Tunisia 51, Botswana 56, Ghana 67, Zambia 83, Morocco 87, Namibia 98 and Cape Verde 121 are testament to the growth in ease of doing business in Africa.

The report also showed that of the 47 economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa, 31 implemented at least one business regulatory reform in 2012/13.

Africa’s rising GDP

Africa is the second-fastest-growing region in the world, according to economic experts. The continent has been reawakening with new zeal for economic growth and development, and the rate of return on investment is higher than anywhere else in the world.

From 2000 to 2008, Africa’s real GDP rose by 4.9%, more than twice its pace in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2012, six of the continent’s 10 economies (Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, and Zambia) reported GDP growth rates of 5% or higher – it was as high as 8.5% for Ethiopia.

The World Bank in its latest semi-annual report, Africa’s Pulse, forecast an average 5.3% growth in 2014 up from its 5.1% projection.

Also, the IMF estimates that GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa will hit an average of 6.1% next year, far exceeding the expected global average rate of 4%. It also says that seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies for the period 2011-2015 will be African.

The reason behind this growth surge includes government action to end armed conflicts, improve macroeconomic conditions, and undertake micro-economic reforms to create a better business climate.

Africa will have the largest workforce

Africa’s labor force is expanding. It is also endowed with the world’s youngest population. This offers the continent a chance to reap a demographic dividend by using its young workforce to boost economic growth.

According to Global consulting firm McKinsey & Co, Africa will be home to one in five of the planet’s young people by 2040. This means that in less than 25 years, majority of its population will be youth. By then, the continent will have an average of about 1.1 billion – more than the size of China’s or India labour force.

If Africa provides its young people with the right education and skills needed, this workforce could become a significant source that will propel the continent into economic prosperity.

The rise of the African Woman

Although much still needs to be done, fair gender representation, which has been underutilized as a resource for too long, has received a boost with improvement in the number of African women holding key public offices, for example, Joyce Banda (Malawi’s president), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria’s finance minister), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (AU chairperson) among others.

African women have penetrated the business and political corridors in many countries and are increasingly filling roles traditionally occupied by men. Their representation in parliaments in sub-Saharan Africa is now higher than in South Asia, the Arab states or Eastern Europe.

According to the 2012 data from the Inter- Parliamentary Union, women occupy 20.2 percent of parliamentary seats in sub-Saharan Africa, which is slightly higher than the world average of 19.5%.

Also, going by the World Bank estimates that eliminating barriers which discriminate against women’s working in certain sectors could increase labor productivity by as much as 25%, sub-Saharan is already achieving this with an estimated 50 percent of the agriculture sector being women – higher than in some countries.

To achieve this third Millennium Developmental Goal, the continent has declared 2010-2020 as African Women Decade (AWD 2010-2020) the decade where African women and the girl-child are empowered to take charge of their rights in being an equal and active participant in the political and social-economic development of the continent.

More investment in agriculture, indutrailisation and technology

Unlike the past when most African countries depended on oil and mineral resources as the bedrock of their economies, the face of business is now changing as more African nations are now diversifying into non-oil sectors. For instance, Africa’s most developed economies like South Africa, Morocco and Egypt, have been able to grow their agriculture, manufacturing, and retail and hospitality sector to create more jobs.

The Moroccan government for example set a goal for the country to become the industrial automotive supplier for Europe. Today, the sector employs more than 60,000 people.

Also, with about 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land embedded in the continent, African countries are now paying attention to agriculture as governments and foreign investors contribute substantial investment into farming for consumption and economic growth.

More so, in a number of countries particularly Kenya, which has seen the birth of Africa first tech incubator- the ihub, the role of technology in economic growth is of utmost importance as large multinational corporations and government agencies now pay close attention to developments in the tech sector as regards socio-economic influence, job creation and its contribution to GDP. The Kenya government also launched Konza City, reportedly said to be Africa’s silicon savannah.

Africa’s embracing the knowledge economy

Although mobile penetration is growing at an impressive rate, the continent is slowly waking up to technological opportunities as more than 80% of the African continent is still unconnected.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recorded that only 16% of Africa’s 1 billion people use the Internet, half the rate in Asia Pacific and below a global average of 36%.

African Development Bank (AfDB) also reported that the information and community technology sector contributed just 7% to the continent’s GDP last year, and Africa’s wealthiest still amass their fortunes through resources.

However, despite these shortcomings, technology is making an impression reducing Africa’s youth unemployment rate. It is also making social services more accessible to individuals.

In Kenya, mobile money transfer system M-Pesa, launched by the country’s largest telecoms operator Safaricom is helping to make a huge economic impact. With a total transaction of about US$1 billion per month, the technology service has enabled about 67% of Kenyan adults to access banking.

Industry Experts also believe that economic gains powered by better and cheaper Internet access and broader adoption of Smartphone can help increase technological and economic growth in Africa.

Youths are increasingly participating in leadership

With the number of the youth population sky-high, more youths are coming forward to have a say in the future Africa promises. Although youth participation maybe relatively low, depending on the country, the response from social media and technology bares evidence that youths are now more interested in making their voice heard as the economic and social pattern takes shape.

Africa’s next generation is participatory and involved in the development and growth of the continent. Scores of young, western-educated youth and new breeds on the continent have established businesses that are driving the economy, and are constantly playing a part in the continent’s socio-political renaissance. They are also at the forefront of innovations coming out of the continent.

In Spite of Difficulties Around the Country….

In Spite of Difficulties Around the Country….

Nigeria is still moving forward.  Check out this high tech school being developed to support the workers of tomorrow.

This building in Lagos, Nigeria could be the world’s most futuristic school

It might not have a lot of fancy electronics. But it will survive rising sea levels.

 


The Makoko Floating School is buoyed on a platform of plastic barrels. (YouTube/Screenshot)

The children of Makoko, a waterfront slum in Lagos, Nigeria, might have the world’s most futuristic school. It’s just been shortlisted for the Design of the Year 2014 award by London’s Design Museum and it’s easy to see why.

 
 

The Makoko Floating School is a minimalist, open-air structure that combines the adaptive insights of the local community with the best principles of sustainable development.

The three-story, A-frame building floats on recycled plastic barrels and maintains stability, even in heavy winds, thanks to a low center of gravity.


A diagram of the Makoko Floating School, designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi and his Lagos- and Amsterdam-based firm NLÉ. (YouTube/Screenshot)

The first level of the school is a flexible, multi-use playground that transforms into a community space when class is out. The second and third levels contain enclosed classroom and workshop space for up to 100 students, who travel to and from the school by canoe. 

Makoko carpenters built the school from locally-sourced wood, bamboo and other eco-friendly materials. It’s also partially self-sustaining, thanks to solar panels on the roof and a rain harvesting system that operates the toilets. 

Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi and his Lagos- and Amsterdam-based firm NLÉ designed the school as an innovative, cheap and highly adaptable approach to Makoko’s evolving social and environmental needs.


An aerial view of Makoko, a historic water community perched on the lagoon in Lagos, Nigeria. (YouTube/Screenshot)

The sprawling water community — dubbed the Venice of Africa — is home to some 150,000 people who live in rickety shanties perched on stilts above the lagoon.


People navigate through the waterways of the Makoko slum in Lagos, on September 29, 2011. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

Heavy rainfalls and rising sea levels make flooding a constant threat.

These precarious conditions are compounded by legal and structural insecurity. The government considers Makoko to be an illegal settlement and does not provide any infrastructure for sewage, clean water, trash collection, housing or transportation. Residents go about their daily lives by canoe and reclaim land by adding sawdust to mounds of trash.

Access to education is especially poor, with the only school built on uneven, reclaimed land — making it highly susceptible to fluctuating water levels.


Children play next to waste in the Makoko slum in Lagos, on September 29, 2011. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2012, officials demolished around 500 homes in Makoko, displacing thousands. The government stated that the slum housing was an “environmental nuisance.” However, others point to the state’s ongoing plans to develop the lucrative waterfront area.

After the forced evictions, Adeyemi and his team stepped in. They’d been developing the Makoko Floating School since 2011, part of a larger vision for helping vulnerable coastal cities in Africa respond to the effects of climate change and rapid urbanization.

Adeyemi proposed the floating school as a pilot project to address different issues regarding flooding, poor building structures and land titles.

The government agreed, putting the resettlement plans on hold.


(YouTube/Screenshot)

Adeyemi and his team developed the prototype structure in collaboration with the Makoko community. They received research funds from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and construction funds from the UN Development Program/Federal Ministry of Environment Africa Adaptation Program (AAP).

The result is a stunning school that promotes social and structural resilience in one of the world’s most vulnerable coastal communities by incorporating water into its very design.


(YouTube/Screenshot)

Phase two? Modular floating homes linked into neighborhoods, and perhaps even entire floating cities — marking a “new wave in resilient architecture in high-water zones,” designboom notes.


(YouTube/Screenshot)

But the Makoko Floating School, in Adeyemi’s words, is “almost an island on the water, in a political sense.” The Lagos State government has declared it an illegal structure and is threatening to demolish it. NLÉ is negotiating with authorities and, for the moment, believes no immediate action will be taken. 

Sacking of the CBN Governor Good for Nigeria?

Sacking of the CBN Governor Good for Nigeria?

Financial Experts Laud FG’s Nomination Of New CBN Governor

— February 20, 2014

Financial experts on Thursday commended the Federal Government for the nomination of the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

They made the recommendation in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Mr Victor Ogiemwonyi, the Managing Director of the Partnership Investment Company Ltd., said that Emefiele’s nomination would have positive impact on the economy.

“The choice of the Godwin Emefiele, the MD of Zenith Bank, for the job of the CBN Governor is a welcome development in the banking industry,” he said.

Ogiemwonyi, also an economist, said that the next governor should maintain the Lamido Sanusi’s monetary stance, especially in the area of stabilising the Naira and reducing the inflation rate.

“The monetary policy direction should not change. The economy needs policies that will stabilise the Naira and starve off inflation.’’

“A tight monetary policy in the short term will ensure positive development in the nation’s economy,” he said.

The Managing Director of HJ Trust and Investment, Mr Harrison Owoh, said the president was at liberty to appoint any competent person as CBN governor.

Owoh, however, said that he could not comment on Emefiele’s nomination but could do so later after the bureau de change operators might have met after Friday’s transaction.

“I can only comment on him after his appointment as the substantive CBN governor and the effect of his policies on the market,” Owoh said.(NAN)

“This is Nigeria”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr729vSl0us?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360%5D

Video Wednesday…take a look at what Nigeria has to offer to you, either as a tourist, or as a potential investor.

What’s Good for One Country…

What’s Good for One Country…

Can be great for all.  Nigeria’s Finance Minister wants a global partnership to help cut Africa’s losses.  Story below.

Nigeria: Tax Evasion – Nigeria’s Finance Minister Wants Global Partnership to Help Cut Africa’s Losses

13 FEBRUARY 2014

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday asked Global Partnership to be an agent of development co-operation in Africa by helping developing countries cut down on revenue losses through illicit financial flows and massive tax evasion.

The Minister, who is the Co-chair of the partnership, was speaking at the opening of the Global Partnership event for Effective Co-operation, to help finalise the agenda and details towards the First High Level meeting of the partnership in April in Mexico City.

The other co-chairs include Minister for National Development Planning, Indonesia, Armida Alisjahbana, and the Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom, Justine Greening.

“This is what my continent is so keen about. The Global Partnership has a key role to play in helping developing countries, especially African countries, boost domestic resources and collect more taxes to fund their own development”, Mrs. Okonjo-Iwealastated.

The Minister, who is also the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, said through work on improving Nigeria’s tax administration, government revenue collection capacity had increased by about five times more than what it used to be 10 years ago.

A high level panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa led by former South-African President, Thabo Mbeki, said Africa as a whole loses around $50 billion (N8.1 trillion) a year through tax evasion, undeclared business and corruption.

“Resources flow out of Africa but they end up somewhere else,” Mr. Mbeki said recently in Paris.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said boosting domestic resource mobilisation and cutting illicit financial flows in developing economies would be some of the key topics slated for discussion at the Mexico meeting.

Participants would review the global progress in implementing commitments on effective development co-operation in middle-income countries, the role of business in development, co-operation with and by other Southern countries.

“The Mexico meeting also marks a major opportunity for global development leaders to show how the Global Partnership provides a key forum to support the implementation of new global development goals post-2015,” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said.

The Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, and the global anti-poverty targets agreed in 2000 would expire in 2015, with ongoing debates and negotiations on a framework for a replacement by 2030.

The Global Partnership is an organization that helps developing nations, businesses, and organizations work better together to end poverty.

The group brings governments, private companies, civil society and others together to ensure funding, time and knowledge produce maximum impact for development.

The Global Partnership can help drive progress and support the implementation of the global development agenda that will follow the Millennium Development Goals target year of 2015. It is a forum for advice, shared accountability and shared learning and experiences to support the implementation of principles that form the foundation of effective development co-operation.

 

The Industrial Revolution Goes Full Steam Ahead in Nigeria

The Industrial Revolution Goes Full Steam Ahead in Nigeria

This is huge.

A massive socio-economic initiative to drive Nigeria’s economy into the next century.

Now is definitely the time to look into the possibilities of investment in Nigeria, especially with billions of dollars of potential revenue to be had.

Details from the Daily Times below:

Jonathan launches Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, NEDEP

 
*** Says It Would Generate N5trn Manufacturing Revenue Annually
ARTICLE | FEBRUARY 11, 2014 – 8:41PM | BY ELIZABETH EMBU

 

President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan    (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP).

The Plan, he said will boost the annual revenue to be earned per annum by Nigerian manufacturers up to N5 trillion as well as set the stage for a new era of industrial, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises development in Nigeria.

Speaking during the launch at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the President described the NIRP as the most ambitious and comprehensive road map that would transform the nation’s industrial landscape, boost skills development, enhance job creation and conserve foreign exchange.

He said “The benefit of NIRP will boost the annual revenue earned by Nigerian manufacturers by up to N5 trillion per annum.

“As we celebrate our centenary, it is clear to us that the measures of the nation cannot be detached from the dependability of its economy and a great economy must based on a solid industrial sector with well diversified minds and sources of revenue and a vibrate micro and small medium enterprises sector to create jobs and provide leverages.

“The Nigeria Industrial revolution Plan and the National Enterprise Development Programme will help to fast track the attainment of these goals. They are targeted at transforming Nigerian businesses and changing the lives of the ordinary people. It will accelerate inclusive growth and job creation and save the drain on our reserve cause by importing what we can produce locally.

“The NIRP is the flagship industrialisation programme ever embarked upon by this country. It will fast-track industrialisation, accelerate inclusive economic growth, job creation, transform Nigeria’s business environment and stop the drain on our foreign reserves caused by importing what we can produce in locally.

“The Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan is the most ambitious and comprehensive industrialisation programme because it is based on the areas where Nigeria has competitive and comparative advantage such as agriculture and agro-products, metals and solid minerals, oil and gas, construction and light manufacturing services. It has identified those sectors where Nigeria can be number one in Africa and top 10 globally.”

Stressing that his administration has consolidated on Nigeria’s fiscal position, the President said that transformation of the agricultural sector will boost Nigeria’s food production by 20 million tonnes per annum, fundamentally reorganise the power sector by privatising 11 distribution and four generating companies and bringing in private sector capital and expertise.

He promised that he will continue to take steps that will ensure that he lives behind a stronger and better Nigeria than he met on assumption of office adding that “the NIRP will also address the physical constraints that have consistently inhibited the growth of manufacturing by building industrial infrastructure, prioritise power for industrial use, reduce borrowing cost and mobilise funds for the real sector. It will help to build our industrial skills, improve our investment climate, raise our product standards, link innovation to industry and ensure local patronage of made in Nigeria goods”.

Explaining the second programme the President said “The NEDEP has placed micro, small and medium enterprises at the center of our national economic policy, our vision is to take this new model for national enterprise development to all the 774 local governments in our country”.

The programme, he said, will fully unlock the potential of Nigeria’s micro,  small and medium enterprises sector by resolving many of the problems that most small business face such as access to finance, access to market, weak business development, dearth of technical skills, lack of infrastructure and insufficient market information.

According to him, the programme will create enterprise zones in every state of the federation, equipped with special infrastructure for small businesses to strive and transform Nigeria through employment generation, economic linkages and rural industrialization.

“We made very notable progressive towards our objective since we started implementing the two programme 12 months ago. Through the Nigeria industrial revolution plan (NIRP), we have significant cut the cost of business incorporation in Nigeria, we have mobilised new investments in the sugar sector exceeding $3 billion. In just four months, our auto mobilisation programme has attracted over six international car manufacturers including Nissan and Hyundai. We have also consolidated gains in the cement sector which has attracted over $8 billion  in investment and in supporting 1.6 million jobs.

“We have refocused attention on micro enterprises, in the last 12 months, the Bank of Industry has disbursed N10 billion to the smallest and the most fragile businesses at the bottom of the pyramid. As we look ahead to the future, sustainability and effectiveness are core principles that will guide our action. We will not only sustain the momentum of both Nigeria industrial revolution plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise development programme (NEDEP), but also expand their impacts and reach” he added.

He further stated that “A survey conducted by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and the National Bureau of Statistics  in 2010 showed that we have about 17 million MSMEs, employing over 32 million people. If each of these 17 million MSMEs employ additional one person, we will create additional 17 million jobs thereby reducing employment in our country.”

On the made in Nigeria vehicles the President said “the Federal Government will continue to support local manufacturers by buying vehicles that are made in Nigeria. And  as long  those vehicles are produced in this country, the Federal Government will buy them. So we also encourage the state governments to support the patronage of made in Nigeria products in their states”.

He added that “So far no traditional ruler, no school child has died from using Innoson Motors and we have recently acquire all of them for our SURE-P programmes in all the states. At the federal level, I will also use this opportunity to plead with the states, we only accepts vehicles not produced in Nigeria. And not just vehicle only, and you know that the Due Process Law allows us to buy made in Nigerian products at 15 per cent higher than the imported ones to encourage local production.”

In his welcome address, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said that the integrated nature of the NIPR and NEDEP had already provided a synergy and necessary linkages with other development plans of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government and the private sector, adding that the ministry would partner all the stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the programmes.

“The NIRP and NEDEP are both holistic and integrated. This means that they are joined at the waist with other MDAs. The NIRP and NEDEP adopt inclusive  structures  which bring in other government agencies and the private sector to ensure adequate policy synergy,” he said.