Archive | March 2014

A Tour of Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming film industry

This is a little dated, but it’s still impressive to see the world’s third largest entertainment hub at work.

Nigeria Plans Nuclear Power for Development

Nigeria Plans Nuclear Power for Development

While people badger on about Nigeria’s power issues, this appears to be a concrete step towards changing the distinct lack of power in Africa’s most populous country.  Story below.

News / Africa

Nigeria Plans Nuclear Power for Development

FILE - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

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Heather Murdock

NIGERIAN FAST FOOD HITS CYBERSPACE

NIGERIAN FAST FOOD HITS CYBERSPACE

By Dara Rhodes

Last Updated: 24 March 2014 16:29

Nigeria’s online business space continues to expand with more savvy investors taking advantage of the country’s growing middle class.

Savvy investors are taking advantage of Nigeria’s growing middle class. Photo: Getty images

In September 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the Presidential Committee for a national broadband strategy and roadmap as it has been empirically proven that every 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration in developing countries results in a proportionate increase of 1.3 per cent in GDP. 

“Currently, we are in ten markets in Africa, Nigeria was our first market, and it’s our number one market at the moment,” James Gibson, Managing Director HelloFood told CNBC Africa.

The broadband penetration plan is for the period 2013 to 2018 and aims to increase broadband penetration by five times by the end of 2017. With the launch of HelloFood, a subsidiary of Foodpanda, in Nigeria two years ago the country’s online space was once again stretched further.

“We started off in Lagos and it remains our key base. We then expanded to Abuja and just two weeks ago, we launched in Port Harcourt,” he added.

Nigeria’s online food retail business is just one of many onlines companies fast gaining root in the country. The growing middle class now more than ever is taking advantage of the convenience that these businesses offer.

Lagos is currently the most populous city in Nigeria and is the second fastest growing city on the African continent. This, coupled with the continuous increase in the country’s middle class, makes it the ideal place for the e-commerce businesses to thrive.

“Restaurants had been doing deliveries in the past but previous methods would have been to call up a restaurant. However, one of the challenges of doing that especially here in Nigeria, is the networks aren’t always that reliable,” he explained.

According to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission, in 2013 a total of 48.3 million Nigerian telephone subscribers actively browsed the internet on their mobile phones.

“What we have come into the market to do, is to make it so much more convenient to place an order. You no longer have to call up a restaurant, all you need to do is, get onto your app on your phone, a few taps and then you’ve placed your order,” he said.

Gibson believes that, although the space is globally quite competitive, there are mainly three players in Africa and HelloFood is currently the number one with plans to expand into another five countries on the continent.

“The space is huge, there is so much potential. Of course with a product like food, people need food every day, actually, they need it three times a day,” he added.

Pope Francis to Visit Nigeria

Pope Francis to Visit Nigeria

Pope Francis to Visit Nigeria

BY TALATU USMAN, 22 MARCH 2014

 

President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday, after conferring with Pope Francis at the Vatican, disclosed that the Pope had promised to visit Nigeria because of his keen interest in the country.

The President also said the Pope assured that he would continue to pray for God Almighty to bless Nigeria and its people.

Mr. Jonathan, who had conferred with Pope Francis on the promotion of inter-faith dialogue in Nigeria and other parts of the world to foster greater global peace and security, also revealed that the promotion of inter-faith dialogue was a cause to which the Pontiff was very committed.

The President said that his administration was already working in close collaboration with Cardinal John Onaiyekan who was “the team leader” for the effort to strengthen inter-faith dialogue in Nigeria. He also assured the Pope of his administration’s continued commitment to the promotion of religious harmony and the peaceful co-existence of people of all faiths. He said his administration will continue to work diligently to alleviate poverty in Nigeria through more inclusive economic growth and development.

“My coming to see the Pope was to discuss issues, especially that of inter-faith dialogue which the Vatican has been promoting. Also the Pope has been advocating that the world should do more to eradicate poverty and make sure that the ordinary people of this world are in a position to live more decent lives. The Pope is very dedicated to poverty alleviation and I also interfaced with him on how we can collaborate more with the Vatican on what we are already doing in this regard back home,” the president said.

After his private meeting with President Jonathan, Pope Francis received the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri; Governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, and his spouse; Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam; former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi and his spouse; the wife of the Senate President, Helen Mark and other members of the President’s entourage.

Others present at the enlarged audience with the Pope included Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Okeke; the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Obioma Onwuzurumba, and Mike Oghiadomhe.

Before leaving the Vatican, President Jonathan also conferred with the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin.

He had received Nigeria’s Vatican-based Cardinal Francis Arinze earlier in the day at the St. Regis Hotel in Rome.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Fareed Zakaria GPS 3/16

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Fareed Zakaria GPS 3/16

Watch this video

CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, former managing director of the World Bank, and author of “Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria”, about how $20 billion got lost from Nigeria’s treasury , the suspension of the chairman of the Federal Reserves after he called attention to the situation, and why Nigeria has passed anti-gay legislation.

A transcript of the interview is available after the jump.

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED

ZAKARIA (voice-over):  If $20 billion were to go missing from the United States Treasury, people in Washington would certainly sit up and wonder what happened and heads would roll.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA:  Now imagine if that sum of money disappeared from an economy that is just 1.6 percent the size of America’s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA (voice-over):  That actually happened in Nigeria.  And there’s a twist.  So when Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria’s central banker, their chairman of the Fed and a well-respected economist, sounded the alarm that $20 billion had gone missing, what really happened was that he got suspended.

Why?  Well, that’s what I asked Nigeria’s finance minister when she came to New York this week.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala knows Sanusi well.  She’s also a former managing director of the World Bank and is the author of “Reforming the Unreformable:  Lessons from Nigeria.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA:  Listen in to our conversation.  I began by asking her why the central banker was suspended for blowing the whistle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA, NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER:  I believe that when you find problems, you should also find solutions.  I think the problem began the first time when he said that the amount that was – he never said it was stolen.  He said it was unaccounted for, was $49.8 billion.

And he wrote a letter to the president; he called me a couple of days after, to say I’ve written this letter.  And my first reaction was, that’s not possible.  We couldn’t be missing $50 billion as finance minister in this country.  We wouldn’t be able to function because that’s too high a hit.  Everybody would know it and feel it in the economy.

ZAKARIA:  There is some substantial gap.

OKONJO-IWEALA:  Oh, yes –

ZAKARIA:  Right?  I mean –

OKONJO-IWEALA:  No, we –

ZAKARIA:  – the World Bank, I think when you were one of the managing directors, issued a report on the Nigerian economy in which it said hundreds of billions of dollars over the past 30 or 40 years have been siphoned off.  And so this would be a perfect example of precisely this kind of siphoning off.

OKONJO-IWEALA:  No.  I think we should hold our horses a little bit.  Sanusi please ask him never said the money had been siphoned off.  He said it was unaccounted for.

And hold on.  There’s a difference, because when he alleged $49.8 billion – and this was looked at, it was found that some of that money had really been remitted to the tax agency directly and his people were not aware of it.

So $16 billion was immediately accounted for that, you know, they didn’t seem to know the accounting mode of the agency, so that’s what I’m saying.

But there has been – there’s no doubt that Nigerians feel suspicious of the oil sector, that it has been regarded as opaque over the years and this is not an issue, you know, whether it’s $10.8 billion, whether it’s $1, you know, we can’t afford to lose any money from the treasury.

ZAKARIA:  But then why fire the central banker, a respected central banker?

OKOJO-IWEALA:  You know, Fareed, what I would like to do is perhaps focus on the economy, because I don’t think I want to get into this issue of firing/not firing.  He’s still governor of the central bank.  He has been suspended.  He hasn’t been fired.

But I think we need to focus on the central issue, which is no one dollar should be lost from the treasury.  Any money that belongs to it must be remitted.  That’s what we’re insisting.

And the president, we pushed for – he has ordered one yesterday, that there should be a forensic audit to determine where these moneys, that what is unaccounted for, is it the $10.8 billion that we are saying from the accounts?

We’ve been working on this for two years.

And you know, is it $50 billion?  Is it $20 billion?  Is it $12 billion?  What is the amount?  We need to know for the sake of the Nigerian people and he has ordered that.  So we want it to be independent; we want it to be well done, so that we can lay it to rest.

ZAKARIA:  So how do we – how do you solve the problem of corruption?

You’ve been in government twice.  You have a reputation for being extremely honest.

What would you do, if you had a magic wand, if you were president, what would you do to get Nigeria to get this cancer out of its system?

OKOJO-IWEALA:  Well, you know, Fareed, you know with that, there are no easy answers.  But there’s one thing I want to say and repeat.  No one can fight corruption for Nigerians except Nigerians.  Everyone has to be committed from the top to the bottom to fight it.

And I think there are two key things that need to be done all along, and it’s not just in Nigeria.  It’s in many developing countries that you need to do this.

But in our country, you need to, coupled with – by all means pursue those who are corrupt, punish them, you know, make sure there’s no impunity.  But that has to be coupled with something which doesn’t get as much attention, which is building institutions.  It’s unglamorous; it’s work that takes time, but we have to do it.  We have to put it in place.

ZAKARIA:  I have to ask you a question that is not part of directly your portfolio, but it is your government.

Nigeria has always had laws banning homosexuality.  But you advanced a further law which criminalized it so that somebody who is gay would have to spend 14 years in prison.

You also have passed – the law says that people who are in some way promoting gay clubs or gay discussion would be imprisoned for 10 years.  This seems an assault on a minority’s rights.  It also seems an assault on free speech.

Why is Nigeria doing this?

OKOJO-IWEALA:  Well, let me say this, Fareed, that, you know, we’re here in the U.S.  And it took 40 to 50 years or more under conversation of, you know, the gay community to get where the U.S. is.

I think that, you know, we need a conversation in the country.  We need evolution.  Ninety-six percent of people support these laws, but I think we need to unpack the laws, for them to see, you know, between being a gay person and between same-sex marriage because the two are compounded in people’s minds and there’s a strong sentiment against same-sex marriage, just as you had here before.

And it’s still evolving.  I think it’s a question of conversation, discussion, evolution, education and engagement over time, just as happened in this country and in Europe.  It’s not something that happened overnight.  So I would say withhold judgment and let us work on this.

ZAKARIA:  Madam Finance Minister, pleasure to have you on.

OKOJO-IWEALA:  Thank you.

ZAKARIA:  And we will be back.

Nigeria could be World’s 15th largest economy by 2050, says economist

If you’re questioning why you should be investing in Nigeria, THIS IS WHY.

MINT Countries

Nigeria could be World’s 15th largest economy by 2050, says economist

From the mouth of MINT creator Jim O’Neill.

Nigeria could be World’s 15th largest economy by 2050, says economist

Published: March 20,2014

“You have one ingredient in a very substantial way; you have a large and young population that is outstanding significantly,”

A former Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O’Neill, said Nigeria could be the world’s15th largest economy if its large population actively participated in economic development.

Mr. O’Neill made the prediction at the ongoing 20th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Thursday.

The theme of the summit is “Transforming Education through Partnerships for Global Competitiveness”.

He said that events in Brazil, India, Russia, and China had shown that with their large populations, they could engage the world. He said economic growth was driven over a long term by population and productivity.

Mr. O’Neill said that…

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Nigerian National Conference Opens Amid Many Challenges

Nigerian National Conference Opens Amid Many Challenges

 

Nigerian National Conference Opens Amid Many Challenges

 
Nigeria Anti Gay Law
 
James Butty

March 18, 2014

Nigeria’s long-awaited National Conference opened Monday in the capital, Abuja aimed at solutions to an Islamist insurgency, corruption and oil revenue-sharing. 

In opening the conference, President Goodluck Jonathan told the 500 delegates to put partisan politics aside and focus on the agenda of the country.  

Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said Jonathan also urged the delegates to strive toward building a stronger and more united Nigeria.
                   
“The president made a number of points.  He made it very clear that he has no personal agenda to pursue through this conference.  He made very clear that what is important is the national interest, and he enjoined all the delegates to put Nigeria first, not to use the platform of the conference for the pursuit of divisive politics or ethnic jingoism,” he said.
 
Abati said Jonathan also told the delegates to use the conference to further strengthen the bond that ties all Nigerians together, including national unity and patriotism.
 
With raging violence blamed on the Islamist insurgency of Boko Haram in the north and political divisions within the ruling People’s Democratic Party, some commentators say Nigeria is become more divided.
 
Abati said Nigeria’s unity is not threatened.
                   
“A few weeks ago, we celebrated 100 years of Nigeria’s existence as a nation.  And, in the speech that President Jonathan delivered, he stressed that the amalgamation was not a mistake, that we are a country of ethnic diversity, of linguistic diversity, and that our unity, the beauty of our country, lies, in fact, in that diversity,” Abati said.
                   
He said Jonathan’s speech did not dictate the agenda of the conference.   
 
“The issues that he referred to in the speech, these are the issues that have been out there in the public domain.  It doesn’t amount to the president setting an agenda,” Abati said.
 
The ruling PDP was recently beset by defections due in part to Jonathan’s decision to seek re-election.
 
Abati says Jonathan told the delegates that they should make the conference one about Nigeria the country and not about political ambitions.
 
“President Jonathan made it clear that the conference is a conference of the Nigerian people.  It’s not a conference about partisan politics.  And, if you look at the composition of that conference, you will see that it is not constructed along political lines.  It is a conference about the future of Nigeria.  It is a conference about the politics of Nigeria itself,” Abati said.

Good News for Nigeria’s ECA

Good News for Nigeria’s ECA

Zero Option for Corruption: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

ECA rises 63.5% to $3.45bn

BY  ON MARCH 18, 2014 ·BUSINESS

FROM ISAAC ANUMIHE, ABUJA and BLAISE UDUNZE

The Excess Crude Account (ECA) has risen from $2.11 billion to $3.45 billion, thus representing 63.5 per cent rise.

In a statement, the Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said the account increased by $1.34 billion.

“According to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the rise in the ECA signals the Federal Government’s commitment to rebuilding the country’s fiscal buffers by increasing the savings in the ECA and strengthening the foreign reserves,” the statement, said.

This is coming as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at the weekend said the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, rose by 7.7 per cent year-on-year in February.

It also said that the moderation in year-on-year rates in February was as a result of higher year-on-year changes exhibited in February 2013. The NBS CPI report also said that during this period, prices increased by 0.75 per cent on a monthly basis (the second highest price increase observed during the year) compared to a moderated increase in the month-on-month rate of change of 0.5 per cent observed in February 2014.

It said that food prices also rose at a relatively slower rate in February 2014. “Food prices, as observed in the food sub-index, rose by 9.2 per cent year-on-year. Prices of yams, potatoes and other tubers, vegetables and fruits increased at slower rate in February, while prices of bread and cereals rose at a faster rate during the period. The price of meat products grew at the same rate year-on-year compared with January 2014.

After a brief respite in January 2014, prices in the core sub-index increased at a faster rate in February. Prices rose by 7.2 per cent year-on-year, higher than the price increase recorded in January by 0.6 percentage points.

The headline index is made up of the core index and farm produce items as processed foods are included in both the core and food sub-indices, which implies that these sub-indices are not mutually-exclusive. On a monthly basis, prices increased at a slower rate for the second consecutive month, increasing by 0.5 per cent in February, marginally lower than the 0.64 per cent increase recorded in January,” it said.

The report further noted that after a slight increase in January (year-on-year) urban price increases moderated as indicated by the urban composite CPI whereas the index was recorded at 153.0 points in February, a 7.8 per cent increase from levels recorded in February 2013.

“The price increase was lower than rates recorded in January by 0.4 percentage points. The corresponding rural national CPI recorded a 7.7 per cent year-on-year change in February 2014, easing marginally from the rate recorded in January (7.8 per cent).

On a monthly basis, price increases in the urban all-items index eased for the second consecutive month in February, increasing by 0.5 per cent. The rural all items index further slowed in a similar fashion increasing by 0.49 in February, down from 0.68 per cent recorded in January. The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending in February 2014 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period was recorded at 8.3 per cent, marginally lower from the 8.4 per cent average 12-month rate of change recorded in January 2014.

The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index was 8.5 per cent, while the corresponding rural index was recorded at 8.1 per cent. Both were lower from the previous 12-month rates of change by 0.2 percentage points,” the report explained.

NIGERIAN NAVY DESTROY 260 ILLEGAL REFINERIES IN WARRI, APPREHEND 5 SUSPECTS

Great news for those wondering if Nigeria takes it’s oil theft seriously.

Beegeagle's Blog

Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service commandos in a RHIB.

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA
16 March, 2014
Warri

The Nigerian Navy on Saturday in Warri,destroyed over 260 illegal
refineries and apprehended five persons suspected to be involved in running the refineries.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who monitored the 8-hour operation inside Oteghele Phase One and Two forest in the Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta, reports that the naval ship NNS Delta was used in destroying the illegal refineries.

Addressing newsmen at the scene of
the operation, the NNS Delta
Commanding Officer, Capt. Musa Gemu, said that the operation would be a routine process. “We destroyed about 260 underground illegal refineries and also burnt over 100
000 metric tons of Automotive Gas Oil
(AGO) diesel today.” “We also apprehended five suspects; two women and three middle-aged men.”

“The Navy also seized one small
generating set…

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NIGERIA, SOUTH KOREA LAUNCH PARLIAMENTARY TIE

NIGERIA, SOUTH KOREA LAUNCH PARLIAMENTARY TIE

The National Assembly has launched a group called Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Republic of South Korea with a view to deepening the relationship between the two countries.

Speaking at a dinner marking the group’s launch in Abuja, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha said the idea of establishing the group was to maintain and boost the solidarity that existed between both countries for decades.

While noting that Nigeria has always supported South Korea in its bid to be part of the United Nations Security Council, Ihedioha said the country would provide an enabling environment for both countries to further deepen their interests.

He commended the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) for its role in seeing that the friendship group came to fruition adding that it was a good omen for both countries.

In her remarks, Minister of State 1 for Foreign Affairs Prof Viola Onwuliri said Nigeria would continue to work together with the South Korean government, calling for peace in the Korean Peninsula.

On her part, NILS Director General Dr Ladi Hamalai called on the South Korean government to fulfill its promise of establishing vocational centres in Nigeria saying “our youth need to be engaged; we want your promises to be implemented and honoured.”
Responding, South Korean ambassador to Nigeria Choi Jong Hyum said already his country was building a vocational centre in Kogi State where youths would be trained on different trades which will be completed before the end of this year.

Giving an account of how the idea of launching the group came about, chairman House Committee on Justice, Rep Ali Ahmed (APC, Kwara), said it started in April last year when Nigerian parliamentarians visited some Asian countries adding that the mutual benefits for the group would come in the area of investments in different sectors of the economy.

Leader of the South Korean parliamentarians, Shin Hak Yong, while appreciating the group launch, said henceforth the two countries should be sending delegates to each other on a working visit after every two years.