Abuja, Nigeria – On invitation by the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has been scheduled to attend the Nordic-African Business Summit in Oslo this week.
Statement issued on Monday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President (Media and Publicity), Laolu Akande, mentioned the summit is scheduled for between Monday and Wednesday.
Akande said, “The summit will attract the largest Nordic companies doing business or interested in doing business in Nigeria with interests in agriculture, light manufacturing, transportation, digital technology and entertainment, oil and gas, and renewable energy.
“Specifically, Prof. Osinbajo will, among other critical issues, be speaking on the strides made by the Buhari administration in improving the economy and human capital development.
“The Vice-President will also headline a specific Nigeria-focused investment roundtable, which is expected to lead to increased trade and investment into Nigeria by building confidence about business prospects in the country and its role as an economic gateway into Africa.”
CBN Distributes N611.5bn to Farmers
As of the end of November 2019, a total amount of N611.5bn has been disbursed to farmers under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme from inception in 2009.
The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in its November 2019 economic report
Part of the report read, “In November 2019, the sum of N1.07bn was disbursed to three projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme. Thus, the total amount released to the economy, under the scheme from inception in 2009 to date, stood at N611.50bn in respect of 596 projects.
“In November 2019, 62 projects repaid the sum of N8.15bn, of which payment by 59 projects were steady repayments, while three projects were full repayments.
“The repayments brought the cumulative repayment under CACS from inception in 2009 to N384.41bn.”
An analysis of the number of projects financed under the CACS by value chain indicated that of the 596 CACS sponsored projects, production accounted for 61.6 per cent and dominated the activities funded, while processing accounted for 27.7 per cent.
These were followed by storage, input supplies and marketing, which accounted for 4.7 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
The CBN said the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme guaranteed a total of N388.22m to 2,125 farmers in November 2019.
The amount represented a decrease of 0.5 per cent and 5.3 per cent below the levels in the preceding month and the corresponding period of 2018, respectively.
The sub-sectoral analysis showed that food crops obtained the largest share of N182.55m (47.0 per cent) guaranteed to 1,127 beneficiaries, followed by livestock sub-sector at N84.36m (21.7 per cent) guaranteed to 351 beneficiaries; and cash crops at N36.07m (9.3 per cent) guaranteed to 177 recipients.
Fisheries, mixed crops, and ‘others’ obtained N34.39m (8.9 per cent), N31.91m (8.2 per cent) and N18.95m (4.9 per cent) guaranteed to 103, 279 and 88 beneficiaries, respectively.
Analyses by states showed that 28 states, including the FCT, benefited from the scheme in November 2019, with the highest and lowest sums of N67.49m (17.4 per cent) and N1.24m (0.3 per cent) guaranteed to Ogun and Jigawa states, respectively.
“The predominant agricultural activities in November 2019 were harvesting of grains, legumes, and tubers across the country. In the livestock sub-sector, farmers intensified their activities in preparation for the expected end of year bumper sales. The end period headline inflation, on year-on-year and twelve-month moving average bases was 11.85 per cent and 11.35 per cent, respectively, in November 2019,” the bank stated.
Pension Funds Value Reducing Per Increase in Inflation – Ex PenCom DG
Operators have been urged to introduce measures to reduce the effect of inflation on workers’ pension contributions by the Director-General, National Pension Commission, Mr Muhammad Ahmad.
He said this while making a presentation on ‘The pension industry – the way forward’.
Ahmad said, “There is a need to ensure that contributors and retirees do not suffer unduly for the depreciation of the naira over the years.
“For instance, in 2012, one dollar exchanged for an average of N170. Today, one dollar exchanges for an average of N360. What this means is that the pension contributors have had the value of their contributions eroded by over 100 per cent in that period of no fault of yours or the fund managers.”
Ahmad, who is also the chairman of Polaris Bank, said the Federal Government needed to prioritise the payment of accrued rights of retirees.
Although the government had been religiously paying the monthly pension contributions based on the old rates, he said it had not been able to meet up with the adequate and regular payment of accrued pension rights.
He observed that this was causing untold hardship and pain to many who had been waiting for years for their Retirement Savings Accounts to be funded appropriately.
“This is non-negotiable, and we should constantly bring this up at every opportunity until the government funds these accrued rights,” Ahmad said.
Although the National Pension Commission had been statutorily empowered by the Pension Reform Act 2014 to direct the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct at source unpaid accrued pension rights, he said that the power had never been exercised because of political constraints.
The continued success of the pension industry would largely be hinged on the ability of the employers to honour their obligations as and when due, he said.
Ahmad said that in the recent past, members of the National Assembly had assisted in getting the government to accelerate the payment of arrears of accrued pension rights.
He mentioned that it would appear another tier of unpaid obligations had been built, and the industry would once again require the collective efforts of all stakeholders for timely payment of the accrued rights.
Africa Should Adopt the Chinese Yuan – Economist
Bernard Ayieko, a Nairobi-based economist said in a commentary published by the Business Daily newspaper that African countries should hasten the adoption of the Chinese legal tender.
Ayieko stated that the adoption of the yuan would boost the ability of African countries to attract new investments and trade favourably at the global market.
“The Chinese growing influence and the increase in Sino-Africa relations have brought to the fore a debate on the African countries’ need to adopt the renminbi as a currency reserve,” Ayieko added.
He said that the internalisation of yuan, or renminbi, would boost globalisation and foreign trade that Africa could leverage to propel growth.
“The call to internationalise the renminbi continues to reverberate across the world.
“African countries are mulling the need to use the renminbi as a reserve currency and a medium of exchange in international settlements,” Ayieko said.
The internationalisation of yuan reached a milestone in 2016 when it joined the International Monetary Fund basket of reserve currencies alongside the U.S. dollar, the Euro, Japanese Yen and the British Pound.
“Premised on the increased trade, loans and grants to Africa from China, there has been incessant debate in Africa that time is nigh for African countries to adopt the yuan as a reserve currency.
“The growing China-Africa trade has increased the yuan’s convertibility in settling financial transactions between countries.
“By adopting the yuan as a reserve currency, African countries will trade smoothly at both bilateral and multilateral levels because it will be easier to make international transactions between many countries that require diverse currencies for financial settlements,” Ayieko said.
MasterCard Ordered by Court to stop the Production of ID
Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, have ordered Mastercard and its agents to stop the production of the national identity cards issued by National Identity Management Commission.
This order was made following an ex parte motion filed by Chams Plc and Chams Consortium Limited on August 28, 2019.
The ex parte, which also included an Anton Pillar order, was issued on November 7, 2019.
In their statement of claim, Chams Plc and CCL asked Mastercard to pay the sum of N114bn for damages.
Other defendants in the case are President and Chief Executive, Mastercard International, Ajay Banga; Country Representative of Mastercard in Nigeria, Omokehinde Ojomuyide; a member of staff of Mastercard, Daniel Monehin; the NIMC; and 22 commercial banks as respondents.
The order of the court states inter alia, “An order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, whether acting by themselves or by their directors, officers, servants, agents, technical managers, or otherwise however from further manufacturing, producing, designing and or printing or authorising the manufacturing, production, designing and or printing of any National Identity Card with MasterCard logo as described in paragraph 16 of the supporting affidavit in Exhibit CC9 pending the determination of the motion on notice filed for hearing.”
A similar order was given to 22 respondent banks in Nigeria restraining them from honouring or giving effect to any transaction from Mastercard.
A breakdown of the statement of claim showed that N84bn was for special damages as a result of loss of expected revenue for eight years; N10bn for general damages of fraud perpetrated jointly and severally against the claimants; and N20bn for inducing the breach and termination of the concessions awarded to the claimants by the NIMC, which occurred as a result of the Mastercards’ alleged fraudulent actions.
It will be recalled that in 2006, Chams was invited by the Federal Government to bid for the National ID project for which it competed and emerged the preferred bidder for the national ID concession.
Upon the execution of the concession agreement with the NIMC, Chams said it pursued the implementation of the concession by incorporating Chams Consortium Limited, a special purpose vehicle with the sole aim of implementing the NIC concession.
Chams said it also invited Mastercard to work with the Chams Consortium as one of its technical partners on the concession.
Mastercard was accused of colluding with others using technical information and design shared with them by Chams to frustrate the concession won by Chams and more than $100m Chams/CCL invested in the project.
In an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and published earlier in the year, Chams and CCL asked MasterCard to accept its wrongdoing, apologise for the breach of contract and pay compensation to CCL and Chams for their more than $100m investment and accumulated losses.
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