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Economy: Buhari inaugurates NSIA Board, tasks members ahead of projected oil price fall

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja charged the new board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to make more investments that support economic diversification, as global oil prices are projected to drop to around $40 per barrel by 2030.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) disclosed this in a statement.

Adesina said while inaugurating the third Board of the NSIA, the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to implementing long term projects and programmes that create jobs for Nigerians.

Buhari noted that the full impact of most of the strategic projects started under his watch will only be felt long after he had left office.

The President described the appointment of the 9-man board as a call to duty, action and performance, adding that they were eminently qualified for the job.

‘‘This Government operates on the agenda for long term change which we all agree is inevitable. Change happens whether you are ready for it or not.

‘‘As representatives of the Federation, you are required to continue to drive the performance of the Authority to deliver benefits to all Nigerians.

‘‘You must bear in mind that the National Economic Council, your Governing Council and Nigerians as a whole will hold you accountable for this mandate.

‘‘Periodically, you will be required to provide evidence of your stewardship at the Governing Council Meetings where your performance will be assessed.

‘‘The bar before you is very high and all of us are counting on you to deliver. If you do, I assure you that Government and indeed all Nigerians will be unflinching in their support for you,’’ the President said.

The President recounted that NSIA, which is one of Nigeria’s premier economic institutions, was conceived to be a store of wealth which may be drawn upon at times of economic challenges thereby encouraging external investors and lenders.

He expressed delight that so far the institution has discharged its mandate dutifully.

‘‘This is why we prioritized the appointment of a new Board to ensure that the Authority does not lose steam and can continue to benefit from the oversight it needs to deliver on its mandate.

‘‘The new Board we assembled has a crop of seasoned, eminently qualified, and experienced professionals.

‘‘We expect these individuals to bring their wealth of experience to bear, in the next phase of NSIA’s journey,’’ he said.

The President also used the occasion to thank the last Board of Directors whose tenure ended in May 2021.

Acknowledging their commitment, dedication and contributions to the implementation of the objectives of the Authority, the President said:

‘‘This distinguished group of patriotic Nigerians heeded the call to serve and deployed the best of their abilities to oversee the affairs of the Authority on behalf of the nation over the last four years.

Notably, the President said the immediate past Board ‘‘guided the organisation through a critical stage of its existence and have left it standing as a credible world class institution that turns out consistently good results.’’

‘‘This Administration took the very difficult decision to invest for the long term. We avoided taking short cuts knowing very well that the full impact of most of the projects we started will only be felt long after we have left office.

‘‘Accordingly, in the past four years, both the public and private sectors in Nigeria have partnered on strategic projects with the NSIA.

‘‘On the public sector partnership, we are working with the NSIA on strategic infrastructure projects such as the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos – Ibadan Express Way and the Abuja – Kano Road, to mention a few.

‘‘On the private sector collaborations, we have projects such as the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative and the NSIA Healthcare Development and Investment Company amongst many.

‘‘Although these projects and programs have immediately created jobs from a development standpoint, the wider impact on society will only be felt in years to come,’’ he said.

The new Board members are Farouk Mohammed Gumel (North West) as Non-Executive Chairman; Sir Babatunde Sobamowo (South West), Non-Executive Director; Isiekwena Ikemefuna Louis (South South), Non-Executive Director; Ali Goni Kadugum (North East), Non-Executive Director; Oniyangi Kabir Sulaiman (North Central), Non-Executive Director; and Ike Chioke (South East), Non-Executive Director.

In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said from the base position of US$1billion when the Administration assumed office in 2015, NSIA now has around US$3.5billion in assets under management.

She explained that the Board will, on behalf of the Nigerian people, guide and oversee the NSIA Management’s activities towards delivering outcomes to transform the fortunes of the country.

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ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation re-elects Dr. Ezra, as president

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Dr. Ezra Yakusak - MD/CEO NEPC
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Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has been reelected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra Ghana.

Dr. Yakusat, will serve another One-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries in driving trade within the sub-region.

His re-election is also in line with Article 11 of the ECOWAS TPO Network. The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organization is a network of all Trade Promotion Organizations in West Africa established by the decisions of Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.

Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr. Yakusat, became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.

A statement by the council said the re-election of Dr. Ezra was at the end of 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Network held at Alisa hotel, Accra, Ghana from 19th – 20th May, 2022.

He was re-elected along with the vice president, Mr. Ben Guy Mbangue from Cote’ D’ivoire.

The duo constitute the Executive Bureau of the Network and the tenure expires after one year. All members present unanimously re-elected the President and Vice President respectively.

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World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022

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World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.

The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.

A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.

It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.

“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”

The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.

“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.

The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.

It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.

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Double trouble for Ahmed Idris: arrested by EFCC, suspended by Minister

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Ahmed Idris - Account General of the Federation
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The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has been directed to proceed on indefinite suspension over alleged laundering of N80 billion.

Idris, was suspended on Wednesday by Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In a letter dated May 18, 2022, the minister said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

Ahmed Idris, was on Monday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). over alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

Wilson Uwajaren, Head of Media and Public Information of the EFCC, stated that verified intelligence reports showed that Idris raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

Uwujaren added that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and in Abuja.

According to EFCC, Idris was arrested after he failed to honour invitations by the Commission to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.

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