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Anambra govt. signs MoU with over 50 investors in 5 years — Official

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Anambra Government says it has signed about 50 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for investment in the state with multi-nationals, foreign and local investors in the last five years.

Dr Ifediora Amobi, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency, said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Tuesday.

Amobi, however, said that most of the investors had yet to fully actualise their commitment in the MoU.

He said that the state had continued to live-up to its terms in the agreements by providing land and infrastructure to help the investors seamlessly kick-start their businesses in the state.

“But there is a big difference between investment attracted and investment committed.

“If you say to me that you want to do a N1 million investment in Anambra and we sign an MoU, that is N1 million attracted.

“And if you bring in N400,000 to start with and your investment spans three years, it means for the first year, you are operating with N400,000.

“That first N400,000 you bring in to start work is investment committed.

“So, what we focus more on are those funds committed to business in the state and not the funds attracted,’’ he said.

Amobi, who is the immediate past Executive Director of African Heritage Institution, said that attracting investment was good but the best would be the actual monetary commitment of the investment coming into the state.

“Investment commitment in monetary term is what will translate to development, job creation and economic wellbeing of the people,’’ he said.

He said that the state also had some MoU agreements that were “non-performing” due to finance and weather, among other reasons.

“As much as we try to ensure that investors raise their business capital before we sign these MoU with them you find out that it is not 100 per cent possible.

Amobi, a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Development Matters, said the state would still go ahead to sign the MoUs, in spite of the limitations.

(Edited by Sam Oditah)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Economy

FG to inject N600bn in electricity market to boost power supply — TCN

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), says that the Federal Government has approved N600 billon for electricity market to boost power supply.

The forum has as its theme: “Rules Compliance for Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) Development and Sustainability’’.

Ejie said the intervention by the Federal Government was at a very advanced level, adding that it had already been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the intervention is for the payment of the shortfall in electricity invoices for the entire market.

“The whopping sum of money has never been injected into the power sector before but even when it is privatised, the government is spending more telling you that the privatisation is given a red flag.

“The fund will be ready for disbursement any moment from now.’’

He explained that the intervention was not restricted to a single chain in the market, as it was holistic.

Mr Usman Mohammed, the Managing Director of TCN said that one of the factors that would make the Nigerian Electricity Market Participants to thrive was by complying with rules, codes and orders.

Usman said that there was the need for the operators to be proactive in recognising that regulatory and standard compliance were the key to market development.

“The theme of the event reflects the growing recognition, concern and importance of regulatory compliance and ruling documents implementation.

“Today’s interactive forum is part of the Market Operator effort to support you and improve the market performance,’’ he said.

He said that the forum was to access the market performance, changes and their impact on the market participants’ readiness and challenges, predict what lies ahead and to determine compliance to rules or lack of it.

Mohammed said that TCN had commenced the provision of Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) in all trading modes in the country provision.

He said that TCN also plans to establish a lasting Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment and facilitating operational audit of both the System and Market Operator.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Economy

FirstBank to promote new agribusiness opportunities

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Agriculture

By Oluwafunke Ishola

Lagos, Aug. 21 First Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to promote sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development.

Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that the bank would hold its 2019 FirstBank Agric Expo themed; “Agricultural Value Chain – Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks, would hold on Aug. 30, with Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of AFREXIM Bank as the Keynote Speaker.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that FirstBank Agric Expo, launched in 2017, provides platform for national discourse on sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development, improved contribution to her balance of trade as well as foreign exchange.

Adeduntan said: ”In the last 125 years, more than any other financial institution, we have played a key role in financing different sectors of not just the Nigerian economy but other economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As Nigeria expands opportunities in its non-oil sector – especially Agriculture – we remain committed to the growth of the agricultural sector and its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.”

Adeduntan said that the bank’s consistency in convening the FirstBank Agric Expo is a demonstration of its commitment to building the agribusiness economy.

He said that agribusiness was capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating exports, supporting sustainable income and creating employment opportunities.

Adeduntan said that the expo would host over 600 delegates and over 60 exhibitors to display the latest technology in farm equipment, tools and machinery as well as packaged finished agricultural produce, logistics and supply.

He said that it would also keep the participants and sundry agribusiness practitioners abreast with new opportunities in the Agricultural industry.

Edited by Nick Nicholas/Wale Ojetimi

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Economy

CIBN to enhance digital banking, financial inclusion

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The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), is poised to enhance digital banking and financial inclusion for robust economic growth.

Mr Peter Ashade, the Chairman, CIBN Lagos chapter disclosed this at a media briefing on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to Ashade, digital banking has become strategic in enhancing the economy, particularly now that the country is seeking greater financial inclusion and more efficient banking services.

“Digital banking services are one of the most significant developments in the banking industry in its long history with its most important features being speed and convenience.

“Bank customers can access their accounts, view their statements, make transfers, pay bills and more, all from the comfort of their homes, offices or on the go,’’ Ashade said.

Ashade, however, lamented that in spite of the many benefits to customers, there are major concerns and challenges, including fraud currently estimated at 31 billiondollars globally.

“Traditional banking habits, security, technical issues and transaction difficulties, all pose major challenges facing the banking industry in the country today,” he said.

To address the issue, Ashade said the institute would hold a forum with the theme; “Rethink Banking Models in the Digital Age for Aconomic Development in Nigeria’’ on Aug. 29 in Lagos.

He said that through the forum, the association would retool the system to minimise challenges as well as optimise benefits to operators and end users for more economic development.

Ashade said that in spite of the challenges, the demand for electronic banking services was waxing strong and critical to inclusive economic growth.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

 

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Economy

Nigerian varsities partner NASSI to close skills gap

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The Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology of Nigerian Universities is seeking to partner the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) to boost entrepreneurship in the country.

Prof. Christian Bolu, former Chairman of the committee made this known on Wednesday in Abuja when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to NASSI management.

Bolu, also Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Covenant University said that the aim of the visit was to involve NASSI in the training of engineers in Nigerian universities, particularly in the practical aspect.

He said that the partnership would close the gap between the academia and entrepreneurial in the country.

“There are about 55 universities offering engineering programmes out of the 200 universities in Nigeria and this committee is for all the Deans of the faculty of engineering.

“The main goal of this committee is to share ideas on how we can improve the training of our engineers. We found out that there are many things lacking, particularly getting our students to work and understand how industries operate in Nigeria.

“We want to make sure they acquire exact skills they need so that when they graduate, they don’t have to run around doing jobs outside their fields or go into banking rather they should be useful in factories,’’ he said.

According to him, the committee also wants to find out the problems in the industry and communities and be part of the solution so that the things we do as practical will be based on problems coming from the industry.

The Professor of Engineering recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in June signed a new Engineering Law which emphasised on Nigerians solving their problems.

Bolu, also the Leader of the Committee working on Industry Academia Partnership underscored the need to ensure Nigerian engineering students were changed by this partnership for Nigeria to benefit economically.

Prof. Salami Ismailia of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta also decried the huge disconnect between the academia and industry.

Ismailia thanked the association for its cooperation and also hoped that the fear of sharing information which was one of the challenges in the industry could be tackled.

Chief Solomon Vongfa, NASSI National President said the partnership was timely, in view of the present challenges in the sector, adding that the association would work together with the committee for entrepreneurial development.

He said that there were 41 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, adding that such meaningful collaboration which would close the huge gap was needed to enhance the sector.

“There is a challenge on skills gap, so engineering students will be allowed to visit our factories for intensive training. Industrial Attachment is not enough.

“We are having relationship with China, India and U.S.A to meet up with global competitiveness, We will like to bring in modern machines to face the international market.

“The students will also be exposed on how to operate the equipment through the technology and knowledge transfer from our foreign partners.

“We have been doing a lot of trainings, especially in the internal villages to develop small scale entrepreneurs in the country. We are open for collaborations to build the industry,’’ he said.

 

 

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Economy

Acting NAN MD advocates use of data visualisation in journalism

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Ibrahim Mammaga has called on journalists in the country to use data visualisation tools to improve their reportage.

Mammaga made the call on Wednesday, in Abuja, at training on Data Journalism, organised for reporters and editors of NAN by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with Code for Africa, an NGO.

The acting MD said the training would improve the agency’s ability to use data and statistics for better understanding of important and trending issues in the country.

“Data training is important for journalists on every beat from finance to health, agriculture, sports and so on.

“The fact remains that people do not have the patience to read long stories anymore. People want facts given to them in the shortest way possible.

“Data visualisation summarises stories in a graphic form, making it more interesting for people to read and that is the area I want NAN reporters to explore,” he said.

He appealed to NBS and Code for Africa to extend the gesture to the agency’s reporters in states and zonal offices so that more could benefit from the training.

Mammaga then advised the trainees to use the knowledge acquired from the training in writing stories that were rich in data visualisation to attract more readership and usage of NAN stories.

Ms Andidiong Okon, the Nigerian Project Manager, Code for Africa, said that the training was aimed at helping journalists to understand data and statistics so they could pass accurate information to citizens.

“I think every journalist should see data journalism as a way of making story-telling easier, more interesting and backed with facts.

“So, journalists need to get comfortable with the idea of using data in their stories and the NBS is the most reliable data source in the country,” Okon said.

She disclosed that NAN was chosen for the training because of its wide reach and the relationship it has with other newsrooms who subscribe to the agency.

“We feel that training NAN will create ripple effect to other media and once they see how its reportage has improved, they can learn more and possibly get training support from the agency,” she said.

Meanwhile, one of the trainees, Mr Eric Ochigbo, said his job as a Parliamentary Reporter had been made easy, as legislative data would now be simple to understand using graphics.

“Data journalism is a new frontier of reportage, and as a parliamentary reporter, if I must remain relevant; I really need to know how to use these tools.

“Data visualisation brings clarity and makes it easier for me to explain to my audience the activities of the National Assembly,” Ochigbo said.

NAN is a beneficiary of StoryLab Academy, an initiative of the World Bank, Google News Lab and Code for Africa.

The aim is to develop digital reporting skills in newsrooms across 12 major African cities.

The cities are Abuja, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Freetown and three South African cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Others are Kampala Lagos (Nigeria) Nairobi and Yaoundé.

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