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Foreign Ministry needs more funding to be more responsive – Onyeama

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Foreign Ministry needs more funding to be more responsive – Onyeama


Minister of Foreign Affairs, Goeffrey Onyeama says more funding is required to revamp the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian missions abroad for effective service delivery.

Onyeama made this known when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria forum in Abuja, as he stressed the need to give more priority to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

According to Onyeama, funding has been the major challenge of the Foreign Ministry, adding that improved budgetary allocation to the Ministry would boost responsive and effective operations of the headquarters and missions abroad.

The Minister noted that a lot of procedures and systems are still very archaic and more money is needed to make the ministry dynamic and responsive to fit into the a 21st century world.

He said that Nigeria’s foreign ministry was least funded compared to other countries same size as Nigeria, like South Africa and Egypt.

“The big challenge is the funding of our missions; we all know that resources had been a real problem.

“If you want to prioritise your foreign relations and your foreign Ministry, you have to make the funds available for that.

“Compare with other countries the same size as Nigeria like South Africa, Egypt and you see the percentage of the budget that is allocated to Foreign Ministry is much higher than ours.

“And we see a lot of issues with our missions abroad and funding is always at the core, it has always been one very important challenge, and I think the headquarters itself.

“Because the Foreign Ministry is actually the cutting edge in terms of interface with the rest of the world.

“We are in the 21st century but lot of our procedures and systems are still very archaic and we really need to spend money to make it dynamic and responsive outfit so that’s a real challenge,” Onyeama said.

The Minister said there was need to reassess Nigeria’s foreign policy in line with current trends in other to respond better to present day challenges.

“We will have a big conference to reassess our Foreign policy objectives as a country and that is clearly something that we need to do.

“We have always operated from the basis that Africa is the centerpiece of our foreign policies, but I think that was because of the circumstances at the given time.

“So, a good challenge will be to come up with a good foreign policy directive that responds to the challenges of today,” he said.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Foreign

Foreign investors sell S.Korean stocks for 4 months

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Foreign investors sold South Korean stocks for four straight months through May amid lingering worry about an economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak, central bank data showed Thursday.


Foreign fund worth 3.27 billion United States dollars flowed out of the local stock market in May, keeping an outflow trend for the fourth consecutive month since February, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It came as the coronavirus pandemic boosted volatility in the global financial market on worry about the economic slump.

Demand remained strong for local bonds, considered a safe asset compared to stocks. The record-low interest rate also contributed to the foreign purchase of domestic bonds.

Foreigners bought a net 2.1 billion dollars of domestic bonds in May, after purchasing 5.82 billion dollars of bonds in the previous month.

The BOK slashed its target rate by 50 basis points in March, before lowering it further by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 0.50 percent in May.

Premium on credit default swap, which gauges sovereign credit risk on the five-year government bonds, averaged 32 basis points in May, down 35 basis points tallied in April.

The won/dollar exchange rate stood at 1,238.5 won per dollar as of the end of May, up from 1,218.2 won recorded a month earlier.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Xinhua Headlines: World-class city cluster land of opportunity

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Contributing about one-fourth of the country’s GDP and about one-third of foreign trade and investment, the Yangtze River Delta region in east China is a land of opportunity for investors and enterprises from all around the world.


Covering a 358,000-square-km expanse, about the size of Germany, the region consists of Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui with a total population of about 220 million.

Photo taken on April 9, 2020 shows the Lujiazui area in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Chen Fei)

Photo taken on April 9, 2020 shows the Lujiazui area in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Chen Fei)

HOT DESTINATION FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Despite the impact of COVID-19, foreign enterprises are ramping up investment in the region.

With 892 newly approved foreign-invested projects from January to April, Jiangsu Province led the country in the actual use of foreign capital with 10.37 billion United States dollars posted in the period, up 5.7 percent year on year. The figures in Shanghai and Zhejiang reached 6.46 billion United States dollars and 4.96 billion United States dollars, respectively.

German carmaker Volkswagen has announced plans to invest 2.1 billion euros (about 2.3 billion United States dollars) in China to develop its electric vehicle business in the country.

With an investment of 1 billion euros, Volkswagen will acquire 50 percent of JAG, the parent company of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp., Ltd. (JAC Motors), and increase its stake in JAC Volkswagen to 75 percent, according to the agreement signed in Beijing on May 29.

Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG, said the company, together with strong and reliable partners, is strengthening its electrification strategy in China. Its electric car business is growing rapidly and offers a great deal of potential for JAC Volkswagen.

By opening its market, China is offering Volkswagen new business opportunities, said Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China.

Aerial photo taken on March 18, 2020 shows a container dock of Yangshan Port of Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Aerial photo taken on March 18, 2020 shows a container dock of Yangshan Port of Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

China’s huge market and the Chinese government’s quick and effective actions during the COVID-19 epidemic gave foreign investors confidence, said Sugimoto Takayuki, general manager of Nidec Shibaura (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd., who has been working in China for two years.

“The region has unique advantages in attracting foreign investment,” said Wen Jianning, associate professor of Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance.

ATTRACTIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

“Hangzhou and Shanghai are very flexible cities. Not only citizens are flexible, policymakers here are also open-minded, providing as much convenience for local companies and foreign investors as possible,” said Lauri Tammi, a Finnish entrepreneur.

Tammi has lived in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, for eight years, offering policy advice to entrepreneurs from Finland and other countries. Now his business has expanded to Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and other cities in the region.

Local governments in the cities learn from each other and compete to provide enterprises with good services and a high-quality business environment, he said.

Last week, government officials in the region gathered at a conference in the city of Huzhou in Zhejiang, to mark the first anniversary of the implementation of the integrated regional development of the Yangtze River Delta.

Xia Xingxing, a technical engineer of Alipay, China’s mobile payment giant, has been working on a “shared metro pass” program in dozens of cities in the region, using digital power to accelerate regional integration.

“By using blockchain and other digital technologies, we solved the problem of cross-regional settlement and information exchange. Now citizens in 10 cities can use a QR code to commute in the region,” Xia said.

Photo taken on May 28, 2020 shows an administrative service center offering one-stop e-government service in Wujiang District of Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province. (Xinhua/Li Bo)

Photo taken on May 28, 2020 shows an administrative service center offering one-stop e-government service in Wujiang District of Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province. (Xinhua/Li Bo)

Apart from the program, the region’s integration also covers government services, transportation, medicare, environmental protection and other fields.

Last Friday, groundbreaking ceremonies for a high-speed railway were held simultaneously in several cities in the Yangtze River Delta region.

The 163-km railway track, allowing trains to travel at up to 350 km per hour, will open a new route connecting Shanghai with neighboring cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

It is expected to serve as a new transportation artery in the city cluster.

Aerial photo taken on April 22, 2020 shows a train running during its trial operation along the Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou high-speed railway in Huzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

Aerial photo taken on April 22, 2020 shows a train running during its trial operation along the Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou high-speed railway in Huzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

More than 10 railway projects are planned to be opened and started in the region this year, with the annual investment exceeding 80 billion yuan (about 11.3 billion United States dollars), accounting for nearly one-sixth of the total investment in China’s railway system.

“The integrated and coordinated development of the region has cultivated not only a complete high-tech industrial chain, but also a large number of high-quality technical workers. All are conducive to attracting foreign investment in manufacturing and research and development,” said Wen.

“This region has a unique advantage,” Wen said.

(Xinhua reporters Shang Yiying, Wei Donghua, Qu Lingyan also contributed to the story. Video reporters: Li Tao, Yin Xiaosheng, Xia Liang; Video editor: Yang Zhixiang)

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

S. Korean kidnapped by pirates off Gabon released- Foreign Ministry

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The man in his 50s was among six crew members abducted after unidentified pirates attacked their fishing boats near the Gabonese capital of Libreville in West Africa in early May.

“He was freed on Monday, along with the five others of Indonesian and Senegalese nationalities, and they are all in good health,’’ the ministry said.

The ministry added that the South Korean remains in a secure place offered by the South Korean mission in Nigeria and will return home as soon as a flight is arranged.

Meanwhile, his family has also been informed of his release.

“We are fortunate that the kidnapping incident was resolved safely, especially thanks to the family who has trusted and supported the government and the shipping company with strong patience,’’ a ministry official said.

A total of 18 crewmen had been aboard two ships when the pirates attacked them and forced the vessels to travel further north to Corisco, an island that belongs to Equatorial Guinea.

The pirates then took off on a speedboat with only the six of them while releasing the rest.

The ministry had been working with the governments of other countries, such as France and the United States, to track down the kidnappers and locate their whereabouts.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Metro

Evacuation: Foreign airline whose country denies us landing right won’t be welcome here — House Committee

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The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has warned that no UK based airline would be granted approval into the country for evacuation flight if a Nigerian carrier was refused landing rights for similar flight in UK.


The committee Chairman, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, issued the warning in a statement issued on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the House had on May 12, adopted a motion mandating the committee to investigate why the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 engaged foreign airlines for the evacuation flights at expense of indigenous airline operators.

Nnaji explained that the committee arrived at this decision at the end of the investigative hearing on Friday.

The lawmaker said the hearing was on the use of foreign airlines to evacuate stranded Nigerians out of the UAE, UK and USA by Emirates Airline, British Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, respectively.

He said that the engagement of foreign airlines in the earlier evacuations undermined the integrity of Nigeria as a leading economy in Africa.

Nnaji said that the House had equally on the account of the motion, urged  President Muhamadu Buhari, to direct the Ministries of Aviation, Foreign Affairs and other relevant bodies not to patronise foreign airlines in the evacuation of stranded Nigerians.

The lawmaker said the motion was to ensure that Nigerian airlines enjoy the right of first refusal in any future evacuation flights.

“The committee also directed the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to deny approval to any airline from Canada.

Unless Canadian Authority give a Nigerian operator approval for evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada.

The Ministry of Aviation and its relevant agencies were also mandated to report Canada to the International Civil Aviation Organization, (ICAO).

“This is for denying a Nigerian Airline landing rights for the evacuation of stranded Nigerian citizens in that country,” he said.

Nnaji said the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Godfrey Onyeama, were in attendance at the investigative hearing.

The committee chairman said they blamed the frustrations the airlines were going through on what he described as,  “international aero politics”.

He singled out Sirika for his unprecedented support for the indigenous airline operators since he assumed office as the minister of aviation.

Nnaji said with the assistance of Sirika, approval for importation of aircraft which used to take months before his tenure to obtain, now takes less than 48 hours to get approved.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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