Press focuses on Nigeria, Morocco bilateral deal on industrial growth, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The new five-plug bilateral deal on industrial growth between Nigeria and Morocco and the suggestion by NorthEast Governors’ Forum to seek assistance from neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroun to end insurgency in Nigeria are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.

The Guardian reports that Nigeria has signed a $1.4 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Morocco to enhance its industrial capacity and boost the performance of the agriculture sector.

The five-plug agreements constituting the MoU entered into by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and OCP Africa at the Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Benguerir, Morocco, would lead to the siting of an ammonia plant and a multipurpose industrial platform in Akwa Ibom State.

The deal, signed on Tuesday, is designed to create a clear path for the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiate as well as the creation and operationalisation of the multipurpose industrial platform, a statement issued by NSIA said.

The five agreements included an MoU between NSIA, OCP Africa and FEPSAN to commit to the second phase of the Nigerian Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI II, a shareholders agreement (SHA) between NSIA and OCP Africa for the creation of the Joint Venture Company (JVC), which will oversee the development of an industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria and an MoU between NSIA, OCP Africa and Akwa Ibom State on land acquisition, administrative facilitation and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom.

The newspaper says that the NorthEast Governors’ Forum (NEGF) has urged the Federal Government to seek assistance from neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroun to end insurgency in the country.

Speaking yesterday at their fourth meeting in Bauchi, they promised to float a regional security outfit in line with the 1999 Constitution and guidelines from the service chiefs

Borno State Governor and Chairman of NEGF, Prof. Babagana Zulum, said: “I call on the Federal Government to seek support from our neighbours, especially, Niger, Chad and Cameroun with a view to providing a joint action that will assist in ending the insurgency.

“Furthermore, the Federal Government has to explore the possibility of involving mercenaries with a view to ending the crisis, because it seems there is no commitment. Therefore, if we must end the insurgency, we must be totally committed.

“We must seek external support and ensure that mercenaries are hired to end insecurity. On our part, in addition to the logical, logistics and financial support we have been rendering to the armed forces in their fight against insecurity in the sub-region, we should also look into the possibility of forming a security outfit within the ambit of constitutional precedence and professional possibility.”

The Vanguard reports that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate all the alleged missing N11 trillion funds allocated for the execution of electricity projects since 1999.

Speaking at a press conference, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Oluwadare Kolawole, said that despite President Buhari’s promise to intensify the fight against corruption, access to regular electricity supply has become almost non-existent, due to systematic and widespread corruption in the sector.

In an address titled: ‘Little to No Progress: Stopping Grand Corruption and Impunity in Nigeria’, Kolawole asked the National Assembly to publish the reports of all power sector-related probes to the federal government and civil society organizations for necessary advocacy action and prosecution by relevant anti-corruption agencies.

He also asked the World Bank President, Mr. David Malpass to release information and documents relating to spending of funds approved and released to Nigeria between 1999 and 2020 to improve access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply including copies of supervision reports, periodic reviews and other appropriate reports by the bank.

Recommending measures to tackle the endemic corruption in the sector, Kolawole said: “President Buhari should urgently address corruption in the electricity and education sectors by instructing appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate the allegations of missing N11trillio in the electricity sector since the return of democracy in 1999, and to ensure that suspected perpetrators of corruption are brought to justice and that any missing public funds are fully recovered.”

ThisDay says that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) will not be barred from participating in the Open Market Operations (OMO) auctions, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said.

Emefiele, in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday, highlighted the importance of portfolio inflows to the economy, saying that forex liquidity plays an important role in supporting economic growth.

He spoke against the backdrop of a report by Bloomberg on Tuesday, which quoted CBN’s Director of Monetary Policy, Mr. Hassan Mahmud, as saying in an interview aired during an online conference in Abuja that the bank was preparing to end an era of debt sales that handed foreign investors one of the best returns in Africa.

Bloomberg had quoted Mahmud as saying that offerings to non-residents of OMO bills are to be phased out, “once current obligations have been redeemed.”

But Emefiele said there was no truth in the Bloomberg report just as he ruled out excluding FPIs from the OMO auctions. According to him, the CBN considers FPIs as one of its important stakeholders and partners in the running of the forex market and the financial market.

The Punch reports that the Senate on Wednesday mandated its Committee on Power to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Power to take necessary steps towards the immediate completion of the Abadigba-Egwuwe power project in Kogi State.

The upper chamber passed the resolution sequel to the consideration of a motion to that effect during plenary.

The motion was titled ‘The need for immediate completion of the Abadigba-Egwuwe Power Plant Project in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State.” It was sponsored by Senator Isah Jibrin, an All Progressives Congress member representing Kogi East Senatorial District.

Jibrin noted that sometime in 2007, the Federal Government embarked on a power plant project at Abadigba-Egwuwe in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State to light up Kogi East Senatorial District, against the backdrop of the persistent poor power supply to the area.

The Sun says that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has restated the urgent need for the Federal Government to address the incessant increase in electricity tariffs and other challenges that could inpinge on country’s competitiveness in an African Continental Free Trade market.

The Association also emphasised the need for corporate trading among Africans to be able to expand productivity in Africa and together face the international community.

MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who made the remarks in Lagos, noted that government needs to address the nation’s high electricity tariff especially in respect to supply to the manufacturing sector.

He added that other trade facilitation issues, like the port challenges, transportation issues, insecurity that continues to constrain business, needed a quick action as the country cannot operate in a continental trade area with these problems.


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