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Nigerian govt has spent N1.7 trillion in capital investment – Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said the Federal Government has spent N1.7 trillion in capital investment in two budget years.

Mr Osinbajo spoke while addressing participants at the 9th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum held at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja.

The focus of the forum was on job creation.

The vice president said infrastructure development was crucial in economic growth and job creation.

He commended the commitment of the participants to expanding the work being done by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) on skills acquisition.

According to him, there is the need to put emphasis on skill training and placing large numbers of young people in the workplace.

“These must take into account the need to provide real value to the private sector through the ITF scheme and where necessary, develop optimal incentives to support the private sector.

“It will also be important that we commit to constituting sector skills’ councils and encourage the development of these councils for various sectors, especially in sectors we have identified as being of priority for job creation.

“I am convinced that we can crack the jobs problem and we are in the right direction.

“ First, by investing in infrastructure; we are investing more in infrastructure today than any previous governments in our history.

“We have spent so far in two budgets, N1.7 trillion in capital investment – that is the largest in the history of the country despite earning 60 percent less; we are doing far more with far less resources,’’ he said.

Mr Osinbajo said the Federal Government was also looking at solving the power problem.

He said the Federal Government would review the previous power privatisation to enhance the capacity of business people by boosting power supply.

The vice president said job creation had been a priority of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration ”as the surest way of creating jobs was by enabling the private sector to do business easily”.

“Opportunities are created in agriculture and the agro-allied industry, services, manufacturing, among others.

“But we realised that that would not solve the immediate problems of thousands of graduates who have no jobs or the millions who are at the bottom of the trading pyramid barely eking out a living.

“This, we believed created a compelling argument for direct intervention by government,’’ he said.

In an overview of the economy, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said under the Social Investment Programme, N500 billion was allocated annually to take of the poor and the vulnerable in four clusters.

He listed the clusters as Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) in which 308,737 loans had been successfully disbursed to 4,084 cooperatives across 36 states and FCT.

Others are Conditional Cash Transfer in which 297,973 persons were supported with cash transfers of ?5,000 each in 217 LGAs across 20 States and 2,530 community facilitators trained.

The Home Grown School Feeding Programme in which 8.56 million school children were fed in 46,000 schools across 24 States and 90,670 catering staff engaged.

Mr Udoma also listed the N-Power Programme which reportedly engaged 200,000 persons in its first batch in October 2016 and 308, 389 in its second batch in August 2018.

Afolabi Imoukhuede, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Office of the Vice President, in a presentation, said Nigeria’s youthful population was an advantage.

“We strongly believe that by tapping into our youthful demographic edge through large-scale and appropriate skills development, we will improve the prospects of economic growth and social inclusion,’’ he said.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the ministry was synergising with the private sector to bridge the skill gap in the country.

The forum was attended by private sector operators and officials from relevant government agencies. (NAN)

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FirstBank Hits 27,000 Banking Agents, Deepens Financial Inclusion Across Nigeria

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Nigeria’s premier bank and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that it now has over 27,000 Agents on its Firstmonie Agent Network. This feat reinforces the Bank’s steering role at promoting financial inclusion in the country. The over 27,000 Firstmonie Agents are present in almost all Local Government Areas across the country.

In line with the Financial Inclusion objectives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to bring financial services closer to Nigerians, Firstmonie Agent Network is a unique channel designed by FirstBank to solve the challenge of access to financial services. Firstmonie Agents are empowered with secured digital channels to provide basic financial services such as account opening, Cash-In, Cash-Out, Funds Transfer, Airtime topup, and Bill payments to customers across the country.

FirstBank, through this Financial Inclusion drive, is making very impressive impact on job creation, women and youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship development – fundamental pillars of overall economic development.

Alhaji Bashir Aliyu Muhammad Rimin-Gado, a Firstmonie Agent operating from Rimin-Gado area in Kano State said, “I have been with Firstmonie since they started and I can say that it has been a life changing experience, I have been able to build trust of the communities around me as many workers in my area have forgotten the last time they visited any bank branch for basic banking services. I am a proud employer of labour and as a result my staff are well paid and comfortable.

Sharing his excitement on the impact FirstBank Agent Banking has had in his immediate community, another Firstmonie Agent in Abia State, Ephraim Osinachi of Jozzy NetComputer Services. Nig Limited, said, “FirstBank’s Firstmonie has created an enabling opportunity for dwellers of my immediate community and neighboring towns to carry out banking transactions with less time, money, resources and risks as people don’t have to waste time embarking on long journeys to the city, added to the dangers of being robbed on the highway.”

“My experience as a Firstmonie Agent has been a rewarding one, as I receive hundredsof Thank You and God bless you from customers each day, because of the relief the Agent Banking gives to them. The people of Ukwa will always remain grateful to CBN and FirstBank for bringing banking to their door step with Agent Banking”, he concluded.

On the back of its drive to deepen inclusion through Agent Banking, FirstBank has also partnered with National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). The (NURTW) partnership seeks to leverage the human traffic and commercial activities at various motor parks across the country to ease access to financial services. First Bank is also in partnership with Azuri Technologies Limited, an off-grid power distribution company to make access to off-grid power easy, especially in rural communities, as well as other institutions, who are seeking to provide resources to cushion the effects of economic and social shocks on low income individuals.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan “Our Firstmonie Agent Banking network, spread across the nook and cranny of the country, is a demonstration of our resolve to promoting financial inclusion and business in the country. This indeed has been achieved with the concerted effort and commitment of our partners and registered Firstmonie Agents to taking banking to Nigerians regardless of where they are. With them, we are committed to leave no stone unturned at bolstering the economic involvement of many more Nigerians, especially through our robust electronic services like *894# USSD banking, Firstmobile, Firstonline and ChatBanking on WhatsApp”

FirstBank recently announced that over N1 trillion Naira had been processed through the Agent Banking Network. The First Bank to achieve this milestone.

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Otedola to invest $1bn in Geregu power plant

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Nigerian businessman and billionaire, Femi Otedola, has disclosed plans to shift his focus to power generation.

In a series of tweets on his Twitter page on Saturday, Otedola said his business focus will now be on Geregu power plant in which it is estimated he will invest $1 billion.

Amperion Power Distribution Company Limited, a subsidiary of Forte Oil Plc acquired the Geregu power plant in 2013 and invested $94 million in the power plant.

After another $350 million investment in the plant in 2018, Otedola said the acquisition was a sign of his commitment to the federal government’s power sector recovery plan.

Geregu Power Plc was incorporated in November 2006 as one of the unbundled companies from the now-defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The gas power plant began operations in 2007 with a total installed capacity of 414MW at commissioning.

In December, Otedola had first announced that he would divest his 75% stake in Forte Oil Plc.

The divestment was completed on Wednesday; selling his majority shareholding to Prudent Energy, a local oil trading firm.

Forte Oil, was originally British Petroleum. The federal government took over the oil company during the fight to free South Africa from White minority rule and renamed it African Petroleum Plc.

African Petroleum was privatised to Sodiq Oil before Otedola acquired the company and rebranded it as Forte Oil.

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Nigerian Senator, 204 others named as ‘delinquent debtors’ Of First Bank

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Nigerian Senator, Abdullahi Adamu, and 240 other individuals have been named as delinquent debtors of First Bank Plc.

An advertorial published by the bank in the Monday, June 24, 2019 edition of Punch newspaper, listed 133 companies as problematic debtors alongside their directors.

According to the advertorial, the senator’s companies are owing about N2.5 billion.

Mr Abdullahi, who represents Nasarawa West Senatorial District in Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber,  is one of the directors of two debtor companies — Nagari Integrated Dairy Farms and Keffi Flours Mills Limited.

The breakdown shows that Nagari Integrated Dairy Farm took a term loan on July 21, 2011. It reportedly promised to pay up on July 20, 2016. But as at now, the outstanding payment stands at over N2.1billion.

Also, Keffi Flour Mills Limited obtained a loan from the bank on October 8, 2013, with a promise to pay up on October 7, 2014. The bank, however, said over N345million remains outstanding.

All efforts to get the senator to respond to the claim by his bank were unsuccessful for most of Monday. He and one of his aides did not respond to multiple calls and text messages.

Mr Abdullahi was a two-term governor of Nassarawa, a state in Nigeria’s North-Central geopolitical zone, near Abuja.

He became senator after his governorship terms ended and is now into his third terms in the Senate.

During his first term as senator, beginning April 2011, he served as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals. In his second term, he served as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Nagari Integrated Dairy Farm and Keffi Floor Mills Limited are subsidiaries of the NAGARI Group, largely owned by Mr Adamu.

The Nagari Group is an agricultural firm providing services in dairy, farm products, and flour milling.

In the advertorial, First Bank advised the 133 companies, including those owned by Mr Adamu, “to engage the Bank for possible resolution of their unpaid obligations”.

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