Press spotlights France’s pledge to support Nigeria build strong economy, others

APA– Lagos The pledge by the French government to support Nigeria to build a strong and vibrant economy to boost growth as a strategic West Africa partner and the report that Nigeria and Africa have been identified as requiring more investments in the oil and gas space are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday. He said it was against this…

APA – Lagos (Nigeria) The pledge by the French government to support Nigeria to build a strong and vibrant economy to boost growth as a strategic West Africa partner and the report that Nigeria and Africa have been identified as requiring more investments in the oil and gas space are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.

The Sun reports that worried by Nigeria’s fragile economy that is often susceptible to swings of global commodities market, the French government has pledged its commitment to supporting the country build a strong and vibrant economy to boost growth as a strategic West Africa partner.

The country’s minister of foreign trend and economic attractiveness, Mr Franck Riester, who made the pledge in an address he presented at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris, said the France and its private sector would help the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration build a modern economy that can create jobs for its teeming youth population and finance its economic development aspirations.

He said it was against this backdrop that French government extended over $3billion in loans to Nigeria which remains its largest trading partner in the West African subregion over the years.

In the health sector, Riester said France has given a loan of €50million to the Nigerian government to boost access to primary health care, as both countries continue to strengthen partnership in the areas of agriculture, with France looking at playing more dynamic roles in the Nigerian economy.

The newspaper says that despite renewed calls for a shift from fossil fuel investments, Nigeria and Africa have been identified as requiring more investments in the oil and gas space. Former Managing Director of Equinor Nigeria and current Managing Director, Business Development, Alta Trading UK Limited, Heine Melkevik, stated this during the spotlight session at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, which ended in South Africa, last week.

“The reality is that Nigeria and Africa need more investment in the oil and gas space. The transition is good because you will invest in more renewables, but in order to industrialise, we need to invest in oil and gas. It is a gradual and repetitive process.

“What will happen now is, you will have a test again and again of the resolve and attitude of Nigeria. You need to take some risks, as this is a long-term game. The opportunities in Nigeria, from upstream to midstream to downstream, are too big to ignore,” stated Melkevik.

With over 36 billion barrels of oil and 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, Nigeria has emerged as one of Africa’s biggest energy sectors, attracting significant levels of investment and driving project developments across the entire energy value chain.

The Vanguard reports that the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, has received $226, 889 from the United States of America through its embassy in Nigeria, to facilitate activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of its members to understand, appreciate and deliver on their constitutionally assigned responsibility to hold government accountable to the people.

In a statement issued yesterday by the NGE’s President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the NGE said the capacity building would include training programmes for editors and other senior journalists on press freedom/democracy, as well as town hall meetings on media regulation framework.

‘’The project also entails printing and distribution of the Journalism Code of ethics, and strengthening of the NGE’s website – news alerts on media violations.

“These capacity building conferences, which will hold in the six geo-political zones across the country, are to provide a platform for editors to be reminded of the sacred duties they are tasked to perform by the constitution on behalf of the citizens.

‘’Drawing copious examples from the advanced democracies around the world, like US – after which the Nigerian constitution is formed, the conferences are expected to instil in the editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of standard and sense of responsibilities,’’ the NGE stated.

It hoped that a responsive and professional media would have the spin-off effect of keeping the government on its toes, holding government accountable to the citizens, securing the confidence and support of the citizens and the international community and advancing democratic growth and consolidation.

ThisDay says that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has reiterated that Nigeria’s debt to gross domestic products (GDP) ratio is still low at 33 per cent amidst concerns over heightened increased borrowing.

She said this during an interview on Channels television recently where she restated that the federal government’s borrowing is accurately planned to boost growth and development of the economy.

She said: “We have made sure that we have a debt management strategy and a medium-term debt management strategy. So, this borrowing is not being done by just a fiat as it is capsuled in a plan. We are guided by the fiscal responsibility that sets the limit of how much you can borrow at any particular time.

“We have also structured the borrowing to make sure we have a good balance between domestic borrowing as well as external financial borrowing. So truly, in 2020 because of a COVID-19 crisis, we ended up borrowing more than we had planned, because we have to change all our plans to be able to accommodate revenue crash remember, so we have to change our plans to be able to borrow more to contain the pandemic.

The Punch reports that a total of 13 airport consortia, comprising local and foreign companies, have submitted bids to be prequalified for the planned concession of four Nigerian international airports.

This came as the Independent Concession and Regulatory Commission last week began the evaluation of the applications submitted by the companies seeking to be pre-qualified for the airport concession process.

The Federal Government had on October 15, 2021 closed the Request for Qualifications for the concession of four international airports, namely the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and the Port Harcourt International Airport.

The spokesperson for the ICRC, Mrs Manji Yarling, in an exclusive interview with The Punch on Friday, disclosed that 13 companies submitted their RFQs before the closure of the exercise on October 25.

She declined to give further details, including the names of the local and foreign companies that submitted RFQs for the concession. Yarling referred our correspondent to the Federal Ministry of Aviation for further details.

The newspaper says that the Central Bank of Nigeria has assigned the duty of providing insurance cover and assessing risk of farmers under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to underwriting firms.

The Development Finance Department of the CBN disclosed this in its revised Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Guidelines for September 2021.

The guidelines said the underwriters should “provide insurance cover for the projects; ensure timely processing and settlement of claims; provide technical assistance to farmers on insurance policies; and monitor projects for early warning signals or red flags”.

It said they should “render periodic report on farm conditions; serve as member of the project management team; and carry out any other responsibilities as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time”.

The revised guidelines addressed current realities and developments in the ABP, with the aimed of promoting best practice in the implementation of the programme.

The document recognised the distinctiveness of smallholder farmers, the ABP transactions dynamics and the project management team in the implementation process. It also adopted measures to ensure the protection of smallholder farmers.

GIK/APA

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