Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is on a working visit to China to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and bilateral partnership.
The governor’s visit to the world’s second largest economy is coming barely three months after his trip to Japan in company of President Muhammadu Buhari
Sanwo-Olu hopes to sign partnerships and seal deals that will support the Lagos’ effort in transforming its economy to be 21st century compliant.
Sanwo-Olu will meet top management teams of China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) for joint appraisal of ongoing infrastructural projects being handled in Lagos by the Chinese construction giants.
During the visit, he will deliver a keynote speech at China-Africa Business Council, which aims at putting Lagos before the Chinese investment community and declare the state’s openness to foreign investment.
The governor’s economic ambassadorial role will take him to Zhuhai Changiong Ocean Park, Huawei, GAC Motor Factory and Gree Air Conditioning for discussion on partnerships in the areas of industry, tourism and facility development.
Since inception, the Sanwo-Olu administration has driven up investment efforts in infrastructure, renewable energy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and transportation.
The governor has been unequivocal about his quest for local and foreign finance to transform the state’s economy through sustained investment in infrastructure.
Presenting the N1.1trillion 2020 budget penultimate week, Sanwo-Olu noted that Lagos had revised its approval procedures and extant laws to promote Public-Private Partnership.
These efforts have yielded positive fruits, given the recent release by the World Bank, which praised Lagos as a “significant contributor” to Nigeria’s impressive performance in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Nigeria moved 15 places higher in the ranking.
Lagos and China have strengthened their bilateral relation since the inception of the Sanwo-Olu administration. Recently, the governor witnessed the signing of four agreements with China Development Bank (CDB), including $629 million financing facility, to accelerate completion of the Lekki Deep Seaport project, which started in 2011 and will be completed in 30 months.
The loan was secured from the Chinese bank after China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which owns majority shares in the project, signed a 45-year concessionary agreement with Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLTZ).
to complete the Phase 1 of Nigeria’s first deep seaport project in Lekki – a coastal community in the nation’s commercial nerve-centre – Lagos State.
After completion, the deep seaport will have two container berths of 680-metre long and 16.5-metre water depth. It will also have the capacity to be berthed by fifth generation container ships, which has a capacity of 18,000 TEU ship.
Commenting on the development, Sanwo-Olu described it as “another milestone” for the state in infrastructural development and commerce, saying the signing of the agreements ended period of uncertainty that had trailed the delivery of the project.
He noted that the completion of the project would invigorate the Lagos economy and push it up in the index of largest economy in the world.
We’re creating enabling environment for agribusiness to thrive — Makinde
The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has stated that his administration is already creating an enabling environment for businesses especially in agriculture to thrive.
He equally declared that his administration has kick-started the process of making the state investment-friendly.
Governor Makinde, who made this known while on an inspection tour of a private farm, Agrited Nigeria Limited, Fiditi, Oyo, added that efforts to turn Oyo State into an industrial destination in order for businesses to thrive were already in top gear.
According to him, the present administration would continue to assist investors with a view to expanding the state’s economy.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that his government places a premium on the promotion of agribusiness and would always create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said: “What the government can do is to create enabling environment. These are private people and I strongly believe we should support them to do more. Government should not be running businesses; and we are in the process of strategically turning over the businesses we have as a government to private people, in a most transparent manner, so that they can run it efficiently.
“This company is preparing to start operations and you can also see this is going to have a very huge impact as far as the economy of Oyo State is concerned. This is also because, as an administration, we promised that we were going to expand our economy exploiting and exploring areas of comparative advantage; and agriculture is one of them.
“So, when I see this kind of project coming to fruition, I become excited. Jobs are being created; suppliers will soon be flocking into this place. And we have inquired from them the type of support they would need from government.”
The governor assured would-be investors in the state to put their minds to rest about the chances of their businesses succeeding in the state, adding that the state has put in place the right security architecture and systems that will guarantee ease of doing business.
Earlier, the Deputy General Manager Operation, Moty Ganon, appreciated the governor for deeming it fit to visit the farm, even as he sought for the assistance of the government towards the uplift of the farm.
He assured that the company would partner with the state government to promote agriculture in the state, so as to expand its economy.
World Bank approves $2.185b to fight poverty, corruption in Nigeria
THE World Bank has approved $2.185 billion to support six projects that it says would boost the country’s development.
According to a statement, the bank said the projects would include improving immunisation, enabling a stronger business environment for the private sector, expanding the digital economy to promote job creation, and increasing public and private sector capacity on governance and social and environmental safeguards.
The global bank also approved Nigeria’s digital identity ecosystem project along with five others, aimed at assisting the country to empower citizens, especially marginalised groups, to access welfare-enhancing services. The national digital identity ecosystem project is focused on enhancing the national Identity system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect personal data and privacy.
A statement by the bank explained that the project “will support the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to increase the number of persons who have a national identification number (NIN) reaching about 150 million in the next couple of years.
“This will enable people in Nigeria, especially marginalised groups, to access welfare-enhancing services. The project will also enhance the ID system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect personal data and privacy.
“This is financed through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $115 million and co-financing of $100 million from the French Agency for Development and $215 million from the European Investment Bank.”
Its President, David Malpass, said the country is critical to the bank’s poverty eradication programme.
”Nigeria is central to the World Bank Group’s mission of tackling extreme poverty. The World Bank is carefully targeting its support on high impact projects as the country works to tackle corruption and lift 100 million of its people out of poverty,” he said.
Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country director for Nigeria, said the projects will deliver better services to Nigerians in the area of health, infrastructure, among others.
Slash in bank charges excite Nigerians
Banks customers on Monday commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its move in slashing various banks charges.
A cross section of customers who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday described the development as the right step in the right direction.
The apex bank in new guidelines on Sunday announced the downward review of most charges and fees for banking services, other financial, and non-bank financial institutions, with effect from Jan. 1, 2020.
Among the charges, CBN said bank customers would now pay N10 for electronic transfers below N5,000, and N25 for electronic transfer between N5,000 and N50,000. Only electronic transfer above N50,000 will attract N50 charge.
Previously, bank customers pay N50 charge for electronic transfers below N500,000.
The guide also slashed charges for cash withdrawal via Other bank’s ATM to “maximum of N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month” from “N65 after the third withdrawal within the same month”.
A bank customer, Mr James Onumah told NAN that the CBN’s directive was a new year gift to the all bank customers.
Onumah said most Nigerian banks were still characterised with some inefficiencies yet they charge customers for services they didn’t provide.
He explained that withdrawal charges of about N65 being taken from bank users by banks was exploitative and uncalled for.
Mrs Hadiza Maikarfi said the announcement was cheering news for her at the weekend.
Maikarfi said various bank charges before the reduction were too high for customers like her could bear urging the apex bank to still review them downward.
According to her, these charges can discourage people from getting involved in financial services thereby affecting financial inclusion being promoted by the bank.
Sani Nura, another bank customer urged CBN to supervise banks to ensure the directive was carried out and implemented fully.
Nura added that the bank’s charges reduction by the apex bank was timely due to the current hardship being experienced by the citizens.
Funke Akin told NAN that she had been celebrating over the reduction as anounced by CBN.
Akin said she was particularly happy over the removal of card maintenance charges adding that she never understood the essence of such charges by banks.
Mr Isaac Okorafor, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, on Sunday said the guidelines would take effect from Jan. 1, 2020.
Okorafor, while briefing newsmen said the step was in furtherance of the bank’s quest to make financial services more accessible and affordable to various stakeholders in the economy.
He explained that some major highlights of the new guidelines included the removal of Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts.
He said there would be a maximum of one Naira per mille for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or lodgements to the customers’ account in other banks on current accounts only.
Okorafor explained that it all involved reduction in the amount payable for cash withdrawals from other banks’ Automated Teller Machines as Remote-on-Us transactions.
The director said the reduction was from N65 to N35 after the third withdrawal within one month.
According to him, other reductions include Advance Payment Guarantee (APG), now pegged at maximum of one per cent of the APG value in the first year and 0.5 per cent for subsequent years on contingent liabilities.
On debit card charges, Okorafor said that the new guide stipulated that a one-off charge of N1,000 applied to the issuance of cards, irrespective of card type regular or premium.
He noted that the same one-off charge of N1,000 applied for the replacement of debit cards at the customer’s instance for lost or damaged cards.
According to Okorafor, upon expiry of existing cards, customers are to pay the same one-off charge of N1,000 irrespective of card type and no charge should be required for pre-paid card loading or unloading.
He explained that the current NIBSS Instant Payments (NIP) charges applied to use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), purchase with cash-back would attract a charge of N100 per N20,000 subject to cumulative N60,000 daily withdrawal.
The CBN spokesman noted that for cards linked to savings account, the maintenance fee had been reduced to a maximum of N50 per quarter from N50 per month amounting to only N200 per annum instead of N600.
The director hinted that there would be no more charges for reactivation or closure of accounts such as savings, current and domiciliary accounts while status enquiry at the request of the customer like confirmation letter, letter of non-indebtedness and reference letter would now attract a fee of N500 per request.
“On Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF), the guide expressly stated that this would be applicable only to current accounts in respect of customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers and lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank.
“It emphasised that CAMF is not applicable to Savings Accounts.
“CBN carried out the review of the guide, which also prescribes charges permissible for Other Financial Institutions and non-bank financial institutions, in order to align with market developments.
“To guard against excess, unapproved or arbitrary charges by banks and other financial institutions, the guide stipulates a penalty of N2,000,000 per infraction or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time for financial institutions that breach any provision of the guide.
“The guide also emphasised that failure by any bank to comply with CBN’s directive in respect of any infraction shall attract a further penalty of N2,000,000 daily until the directive is complied with or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time. ”
He said that the CBN, has directed banks to log every complaint received from their customers into the Consumer Complaints Management System (CCMS) in addition to generating a unique reference code for each complaint lodged, which must be given to the customer.
According to him, failure to log and provide the code to the customer will amount to a breach and is sanctionable with a penalty of N1,000,000 per breach.