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President Buhari updated on $550m new satellites from China

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The Minister of Communication, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, on Wednesday updated President Muhammadu Buhari on the approved procurement of two new satellites from China at the cost of 550million dollars.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with the president in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Shittu said the China EXIM bank had agreed to pay the entire 550million dollars for the procurement of the satellites.

The minister explained that the initial agreement was that the China EXIM bank would provide 85 per cent of the total cost ($550 million) while Nigeria would pay the remaining 15 per cent as counterpart funding for the projects.

He, however, stated that as Nigeria could not be able to meet her obligation in paying the counterpart funding, the agreement was renegotiated with the China EXIM bank and the manufacture of the satellites, the China Great Walls.

“I’m in the Presidency to see Mr. President and to brief him on three major issues.

“One, NICOMSAT, which is one of our agencies where we hope to procure two new satellites from China.

“Initially the agreement was that they will provide the cost of the two satellite 550 million dollars minus 15 per cent which is the counterpart funding.

“Because we could not afford this 15 percent, we have renegotiated with the China EXIM Bank and the China Great Walls who are the manufacturers and they have happily agreed to pay the entire $550 million to procure two new satellites,’’ he said.

The minister stated that the new satellites would ensure that the Nigerian satellite company (NICOMSAT) would conquer the entire African continent in regard to the provision of satellite communication services.

He said that the Chinese had appreciated the potential market that existed in the satellite business in Nigeria and the African continent.

”This is a very big business opportunity and I am sure that the Chinese appreciate the potential market which is so vast and that is why they have agreed that even without our ability to contribute 15 per cent they are prepared to pay the entire sum of $550 million for the procurement of the two new satellites for Nigeria,’’ he added.

Shittu revealed that the production of the satellites would commence immediately the final agreements were signed.

He said: “It takes two years to produce because it is when we sign the papers they will start production.

“We hope that before the end of this month we will sign the papers and then they will commence the production. It is the completion of the production that the two satellites will be launched.’’

He added that Nigeria had nothing to lose because the country would not put anything into the project in terms of financial resources.

“The president was excited and was not surprised because the Chinese are not just going to market our satellite to the entire African continent but also perhaps by legislation insists that all Nigerian entities must patronize the Nigerian satellite company rather than going to Israel, UK, US for satellite services.

“”Now we can say by our local content policy we must patronize Nigeria,’’ he said

“”The major issue is not about employment but by providing satellite services to all companies which require it.

“”Currently most Nigerian companies and even Nigerian government establishments patronize foreign satellite companies. So the first thing is that we want to make profit, we want to capture the local market and we also want to capture the African market,’’ he added.

The Minister also said he informed the President that he had been appointed as national chairman of the board of trustees of Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group.

Shittu, who described President Buhari as ““Saviour’’ of Nigerians, said the South West Zonal office of the campaign organisation of Buhari-Osinbajo would be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

Every day since he came into office all his activities are geared towards letting Nigeria know that they have a saviour, a rescuer, somebody who is committed to providing relief for Nigerians in all respects.

“These include fighting corruption, insurgency; whether in the North East or the Niger Delta; in the area of repairing the economy and providing jobs and providing social stability in the society.

“You will agree with me that today but for Buhari Boko Haram would have invaded even Lagos.’’

The minister, who disclosed that President Buhari was yet to indicate interest on whether he will seek re-election in 2019, said his ardent supporters would continue to pressure him to seek re-election to enable him complete his good works to Nigerians.

He added: “It goes without saying I mean if you have a child who goes to primary school does well, proceeds to secondary school does well, and you keep asking is he going to university?

“By the grace of God, we his ardent supporters who appreciate his worth on behalf of millions of Nigerians, would urge him to re-contest.

“I know he has not made up his mind but I can say that some of us can assist him in making up his mind so that Nigeria can continue to enjoy stability and progress in our land.’’

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New minimum wage goes to National Council of State for discussion

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Chris Ngige

Chris Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says the proposed new National Minimum Wage will be presented to the National Council of State on Jan. 22.

Ngige disclosed this while speaking with State House correspondents after the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

The minister said work was still ongoing on the figure, frequency of review, those to be exempted and everything about the bill before it would be ready for transmission to the National Assembly.

“The information minister told you the other day after the Federal Executive Council meeting that we are taking our deliberations to the National Economic Council and then we close up on the 22nd (Jan. 22) at the National Council of State.

“After that, we will be able to say where we are going.

“It is not a question of governors saying they cannot pay N30, 000, discussions are still ongoing and will terminate on 22nd when we meet with the National Council of State.

“Governors are part of Nigeria and they are part of the government’s side of the public sector; so do not disengage them or dis-articulate them from the Federal Government.

“The public is the Federal Government and the state government, and even the local government,’’ Ngige said.

The minister, however, said that the plan was to transmit the National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly on or before Jan. 23 in consonance with the agreement with labour.

On his part, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, said that the governors were after a National Minimum Wage legislation that “could work.’’

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CBN spurs access to banking services

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rolled out measures to ensure that at least 80 per cent of Nigerians have access to banking and other financial services.

The apex bank also on Thursday released new policy frameworks on consumer protection, financial literacy and financial education.

The bank unveiled measures in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy released inb Abuja.

Mrs Aisha Ahmad, the CBN Deputy Governor on Financial System Stability, made the presentation at the National Financial Literacy Stakeholders’ Conference in Abuja.

“Adequate consumer protection is critical to sustaining the long term viability of the financial sector because consumer protection is a necessary precursor to building and maintaining trust in the formal financial sector.

“An essential pillar of any consumer protection regime is consumer education, which is founded on financial literacy.

“The benefits of a financially literate population are immense. Consumers are better equipped to make optimal choices in the use of financial products, pose lower credit and default risk.

“In addition constitute a market for sustainable financial services and promote Financial System Stability by increasing market demand and responsible use of financial services,” she said.

Ahmad said the CBN recently introduced regulations and guidelines for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks in furtherance of its efforts to leverage technology to enhance access to financial services for the unbanked.

She said the move was expected to drive down exclusion rates by leveraging wider variety of multiple channels to enhance access to deposit products, payments and remittance services to small businesses and low income households.

Meanwhile, the Director, Consumer Protection Department, CBN, Mr Kofo Salam-Alada, harped on the importance of promoting sound financial system in the country to ensure that consumers continue to have confidence in the sector.

“As we seek to boost the number of consumers in the financial industry through the Financial Inclusion Strategy, it is important that we establish policies, structures and programmes that would engender confidence among the general public.

“This is even more imperative considering the fact that we are only just recovering from a financial crisis that brought the financial system on the brink of collapse.

“All the efforts at strengthening the financial system would be fruitless if there are no concerted efforts to restore trust and confidence among consumers,” he said.

Salam-Alada revealed that since the consumer protection department was set up, it had successfully recovered more than N68 billion in favour of customers who have been shortchanged by their banks.

Also, the Managing Director, Jaiz Bank, Mr Hassan Usman said that the bank was committed to deepening financial services in the country through its non-interest banking strategy.

He said that the bank was currently engaging with women entrepreneurs in rural areas and giving them small loans to grow their businesses while encouraging them to open accounts.

According to him, the aim is to expose them to bank facilities that will grow their businesses in the near future.

The newly released National Financial Inclusion Strategy proposes roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders in the financial sector to reduce financial exclusion rate from the present 36.8 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020.

The key stakeholders are the Federal Government, the Deposit Money Bank’s, Development Finance Institutions, National Insurance Commission, National Pension Commission, National Communication Commission and Nigeria Postal Service among others.

The priority areas identified for the success of the strategy includes “Tiered Know-Your-Customer” regulations, agent banking regulations, national financial literacy strategy and consumer protection.

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Northern Investment Companies, Perform Bellow Expectations- Sanusi II

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Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi II


By Yakubu Salisu, Kano

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has decried the inability of state owned Northern Investment Companies to meet up with the purpose for which they were set up for.

Sanusi made the remarks yesterday, (Wednesday) in Kano during the maiden conference of state-owned Investment Companies of Northern Nigeria, organized by Kano State Investment and Properties Limited (KSIP).

The Emir, represented by the Dan-Adalan Kano, Isyaku Umar Tofa, said it is sad to note that, the Kano Investment Company which was the key element in the movement of the economy of the state in the past has been crippled by avoidable circumstances due to failure on the part of stakeholders to do the needful in order to salvage the situation

According To him, the Company inherited quite a number of industries back in 1972, which has eventually folded up forcing one to ask where have such industries gone too and what has happened to them.

He said, “ the occasion is not for praises but a time to rethink, a time to re-energize and re-strategize, to ensure that we bring out policies that would really move the Northern Economy forward.

“ I think one of the fundamental thing for the Kano state Investment is to ensure the revival of such industries.

We know all of them, they are there lingering, closed, doing nothing. I would advise the State Investment and property Company to put their search light into the manufacturing sector.

All the manufacturing industries they have inherited should be revived, the money is there is only for us to create the opportunity and tap into them.

He charged them to use their use their connections with great people in the financial sectors with well known names in the capital market, to raise huge capital that would be used in the development of the economy especially in the agricultural, manufacturing and other sectors that are important to the Northern Economy, such as solid minerals, commerce and others.

Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu Wazirin Dutse, revealed that it is sad that the 19 Northern states that owned NNDC have no single banks as against its initial properties of 9 banks.

According to him, as important as banks are to the development of modern economy, it is sad to note that the 19 norther states presently owns no bank as theirs, when compared to the initial state in the late 70s and early 80s when the north has 9 banks.

He added that in most cases government policies are in themselves responsible for the folding of such investment, as bottlenecks and harsh terms aligned as requirement, wouldn’t allow new investments to thrive or at worst wouldn’t allow investment to sprang at all.

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