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Economy

BPE, UK firm partner on PPP success

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BPE, UK firm partner on PPP success

By Gistflash

June 6, 2021

The United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF) has signed an agreement with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to help it deliver on Public Private Partnership (PPP).

This is contained a statement issued by Amina Othman, Head, Public Communications, BPE on Sunday in Abuja.

The agreement was to enable BPE deliver on its mandate in delivering infrastructure projects in Nigeria using the PPP model.

According to the statement, the UKNIAF is to support the bureau in the areas of institutional and human capacity building.

Mr Alex Okoh, Director-General of the BPE, said that UKNIAF’s support would enable appropriate screening and selection of projects that promote inclusiveness, reduce poverty and potentially bankable.

Okoh said the agreement was the aftermath of the Federal Government’s policy on Administration of Concession in Nigeria, removing ambiguity and providing clarity on institutional responsibilities for PPP programme in Nigeria.

“In the said circular, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are to identify projects.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is to screen and approve in line with the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) and Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) documents .

”While BPE is the project or transaction implementation agency.” he said.

Okoh said UKNIAF had identified certain critical areas in which it would provide institutional and human capacity building support.

”It would integrate national and global social sustainability criteria in project preparation and selection, develop PPP project pipeline, produce concept notes and manage the transaction stage of the PPP project delivery lifecycle.

”It would also support the procurement process for appointment of Transaction Advisors and where possible, support the process of securing project preparation funds from UKNIAF’s panel of PPF fund providers.

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”Additionally, it would provide ongoing support as required, enhancing the capacity of the institution to reach commercial close on projects,” he said

According to Okoh, it is on that basis that UKNIAF sent the bureau a Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF).

He said MAF was aimed at fostering a shared agenda of ensuring aid effectiveness and serves to clearly state the roles of each party, their responsibilities and commitment to working together.

The Director-General said the bureau was committed to the goals, not only because it would aid access to global financing, but would see the issues as integral to the country’s growth and economic sustainability.

He appreciated UKNIAF’s willingness to support the PPP programme by providing technical assistance to support Nigeria’s transition towards low carbon climate resilient infrastructure to be delivered.

Okoh pledged the bureau’s willingness to work with UKNIAF for its support to drive the accelerated growth and development of a pragmatic, climate sensitive, inclusive and sustainable PPP programme for the development of the country’s infrastructure.

The statement said that consequently, as a requirement of MAF, both teams constituted a Project Steering Committee.

It has the mandate of ensuring the senior level engagement required to ensure the effective and timely delivery of the outputs, outcomes and impact defined in the MAF.

Members of the PSC are the Director-General who is the Chairman, Director, Infrastructure and PPP who serves as the Secretary and other members from UKNIAF.

Others are the Project Delivery Team, with relevant skills and mandate to engage with UKNIAF TA Consultants and work collaboratively day-to-day on the delivery of the programme outputs.

NAN

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Economy

Forex: Financial expert urges CBN to exercise caution on BDCs ban

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By Gistflash News

July 28, 2021

A Financial Expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, has urged the Central Bank  of Nigeria (CBN) to be cautious of its recent “blanket’’  ban placed  on Bureau de Change (BDC) operators from foreign exchange (forex) trading.

Unegbu, a past President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that the ban would create some challenges in the market as commercial banks might not be able to meet the forex demands of importers.

According to Unegbu, commercial banks themselves are not perfect, as some of them also flout forex regulations.

“This punitive measure by the CBN can negatively affect the forex trading market.

“Most businessmen, when they cannot access forex from commercial banks, rush to the BDCs.

“Banks are not perfect, they also bend the rule sometimes, but that of the BDCs became so obvious  due to their large numbers.

“The Naira has been so bastardised and it is good to see that the CBN is acting to remedy the situation,’’ he said.

Unegbu said that athough some of the BDCs were involved in unwholesome practice there were still some BDCs that operated above board.

He said that the move by the apex bank was only a step toward resolving the abuse in the forex market and to reduce pressure on the Naira.

“There had been a lot of misgivings about forex in the country but this blanket ban by the CBN is just a step towards the solution.

“Not all the BDCs are bad, but as it is now CBN has banned both the good and he bad.

“But it is a warning to the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON).

“ABCON should find a way to make amends and reign in on some of the operators that abuse the system,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CBN announced immediate discontinuation of forex to the BDCs.

CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who made the announcement during the banks 280th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, said that the BDC operators were involved in rent-seeking behaviour money laundering activities.

Emefiele added that BDCs were to serve the retail end users who needed 5,000 dollars or less, but had defeated their purpose of existence to provide forex to retail user.

He also said that BDCs had instead become wholesale and illegal dealers.

NAN

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Economy

Africa to save $5bn annually through payment, settlement platform- AfCFTA Sec-Gen

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By Gistflash News

July 9, 2021

Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) said that the launch of the Pan-African Payments and Settlements System (PAPSS) would save the continent an estimated five billion dollars annually.

Mr Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA Secretary General, who revealed this at the 2nd edition of the AfCFTA secretariat quarterly press briefing on Friday, said this would be from the accruals from conversions to dollars.

He said that PAPSS, created in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afriexim bank), would address the currency conversion challenges for participating countries.

PAPSS is a centralised payment and settlement system created to serve the purpose of low cost and risk controlled payment clearing and settlement system under intra-African trade.

He said that six countries had been set up for the pilot scheme, some of which include; Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Mene projected that by the end of 2021, the secretariat would be in a position to reveal the platform availability for all countries to switch.

“There is an objective that one day, Africa would be a monetary union.

“Converting the about 42 currencies in Africa with its attendant cost of over five billion dollars yearly is a whole lot and so we want to reduce and eliminate this for the purpose of trading.

“Local banks would be able to switch to the platform as we are in consultation with the central banks and by the end of the year, we would be in a position to say the platform is available for all African countries that want to switch to it.

“Afriexim bank has invested over one billion dollars and it is a strong signal that the AfCFTA would work.

“If you run a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and you have to use a foreign platform for transaction, it is constraining and costly.

“With this system of payments, we would be able to enhance the effectiveness and competitiveness of SME as it addresses the constraints and costs associated with trade,” he said.

Mene also noted that the Rules of Origin mechanism of trade was at 86 per cent completion, even though the secretariat was gearing for 90 per cent completion before application.

Mene also stated that sensitisation and advocacy campaigns on the intricacies of the AfCFTA were a shared responsibility between participating states and the AfCFTA secretariat.

He revealed that an Africa business forum for the whole continent would be hosted later in the year to raise additional awareness.

This, Mene, said would also serve as a complementary step to what the various participating countries’ governments were already doing nationally on sensitisation.

“It is very important that the private sector is aware that there are export opportunities that this market creates and how they can maximally benefit from it.

“In all my visits to various participating countries, I have met with the private sector as a way to inform and incorporate them into what the AfCFTA is about,” he said.

NAN

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Economy

Over 750,000 persons embrace family planning in Taraba – TCI

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By Gistflash News

July 8, 2021

The Taraba  Director of The Challenge Initiative (TCI), Dr Sarki Othman, has disclosed that over 750,000 new persons have embraced family planning in the state in the last three years.
Othman disclosed this in Jalingo on Thursday during a media roundtable  on sustaining and advancing the gains of family planning in Taraba.
He said  the achievement was made possible through deliberate efforts at sensitisation and enlightenment carried out during the period, but noted that a lot more needed to be done.
`’Let me commend  members of the press for the good work you are doing in enlightening the people on the positive impact of family planning.
`’Through your joint efforts with other partners, we have recorded tremendous improvement in the number of new acceptors of family planning in the state.
“Of course you know that the services are basically free but most people were reluctant to access the services due to certain misconceptions. These have been largely corrected.
`’We hope to continue our advocacies to ensure reasonable budgetary allocations and disbursement to the cause.
“We encourage opinion leaders to continue to enlighten the people so that this project is sustained beyond the stay of the TCI and other partners in the state,” the director said.
He explained that based on the baseline survey carried out in the state in 2015, 5.6 per cent was the prevalence usage of modern contraceptives.
According to him, by 2018 the use of the commodity had risen to more than 8.6 per cent.
He said said emphasis had continued to be laid on women of reproductive age and sensitising teenagers on life planning.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the  meeting is the second media roundtable toward advancing family planning in the state under the TCI which will be rounding up the project in the eight pilot local government areas of Taraba in 2021.
The pilot local government areas are: Jalingo, Ardo-Kola, Gassol, Gashaka, Wukari, Sardauna, Zing and Bali.
NAN

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