The new petroleum Industrial Bill as approved penultimate week by the Federal Executive Council FECrepresent an important document in the management and operation of the Nigeria oil and gas industryin Nigeria .The draft bill which was crafted and harmonized from different versions of the bill(Executive ,Senate and House) by senator Udo Udoma led seven-man special PIB task force set up by theminister of petroleum resources Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke on January 18 this year presents asignificant window of opportunity to further redress decades of secretive and ineffective managementof oil and gas sector which has impoverished Nigerians rather than being a blessing. Though oilexploration commenced in 1958 after its discovery in 1956 at Oloibiri , a sleepy community in Bayelsastate, yet no comprehensive law or legislation has been put in place for the administration of theindustry .Succeeding government in Nigeria has had to grapple with hand out and pieces of ad- hoc legislationthat best suit not only their purpose for administrative conveniences but also that of foreign companieswho often dictates the terms of contracts and operations . The new PIB therefore seeks to repeal theexisting 16 petroleum Acts and replace them with an all encompassing Acts that provides for betterfiscal and regulatory management of the oil and gas sector. The new petroleum Industry Bill is thereforean attempt to bring and harmonize under one law various legislation , instruments , institutions andconflicting policies that has govern the petroleum Industry in the country . Highlights of the draft billamong others is the unbundling of the octopus called the Nigeria National Petroleum corporation NNPCwhich has been the epicenter of corruption in the country and the proposal to end gas flaring in thenation oil and gas operation by the end of December 2013. The bill provides for full commercialization ofNNPC and creation of other institutions that will ensure restructuring for improved efficiency . By thisarrangement,the federal government will divest 30%of its shareholding in the national oil companywhich was created from the unbundled NNPC and sell the shares in the Nigerian Stsock exchange . Bythis the federal government hopes that it will create a viable oil companythat will operate under acommercial terms and will transform into aworld class oil firm in the mould of of Saudi Aramco , MalasiaAramco and Brazilian Petronas .The bill also intends to establish rules ,guidelines and procedures that will ensure good governancetransparency and accountability in the management and exploitation of oil in the country . Its target istherefore to introduce operational and physical guidelines for efficient management of revenue toenable Nigerian government to retain a higher proportion of revenue accruing through oil industry . Thenew bill provides a comprehensive document towards domesticating our oil and gas sector , the billthough not exhaustive just like any other human document it suggest an ambitious and integratedguideline in revolutionizing the sector which presently is the major cash cow of the Nigerian economy .The interest of the host communities were also factored in as it compels the oil major and governmentto plough back 10% of its net profit towards the development of the community. This pales intosignificance especially when one considers that the orgy of restiveness in that region is as a result ofcriminal neglect of the area by both the government and oil companies .The plank and all this idea has been on the drawing board for decades thus raising fear that lack ofpolitical will and vested both in government and among the operators in the industry has combined to
stall every efforts that has been made in that direction by various succeeding government in Nigeria .The purpose of the bill is not intended to wrestle operational or exploration power from the oil majorsas erroneously circulated but rather to make Nigeria and Nigerians a competitive stakeholders and anequal alliance with the foreign oil companies which will equally offers an opportunity for Nigerian oilfirms to benefit from the transfer of technology from their foreign oil company counterpart, after allNigeria is a sovereign nation and PIB present an important opportunity for Nigerians to exert itssovereignty in the management of its oil and gas sector . The bill also established guidelines foroperations both in the down stream and upstream sectors.In fact , stakeholders ,civil society groups and organized labor leaders have argued that the newPetroleum Industry Bill is a landmark opportunity to herald a new era of reform in the oil and gasindustry that will maximize Nigeria’s vast potential, restore transparency and facilitate a thrivingindustry and overall economy. Failure to pass the PIB they say will lead to a reduction of investments inthe Nigeria petroleum industry. To date, most of the oil companies have ceased investments in thesector until there is clarity as to what provisions will be contained in the final Bill and how it will affectthe industry. With the rise of other attractive petroleum industries in Africa (Angola, Ghana, etc), Nigeriamust understand that investments are fungible and will eventually flow to alternative countries that aremore receptive. Lastly, the recent 2012 efforts to deregulate the downstream sector creates anopportunity for lawmakers and other stakeholders to push for the swift passage of this Bill.The PIB Petroleum Industry Bill has been touted as the most important legislative document ofPresident Jonathan’s administration so far, as it is expected to establish the legal and regulatoryframework, institutions and regulatory authorities for the Nigerian petroleum industry; and establishguidelines for the operation of the upstream and downstream sectors, and for purposes connectedsame.National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has highlighted the need for a reliableidentity database and its adoption in the financial services sector to reduce fraud and improveGross Domestic Products (GDP) in the country.Director-General, NIMC, Chris Onyemenam says that as cashless banking, financialinclusiveness and mobile payments deepen within the economy, the need for reliable IDmanagement becomes increasingly greater.These formed part of his presentation at the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) 24th AnnualConference held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.NIMC says that for the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Policy to be sustainable, “there mustbe a reliable Identity Management system in place”.
According to him, “the National Identity Management System (NIMS) is central to the successof a cashless economy project.”To underscore this, he adds that “a Universal Identification Infrastructure (UIDI) is unique,secure, accessible and reliable, recommended for identity authentication(Identification/Verification) and tying individuals to transactions (non-repudiation and with ahistory) as the current methods rely on two-factor identity authentication are still challenged witheffectively managing identities.”Onyemenam notes that, “secure UIDI is a precondition for financial inclusion. The NIMS will tiecaptured biometrics and unique National Identification Numbers (NIN) of Nigerians to bankaccounts, voter registers, immigration, and law enforcement agencies among others.”According to him, existing databases have not met international standards like ISO/IEC, NIST,IEEE, ICAO, among others and they have been non-centralized, are unreliable and incomplete.Also, regular updating have not been possible and there have not been centralized and irrefutableway of tying individuals to transactions until now, he says recommending that the initiativeshould be allowed to unleash opportunities for the economy in consumer credit experienced allaround the world, reduce fraud, fight terrorism, improve GDP and create a robust anddependable identifier.Director-General, NIMC, Chris Onyemenam says that, “secure UIDI is a precondition forfinancial inclusion. The NIMS will tie captured biometrics and unique National IdentificationNumbers (NIN) of Nigerians to bank accounts, voter registers, immigration, and lawenforcement agencies among others.”NIMS project is an essential transformation tool for fostering socioeconomic development,maintenance of law and order and security of lives and properties.
He applauded the development of the Mobile Payment Services Sector (MPSS) which hasachieved remarkable feats which includes the licensing of Mobile Payment Service Providers(MPSP) like PagaTech, Fortis Mobile, UBA/AfriPay, GTBank and eTranzact, among others.“The Mobile Payment Service Providers (MPSP) creates employment and economicopportunities, it will stimulate consumer demand, local production and grow GDP but the needfor a reliable identity management sector to drive the initiative is core” he adds.The enhancement of the efficacy of monetary policy operations and economic stabilizationmeasures, balanced and genuine currency transaction demands speculative market behavioursthat will in turn facilitate better currency management and helps in reducing the cost of currencymanagement.Onyemenam notes that the congruence of plans and deployment of the NIMS project isinevitable and a complementary CBN policy is essential.“Annual debt finance is less than 65per cent of total loss due to identity-related fraud in banks.There is need for a deployment Strategy focused on update-able database and secure identityauthentication” he said adding that the live pilot of the project commenced February 23 this yearin the Federal Capital Territory.Key NIMS activities include enrollment/updates, National ID card issuance, identification andverification, reliable, secure and fast identification and verification services online and offlineenrolment centers for continuous enrollment of citizens and legal residents.It is also responsible for creation of a unique National Identity Database; generation, issuanceand assignment of National Identification Numbers (NIN); issuance of National smart IdentityCards (E-ID); provision of authentication infrastructure (Back-end); Provision of authenticationservices; harmonization and integration of identity databases, among others.He explains that the challenges faced by NIMC include centralising the identity authority,privacy issues especially in a cultural context, marketing the NIMS mass appeal, stakeholderrevenue model, political support and supervision, dealing with vested interests, privacy issuesespecially in a cultural context and dealing with vested interests, among others.National identity management system the way forwardOn November 21, 2011 · In Broken Links1:08 am0By Omoh Gabriel
When the Federal Government early this year approved N30.066 billion for the take off of theNational Identity Management Commission, there was uproar across the country. Even in thenewsrooms of most media houses in the country, there was a serious debate as to the desirabilityof another National Identity card. ‘The last exercise was wasteful,’ was what was heardeverywhere. Many Nigerians did not take their time to look at what was being proposed forwhich the money was being earmarked.A National Identity Management System is not the same as national identity card. The NationalIdentity management will undertake the management of the bio-data of every Nigerian frombirth to death. It is billed to coordinate all the personal data of every Nigerian in such a way thatin one card, every data about the individual will be obtained.At the moment, the personal data of Nigerians are in bits and pieces from the National PassportOffice, to the drivers licence, INEC voter registration, National Population, former nationalidentity card, bank cards, among others. The new cards to be issued would have facilities thatcould be verifiable unlike the former one that had no verification facility. The expected identitycard would be like a smart card with a database that would be readable when slotted into anyacceptable card device or reader.President JonathanIt will certainly be useful to the law enforcement agencies – from the Police to the intelligencecommunity and the security agencies at large because the common denominator is ‘who areyou’? Put differently, ‘are you who you say you are?’ At the moment, it is difficult to identifywho a Nigerian really is.Some have three to four international passports with different names. Yet, they are the sameperson. If you want to confirm some persons, the responsibility of the National IdentityCommission is to provide an infrastructure that enables you within seconds of a request to obtainvalid and reliable response as to the identity of the person that you have asked a confirmation for.
This is a new way of confirming the identity of individuals that has not happened in Nigeria atthe moment. It is in this sense that the new system is a shift away from the old way of Nigeriansdoing things. This new paradigm is not focused on identity card issuance but identitymanagement system.The system would enable security agencies to easily track down people with fingerprints thatcould be easily matched when crimes are committed. In addition to doing this, the nation wouldbe in a position to identify all its citizens as that should be one of the primary focuses of thescheme.In Nigeria today, access to credit that drives western economies is absent as a result of theinability of banks to make informed decisions on the true identity of Nigerians. It is generallyagreed that one thing that is missing at the moment in Nigeria is credit bureau, although it isbeing developed and was introduced last year.For a bank to lend money, it needs to know who you are, not just because you claim you areFred. For a credit economy to work in Nigeria, banks need to know the true identity of theircustomers; what their exposure are elsewhere for it to make a credit lending decision as to whatthe risk of lending is.Though development of credit bureaus has started and the banks are working with them todevelop reliable data base that will become useful, they are the fundamental bases on whichNigeria can jump start a true credit led economy. It is not just about credit cards which is yet totake off, it’s about the vehicle of finance, which enables easy access to funds; as well asmortgages. All of these have to be in place for a bank to make an informed credit decision.Developing credit bureau alone will not solve the identity problem. It has to be complementedwith a National Identity card management system. The national ID management system willensure that if you say you are John today, tomorrow you will not say you are someone elsebecause you’ve got the national ID system that is reliable. So then, an individual’s information isconnected to him,through a national ID in the system. The earlier Nigeria has these systems inplace, the better and the easier it is for banks to make informed decisions.The proposed new identity scheme would also help in identifying illegal immigrants in thecountry. Once there is a system to ascertain the identity of citizens; it would also be easy toidentify foreigners impersonating Nigerians. As the commission introduces measures andprocesses for ensuring that citizens are legal residents and are able to ascertain their identities,Nigerians will discover that over time, it will become a lot easier to stop non-Nigerians fromclaiming to be Nigerians.Nigeria has lost huge economic benefit for not having a credible identity card system. In mostcountries, workers are able to access credits from banks through the use of credit cards. This iswhat drives production as it empowers the ordinary citizens to make purchases on credit. Thenon-availability of a veritable identification scheme is an inhibiting factor in business and othertransactional relationships between people.
If you do not know who you are dealing with; that in itself is an inhibiting factor; it limits theextent to which you can go into transactional relationships; it means there is a limit to the kind oftrust or business relations that you can go into. If you do not know your counterpart, you are notin a position to appreciate what you can benefit from the relationship. If you don’t know yourcounterpart, it is even difficult to estimate his capacities.What government approved is N30.066 billion and the approval is intended to accelerate therollout of the back-end of the national identity management system. About N5 billion of thatamount is already part of the 2011 appropriation act while the remaining part of the moneywould be part of the 2012 and 2013 fiscal year budget proposal.This would be subject to review. It is a laudable project that would go a long way to sanitise theidentification system. It is a system that every Nigerian should support so that we know whoreally is a Nigerian.National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has assured Nigerians thatthe present National Identity Management System (NIMS) will create a bettersecured business environment and improve service delivery of governmentagencies in the country.The commission said the NIMS as an infrastructure that is equally very crucial tofinancial inclusion and development of the nation’s financial services sector, willalso enhance the work of law enforcement agencies and policy makersespecially those involved in socio-economic planning.The Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),Mr. Chris Onyemenam who made the observation at a meeting with themembers of the House of Representatives Committee on Interior, added that theNIMS will also serve several other purposes as well as form an integralcomponent of the National Databank.Mr. Onyemenam, explained that NIMS will comprise the registration of allcitizens from 16 years and above and legal residents, creation of a NationalIdentity Database, the issuance of an unique National Identification Numbers(NINS), the issuance also of a General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPCS) and theprovision of identity verification services for national planning.He noted that unlike in the past when the project was mainly focused on IdentityCard printing and issuance, NIMS will allow for an identity authentication andverification, through the creation of access to a National Identity database (NID),and the upgrading of the Identity Card to smart Cards, (the General Multi-purposeCard GMPC) that will support multiple ID application which is known as IdentityManagement.He also observed that the registration and enrolment process which will be oncein a life time will result in the capture of demographic data and biometric data (10
finger prints and live digital photographs and signature) and other relevant data ofcitizens and legal residents. He said that provision will be made for facialrecognition while fingerprint will primarily be used for verification, and thatprovision will be made for future upgrade with inclusion of the Iris.In order to harmonize and integrate the existing Identification schemes in Nigeria,the D-G disclosed that NIMC has produced fibre links with various agencies like,the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC), State Security Service (SSS), National Population Commission (NPC)National Communication Commission (NCC), among others that haveidentification schemes.Onyemenam added that these agencies have their representatives on the NIMCgoverning board. On the recently announced N30 billion identity project, heexplained that it was not a contract awarded project but for a rolling plan projectthat will spread for over three years from 2011 to 2014, and expects that theproject will be captured in the 2012 budget.He also expressed optimism that, with effective execution of the proposedreform, it will result in a wide range of benefits to all stakeholders within thepublic and private sector as well as the international community.He further assured that the reform will enthrone a centrally managed Identitydatabase for the country, improved security and data backup/disaster recoverymethodology for central locations of storage, harmonization of existing Identityschemes within the country, facilitate the development of the consumer creditsystem as well as other applications for the financial sector and facilitating thedevelopment of e-Government in Nigeria.“Other benefits include; an improved security of citizens through adequateprevention of identity theft and greater empowerment of law enforcement agents.Improve capacity of the government delivery of amenities, eliminating multipleand ghost identities and reduction in fraud (advance fee fraud)”, he further statedCapital MarketContents: securities market management in an emerging market; the Nigerian capital market,opportunities and challenges; perspectives on the development of the capital market in Nigeria;the impact of the central securities clearing system on the development of the capital market; therole of domestic and international capital markets in the re-capitalisation of banks in Nigeria;dealing in securities and maximising profit through trading in rights issues; assisting publicsector resource managers to access captial markets; the role of the stockbroker; effective pricingof securities in the secondary market; mobilisation of resources; the role of the corporate financeofficer; privatisation of public enterprises in Nigeria; the potential impact of the 1999 Federal
Government budget on the Nigerian capital market; the investment climate in Nigeria; the casefor foreign investment in the Nigerian Wire and Cable companies; and the church andinvestment.The Nigerian capital market, for some time, has been in the doldrums due to various reasons. Inthis report, UDEME EKWERE examines the steps taken by the regulators to revive the marketso far. Since the beginning of the global economic meltdown, and specifically since 2008 in Nigeria,the capital market in the country has lost the confidence it used to command as a promoter ofinstruments of fortune, owing mainly to the losses suffered by investors.Between 2007 and 2008, the market capitalisation of the listed equities in the Nigerian capitalmarket rose to about N13tn.By mid 2008, as a result of the global financial crisis, the market capitalisation of equitiesdropped to about N8.8tn. But the slide continued and became worse in 2009, due to the CentralBank of Nigeria’s clampdown on some banks accused of perpetrating gross misconduct. Themarket capitalisation came down to N4.989tn, while the NSE All-Share Index fell to 20,838.90points.However, activities firmed up in 2010, as the index increased by 18.5 per cent to close at27,770.52 points, while the capitalisation rose to N7.91tn by the end of 2010. This mainly cameabout as a result of the news of the purchase of the toxic assets of banks by the AssetManagement Corporation of Nigeria.Nevertheless, by 2011, the NSE All-Share Index was down by 16.3 per cent from 24,770.52points in January to 20,730.63 points on the last trading day of 2011, while the marketcapitalisation of the 186 first tier listed equities fell by 17.4 per cent, from N7.91tn at thebeginning of the year to N6.53tn on Friday December 30.Apparently worried by these losses, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the NigerianStock Exchange have been involved in various reforms and measures aimed at boosting themarket. The measures were also targeted at tightening the processes and procedures for trading atthe Exchange.Accordingly, SEC, for instance, increased capital requirements for market operators, amongother steps that would, on the long run, improve investor’ confidence. The NSE took measures todeepen the market. It expanded the number of instruments available to investors in the market,for instance.Under the current leadership of the Director-General of SEC, Ms. Arunma Oteh, the commissionembarked on road shows across the country to shore up education and awareness for the capitalmarket. It has also been trying to ensure that the market meets up with world-class standards.
Oteh disclosed recently that SEC intended to leverage the expertise of both the commission andthe Consumer Protection Council in delivering the desired result of efficiency, speed and costeffectiveness in complaints resolution, which she noted, were the roots of confidence crisis in themarket.According to her, there could be no better time for fair financial services for consumers thannow, when the Commission is working round the clock to instill confidence in the market.Also, there have been visible efforts on the part of the apex regulator towards ensuring that themarket complies with global standards, with SEC embarking on the process of the market’sdemutualisation.This was undertaken to make the NSE imbibe robust corporate governance; enhanced efficiencyand transparency associated with publicly-quoted companies.Specifically, last year, SEC inaugurated a Technical Committee on the Demutualisation of theNSE. The Chairman of the SEC, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who inducted members of thecommittee in Lagos, stressed that the committee was expected to advise the commission on thedemutualisation of the Exchange.The Committee has since presented its report of findings to the Board of the SEC.Demutualisation is just part of the overall reforms that the SEC is implementing to helpreposition the capital market and subsequently restore confidence in it.The NSE, on its part, has been interfacing with the World Federation of Stock Exchanges on thespecific requirements that must be met in its pursuit of becoming a member of the WFSE.The Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, stated that becoming a member of theWFSE was indeed a focus in the right direction for the Exchange. According to him, the reasonis that one of the variables many investors consider whenever they want to invest in a market,whether or not the targeted exchange, is the membership of the WFSE.Other efforts by SEC to increase participation and interest in the market included the recent stepsto encourage international oil companies, energy and telecommunications companies to list onthe NSE.The commission has also variously said that it has been working hard to ensure that key sectorsare represented on the Exchange.Reacting to this, the past President of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Mr. MichaelItegboje, said that if SEC should succeed in its efforts to bring major multinational companies tolist their shares on the Exchange, it would go a long way in improving market activities.According to him, there should be a law enabling the listing of some of these firms in the market,adding that this would go a long way to complement the regulators’ effort at boosting activitiesin the market as well as restore investor-confidence to the market.
The former President, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuff,noted that the capital market regulators were saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that themarket remained attractive to the investors.He said, “The onus lies on all the stakeholders to ensure that we stand up to the challenge ofmaking our market attractive to these investors. If we can all get our act together, we can recordtremendous patronage in our market and it can grow beyond what we even expected.“There are many burning issues that have yet to be addressed in the market. If the FederalGovernment and financial regulators come out with a plan to address the illiquidity issue andothers, the foreign investments may flow in more into the market.”An investor, Mr. Jacob Iruememe, who also spoke to our correspondent on the marketreactivation measures, commended the capital market regulators, saying there had been visibleimprovements in the market.He added that with the intervention of SEC and NSE in recent times, it seemed there was moretransparency in the market, which according to him, is necessary to rev up activities.He said, “I think we can commend SEC for some of the reforms they have come up with inrecent times, at least we have seen that there has been some improvement in the activities. Wehave seen them, in collaboration with NSE, come up with vital information that has helpedinvestors to make good decisions in recent times.“I also think the regulators have helped to improve transparency among the stockbroking firmsthemselves, as they now make regular publication of stockbroking firms that are not doing thingsright. This has helped some of us to be able to know the right brokers to deal with.”He, however, added that there remained a few things that the regulators had yet to do in ensuringthat investor confidence was brought back to the market, as some investors had yet to get overthe losses incurred since 2008.At this era of gloomy investor confidence in the Nigerian capital market and the need to restoremarket confidence, it is pertinent to mention that all hands must be on deck - public and privatestakeholders to ensure that confidence is restored to the capital market.We all can recall that during the boom period - between 2007 and 2008, the market capitalisationof equities grew to about N13 trillion with 212 listed equities, and the number of shares tradedrose to about 18 billion. Currently, there have been advocates across various quarters for thecapital market, which is the barometre of the nation’s economic growth, to be given full attentionby the government and private stakeholders.Some of the challenges militating against the restoration of market confidence include lack ofsufficient liquidity; insufficient investor protection, high expectations for regulatory compliance,lack of market depth/breadth. At various investor fora, experts have noted the need to improve
market liquidity, boost investor confidence, raise issuer confidence, ensure investor protection,and attract/maintain foreign investment, among others.Before now, not a few experts believe on the need for government to get telecoms and other oiland gas companies to list on The Exchange; lower the cost of equity capital; consider tax holidayfor new listings; patronise quoted companies as a pre-requisite for award of contacts, and use thecapital market to fund long-term projects.Also, for regulators, advocates are saying that there is need to ensure that there is zero-tolerancepolicy on market infraction, full disclosure of quoted companies financial positions, shorteningof the listing process, conduct of annual certification of corporate governance compliance,recapitalisation of brokerage firms, IFRS compliance by all market operators, and investoreducation partnership with other non-governmental institutions.As expectations heighten from various stakeholders in the market, last month, the Capital MarketCommittee (CMC) held its maiden retreat to look at the issues, challenges and prospects of theNigerian capital market in 2012. The retreat was designed to review capital market developmentsand challenges in 2011 and formulate action plans for 2012, to reposition the market to playgreater role in national economic development.CMC consists of the regulator – Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and self-regulatoryorganisations – Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) and Abuja Securities and CommoditiesExchange (ASCE); Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria (AIHN), Fund ManagersAssociation of Nigeria (FMAN), Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA), Association ofStockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), and Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS).At that meeting, seven sub-committees were inaugurated. These seven sub-committees are:investor confidence restoration, investment management, market infrastructure and technology,commodities/equities and exchange, fixed income, product and business development, and rulesand compliance.Mike Itegboje, president, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), told INVESTOR at theCMC retreat that: “We are still concerned about the policies of the Federal Government. We areconcerned with what happens in the entire economy because it affects the market – investors arescared to come. “Note that the market has survived the 2011, it shows the resilience in themarket. The market is set to fly. The market has every potential to fly. The optimism is there.”Already, reports have shown that Africa is the next frontier market by global classification. TheNSE services the second largest financial centre in sub-Saharan Africa and it is the third largeststock exchange in Africa by capitalisation, and the largest market in West Africa by companycapitalisation.Market analysts have continued to express dissatisfaction on the current level of performance atthe capital market, even as companies have adopted stronger governance culture that has led toincreased profitability, coupled with banks which have successfully scaled through the CBN
stress test. Amid all these, even as companies show increased revenue with sustainable strategicoptions, this has not impacted positively on share price performance for all the past periods.Just last year, market capitalisation was down by 17.42 percent while NSE All Share Index wasdown by 17.01 percent in the review year 2011. The market capitalisation of 250 listed securitieswas N10.28 trillion, down by 0.48 percent, while the market capitalisation of 201 listed equitieswas N6.54 trillion, down by 17.42 percent (representing 63.61 percent of total market cap).Twenty most capitalised stocks at the NSE closed last year at N5.41 trillion (representing 52.63percent of total market cap or 82.72 percent of equities market cap).In the bond market, the NSE recorded 25 federal bonds with market cap of N2.09 trillion; 11state/local bonds with market cap of N0.31 trillion; 12 corporate bonds with market cap of N1.34trillion (+2,375.89 percent), and 1 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) with Asset Under Management(AUM) of N988 million. While trading volume was down by 4.03 percent to 82.30 billionshares, the value of traded stocks dropped by 20.09 percent to N622.60 billion compared with93.33 billion shares and N797.55 billion, respectively, recorded in 2010.Under Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), the market recorded about N478.62 billion in inflows(entry); N312.65 billion in outflows (exit), and N165.97 billion net inflows.Also at the retreat, Arunma Oteh, director general, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),told INVESTOR that “we feel that 2011 was a year that was challenging, primarily because ofwhat is happening in the global economy. We looked for how to ensure that local investorsparticipate equally with the foreign investors by taking advantage of the opportunities in thedeclined market. One of the things we must address is the issue of new listing/issuance. We haveagreed that there has to be a lot of new issuance in the market – listing of telecoms; oil and gascompanies, and privatised companies.”She further stated: “We want to make our market more efficient. For instance, dematerialisationwhich started years ago will be firmed up. We believe that this is important to make the marketmore efficient. We need to be leveraging technology better. The capital market is one that isevolving all time. A knowledgeable investor is the first kind of investor - meaning that investorrelationship is vital.”In his view, Ade Bajomo, executive director, market operations and technology, NSE, said: “It isimportant to focus on the future of the market. This means looking at the opportunities in themarket in 2012. This market has huge opportunities to achieve the $1 trillion market cap target.Opportunities go with risk taking. That is also applicable to the capital market. Wherever there isan opportunity, there is a risk.”Oluwatoyin Sanni, CEO, UBA Trustees Limited, said: “One good thing that this retreat achievedfor us is the unit of purpose. In the area of new products, the NSE, CIS, Association of AssetCustodians have brought out a document to advise the SEC to ensure that by first quarter of 2012(Q1, 2012) we have securities lending. Other areas are to address the issue of corporategovernance.”
The conditions in the capital market remained volatile throughout last year. Market players notedthat investors’ appetite for shares was marred by financial market events. Equity exposure wascut by funds and asset managers to cover positions in the US and Euro Zone. Local institutionalinvestors were on the sidelines, but prefer debt products offering double-digit returns. Largecompanies were not in the market even as margin loan overhang and absence of loan facilitiescontinued to threaten broker-dealer commitments.Transformation AgendaABC of Jonathan’s transformation agenda| Print | E-mailWritten by Leon Usigbe, Abuja Tuesday, 16 August 2011 Goodluck Jonathan The breakdown of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, with which he hopes to turn the country around by the end of his tenure in 2015. The report is based on a summary of the Federal Government’s key priority policies, programmes and projects coordinated by the National Planning Commission (NPC). Leon Usigbe writes PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan rode to power on the back of a promised transformation agenda, which he is virtually set to get off the ground. Throughout his campaign, he refrained from making specific pledges,only speaking, in the main, about his intention to change the ways things were done and give thecountry a new sense of direction. It was a situation that left the transformation agenda in anabstract form in the minds of many Nigerians. But now, it would appear that the agenda has beenproperly articulated and can be accessed by interested citizens. The transformation agenda isplanned for between 2011 and 2015, which is the duration of the present administration and it isnecessitated by the need to correct the flaws in the country’s drive for development where thereis absence of long-term perspective, and lack of continuity, consistency and commitment (3Cs)to agreed policies. This government believes that the culminating effect of these has beengrowth and development of the Nigerian economy without a concomitant improvement in theoverall welfare of Nigerian citizens.To the Jonathan administration, the disregard for these 3Cs has resulted in rising unemployment,
inequality and poverty and it is therefore hard pressed to come with a holistic transformation ofthe Nigerian state with a strategy that gives cognizance to these 3Cs in the duration of theadministration.Government based the Transformation Agenda and draws its inspiration from the Vision20:2020 and the first National Implementation Plan (NIP) according to the summary of federalkey priority policies, programmes. It aims to deepen the effects and provide a sense of direction.The agenda is based on a set of priority policies and programmes which, when implemented,would transform the Nigerian economy to meet the future needs of the people.Macroeconomic framework and economic directionGovernment is projecting a baseline GDP growth rate of 11.7 per cent per annum for the period2011-2015, as it hopes that it will translate to real and nominal GDP of about N428.6billion andN73.2trillion respectively at the end of the programme period. It assumes that the projected GDPgrowth of the period will be driven largely by the oil and gas, solid minerals, agriculture, ICTequipment and softwares, telecommunication, wholesale and retail trade, tourism andentertainment, manufacturing and building and construction sectors.A total investment of N40.75trillion in nominal terms is also projected for the period. The publicsector will account for N24.45trillion or 60 per cent, while the remaining N16.30trillion or 40 percent is expected to be invested by the private sector. Overall, public sector investment plan ismade up of N11.59 trillion for states and local governments respectively.The key policies to be pursued by government during the programme period are as follows:a. Ensuring greater harmony between fiscal and monetary policy. In this regard, the NationalEconomic Management Team will be strengthened to facilitate effective coordination of fiscaland monetary policies.b. Pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies, including fiscal prudence supported byappropriate monetary policy to contain inflation at single digit.c. The budget process shall be reviewed to provide greater clarity of roles between theexecutive and legislature and to ensure that the appropriation bill is enacted into law within thefirst month of any year. The direction of policy shall draw inspiration from the US system andconcentrate on setting allocation priorities rather than micro-budgeting or contesting figures withthe executive.d. The existing revenue allocation formula shall be reviewed to achieve a more balanced fiscalfederalism. This is expected to pave the way for more effective implementation of programmesat the subnational level.e. Institutionalising the culture of development planning at all levels of government andensuring that the annual capital budget allocation takes a cue from medium and long termdevelopment plans. Towards this end, government wants the National Assembly to expedite thepassage of the Planning and Project Continuity Bill in order to strengthen the Plan-Budget linkand reduce the high incidence of abandoned projects.
Job creationGovernment will pursue certain policy measures to reinvigorate various sectors of the economyand enhance their employment generating potentials, including implementing a youthemployment safety net support programme that includes conditional cash transfer and vocationaltraining; development of industrial clusters; reviewing of university curricular to align withindustry job requirements and promotion of apprenticeship/work experience programmes andjoint ventures; enforcement of mandatory sub-contracting and partnering with locals by foreignconstruction companies and implementation of mandatory skills transfer to Nigerians by foreignconstruction companies.Public expenditure managementGovernment is concerned that the sub-optimality of the expenditure profile of the FederalGovernment of Nigeria since 1999 has seen recurrent spending consistently crowded out capitalexpenditure, exacerbating the already abysmal state of infrastructure. Recurrent expenditure hasfluctuated between 47.5% in 1999 to 80.29 per cent in 2003, while capital expenditure accountedfor only 19.71 per cent of total government expenditure. It notes that it has since increasedcontinually to a nigh of 38.37 per cent of total expenditure in 2009. It has grown much worse in2011 with government borrowing to finance recurrent expenditures. To remedy the situation,under the transformation agenda, government will entrench a culture of accountability bybeginning to sanction and prosecute officers that breach established financial management rulesand regulations. The monetization policy will also be strictly enforced.GovernanceThe Transformation Agenda’s policies on governance are motivated by Nigeria’s inability todecisively tackle most development challenges such as poverty, unemployment, security anddeplorable state of infrastructure. These include political governance, economic governance,corporate governance and effectiveness of institutions. During the life of this administration, thepolicies and programmes directed at addressing governance challenges, will focus on the publicservice; security, law and order; the legislature; anti-corruption measures and institution; thejudiciary; economic coordination and support for private investment. The critical policy thrust ofgovernance will be to maximise the benefits the citizenry derive from governance through moreeffective and efficient use of public resources, proper financial management and fiscal prudence.This entails adequate emphasis on the attainment of law and order, guarantee of safety of livesand property and the provision of an environment in which people find happiness andfulfilment.Justice and judiciaryThe policy thrusts of the justice and judiciary sector will be achieving greater independence forthe judiciary in terms of funding, improving capacity and efficiency in judicial service delivery,eliminating all forms of corruption in the administration of justice in Nigeria, enhancing thecapacity of the justice ministry to superintend prosecution and improving professionalism inlegal practice for better service delivery.Foreign policy and economic diplomacyNigeria’s foreign missions are to be properly focused and well funded in order to meet the
foreign policy goals of the country. Government may rationalise missions and appoint honoraryconsuls to deal with consular issues in areas where Nigeria’s interest does not loom large aspracticed by other countries.LegislatureUnder the planned period, the thrust of the policy will be to facilitate the creation of a dynamic,constitutionally effective and public responsive legislature that is proactive in its legislativeduties and independent but aware of its constitutional partnership with the executive and judicialarms of government. Other policy measures include regular auditing of the activities andpublication of annual reports of the national and state legislatures to promote greatertransparency and accountability in the use of public funds; promote greater public interest in thescrutiny of legislative actions; and inform public debate to these ends.Attention will be paid to human capital development policies, programmes and projects becauseof government’s belief that investing in human capital development is critical.EducationUnder Priority Policies for the Development of Education, the Jonathan administration willpromote primary enrolment of all children of school-going age, irrespective of the income profileof the policies; engage in the provision of infrastructure such as classrooms across all levels, soas to ease over-crowding, increase access and reduce pupil/teacher ratio; and enhance theefficiency, resourcefulness and competence of teachers and other education al personnel throughtraining, capacity building and motivation.Health sectorFor the health sector, the underpinning policy for the inputs towards achieving the human capitaldevelopment goal of the Vision 20: 2020 strategy is the National Strategic Health DevelopmentPlan (NSHDP). The NSHDP is the vehicle for actions at all levels of the health care deliverysystem which seeks to foster the achievement of the MDGs and other local and internationaltargets and declaration commitments.Labour and productivityHere, the agenda is to focus on the implementation of the National Action Plan on EmploymentCreation (NAPEC) targeted at creating five million new jobs annually within the next threeyears, establishment of more skills acquisition centres; implementation of local content policy inall the sectors, especially in the oil and gas industry in order to boost job creation in the country.The transformation agenda also provides for Key Policies for the Real Sector under the planperiod. Its policies for developing the seven growth drivers are agriculture and food security,manufacturing, and oil and gas. Under agriculture and food security, apart from securing foodand the food needs of the country, government will enhance generation of national and socialwealth through greater export and import substitution, enhance capacity for value additionleading to industrialisation and employment opportunities, and ensures efficient exploitation andutilisation of available agricultural resources; and enhance the development and dissemination ofappropriate and efficient technologies for rapid adoption.Under manufacturing, the agenda seeks to promote private sector investments through the
creation of an enabling environment that allows for substantial improvement in efficiency,productivity and profitability, significantly increase local manufacturing local content andlinkages with other sectors of the economy, ensure global competiveness for manufacturedgoods, make Nigerian manufactured goods major foreign exchange earners and achieve rapidand sustained economic growth through broadening of the nation’s productive base.In oil and gas, the focus will also be on the promotion of private sector investment in both theupstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas, deregulation of the industry andpromotion of environmentally friendly oil and gas exploration and exploitation methods;strengthening capacity building programmes especially in core technical areas; provision offunding mechanisms for pre-bidding geosciences and surveys of deepwater offshore, gas flare-down to reduce pollutions and increase supply for domestic use and power generation, and localcontent development.Infrastructure policies, programmes and projectsGovernment will seek to address the infrastructure deficit in the country in key developmentareas such as power, transportation, housing, Information Communication Technology(ICT),Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) and Niger Delta.The Transformation Agenda stresses the critical importance of these areas in the nationaldevelopment. Between 2011 and 2015, key priority policies will be pursued to developinfrastructure and consequently engender sustained growth and development in the country.PowerGovernment envisages that the total proposed investment in the power sector during the period isabout N1, 896 trillion. This will cover investments in four areas of power generation,transmission, distribution and alternative energy. This expenditure aims at increasing generationand transmission capacity in order to provide adequate and sustainable power, intensifying ruralelectrification efforts in a more efficient manner; and achieving optimal energy mix using themost appropriate technology.The strategies to be adopted in achieving these include creating a deregulated and competitiveelectric power sector to attract foreign and local investments; ensuring a viable commercialframework for the electric power sector including a tariff regime that promotes transparency,guarantees security of investments and a reasonable rate of return on investments; ensuring thetransmission capacity and providing redundancies in the transmission system so as to ensure afully integrated network that minimises transmission losses while strengthening grid security.Information and Communication TechnologyThe proposed investment for the ICT sector between 2011 and 2015 is N22.2 billion. The agendawill focus on the development of a national Knowledge Based Economy (KBE) 10-year StrategyPlan, sustained human capacity development in ICT; creation of a favourable and friendlyinvestment and enterprise environment through transparency in tax systems, anti-trust laws,incentives and trade policies that would stimulate local and foreign investments in ICT, as wellas development of infrastructure, particularly global connectivity as a prerequisite to leveragingthe benefits of the global economy, improving domestic productivity and attracting foreign
investments. Other strategies are: creation of an enabling environment through appropriatepolicies, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks and enhancing Public -Private Partnership(PPP) in project funding, financing and management.Niger DeltaAs for Niger Delta, the proposed investment in the region during the Plan period is N335.05billion. The main policy thrust will be to entrench peace and stability to drive sustainable socio-economic development in the area with the aim of reducing the high incidence of poverty, highrate of unemployment and high level of insecurity.TransportationGovernment expects total investment for the transport sector during the period 2011-2015 to beapproximately N4, 465 billion. The investment would cover roads, railways, inland waterways,ports and airports development. The main policy thrust during the Plan period is to evolve amultimodal, integrated and sustainable transport system, with greater emphasis on rail and inlandwaterways transportation. An enabling environment for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is beingcreated by designing new policies, legislation and institutional framework that would support theenvisaged transformation of the sector.The transformation agenda ‘s key priority projects are derived from 20 Ministries, Departmentand Agencies (MDAs) and sectors where a total of 1613 projects were identified, out of which385 are new while 1361 are ongoing..ShareRESIDENT Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s government has made good its promises to use theplethora of projects and programmes conceived under its Transformation Agenda to significantlygrow the economy and improve the living standard of the citizens. Barely one year after PresidentJonathan made that solemn transformational pledge of ‘promising less, but delivering more’, hisadministration has recorded landmark achievements in all aspects of national life.Sound economic managementSince assuming office in May 29, 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan’s economic team has beenimplementing far-reaching reforms and policies conceived in the economic blue print which seek,among other things, to revive the country’s infrastructure, diversify the economy from oil andcreate a vibrant economy.The President had on several occasions reiterated the commitment of his administration to makeNigeria a better place and a global economic power, using the 2012-2015 Medium Term FiscalFramework (MTFF) and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as the linchpin. Apartfrom setting up clear-cut guidelines for the four-year fiscal regime, the economic blueprint alsorecommends prudent management of the nation’s wealth to free up more funds for infrastructureprojects and other developmental purposes. Finance minister has consistently reiteratedgovernment’s resolve to keep fiscal deficit under 3%, in the coming years.
Overall, the present administration states in the documents that its Fiscal Strategy and EconomicObjectives over the 2012-2015 period will focus a large portion of spending on key sectors whichinclude Security, Infrastructure (including Power), Agriculture, Manufacturing, Housing andConstruction, Entertainment, Education, Health and ICT.While delivering the 2012 budget, anchored on the new fiscal framework last December beforethe National Assembly, President Jonathan had assured that his administration has found themagic wand. “My government is determined to pursue policies that will ensure a stablemacroeconomic environment through a strong and prudent fiscal policy, manageable deficits,sustainable debt-GDP ratio of no more than 30%, and single digit inflation, thereby promotingreal growth. We believe that these measures would engender a stable and competitive exchangerate and help to reverse the declining trend of our international reserves”, Jonathan declared.Sealing leakagesThe government has also taken steps to increase its non-oil revenues by blocking loopholes in thesystem, including partial removal of subsidy on imported petroleum products. Consequently, thecommittee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) Programme launched by thegovernment to manage the savings accruing from the petroleum import funds has set up aninternational metrics for monitoring, measuring and evaluating each project executed based onthe Poverty and Social Impact Analyses model.Chairman of the committee, Dr. Christopher Kolade, had announced that the programmespecifically focused on service delivery and must remain so. “We are going beyond rhetorics toexecute the mandate of making sure that the money budgeted is used to alleviate the immediateimpact of petroleum subsidy discontinuation on Nigerians, accelerate economic transformationthrough investment in critical infrastructure projects so as to drive economic growth and achieveVision 20:2020 and lay a foundation for the successful development of a national safety-netprogramme that is better targeted at the poor and most vulnerable on a continuous basis,” Dr.Kolade said.Implementation of the SURE programme, part of which involves provision of public mass transitservice, construction and maintenance of roads, provision of maternal and child health careservice especially in rural areas and vocational training centres, has since begun. It is noteworthythat the process of recovering mismanaged funds from the subsidy programme has not onlybegun, but the Presidency is equally reforming the country’s tax system and improving internallygenerated revenue.Interestingly too, the government has taken practical steps towards fulfilling its promise todrastically reduce recurrent expenditure to a sustainable level.Stable power sectorAgainst all odds, Nigeria is on the verge of permanently resolving its power sector crisis. Thegovernment made significant leap towards solving the decades-long power sector crisis recentlywhen it increased the electricity generation above 4,000 megawatts, the highest ever. Ministry ofPower Prof Barth Nnaji disclosed that it had reduced the incidence of system collapses in thepower sector. “Nigeria used to experience an average of four system collapse every month, that
is, almost 50 system failures annually. Much as we have reduced the failures in the last one year,our goal is to reduce them to zero,” Prof. Nnaji declared.According to him, the achievements recorded in the sector in recent time have raised fresh hopesof meeting the 15,000mw target by 2014 and 40,000mw for stable electricity in 2020. Prof. Nnajirecently announced that despite the challenges facing the sector, the government has made stableelectricity a top priority by the end of 2012. “We acknowledge that in many homes there is nopower. But we are working hard to improve that. Our goal is to make Nigerians have powercontinuously for 24 hours. We have now set up a framework for all stakeholders to be involved indelivering power. Therefore, we hope to deliver additional 1,500MW of power to the grid by yearend”, he promised.As part of plans to achieve stable power supply, the government launched the power sectorreform road-map and invested huge resource in the project. Also, as part of measures to achievesustainable industrial growth, the government had put in place certain measures to attract foreigninvestors into the power sector. Notable development in this regard was the establishment of theNigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, to enhance smooth operations between the variousindependent power producers and distribution companies.In its bid to make the sector attractive to private investment, the Nigerian Electricity RegulatoryCommission (NERC) also introduced new electricity tariff to take effect from June, 2012. ”Thereare opportunities in that; this is a business which is not serving us efficiently enough, generatingrevenue of N300-N400 billion. We estimate that within the next 5 years, it will go well over N1.5trillion,” explained, NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi. The commission has also made provisionfor free meters in a bid to help solve the problems of estimated billings.The initiatives are already bearing fruits, as the government has struck a number of powerdevelopment deals. In March, Nigeria received the highest expression of investment support by aforeign investor in the power sector when the federal government and the General Electric (GE)Energy of the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for $10 billionpower projects. Under the MoU, which was signed at the Nigerian High Commission in London,the $10 billion would be invested in various power plants with combined capacity of 10,000mw,with GE taking 15 per cent equity in each of the power plants.The government, on May 15, signed another agreements with two French companies, valued atabout $200 million or N3.14 billion, for the expansion of the country’s transmission network. Thedeal which also enjoyed the blessing of the French government will see the companies undertakethe feasibility studies for the transmission upgrade, and thereafter, select and construct a highvoltage transmission line and substations. Transmission hiccups remain the biggest challenge inNigeria’s power delivery system, as the existing 330 and 132 kv network continue to suffer fromprolonged and frequent outages, thus underscoring the need for fortification. Sequel to the newdeal, the French power firms — Electricite de France (EDF) and the Enterprise de Transporte etDistribution D’electricity (ETDE) — will source the funds from their home government in formof grants to execute the projects.According to the Ministry of Power, the French companies are to partner with a Nigerian
company, Transnational Energy and Power Systems (TEPS) Ltd, for the execution of the project,in line with government’s local content policy. “This is a sign of investors growing confidenceon the power sector reform. We believe that the Jonathan administration is on the threshold ofproviding Nigerians with the true dividends of democracy and democratic leadership,”commended the CEO of TEPS, Prince Albert Awofisayo.The federal government also sealed a N240 billion ($1.6 billion) energy and housing deal with aconsortium of Swiss and European investors last September. The group, comprising SeagasServices Limited and Oceanmar Services Limited, was led by the First Deputy Prime Ministerand Head of International Affairs and Investments, Republic of Kosovo, Behgjet Pacolli.The government’s effort to improve power generation in the country, especially throughrenewable energy, also got a boost last May when it received a grant of $7.84 million (N2billion)from the government of Japan. The donation under “The Project for Introduction of Clean Energyby Solar Electricity Generation System” was granted to Nigeria for the provision of solarelectricity generation systems and to tackle climate change.Besides wooing foreign investors, the government has taken practical measures to involve localinvestors in the efforts to solve the country’s electricity crisis. To this end, the NERC recentlyissued two new regulations that empower states, local governments and communities with thefinancial muscle to generate and distribute electricity. Through the regulations entitled: “NERCRegulation on Embedded Generation 2012”, the government has practically relinquished itsexclusive rights over power.Meanwhile, recent investigation reveal noticeable improvement in power supply in many parts ofthe country, on the strength of government’s interventions in the sector. Certain areas thatexperienced severe outages are now enjoying hours of power supply daily.Prof. Nnaji, who declared that the improvement in power supply in parts of the country is not afluke, vows to sustain the tempo. “We will certainly sustain what we have achieved and we aretaking deliberate steps to attain this. We have a programme to recover as soon as possible lostcapacities at existing power plants. Coupled with the scheduled inauguration of some plants beingbuilt under the National Integrated Power Project, we are optimistic of achieving the target of6,000mw in 2012,” he said.In conjunction with other economic team players, the minister has taken proactive measures totackle inefficiency in the power sector. One of such measures was the placement of all chiefexecutives of the 18 PHCN successor companies on performance indicators to engender efficientservice delivery. “Every CEO who meets the expectations of the people will be rewarded and anyCEO who fails to justify the confidence reposed in him will have to go elsewhere. Competence isthe guiding principle,” Nnaji said.To demonstrate that he meant his words, the minister had sacked non-performing managers andchief executives in the sector, replacing them with more competent ones. And since he startedwielding the big stick, services across the distribution and transmission channels have improvedtremendously.
Agricultural revolution on courseApparently piqued by the country’s spending of well over N1.3 trillion per annum on theimportation of foodstuffs which it could produce locally, President Jonathan is determined to endthe importation of rice before the end of his tenure in 2015. “Before we leave office in 2015, wemust stop the importation of rice. There is no reason Nigeria should be importing rice. We haveall that is needed to grow enough for domestic consumption and have a surplus we can export toother countries,” the President assured.True to his pledge, Dr Jonathan handed the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, thetask and the tool with which to transform the sector, guarantee food security and reducedecreasing the country’s embarrassing food imports. The agenda also involves makingagriculture, together with manufacturing, the lynchpin of the Nigerian economy.As a commitment to his mandate, Dr. Adesina recently declared that his ministry has come upwith a new strategy for achieving a hunger-free Nigeria through an agricultural sector that drivesincome growth, accelerates achievement of food and nutritional security, generates employmentand transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food markets.According to him, the government is focusing on the agriculture value chain where Nigeria hascomparative advantage. “We will focus on collaborating with state and local governments; inter-ministerial collaboration, private sector, farmer groups and civil society as well as targeting theyouth and women for equitable growth,” the minister said.The transformation from rustic farming to mechanized agriculture which requires empoweringlocal farmers to adopt modern and cost-effective technologies is now vigorously pursued. TheMinistry of Agriculture is working towards engendering improved quality and distribution offertilizers; marketing reforms; innovative financing and developing commodity exchange;research and development; competitive exchange rates; and development of storageinfrastructure. These new measures are aimed at liberating the country from food insufficiencyand making it a major food exporter in the nearest future.Interestingly, the National Economic Management Team has unveiled an AgricultureTransformation Agenda (ATA) which has the capacity to generate over 3.5 million jobs. “Toensure food security and create wealth, 11 commodity value chains: rice, sorghum, cocoa, maize,soybean, oil palm, cotton, cassava, livestock, fisheries and horticulture, have been formulated aspart of plans to achieve huge increase in production, starting from 2012,” he said.The government is also assisting companies to raise funds from banks to finance input purchasewith about N30 billion earmarked for the programme in this year. In addition, government hasagreed to pay 10 per cent achievement fees for companies meeting 100 per cent of supply ofseeds and fertilizers to farmers.As part of fixing the challenges in the sector, the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing Systemfor Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL) is expected to leverage N450 billion from banks intoagricultural value chains. Marketing Corporations are being established for selected agricultural
value chains to coordinate the production, investments, grades and standards, market pricestabilization, among others for selected value chains in Nigeria. These efforts are geared towardsrealizing the government’s target.To ensure that the target is met, the Agric Ministry has developed four key principles in executingthe programmes. The first principle called ‘subsidiarity’ touches every part of the country’sagricultural value chain would simultaneously. The second approach, involves working within aframework of strategic partnerships with the private sector, civil society and particularly farmers.The third principle is to treat agricultural endeavour as an investment which must generate returnlike any other viable business, while the fourth focuses on using bottom-top approach to engenderaccountability and delivery of results in the entire programme.Dr Adesina, other ministries, departments and agencies are equally contributing to the success ofthe agricultural revolution project. “We are going to produce an agricultural scorecard in whichwe will look at the progress we are making and not just the Federal Ministry of Agriculture but alot of ministries that are critical to making that sector work; the issue of power, water and roads,so we are going to come up with a plan in which there is will be accountability at all levels,” hesaid.Transport sector revivalLately, Nigeria’s transport sector has shown signs that the reforms initiated by the federalgovernment over the years have started yielding fruits. This follows marching orders by thefederal government for the completion of all ongoing projects as a matter of urgent nationalpriority. The projects include the dual-carriage Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road; construction of Oju-Loko-Oweto bridge linking Nassarawa and Benue states; dual-carriage Kano-Maiduguri road;construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge in Delta/Anambra states; rehabilitation of the Shagamu-Ore-Benin dual carriageway; and the rehabilitation of the Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dualcarriageway.Government has also unveiled plan to finance six critical road projects in the six geo-politicalzones in addition to the introduction of a new mass transit bus scheme with the proceedsaccruable from the partial deregulation of the oil sector through the SURE Programme.Apart from massive rehabilitation of roads and airports across the country, the federalgovernment has also initiated policies to make the transport sector a private sector-driven througha Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. In what looks like a major milestone, the federalgovernment on May 14 announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership deals withforeign and local investors to rehabilitate and construct major roads across the country.Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, said three important projects, the Apakun (Oshodi)-Murtala Muhammed Airport Road, Lagos, the Second Niger Bridge in Delta and Anambra statesand the Nupeko Bridge in Niger State, have been earmarked for execution through the PPP-funding model.According to him, there are positive responses from local and international investors to theadvertisement by the ministry in December 2011 for Expression of Interest by consultants
wishing to act as Transaction Advisors and would-be concessionaires. “The final stages of theselection of successful transaction advisors and commissionaires are on-going. Many moreprojects under the PPP funding model are being prepared for procurement as the Outline BusinessCase (OBC) for each of them had been completed,” Onolomemen said, adding that the ministryhad been able to attract foreign investors.“The ministry has also been actively engaged in foreign investment drive in which potentialinvestors from the USA, France, China, Egypt, etc, are encouraged to intervene in the road sector.Already, Expressions of Interest had been received from several of them and are currently beingassessed,” he added.Aside executing road projects across the country, the federal government has intensified effortstowards fixing the railways, with the commencement of Mass Train Transit Service (MTTS) onseveral routes, among which is the Lagos-Ilorin train service which began operations recently.The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has taken practical steps in its efforts to resume goodshaulage across Nigeria following the launch of Ewekoro-Ilorin weekly cement haulage. TheMinister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar, recently disclosed that the corporation has finalizedplans to commence the haulage of petroleum products and agricultural produce across thecountry.“The haulage activity of the NRC is to cover every aspect of our economy. The Lafarge/WAPCOCement Company only partnered with the corporation. And we are going to embark on themovement of petroleum products and agricultural produce among others,” the minister said,adding that the ongoing railway revitalization and modernization is designed to enhanceeconomic growth of the country.The corporation is expected to take delivery of 20 pressurised tank wagons it ordered last year forthe haulage of petroleum products across the country. This would also come side by side with theintroduction of special wagons for the movement of agricultural produce in the country. Effortsare also in top gear to ensure that construction companies (China Gezhouba Group Corporation(CGGC), Esser Contracting and Industry Ltd and Lingo Nigeria Ltd) handling the rehabilitationof the 2,119-kilometres three Eastern rail lines meets the 10 months completion deadline. Thethree Eastern lines, comprising 463 kilometres rail lines from Port Harcourt to Makurdi; 1,016kilometres rail lines from Makurdi to Kuru, with the inclusion of spur line to Jos and Kafanchan;and 640 kilometres rail lines from Kuru to Maiduguri were awarded at a cost ofN67,337,252,898.30.Alhaji Umar insists that the completion of the contracts, whose scope covers a comprehensiverehabilitation of the tracks, bridges and culverts within the 2,119 kilometres track lines, would bethe climax of the comprehensive rehabilitation campaign embarked upon by the Jonathanadministration a year ago.Apart from the ongoing rehabilitation of the entire fixed and movable assets of the rail transportindustry with the 1,315 kilometre Lagos-to-Kano track, the government has procured 25 newgeneral electric locomotive engines and workshop equipment; installed three generators of1,000KVA, 750 KVA and 5,000 KVA; and refurbished 500 wagons and coaching facilities.
The federal government has also made tremendous progress in repositioning the country’saviation sector with the completion of the first phase of airport rehabilitation project. The N38billion-worth project which involves remodeling of 11 national airports have reached completionstage, with the second phase commencing in June. Some of the airports being remodeled in thefirst phase are the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos; Nnamdi AzikiweIntenational Airport, Abuja; Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri; Yola Airport and Benin Airports.Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah explained that the facility upgrade at the designatedairports was part of the comprehensive programme of the government aimed at making thecountry’s aviation industry the best in the continent. “We want to make sure that we don’t playwith customers’ safety at all times, which is why we are doing total reconstruction of the airports.Every airport going forward will be branded new with double capacities. Every airport in thecountry would be remodeled”, she promised.She also reiterated the commitment of the present administration to seeing that air travelers usingthe nation’s facilities enjoy value for their money. “We want to ensure that passengers have safeof transportation and value for their money. Most importantly, we want every Nigerian andstakeholder to be proud of our airport environments. It is a total transformation of the aviationsector,” the minister said.Interestingly too, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) is being repositioned todeliver on the expected capacity building needed by the sector as well as for export.In the maritime sector, government has equally initiated reforms to tackle the rot in the Nigerianports. The reforms, which came in various phases, were geared towards eliminating the hiccups inthe operations of the nation’s seaports in Onne, Calabar, Warri, Lagos, Koko and Sapele.Investment HavenBeing Africa’s largest market with a population of about 160 million people and 25% of thecontinent’s GDP, Nigeria is gunning to become, not only the largest economy in Africa but a top20 economy in the next decade. To achieve that, the country requires massive foreign directinvestment estimated at US$10 trillion. The Jonathan administration’s quest for- an- nvestment-driven economy led to the creation of a Ministry of Trade and Investment which is alreadybearing good fruits. Since the creation of the ministry, there have been worthwhile investmentcommitments in the power, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and mining sectors, amongothers worth trillions of dollars.In a bid to fast-track the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment into the country, the governmentalso created Trade and Investment desks within Nigeria’s main embassies to act as facilitators,first points of contact and sources of information for investors. Besides, the ministry is alsocollaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop commercial objectives for thecountry’s main embassies. To this end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approved that genuineforeign investors entering the country be given multiple entry visas at the point of entry. It is thefirst time such a policy would be put in place in Nigeria.
The move appear to be yielding positive results, going by the ministry’s reports on embassies’operations. This move, according to many Nigerian ambassadors abroad, has made them busyand opened up the economy for a turnaround.In a bid to boost the country’s investment potential and competitiveness in business environment,the Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Investment, has mapped out a four-year plan.According to the ministry, the government had set up two committees - ‘Doing business andcompetitiveness’ and ‘Investor-care’; with numerous terms of reference as a first step in a seriesof well laid-out plans to achieve the set targets. The ambitious programme, which enjoys thesupport of the UK Department for International Development, World Bank and otherinternational organisations, involves clearing all bottlenecks inhibiting the full actualisation ofNigeria’s trade potential and repositioning the country’s trade to serve as a catalyst for jobcreation, wealth generation and economic transformation.“Nigeria is a very green area for investors”. Basically from 1999 to date, we have established ademocratic government. For investors, Nigeria has strong laws and media. No president can justchange laws that can affect investors. There has never been a better time to invest in the countrythan now,” President Jonathan explains.Social developmentThe government is not relenting in its resolve to provide basic amenities for its teemingpopulation. Plans to kick of massive housing and road construction projects, which will serve as agreat potential for job creation, have reached advanced stage.Education is equally a top priority of the Jonathan administration. Dr Okonjo-Iweala recentlyreiterated government’s commitment to improve the quality of education in the country.According to her, Dr Jonathan’s administration identifies education as a pivotal sector thatdeserves priority investment for the creation of a competitive labour force.To this end, the government is undertaking holistic measures to improve quality of learning at alllevels, increase secondary enrolment and completion rates by 10%, with special focus on women.Education Minister, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai believes that “provision of quality education toNigeria will become a reality within the next five years, while the overhaul of the educationsector will be completed in 10 years provided the education reform agenda is dutifullyimplemented.”She posits that the focus is on two primary issues: access and equity, as well as standards andquality assurance. “Whatever we are going to do right from primary, junior secondary, secondaryand tertiary, we have to actually focus on the quality of education vis-a-vis the issue of access toschools”.Another area that government is desperately trying to improve is the health sector. Aware of thefact that good health contributes to economic growth, government is seeking to improve theimplementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). It is equally taking practicalsteps to ensure that the country meets the MDGs target on health. To this end, efforts have beengeared towards improving the quality of health care services offered in government hospitals,
while providing the enabling policy environment for private health care practitioners to offerquality services.Actualizing Vision 20: 2020The goal of the Vision 20:2020 policy is to restructure the economy by diversifying itsproductivity base for greater domestic content and value. This way, the economy will be on tracktowards making Nigeria one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2020.Minister of Planning and Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NCP), DrShamsuddeen Usman believes Nigerian is on course: “with the little we have done, the Nigerianeconomy has moved from 44th position in 2009 to 41st,” he says confidently.The NPC has outlined medium-term implementation plans that would enable it to embark onproper growth targets and evaluation. About N35 trillion would be required to achieve the 2011 -2015 medium-term plan, funding for which will be provided by the federal, state and localgovernments as well as the private sector. “Government has directed the tracking of performanceof MDAs at the federal and state level, out of which 92 MDAs were evaluated. We must begin toimbibe international best practices,” Usman says.Following the fresh marching orders of President Jonathan on the transformation project, theminister has assured that the country’s that it growth targets will be met especially as thegovernment is determined to encourage more private sector participation in the economy, whileplugging leakages to save funds for implementation of the growth projections.Business News BBC News - Business .The latest stories from the Business section of the BBC News web site Asil Nadir jailed for 10 years • Former fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir is jailed for 10 years for stealing nearly £29m from his Polly .Peck business empire more than 20 years ago Eurozone heading for recession • Falling output from the eurozones manufacturing and services sectors suggest the region is .heading for another recession, analysts say
At a post-FEC briefing by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, leading investors thatattended the recent investment conference expressed confidence in the economy of Nigeria andinterest to invest in the country.Maku said the minister of finance also told FEC that the world was appreciative of ongoingreforms in Nigeria, as the countrys macro-economic policies were some of the best in the world,and that Nigeria was becoming the first choice investors destination in Africa.Maku noted that the special investment conference on Nigeria, which was put together by theBank of Industry in partnership with other institutions, was attended by Nigerias ministries anddepartments concerned with providing infrastructure and easing investment procedures.He said: "The Coordinating Minister of the Economy told us that the world is very appreciativeof the present reforms taking place in Nigeria. Specifically, she said global investors believe thatthe micro-economic policies of Nigeria are presently some of the best in world."The Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, also briefed the FEC on Tuesdays close of bidding forpower generation and distribution companies in which 79 firms showed interest.