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VP SHETTIMA COMMENDS ACCESS BANK’S N30B DISCOUNTED LOANS FOR 700,000 MSMEs

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VP SHETTIMA COMMENDS ACCESS BANK’S N30B DISCOUNTED LOANS FOR 700,000 MSMEs

By: Our Reporter

The Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima has commended Access Bank for offering N30 billion discounted loans to 700,000 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in support of the Tinubu administration’s agenda for job creation and the growth of the MSME space.

Sen. Shettima who disclosed this Friday at a meeting with MSME stakeholders comprising key actors from the public and private sectors, at the Presidential Villa, added that the Access Bank loan scheme will commence as soon as possible.

“Every challenge, every problem is pregnant with opportunities for value addition and for repositioning of the society. I just met with the management of Access Bank, we had extensive discussions and they have offered to provide a N30 billion support to MSMEs focusing mostly on the youth and women as target beneficiaries. They are going to give these loans at 15% interest rate,” the Vice President announced.

The VP had earlier, in his office, met with a delegation from Access Bank led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Roosevelt Ogbonna.

Vice President Shettima acknowledged that though the challenges are daunting, Nigeria has the talents to overcome some of them, stressing that “in this room are the people that can bring about the changes we seek, be it in the agricultural value chain, the digital value chain and the manufacturing value chain.”

He urged the stakeholders to unite in order to overcome the common challenges confronting the country, noting that Nigeria is blessed with the human resources to address the projected global talent deficit.

“We can make this country work, with proper planning, zeal, commitment and leadership, this country can be repositioned. We have the platform to re-engineer this nation. The caliber of people present here today has rekindled my hope in the Nigerian dream,” the VP noted.

Yielding to the request of the stakeholders for the inauguration of the National Council on MSMEs, the Vice President directed the Special Adviser to the President on National Economic Council (NEC) to kickstart the processes for the inauguration of the Council and the sensitization of State governors to its functions.

Earlier, the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr Charles Odii, on behalf of the stakeholders, thanked the Vice President for his leadership and zeal to ensure the transformation of the MSME space in Nigeria.

According to him, the stakeholders were keenly following the activities as well as interest shown by the VP in issues confronting MSMEs, and gave assurances that the stakeholders were “ready, willing, and committed to aligning to the vision of the Tinubu administration in the sector.”

He then requested the Vice President to pick a suitable date to inaugurate the National Council on MSMEs as part of a broad plan to galvanize robust support for the space.

In separate remarks, the chief executives of the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), spoke about their organisations’ contributions to the growth of the MSME sector and the administration’s job creation agenda.

They reassured the VP of their unwavering commitment and support, particularly in ensuring the actualization of the Tinubu administration’s economic diversification objectives.

The stakeholders were led to the meeting by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Mr Temitola Adekunle-Johnson.

VP SHETTIMA COMMENDS ACCESS BANK’S N30B DISCOUNTED LOANS FOR 700,000 MSMEs

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9th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Business leaders, policy makers to explore new investment opportunities

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9th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Business leaders, policy makers to explore new investment opportunities

By: Michael Mike

Nigerian and European business leaders, policy makers and institutional stakeholders will converge on Abuja on July 2, 2024 to identify and explore investment opportunities along specific value chains during the 9th European Union-Nigeria Business Forum.

The Forum, which is holding in the federal capital for the first time, according to a statement on Sunday is being organised by the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, in close coordination with EU Member States and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Themed “Investing in jobs and a sustainable future”, the event will take place at Abuja’s Continental Hotel.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, said the Business Forum, aside from fostering engagement between businesses, policymakers, and stakeholders from Nigeria and the EU, will also facilitates trade, investment, and partnerships through networking, discussions, and policy shaping, to promote economic cooperation between the EU and Nigeria and stimulate sustainable growth for both parties.

She said: @It is important to note that for the first time since its inception, the 2024 edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum will be held in Abuja. This will provide an opportunity for the EU, its Member States and the private sector from Europe and Nigeria to engage the new administration on their investment agendas in a transparent and inclusive manner, with a view to fostering confidence and commitment to a stronger and sustainable partnership.”

As part of the EU Global Gateway Strategy, she explained, EU-funded projects will complement private sector investment in areas, which bring about critical social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
In the case of Nigeria, particular attention is paid to the harnessing of local talent, particularly among youth and women, as well as economic, social, and environmental resilience. Against this backdrop, she stated, the 9th EU Nigeria Business Forum will focus on current and prospective investment in the digital, health, and agricultural sectors.

According to Ms Isopi, the Business Forum will discuss options and respective benefits towards establishing a bilateral legal framework between the EU and Nigeria, bringing certainty, stability, and sustainability to bilateral trade and investment relations.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, expressed her support, saying: “I commend the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, as well as the EU Member States, for their dedication to promoting economic cooperation and stimulating sustainable growth. Let us seize this opportunity to pave the way for a prosperous future for both Nigeria and the EU.”

The Forum will run in a hybrid format, targeting sectoral associations, business community, and entrepreneurs, and is expected to attract at least 400 in-person participants, excluding those who will join the event virtually. It will also feature panels on a range of issues, including Confidence in the Nigerian Economy – sustainable solutions to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Digitalisation Leapfrog, Healthy Economies Thrive, and From Agriculture to Agribusiness.

9th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Business leaders, policy makers to explore new investment opportunities

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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

By: Michael Mike

ActionAid Nigeria, a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) affiliated with ActionAid International, a global federation of social justice groups with a presence in over 70 countries, has condemned the clampdown by security operatives on peaceful demonstrations by some Nigerians on Democracy Day.

A statement on Wednesday by the Country Representative of ActionAid Nigeria, Andrew Mamedu read: “We witnessed a disturbing crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists. In Lagos, one of the leaders, Juwon Sanyaolu, was forcefully abducted by suspected Department of State Security (DSS) operatives, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

“In Abuja, students and activists from Activista who went out to advocate for good governance were also arrested in Gwagwalada and are currently placed in detention.

“We condemn this blatant suppression of constitutional and democratic rights, and demand:

  • The immediate release of Juwon Sanyaolu and all arrested activists
  • An end to the repression of peaceful protests and respect for our constitutional rights
  • An investigation into the abduction and arrests, and accountability for those responsible.”

Mamedu said: “President Tinubu’s speech today highlights the importance of democratic values, human rights, and the protection of freedom of expression and assembly. Yet, his government’s actions contradict these principles. We urge the President to practice what he preaches and ensure our rights are respected.

“The Nigerian Community of Activists for Good Governance which ActionAid Nigeria is part of will not be silenced. We will continue to demand justice, equality, and democracy for all Nigerians. The true meaning of this Democracy Day is not just to celebrate the past but to commit to a better future. We will hold the government accountable for their actions and ensure that democracy is not just a historical fact but a living, breathing reality.

“We remember the sacrifices of pro-democracy activists, including our current president, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who fought for our democratic rights, and we will continue to honour their legacy by standing up against oppression. We will not be deterred by intimidation and violence but will persist in our struggle for a better Nigeria.

“We call on all Nigerians to join us in demanding an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and the immediate release of all arrested Activista members. Together, we can build a Nigeria where democracy is not just a celebration but a way of life.”

ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

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How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

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How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

By: Yusuf Adamu

Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has again demonstrated an unequal leadership prowess in the governance of the state by transmitting power to his deputy, Hon. Usman Kadadur. Such a move by the governor since coming to power in 2019 has put Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on a pedestal of trust and honor. 

The governor has continued to show the world that power is transient, and as such, leaders must learn to appreciate the fact that harmonious working relationships with their subordinates are key to governance. 

This is, to my knowledge, the second time the governor is doing this. On Friday, he wrote to the assembly stating his desire to hand over
power to his deputy, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, in an acting capacity, as he left for Hajj in the Holyland of Saudi Arabia. 

The executive communication to the Borno State House of Assembly (BOHA), which was read by the Speaker, Honourable Abdulkarim Lawan, during an emergency session on Friday, speaks volumes about the kind of relationship the governor has with his deputy. This is a demonstration of trust, which is lacking in some states of the federation, and Borno has remained a point for others to emulate. 

The speaker, Honourable Lawan, said that the letter is in accordance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, adding that Kadafur will act from June 10th to July 8th, 2024. He further explained that the move is necessary to ensure the continuity of governance and the smooth running of the affairs of the state in the absence of the governor. 

This also demonstrated the cordial working relationship and understanding between the executive and legislative arms in Borno State. This singular act of the governor has once again brought to light the desire of the governor to leave by his constant statement that he remained the servant of the people and will always abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic in discharging his duties as governor. 

*Yusuf Adamu is the former Adviser to then Borno state governor and current VP, Kashim Shettima

How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

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