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Economy, Government

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) said 158 projects from different sectors were incorporated into the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project pipeline in 2020.


This is according to the 2020 Annual Report and Accounts of the organisation.


According to the report which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, the projects went through various stages of development, procurement and implementation.


It also said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave approvals for some vital projects, which were earlier granted the Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificates by the commission to pave way for eventual contract signing and commercial close.


The projects included development of the Bonny Deep Seaport in Rivers, development of Ibom Deep Sea Port in Akwa Ibom and automated ticketing portal for the Nigerian Railway Corporation.


Others were upgrading, expansion and operation of the Nigerian Correctional Services shoe/garment/leather factories in Aba-Abia and Janguza-Kano State and renovation of the students’ hostel at Kaduna Polytechnic.


It also said that Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificates were granted for some key projects in the transport sector of the economy, adding that some of them had proceeded to the procurement stage while others would soon follow.


They were the development of the Truck Transit Parks in Obollo-Afor, Enugu State; Aviele and Benin Bye-Pass, Edo; Lokoja, Kogi; and Illela, Sokoto State.


Others were concession of the four International Airport Terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) for 12 selected routes.


The ICRC said that within the year under review, it began the process of regularising all PPP projects by whatever name they were called and brought them under the commission’s custody to enable their subjection to its regulatory oversight.


“An important reason for the regularisation is to ensure revenues accruing to the government go into a Special Concession Account (SCA) set up for this purpose.


“The approval for the implementation of the SCA was given through a circular issued by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning in June 2020.


“Already, N2.4 billion has accrued to the government as the concession fee for the development of the Gurara Dam II Project.”


The report, however, identified lack of dedicated funding to develop, promote and implement PPP projects as a setback which slowed the development of some projects.


It also said that strong political will and commitment were needed to strengthen the PPP framework and ensure the process was not undermined or truncated due to adverse interests.


The report also said there was lack of adequate enforcement powers over PPP contract agreements and disputes.


It added that there was a bill to address identified gaps in the existing law of the commission pending before the National Assembly.


“The proposed amendment seeks to rename the ICRC as PPP Regulatory Commission to accommodate other forms of PPP and expand its powers to impose appropriate sanctions to ensure compliance with provisions of the Act and regulations thereof.


“The urgent passage of the bill will help ICRC to establish its independence, improve its regulatory oversight and exercise adequate control over the process.”


While proposing to ensure accountability in PPP revenue in 2021 through the SCA, the commission said it would effectively monitor revenue accruing to the government from PPP projects and add more projects to the PPP pipeline.


It would also strengthen the capacity of PPP units of government agencies to structure transactions and monitor the progress of projects which were awarded or completed to ensure that contractual obligations were being met.


NAN recalls that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampered economic development.


Tourism, TRAVEL

The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), says the production of a specialised map to aid the nation’s tourist navigation will soon be unveiled before the end of this year.


Mr Folorunsho Coker, Director-General of the Corporation, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Coker said that Nigerians would soon get the new map in hotels, Airports and other tourist places.


He said the Corporation had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation to develop the map to make it as accurate as possible.


“We have just signed an MoU with the office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation to develop a tourism map together.


“They (Office of Surveyor-General) have the geographical information and we have tourist destinations related data.


“We are collating data to ensure the map is accurate.


“Physical copies will be stationed in hotels, Airports and other hospitality and tourism establishments,’’ Coker said.


According to him, the information is ready but the marriage of the information will take time, adding the map would be ready before the end of the year.


He said that the emergence of increased tourist activities around the country, especially in hiking communities required a specialised map.


“We all know that the best map is one that has local content. Nobody knows my backyard better than I do. I know where there are waterfalls, springs, unique rock formations and the best spots for picnics.


“In many countries with a thriving tourism sector, you can tell the concierge at your hotel that you want to visit a particular restaurant.


“They bring out a small map and say you are here and this is where you are going,’’ he said.


According to him, there are several active hiking communities in Nigeria and our environment is never static as seasons come and go.


“Information like that on a map is crucial to people who plan to hike a trail, go camping or explore the city.


“It is also crucial for people who are not in the digital world to stay up to date with happenings around them,’’ the director-general said.


He said that the map will promote COVID-19 compliant establishments, rules and regulations to help guide the tourists’ decision-making process.


“For example, in Kano State, there are specific rules that are specific to the state when compared to Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt,’’ Coker said.




 The NTDC boss also called on Nigerians to tour the country and patronise made in Nigeria products to boost the nation’s economy.


He said that domestic tourism has the potential to strengthen the nation’s economy and attract international tourists.


“We don’t need tourists to come and visit Nigeria. There are over 200 million Nigerians. Let Nigerians know more about Nigeria first. Let Nigerians consume enough of Nigerian products.


“If we make more positive noise about Nigeria, other people from outside Nigeria will come. If you and I don’t eat, drink Nigerian products and grow the nation’s currency, hospitality establishments such as restaurants, bars and hotels will not become strong enough.


“For the institution to task and regulate them to become strong enough, there is a need to have an economy that has the strength to attract domestic and international tourists.


“If we sit on this assertion that we want to attract international tourists, what do we offer, infrastructure, security?


“Let us get to know Nigeria, let us tour Nigeria to know more about our country. Let us spend our money in Nigeria and enjoy the products and services she offers.


“When we grow our economy, tourists will come,” he said.


Coker argued that if we could grow our music, film, fashion and pentecostal religions to the level that they are now, and tourists from around the world could be visiting Nigeria for the experience, we could also grow the tourism industry.


He said that tourism was about people travelling from their usual space to new places where they immerse themselves in the values and culture of the people in the communities they visit.


“So, we say to Nigerians, let us start from the fundamentals and build the foundation our tourism sector requires.


 “Presently, NTDC is not well funded, therefore, we cannot afford the kind of tourism structure other countries deploy to promote their domestic markets.


“We cannot go to companies because companies will say they pay their tax,’’ he said.


Coker predicted that there would be a post-pandemic boom in Nigeria, adding that in it tourism was going to have a square central position..


“When you can’t take your money outside, you have to spend it in your house. Those who are providing products and services in your community will benefit because you are spending your money at home.


“Home is your most comfortable holiday and space. So, post-pandemic boom, yes, tourism is squarely in it I believe,’’ he said.



The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said it would provide 500 million dollars of lending to women-empowered businesses by the end of 2021, through its programme for women.


President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this in a virtual media briefing at the end of the 2021 Annual Meetings of the bank on Friday.


Adesina said the bank would use its resources for the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) guaranteed fund to lend to women businesses.


The AfDB president added that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected women more disproportionately because the majority affected by the lockdown were in the informal sector.


He also recalled that AFAWA was an initiative to mobilise five billion US dollars in new financing in support of women businesses in Africa.


“Therefore, the recovery process must prioritise inclusiveness for women in terms of access to finance.


“We expect, from the bank’s resources for the AFAWA guaranteed fund, we would be able to have provided lending of 500 million dollars, that is half a billion dollars to women-empowered businesses by the end of this year.”


He also stressed that the bank had zero tolerance for serial exploitation and harassment of women, adding that Africa must make sure its women were safe, had equity and empowered.


“We also have to invest in girls’ education. We must make sure that girls are not married out at very young ages.


“We should leave the young girls to go to school, to have the opportunity to have participation in a world where they can create opportunities for themselves.”


Adesina further noted that the bank was focused on making sure all projects impacted women and girls and also urged governments to be accountable for African women.


“Africa will move better, faster and have more inclusive growth when it fully empowers all its women and that is a responsibility we have,” he said.


Contributing, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said there was the need for a reassessment of gender policies.


Ofori-Atta, who is also the Chairman of the bank’s Board of Governors, said: “We know that when we look at our traditional production, distribution, market and systems in taking care of the future, it is the women that do it.


“We as finance ministers, as we examine our resources, would have to profile it a lot better than we have in the past to ensure the issues of education, health and financial resources are also programmed to support them.”


The 2021 Annual Meetings of the AfDB Group held from June 23 to June 25 with the theme: “Building Resilient Economies in Post COVID-19 Africa.


Finance, Health

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said that sub-Saharan Africa would need 425 billion dollars by 2030 to support its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The President of AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the opening of the 2021 Annual Meetings of the Bank held virtually on Wednesday.

Adesina also said that low-income sub-Saharan African countries alone would need 245 billion dollars by 2030.


The AfDB president recalled that Africa was home to six of the fastest growing economies in the world but had since fallen at a loss due to the pandemic.


 “Africa’s cumulative GDP losses are estimated between 145 billion dollars and 190 billion dollars. Africa will need a lot of resources to support its recovery.


“Low-income sub-Saharan African countries alone will need 245 billion dollars by 2030, while all of sub-Saharan Africa will need 425 billion dollars by 2030.

“Africa needs strong actions to support its recovery,” he said.

He, however, highlighted AfDB’s support to African countries.


“The bank launched a three-billion-dollar social impact bond on global capital markets, which was at the time the largest ever U.S. denominated social bond in world history.


 “We announced a 10-billion-dollar Crisis Response Facility. We provided 28 million dollars to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.


 “It is still challenging, no doubt, but Africa is starting to move forward, again,” he added.


Adesina also reiterated that Africa should not beg for vaccines but should be producing them.

He said AfDB was committed to supporting Africa’s production of vaccines as part of the vaccines plan of the African Union.


He reiterated the plan of the bank to commit three billion dollars to the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the continent.


“We will leverage our resources. We will not work alone. We will work in partnership with others. Together, I am confident we will get vaccines to all in Africa,” he said.


The 2021 Annual Meeting of the AfDB Group is holding from June 23 to June 25, with the theme: “Building Resilient Economies in Post COVID-19 Africa.”


This will be the 56th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the bank and the 47th Annual Meeting of the African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the bank group.


Energy, FEATURES, Finance

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is supporting African countries to implement their nationally determined contributions to promote green growth and energy transitions.


Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President, African Development Bank (AfDB), said this at the opening of the 2021 Annual Meetings of the AfDB, held virtually on Wednesday.


According to Wikipedia, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) are non-binding national plans highlighting climate actions.


This includes climate related targets for greenhouse, gas emission reductions, policies and measures that governments aim to implement, in response to climate change and as a contribution to achieve the global targets set out in the Paris Agreement.


Adesina stressed that the bank was taking decisive actions on the climate and green recovery.


“The bank, together with the Global Center on Adaptation, launched the African Adaptation Acceleration Programme, to help mobilise 25 billion dollars for climate adaptation in Africa.


“The bank is supporting African countries to implement their nationally determined contributions, to promote green growth and energy transitions, as we look forward to COP 26 in Glasgow,” he said.


The AfDB president also pointed out that the bank was taking decisive actions to reboot investments into Africa, through new and clean innovations.


The Prime Minister of Chad and President African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, commended AfDB for organising the recent High-Level Dialogue on Climate Adaptation.


Mahamat also commended the bank for the launch of the African programme for the acceleration of adaptation in Africa, in collaboration with the Global Centre of Coronavirus for climate adaptation.


“This programme, which aims to mobilise 25 billion dollars, will make it possible to operationalise the African initiative for climate adaptation of the African Union.”


The AUC president further commended the bank for laudable projects carried out towards the integration and economic development of Africa.


“There is, among others, the ‘From Desert to Electricity’ initiative, the AFAWA programme for women’s entrepreneurship, and the launch of investment banks for youth entrepreneurship.


 “The implementation of all these projects will accelerate the achievement of Agenda 2063 and our common aspiration, which is “the Africa we want.”


The prime minister also appealed to the AfDB to develop innovative financing mechanisms.


He, however, welcomed the encouraging results obtained by the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) and urged the bank to deploy instruments to mobilise internal resources and resources from the African Diaspora.


He said this would encourage investors and institutions such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds to invest in Africa.


Also, in his remarks, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said the pandemic exposed deep structural fragilities that required urgent attention.


Akufo-Addo said this was particularly in relation to green growth, climate-conscious industrialisation and the creation of resilient economies.


He, however, expressed optimism in additional collaborations, partnerships, and the continued allocation of substantial resources towards initiatives that accelerate Africa’s chances at building back boldly, better and greener.


“I ask that we remain focused on promoting inclusive growth, especially in digitalisation, health, agriculture, industrial processing, and eliminating gender disparities,” he said.


The AfDB Group’s Annual Meetings, being held from June 23 to June 25, presents a unique opportunity to discuss the economies and livelihoods of African countries.

Participants include finance ministers, central bank governors, policy makers, representatives of civil society groups, heads of international organisations, business leaders from the bank and group’s member states.