President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed fears for the safety of his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Buhari warned Osinbajo on the needs to be careful for his safety in the way he implement the TraderMoni, one of his administration Social Intervention Programmes (SIP).
The trader money programme is being implemented under the Vice President‘s office.
The President said he does not want Osinbajo to be mobbed in the process of giving out money to the traders.
Only last week the Vice President unveiled the second phase of TraderMoni and MarketMoni in Awka and Onitsha in Anambra State.
Beneficiaries receive funds ranging from N10, 000 for the TraderMoni and N50, 000 for the MarketMoni from the Bank of Industry (BoI) implementing the fund.
Buhari spoke Monday night when he hosted Osinbajo, members of the Federal Executive Council, Security Chiefs and Chief Executives of Federal Government Agencies to a breaking of fast at the Presidential Villa.
He warned Osinbajo to be careful with the way he moves from one market to the other.
“This `market money’ I warned the Vice-President I don’t like him to be mobbed, especially the way I see hefty women coming and confronting him, he should be very careful.
“These are very good initiatives. Initially, I was quite reluctant but I must admit that they are very good programmes and they endear this government to a lot of poor people because of these N5,000 or N10,000 being given to them as loans.
“They are fantastic programmes and I have to admit quite honestly that the vice president was ahead of me by insisting on them.
“But he knows me if he insists I will say `okay go and do what you like.’ He did it and I’m very pleased as he is being very successful,” he said.
Buhari also frowned at the inability of the elites to address the welfare and educational needs of the less-privileged in the country.
“When I drive around the country what upset me very much is the status of our poor people in this country. You see young people, the so-called Almajiris with tore dresses, with plastic bowl. They are looking basically for what to eat.
“The question of education (to them) is a luxury. I think Nigerian elite we are all failing because I think we should have a programme that will at least guarantee some basic education for our people no matter how poor they are.
“So, I welcome the Vice-President initiate of the School feeding programme.
‘’If you check in your localities the enrolment into schools improved because a lot of children can get at least one good meal a day. This is the position of this country.
“But, culturally some of us are quiet merciless, we don’t care about what happen to others we just keep on moving forward,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the cabinet members, Osinbajo thanked the President for inviting Muslims and Christians to the breaking of fast with him.
“Mr. President I must say that there are some reasons I had always look forward to the Ramadan session. But some of those reasons are now being seriously challenged.
“The first of those reasons is that during the Ramadan meetings are usually very short. But, unfortunately last Wednesday Mr. President seemed to have destroyed that very good notion by taking us through the longest FEC meeting in the history of the Federal Executive Council.
“So, we shouldn’t expect anymore that meeting will necessary be short during the Ramadan.
“The second is that some of my friends are far less troublesome during the Ramadan. People like Lai Mohammed, Abba Kyari, Adamu Adamu, they are usually very well behaved during the Ramadan. But I’m not even sure that that is true anymore.
“So, I think that all we can truly expect now from the session is possibility what it was meant to do which is to remind us of some of our responsibilities to ourselves as brothers and to our fellow men/women especially our roles as leaders.
“I think is auspicious that this particular Ramadan falls at the eve of the new term in office.
“So, it is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves over the core mandates which is the welfare and security of majority of our people,” he said.
Buhari signs AfCFTA agreement at AU Summit
President Muhammadu Buhari in Niamey, Niger Republic, signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, making Nigeria the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document.
Reports reaching Area News, indicated that the president signed the agreement at exactly 10.47 am local time
Buhari had delayed in signing the agreement, which entered into force May 30, 2019.
The delay was to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders, culminating in the submission of the report by the Presidential Committee to Assess Impact and Readiness of Nigeria to join the free trade area.
The committee had recommended that Nigeria should sign the agreement which aims to boost intra-African trade.
In accepting the report as submitted, the President made it clear that Nigerian government would be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits.
President Buhari said: “Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda.
“Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of `made in Africa goods’. That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.
“If we allow unbridled imports to continue, it will dominate our trade. The implication of this is that coastal importing nations will prosper while landlocked nations will continue to suffer and depend on aid.’’
The AfCFTA is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization, with a potential market of 1.2 billion people.
CIFI N20bn loans: Access Bank begins disbursement to creative sector
Access Bank has commenced disbursement of loans to beneficiaries in the entertainment industry, under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The bank disclosed this during a forum with some stakeholders in the entertainment industry in Lagos on Tuesday.
It said the first tranche of the CIFI loans worth N20bn, would be made easily accessible to the borrowers in the sector.
Bidemi Adeboye of Access Bank said stakeholders in the creative industries such as fashion, Information Technology, movie production, movie distribution, music and software engineering student could access the loans.
When all documentations were completed and the loans approved, the bank would ensure the beneficiaries got the funds within two weeks, he said.
He added, “The CBN wants to create jobs, develop local capacity, preserve foreign exchange and ensure empowerment in the entertainment industry.
“It is more interested in providing infrastructure funding such as film house, equipment, studio, auditorium, which will make it easier for the entertainers to operate at lower cost and be able to make profit.”
He explained that the loan had maximum interest rate of nine per cent per annum and a repayment period of up to 10 years.
According to him, those who would access the loans should come up with business plan or statement; they must be registered and should be doing what had economic benefits.
Chizoma Okoli of Access Bank said that the CIFI loan was introduced by the CBN to support the creative sector.
She said the bank decided to organise the forum with the stakeholders in the entertainment industry, to get more ideas from them on how best they could disburse the funds to them, and the documents they would need.
Music star, Oladapo Oyebanjo, popular known as D’banj, urged the bank to make the loans easily accessible as promised.
He said, “Most times when we apply for loans, it usually takes up to six months for us to get such. This will be a good development if we can access the loans within two weeks.”
Our economy is still fragile, MAN tells Buhari
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria told President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday that the country’s economy remained “fragile”, much as it appreciated his commitment to perform better in his second term in office.
“It is clear that our economy is still fragile,” the President of MAN, Mr Mansur Ahmed, said when the National Council on Manufacturers Association of Nigeria visited Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed added, “With the Gross Domestic Product at 2.0 per cent and below the population growth rate, the clouds are still threatening and the task of driving the economy upwards is still enormous.
‘‘But, Your Excellency, we are encouraged by the very strong commitment you expressed only last week in your Democracy Day address.
‘‘You did say that in your second term, your administration will do, even more, not only to continue to drive the economy on the path of sustained growth but indeed to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”
He commended some of the administration’s policies, including measures introduced on the ease of doing business, “fight against corruption, focus on poverty reduction, job creation and inclusive growth as well as the launch of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”
A statement by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari used the visit to explain why Nigeria had yet to take a decision on the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Buhari informed the MAN officials that an impact assessment committee set up by the government to guide it properly was working, adding that Nigeria’s decision on AfCFTA would be based on “national interest.”
The statement said, “The Presidential Steering Committee on the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Committee was inaugurated on October 22, 2018, with the mandate to assess the extent to which Nigeria was ready to join the agreement, and what the impact of doing so would be.
“The Committee was initially given 12 weeks to conclude its assignment, after holding wide consultations with industry groups and stakeholders, including the MAN.”
The African Union Summit scheduled for July in Niamey, Niger Republic, is expected to address the AfCFTA.
The statement quoted Buhari as saying, ‘‘I don’t think Nigeria has the capacity to effectively supervise and to ensure that our colleagues in AU don’t allow their countries to be used to dump goods on us to the detriment of our young industries and our capacity to utilize foreign exchange for imported goods.”