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Ogun Signs Over $300m Agreements For Three Projects



Gov Abiodun Calls For Moderate Christmas Celebrations

The Ogun State government has signed agreements for the execution of three Development Finance Institutions-funded projects in line with Governor Dapo Abiodun’s economic development agenda in the state.

The projects include the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP), Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) and Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).

The state Commissioner for Finance and Governor’s Chief Economic Adviser, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, signed the agreements on behalf of the state while the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr (Mrs.) Zainab Ahmed, signed on behalf of the Federal Government.

On the projects’ significance, Okubadejo said OGSTEP deal worth $250m was a World Bank-funded project aimed at increasing the participation of the private sector in the state’s economy with focus on improving the business-enabling environment, strengthening agri-food value-chains and upgrading skills.

He noted that the project had commenced in 2017 with the payment of $5m as Project Preparation Advance (PPA) to support the state government in preparing for the formal application of the project.

“After a very rigorous evaluation and documentation requirements, which intensified from June 2019, OGSTEP was formally approved by the World Bank Board on February 18, 2020. Consequently, the main financing agreement and the subsidiary financing agreement were executed with the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.

The commissioner submitted that OGSTEP would make the state more attractive for private sector investments, thus increasing its internally generated revenue base.

He added that the World Bank would provide the much- needed financial and technical support towards implementating various economic reforms and initiatives.

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On the $45m Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), Okubadejo disclosed that Ogun State, with three projects, was a prime beneficiary of six projects approved by the World Bank across the country on February 18, 2020.

He said: “RAAMP, which has the mandate of fixing select rural roads and markets across the three senatorial districts of the state, has been running at a preparatory stage with state counterpart fund before the signing of the $44.23m credit agreement.

Ogun State and the Federal Government, according to him, signed the Subsidiary Loan Agreement on February 11, 2021 to finance rural roads and develop select markets for enhanced prosperity to local farmers, mainly youths and market women.

“The signing of the agreement for the upgrade, rehabilitation, routine maintenance, spot improvement and performance based maintenance, will culminate in the improvement of no fewer than 1495km of rural roads,” he said.

On the VCDP worth $15m, the commissioner stated that the project was being implemented in only nine states of the federation with Ogun State as the only one from the South-West. He listed other states as Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Nasasrawa, Kogi, Taraba and Enugu.

“The objective of the programme is to enhance on a sustainable basis, incomes and food security of small holder farmers engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava in the eight participating LGAs in the state,” he said.

Okubadejo revealed that the state government had supported 8,534 small farmers to access improved farm inputs as well as linkage to the market with recommended seeds, fertilizers and agrochemicals, adding that over 1000 youths were trained on modern rice and cassava farming techniques.

He disclosed that rice production recorded an increased yield of 47 percent for VCDP beneficiaries from 1.5mt/ha to 3mt while cassava recorded increase in yield of 61 percent for VCDP beneficiaries from 18mt/ha to 32.3mt/ha.

The commissioner also said with Additional Financing (AF1) of $89.1m, which was provided to the programme by IFAD at the request of the Federal Government VCDP, the programme implementation has been extended by three years period, bringing its completion to December 31, 2022 and the loan closing date to June 30, 2023.

“The total amount is $136.9m of which $89.1m from IFAD Loan and $19.3m from co-financiers. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) counterpart fund of $5.8m; State Governments counterpart fund of $12.4m; Local Governments counterpart fund of $0.6m; Beneficiary Contribution $7.2m and beneficiary savings of $2.5m for all the nine participating states,” he added.

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BREAKING: Old N200, N500, N1,000 Notes Remain Legal Tender Till Dec 31 – CBN



In compliance with a ruling of the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that old N200, N500, N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.

The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin spoke in a statement on Monday. This is coming 10 days after the Supreme Court ruled that old naira notes should co-exist with new ones till the end of the year.

“In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.

“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.

“Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly,” the statement read.

The highest court of the land had on March 3 ordered that old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain valid till December 31, 2023.

This was after 16 states of the federation instituted a suit to challenge the legality or otherwise of the introduction of the policy.

The 16 states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had prayed the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.

The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship, adding that the President breached the Constitution of the Federation in the way he issued directives for the re-designing of the Naira by the CBN.

After the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the AGF kept mum, throwing many bank customers and Nigerians into confusion as the ruling of the apex court contradicted the directive of the President on February 16 that old N500 and N1000 notes are banned and old N200 notes remain valid till April 10.

However, the Presidency broke its silence on Monday, saying the President never told the CBN and the AGF not to obey the order of the apex court.

“The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” the Presidency noted.

According to the Presidency, the President is an absolute respecter of the rule of law and that the “negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust.”

The CBN had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court, after a suit filed by the states, held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the February 10 deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue.

However, the President, in a national broadcast on February 16, directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.

There has been a flurry of reactions and stark criticisms against the President’s directive including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Umar Ganduje (Kano); Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and many stalwarts of the ruling APC have openly censured and faulted the President’s directive, arguing that it has no grounds because the case is before the apex court.

Leading Senior Advocates of Nigeria like Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome have equally faulted the President’s move, saying he cannot overrule the apex court of the land.

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CBN Asked Banks To Receive Old Naira Notes – Soludo



BREAKING: How Nigerians Keeping N2.7 Trillion At Home, Others Caused Naira Redesign - Emefiele
CBN Governor Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked commercial banks to dispense and accept old naira notes as deposits, according to Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo.

Soludo, a former CBN governor, made this known in a statement he posted on his social media handles.
He explained that the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele gave the directive at a Banker’s Committee meeting on Sunday.

He added that Emefiele personally confirmed the directive to him.
According to him, residents should report banks refusing to accept the old notes.

“Commercial banks have been directed by the Central Bank to dispense old currency notes and also to receive the same deposits from customers. Tellers at commercial banks are to generate the codes for deposits, and there is no limit to the number of times an individual or company can make deposits.”

“The Governor of the CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, 12th March 2023. The Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, personally confirmed the above to me during a phone conversation on Sunday night. Residents of Anambra are therefore advised to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200, N500; and N1,000) and the new notes”, the statement added.

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Elon Musk Reclaims Title As World’s Richest Man



Nigeria Approves Elon Musk's Starlink As Internet Service Provider
Elon Musk

Months after losing the title of the world’s richest man, Elon Musk has regained it.

A rally in Tesla’s stock price on Monday boosted the Twitter owner’s net worth by nearly $7bn to $187bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk’s recovery of the top spot from the French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault follows a precipitous drop in his wealth in late 2022, when he became the first person ever to amass and then lose $200bn. His wealth peaked at about $340bn in November 2021 and fell to about $128bn at the start of 2023.

Musk’s personal wealth primarily derives from stock in Tesla. The electric carmaker lost nearly two-thirds of its value in 2022, amid investor concerns over weakening demand, Musk’s distracting purchase of Twitter and the tumultuous start to his tenure atop the social media platform.

While Musk’s troubles at Twitter continue, having reportedly fired an additional 200 employees over the weekend after already slashing the workforce from 7,500 to about 2,000 since October, the share price of Tesla has risen nearly 90% since the start of 2023.

On Wednesday, the company will hold its annual Investor Day at its factory in Austin, Texas, and Musk is expected to discuss future products, including the long-promised Cybertruck and Semi Truck, along with plans to expand its production infrastructure around the world.

One such plan was previewed on Tuesday, when the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said Musk had promised him by phone that Tesla will build a new factory in the city of Monterrey.

“This is going to mean a considerable investment and many, many jobs,” López Obrador said.

Tesla already has plants in China and Germany, and analysts suggest it may expand to Canada as well as Indonesia.

The carmaker continues facing challenges, however, including increased scrutiny of its driver assistance technology. It announced a recall of 362,000 vehicles on 16 February after regulators said its Full Self-Driving Beta software did not follow traffic laws.

Shareholders filed another lawsuit on Monday against Musk alleging that Tesla’s repeated exaggeration of its self-driving capabilities amounted to fraud.

Musk also keeps courting controversy through his erratic and provocative behavior online. After lifting bans on white supremacists, neo-Nazis and QAnon conspiracy theorists on Twitter, the billionaire has curried favor with rightwing trolls and activists.

On Monday, he threw his support behind Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist whose racist rant in a recent YouTube appearance has led to the cancellation of his comic strip in US newspapers.

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