Home Economy Nigeria to unravel $20 bn missing fund in 16 weeks, China announces $30 billion China-Africa Fund

Nigeria to unravel $20 bn missing fund in 16 weeks, China announces $30 billion China-Africa Fund

by Business News Report

—-African governments should work harder to reduce inequality

—-African leaders reaffirmed commitment to transforming agriculture

—- African leaders to seek agricultural funds from capital market

Indication emerged yesterday at the World Economic Forum Africa that the federal government and auditors investigating the NNPC account will in the next 16 weeks make public their findings. This will put paid to the controversy surrounding the alleged missing $20 billion from the federation account.

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told participants at the on-going  World Economic Forum Africa , WEFA that the forensic audit of the NNPC would be undertaken within 16 weeks under the supervision of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF. Dr.  Okonjo-Iweala expressed the determination of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration to ensure an open and transparent oil sector in the country. The minister made the revelation while responding to a concern raised by a forum participant on the allegations of corruption in the oil industry during the panel discussion on Inclusive Growth. “on the issue of holding government to account, I do not think Nigerians are laying back. We need that transparency and we welcome it. The (suspended) CBN Governor raised issues on unaccounted for amount from the federation account and we at the ministry of finance have for two years been reconciling these figures with the NNPC to know what they are supposed to remit to the federation account. Our feeling is that the only way is to have a forensic audit that would let Nigerians know the issue.”

“There is a forensic audit that the government has approved and it is being done by PwC under the supervision of the Auditor General for the government and they said they need 12 to 16 weeks to do that and all these would be clarified.” The books of NNPC have been the subject of controversy and sometimes high level politics between the legislature and the executive with the former alleging high level corruption, a claim the latter also refuted. There have been a series of audits of the accounts of the corporation since the return of democracy in 1999 under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo but there has been much done other than occasional summary removal of members of top management.

The most recent controversy over the handling of oil revenue by the organization started with allegations by suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that about $49 billion was missing. The figure was later moderated to $ 10 billion and later moved up to $20 billion before Mal. Sanusi’s suspension from office. On inclusive growth, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala admitted that the nation’s economy was growing impressively but not creating as many jobs as required but said that deliberate policies had been put in place to achieve the desired results.

Her words, “we are all growing but not creating jobs and we have been asking ourselves how do we change the quality of this growth and our rebasing has shown us where the potentials is. We need to get people to go into farming through agroprenuers where 750,000 youths would be encouraged to go into agriculture”. On Africa Rising, she said that two issues came forward which required short and long term actions to address the social and economic legs in the efforts at achieving inclusive growth.

She said the current security challenges facing the nation required short-term actions to ensure the return of peace and stability to the society, while focusing on creating jobs and providing social safety nets under which all Nigerians would have a sense of belonging.

“We should empower our youths to make the necessary change”, she said, but added that “youths should not accept negativism.  We must make a distinction between criticisng and making our leaders act but should at the sametime not make our people believe that everything is negative”.

Meanwhile the Chinese 200-man strong delegation led by Premier Li Keqiang is second to none at the on-going World Economic forum WEF. The ovation that greeted Keqiang’s address at the official opening in Abuja was understandable. He announced a $30 billion China-Africa Fund which he said his country stood ready to deploy in an effort to give the continent a new lease of life.

He said “China, in order to build infrastructure network in Africa, is ready to provide financing, technical and human resources support. We will increase investment on financing in Africa. We will add $10 billion to be committed to the Chinese credit line to African countries to reach a total of $30 billion.

“We will also put another $2 billion US dollars into the China/Africa development fund   to make it five billion $5 billion. We will also make good use of special loans, financing loans, commercial loans and other modes of capital.

China will advance Africa’s talent plan under which we will provide 18,000 government scholarships to Africans and train 30,000 professionals in addition to other special trainings for Africa. The Chinese government means what it says. Here I wish to emphasis that China’s cooporation with Africa countries is sincere and open”.


Also at the forum yesterday former United Nations Secretary General Mr Kofi Anan said that African governments should work harder to reduce inequality that has prevented the benefits of a decade of economic growth from being spread equitably according to a report by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The plunder by foreign investors and corrupt officials of the continent’s fishing and timber resources is a clear example of the failure to harness natural resources for the common good, according to the annual Africa Progress Report.

“After more than a decade of growth, there is plenty to celebrate,” Annan was set to say at the report’s launch at the World Economic Forum for Africa, in Abuja, Nigeria. But it is time to ask why so much growth has done so little to lift people out of poverty and why so much of Africa’s resource wealth is squandered through corrupt practices and unscrupulous investment activities,” Annan said.

African leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to transforming the agricultural sector across the continent at the 2014 Grow Africa Investment Forum Building on recent successes of the Grow Africa partnership – a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency and the World Economic Forum – the leaders agreed that increased private sector investment in agriculture is key to delivering economic opportunity and food security within their countries.

“There are huge opportunities in agriculture. This will create jobs and achieve food security,” said Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria. “The key is not just producing enough food for local consumption, but also creating jobs along the value chain,” he added.

“For years, Africa’s agriculture was marked by low productivity, low production,” noted Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania. Thanks to an agriculture transformation based on a blueprint started at the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2010 in Dar es Salaam, he said his country is seeing dividends. As a result, “hunger can be overcome, and increased income reduces poverty.” In 2013, Grow Africa partners doubled their commitments for agriculture and food security to $7.2 billion. Of this, $970 million is already invested, which has led to the creation of 33,000 new jobs and assistance to 2.6 million smallholder farmers throughout the continent. The increase in committed funding is captured in the recently published

Meanwhile The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, at the forum urged African leaders to seek agricultural development funds from the continent’s emerging capital market. Adesina made the appeal for agricultural development and inclusive growth at the ongoing 24th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, with theme “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs’’.

“Agriculture has all it takes to drive the inclusiveness needed in the positive economic growth witnessed in the continent. African leaders must ensure that they leverage the private sector to ensure effective participation in the programme and also raise money from various domestic capital markets to support the sector.

“The bond, equity market and the unused pension fund, in the case of Nigeria, could be used to see how to make agriculture a business for the youth to buy into,’’ he said.

He also urged international financial institutions like African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank to assist in the continent’s effort to develop agriculture.

The minister said that Africa had all it takes to feed the nation with about 65 per cent of arable lands.

On Nigerian government efforts in agriculture sector, the minister said that about four billion dollars had been invested in the sector in the last two years.

According to him, 5 per cent of the bank lending goes to the sector and about 80 Seed Company have benefited from various supports. Adesina also said that eight million farmers had so far benefited from the e-wallet system of the ministry which focuses on sharing fertilisers and seeds across the country.

“More that 10 million farmers has been registered in the biometrics system and linked to the National Identity Management Commission and they have been able to produce 16 million metric tonnes of food in two years. We have to commend Nigeria government because we are the first to launch e-wallet system, others are copying from us now and we are also learning from them other model to improve our operations,’’ he said

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Donald Kaberuka, also canvassed the need for agriculture to drive the structural transformation in Africa. Kaberuka said that committed emphasis on agriculture would leverage the continent’s desire for inclusive growth. He urged African countries to focus on infrastructure development, market price discovery by farmers, substantial support to farmers and subsidising of agricultural products.

Also, Mr Tony Elumelu, said that agriculture contributes about 40 per cent to the continent’s GDP and must be supported. Elumelu said that agriculture had all it takes to drive inclusive growth if efforts were geared to transform the sector into sustainable business. 

FG pledges supply to over 30 million Nigerians without electricity – Minister
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo at the forum said the Federal Government was committed to the provision of electricity to over 30 million Nigerian households that still lack access to electricity.

The minister said this at a Power Forum meeting on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) for Africa holding in Abuja. He said Nigeria’s hosting of WEF has presented a veritable platform for the Federal Government to attract more investors to partner with government in improving the power situation in the country.

“In Nigeria, access to electricity is way below 50 per cent with about 30 million Nigerian households without electricity; I think it is important to mention this so that we begin to see why Nigeria is a veritable location for investment in the electricity sector.

“The demand for electricity in Nigeria is so huge and when you think about our current generation which is about 4,000MW with a country of nearly 170 million people. We need to at least quadruple that generation and continue to expand, in order to meet the immediate demand of Nigerians,’’ he said.

He said that in spite of the privatisation of the sector, it would take some time before there could be a significant improvement in the power situation.

According to him, there is the need to replace most of the obsolete electricity infrastructure across the country. Nebo said that government had devised the use of renewable energy such as solar and wind to provide light for those in the rural areas.

“Solar and wind powered electricity will be cost-effective in areas where electricity cannot be supplied, especially in the rural, coastal and areas remote to current grid,’’ he said.

He said that because of the vandalism of the gas pipelines and constrains in getting gas to power the power plants, government was evolving a robust energy mix to mitigate the challenge of gas. The minister said that the Federal Government’s vision was to achieve 75 per cent access to electricity by 2020 by connecting an average of 1.5 million households annually. He said that the Federal Government was committed to using power to serve as a catalyst for the economic and industrial development of the country.

Nebo said that Federal Government was planning to increase the nation’s GDP to double digits and create more jobs. The Power Forum with the theme: “Private Sector Participation in Achieving Access to Power” was organised by the Ministry of Power in collaboration with Standard Bank.

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