August 18, 2022

Reporters’ Diary

Factual Reportage

AfDB to invest $3bn in Africa’s pharmaceutical industry

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said it would invest 3 billion dollars to build Africa’s pharmaceutical industry in the next 10 years.

President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at a virtual Finance in Common Spring Meeting convened in collaboration with the Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) on Tuesday.

The meeting was tagged “Africa’s Green and Resilient Recovery: A Common Objective.”

The AfDB president added that it was also supporting the Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC) with 28 million dollars to strengthen its capacity to tackle the issue of vaccines.

He added that the bank was currently working with partners on how to best support the financing of manufacturing of vaccines on the continent.

He emphasised that the bank was supportive of public development banks, which could be seen in the establishment of the AADFI and several national and regional banks on the continent.

He noted that public development banks must deepen “our ability to reach all parts of Africa.

“To ensure financial inclusion, especially for the unbanked, and expand access to finance, savings and insurance products and services, we need to work as one unified system.”

Adesina added that the unified system would accelerate economic development in Africa across all sectors.

He further projected the recovery of African economies from the COVID-19 pandemic, with an expected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.4 per cent in 2021.

“That recovery is expected to be across the board for oil-exporting countries, tourism-dependent economies, and commodity-dependent economies and for non-resource dependent economies,” he said.

He also noted that tackling the issue of Africa’s debt must be of top priority, which he added was critical for the overall financial market stability in the short and medium term.

He also recalled that a number of efforts were being made to deal with the debt challenge.

“(This is) including the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and the G20 Common Framework on debt treatment for public and private debts.

“Even then, the DSSI does not deal with reducing the quantum of debt of Africa, but only postpones debt service payments,” the AfDB president stated.

He noted that the cost of debt service would, however, continue to rise but added that the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would support the recovery process and address the debt challenge.

He urged that part of the SDR be used to support public development banks with additional resources to support countries to build back better, greener and with climate and environmental resilience.

Adesina also added that a share of the SDR should be used to pay down some of Africa’s huge private commercial debt, while bringing them into the G20 Common Framework.

“It is time to take this action now, to forestall what will be a payment crisis just down the road.

“I, therefore, would like to call for the strong collective support of Africa’s public development banks for these two strategic actions to assure financial stability of the continent and accelerate a post-COVID-19 economic recovery that is inclusive, green and climate resilient,” he said.

In his address, Mr Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), said Africa was ready for sustainable investment.

Rioux said the meeting was dedicated to Africa because the continent was a global priority “and its challenges requires us to go seek coordinated responses and actions.

“Let’s finance in common and build a common positive story of innovation and investment in Africa, leveraging and mobilising all willing stakeholders.

“The days of pure aid are over. Africa is ready for sustainable investment.”

The objective of the meeting was to devise joint actions to help boost a strong and inclusive recovery in Africa with the private sector.

It also aimed to give African public development banks the opportunity to demonstrate their role and contribution in supporting the transformation of the continent’s economy and societies towards sustainable and resilient development.

4 arrested for alleged forgery, sabotage in Edo

Edo State internal revenue board says it will prosecute four persons arrested for forgery of revenue documents to sabotage government.

It said this in a statement, signed by its Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Eboigbe Courage, yesterday in Benin.

It said the four persons were arrested in Agenebode, Estako East local government area of the state, over alleged illegal production and issuance of revenue scratch cards.

According to the statement, “The Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), with the assistance of Security agents, on Tuesday, 4 May, 2021, in Agenebode, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, arrested four persons suspected to be involved in the illegal production and issuance of Revenue Scratch Cards.

“The four suspects were arrested in Agenebode following enquiries into the process and compliance check of revenue scratch cards purchased by haulage truck drivers.

“Upon enquiry, it was discovered that the four persons were also involved in the sale of forged revenue scratch cards, instead of the authorized and approved government cards to unsuspecting members of the public.

“Further enquiries revealed that the recovered revenue scratch cards issued to truck drivers were faked, had uniform code numbers and the issuing process not complied with.

“The suspects have been handed over to the Nigerian Police for further interrogation, investigation and arraignment in Court.”

It said the prosecution of the suspects will serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders in the future.

It advised members of the public, particularly truck drivers involved in haulage business, to insist on collection of both the revenue scratch card and receipt after payment of haulage fees.

FG appoints Obaje as coordinator CARES Support Unit

The Federal Government has appointed Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, as the National Coordinator, Federal CARES Support Unit, Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES).

Director of Information, Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning Mrs Imaobong Udoh,  said this in a statement in Abuja yesterday Tuesday.

Udoh said that the appointment was implemented for the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.

According to her, the appointment is endorsed by the World Bank, Nigeria Office and signed by the Minister of State, Finance Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba,

She quoted Agba as saying that the appointment was based on Obaje’s track record of service to previous World Bank supported programmes to the Nigerian government.

She said while receiving the appointment letter, Obaje appreciated the Federal Government and the minister of state for finding him worthy of such highly esteemed national assignment.

He was said to have pledged that his management team would discharge its duties with all sense of commitment, patriotism and loyalty.

Udoh also said that Obaje had been on board for over 20 years of with public service, development partners and currently the national coordinator, Community and Social Development Project (CSDP)

The NG-CARES is an initiative of the Federal Government with assistance from the World Bank to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on the rural economy using CSDP, Fadama and Bank of Industry platforms.