Nigeria & EU Partner To Facilitate Investment Flow

Nigeria and the European Union (EU) have agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of corruption, security and economy, to facilitate investment flow from the EU states into Nigeria.

EU Ambassador and Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Michell Arion led the EU delegation to the dialogue. Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama led other ministry officials to the meeting.

Briefing reporters, Arion said the meeting focused on Buhari’s three-point agenda of security, economy and corruption as well as others, which include irregular migration and the humanitarian situation in the Northeast. The envoy said that EU and Nigeria could work together for mutual benefits of both parties and enhance peace, security and economic cooperation.

In his words:

“We believe that our prosperity is your prosperity. We see West Africa as a block of ECOWAS and Nigeria as the economic base. We see West Africa not as export designation for the EU but investment destination for EU; we don’t have hidden agenda. I will say that what we can do is to facilitate the EU investment in Nigeria, not only at the level of bilateral relations but in other fora. I believed that there are a lot of things we can do together basically in two main areas one is peace and security. We really believed that our security in the EU is your security; I believe we are fighting the same terrorists.”

‘We are not offering more financial support…’ – EU

Michel Arrion, the European Union (EU) ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, says EU cannot promise further financial assistance to Nigeria.

Arrion made this known at a lecture which the IBB Golf Club organised in Abuja.

The lecture had as its theme: ‘40 years of European Union in Nigeria: Lessons learned and the way forward’.

Arrion said Nigeria remains EU key partner in view of the role it plays in global affairs.

The envoy added that the union would scale up its efforts towards the country’s institutional, political and economic development for a more prosperous future.

He said Nigeria could not be said to be poor, as it has enough resources to meet its developmental needs.

Arrion called for a more equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth to ensure growth and stability and unleash its enormous economic potentials.

He explained that the combine aides to the country were about ten percent of its country’s annual budget.

According to him, the official development assistance (ODA) flow in Nigeria is about $2.5 billion yearly, which corresponds roughly to about 10 percent of the federal budget (N7,3trillion  or $24 billion).

This, he said has raised the question of should EU continue to give aide to Nigeria.

Arrion, however, said the regional block would scale up its efforts towards the country’s institutional, political and economic development for a more prosperous future.

“We are not offering more financial support, we are proposing more political and policy dialogue, technical assistance, capacity building, training, transfer of technology,” he said.

“We also proposing more advocacies for more private investments and other innovative sources of funding.”

The envoy, therefore, called for improving in tax collection to finance the development of the country.

According to him, Nigeria must find alternative funding to ODA including improved tax collection which must be improved at least five times more and also spend better.

Quoting Price Water Cooper (PwC 2016), he said: “Nigeria collects about N5.5 trillion or 18 billion dollars per year.

“About 10 million people (10 percent of adult population) are registered for personal income tax (half of them in Lagos).

“The rate of VAT compliance by registered entities is about 12 per cent. The rate is lower for corporate income tax nine per cent.”

He also said Nigeria must attract more foreign investment five times more, to reach the level of Angola or Vietnam for instance and put in place more and better Public Private Partnerships.

Arrion said the evolution of the vibrant relationship of equal partners between Nigeria and the EU was founded on shares values and aspirations and mutual trust.

According to him EU in its 40 years of engagement with Nigeria had identified development priorities, funded projects to stimulate the Nigeria’s economy, reduce hunger and disease.

He said the union had also helped to enhance institutional capacities, strengthen governance and fight insecurity in Nigeria.

Source: The Cable

Ogun State & EU Partner on Mini Power Grids for Rural Electrification [2017]

Ogun State has finalised plans with the European Union (EU) on the construction of mini power grids, deploying renewable energy sources for the provision of electricity to check rural-urban drift and stimulate agricultural productivity in the rural areas across the state.

Ogun

The construction of renewable energy mini-grids and subsequent electrification of rural areas in the state forms part of waste-to-wealth energy project for which the EU launch of its feasibility study and funded the project with €300,000.
Speaking during a working visit to Ogun State recently, Felix Zacheo, head of Unit on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change of the EU, explained that the objective of the visit was to assess the level of development and implementation of energy in the pilot community.
He said the working visit was also to determine other sectors of the economy requiring intervention, as the mission of the EU in the state was not only to electrify rural areas through renewable energy sources, but also to devise strategic plans for systematic development of socio-economic activities across the state.
Responding on behalf of the state, Yetunde Onanuga, deputy governor, who doubles as commissioner for rural development, noted that though the German Agency for Internaational Development (GIZ), was already committed to the project, the support of the EU would further aid timely delivery of the mini power project.
Onanuga said the partnership would advance the state in power generation through renewable energy sources, check rural-urban drift, explaining that the State government had already commenced installation of electrical facilities in Gbamu Gbamu, a community in Ijebu East Local Government Area of the state where the renewable energy project pilot scheme is expected to kick off.

Some of the solar equipment and materials to be provided at the pilot phase include: 45 Kilowatt PVL Solar Hybrid and 60 Kilowatt Diesel Generator for back up, 6.6 Kilometre Low Voltage Line with 150 Electricity Poles and Pre-paid Meters, among other energy equipment.
Corroborating deputy governor on State Special Intervention Projects for rural dwellers, Adegbele Olugbebi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, said the State government would ensure that rural communities had more access to basic social amenities that would further improve the people’s standard of living as plans are underway to construct 500 km rural roads under World Bank projects.
But, Adekunle Fayomi, the Baale of Gbamu Gbamu Community, appreciated the State government for choosing the community for the pilot scheme, saying the commencement of the project has erased doubts and renewed their confidence in government’s commitment to the welfare of rural dwellers.

EU Donates €70 million To Healthcare in Nigeria

The European Union (EU) has donated €70 million to a healthcare project that seeks to support nutrition and the final push to eradicate polio in Nigeria.

Speaking at the launch of the project, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michel Arrion, said the project would help to improve access to effective health and nutrition in five prioritised states and support the final push to eradicate polio in Nigeria. The focus of the project is especially on providing services to poor, marginalized rural women and children, saving the lives of mothers and children and improving their health and nutrition through a sustainable primary health care delivery system.

The support fund, which is part of the €512 million five year partnership agreement between the European regional body and Nigerian government, is also to strengthen the country’s health system and to eradicate polio virus.

The first phase of the project under the 11th European Development Fund, will be implemented jointly by UNICEF and the World Health Organsiation.

Fifty million euros, according to the breakdown, will be going to Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi to ensure that by 2020 the states have functional primary health care centres, providing round-the-clock services to three million children under the age of five as well as almost a million pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The remaining €20 million will go for strengthening of health care systems towards achieving universal health coverage in Anambra and Sokoto states and also the efforts to support the eradication of polio permanently in the country.

2.1 Million Euros EU Small Arms Project Grant

As parts of its commitment towards ending the proliferation of small arms, Nigeria has been integrated into the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and European Union (EU) small arms project.

The country will also benefited from a special European Union (EU) grant of 2.1 million euros.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Mandisa Mashalogu;

“ECOWAS and EU small arms project is being implemented in six African countries and after the launch of the Nigerian component, we are going to have Nigeria as the seventh country in the project.”