Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has approved the issuance of Euro 500 million sovereign guarantee from the Credit Suisse AG London Branch and a syndicate of international lenders.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, told State House correspondents Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. He said the international lenders will serve as collateral for the Euro 500 million facility, to be extended to the Bank of Industry.
He explained that the purpose of the loan is to finance major industrialisation projects and Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) values chains in the country for up to five years tenure at affordable rates. The rates are at single digit rates.
The federal government will serve as the guarantor of the loan which is to be executed through the Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning
The main objective of the loan, according to the Minister, is to support industry; revitalise agro-industrial processing zones and to facilitate the creation of new jobs.
“We do believe that about 1.2 million jobs will be created through this facility; increase the income of farming communities and promote the inclusion of SMEs and small holder producers in the industrial value chain and the deployment of transportation infrastructure that connect farming communities to processors and market. The loan will be swapped to naira by the CBN to mitigate the foreign exchange risk and the fund will therefore be available to Nigerian enterprises at a more affordable rate and in local currency,” Agba said.
Also the council approved a memo from the Ministry of Power seeking the approval of President Buhari to release $2 million as Nigeria’s contribution to the West African Power Project (WAPP).
Also the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, told reporters that the ministry bought before the council two memo which were approved.
The first concerned the administration of justice or a justice sector reform policy, while the second related to the repeal of the Geneva convention, which is accommodated in the nation’s laws; Geneva Convention Act Cap G3, of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Malami said the Convention which was enacted in 1949, was designed to provide protection to prisoners of wars and people involved in armed conflicts, and associated infractions.
He said in view of this, it has become necessary for government to amend its laws and to be at par with international best practices to enable greater access to justice for prisoners of wars in cases of breach.
“It is a convention that now enshrines, lays out the way and manner you can deal with prisoners of wars, people involved in civil conflicts and accord them certain privileges in terms of access to court in times of breaches against their persons, against their interest and associates, for example, if ill-treatment is meted to them, it is enshrined in the Geneva convention,” Malami said.
He stressed that the other memo on administration of justice was intended have a justice sector reformed package that will turn things for the better as far as administration of justice is concerned.