VICE PRESIDENT PRESIDES OVER NEC MEETING 1. R-L; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, SGF Mr. Boss Mustapha, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba during the National Economic Council Meeting held at the Council Chambers State House Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. AUG 22 2019.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved to source a 500 million Euro loan from external creditors, for the Bank of Industry (BOI) to support industrialisation and agriculture, in addition to the creation to 1.2 million new jobs.
The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, explained that the credit guarantee is for up to five years, and the Federal Government is the guarantor of the loan.
Agba said: “The council today approved the issuance of a Sovereign Guarantee of 500 million Euros from the Credit Suisse AG London Branch, and a syndicate of international lenders as collateral for 500m Euro facility to the Bank of Industry.
“The loan is basically to finance major industrialization projects and micro-small and medium enterprises values chains in Nigeria for up to five years tenure at affordable rates; these rates are single digit rates. The guarantor of the loan shall be the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and this is going to be executed through the Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning.
“The main objective of the loan is to support industry; revitalize agro-industrial processing zones, 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.”
Also speaking, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said to improve the ongoing reform in the country’s judicial sector, FEC has approved a Justice Sector Policy for Nigeria.
He explained that the policy would ensure speedy administration and quality of justice, as well as access to justice.
According to Malami, “It is a blueprint that set out a shared vision, objectives and interventions for the reform of justice sector to engender fair, efficient and transparent administration of justice.
“The intention and design was to have a justice sector reformed package that will turn things for the better as far as administration of justice is concerned. It will turn things around relating to justice, it will turn things around in relating to speedy administration of justice and turn things around for the purpose of ensuring at the end of the day, that we have a consensus approach to the administration of justice.”
Malami further disclosed that the council also approved a memo seeking to repeal the Geneva Convention and re-enact it to “accord greater access to justice by prisoners of war.”
He explained that Nigeria was not at par with the rest of the world in the area of granting prisoners of war certain rights and privileges.
He said: “The Geneva convention which is accommodated in our laws; Geneva Convention Act Cap G3, of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Its a convention that was designed to provide protection to prisoners of wars, to people involved in armed conflicts, and associated infractions.
“So, with emerging trends, particularly as it relates with best practices, the need arises for us to amend our laws to be at pal with international best practices. Amendment to this effect among other things, should be accorded to prisoners of wars in cases of breach.
“So, at the end of the day, the jurisdiction of which Court could entertain cases of breaches against the interest of prisoners of war, people involved in conflicts among others is expanded to allow for greater access to justice.