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Nigeria’s economy is churning along after the problems of liquidity and banking sector meltdown that nearly crushed the financial market. The economy is progressively in recovery and it looks like the confidence of Nigerian consumer is gradually rebounding. But we cannot say for sure the exact figure because quantification of confidence has not been documented nor recorded. All the economic indicators are pointing in affirmative and right direction. Therefore the economy can be say to be relatively healthy, the key economic indicators including the inflation rate is at 11% in the month of May. The increasing inflationary pressure which subsided from 12.5% to 11% year-on-year is a good response and these recent indices were documented by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The food price inflation also came down in the second quarter from 14.3% in to 12.3, a sign that the gripping hands of inflation around the economy is waning.

Without doubt the monetary policy coming from Sanusi’s Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has a positive outlook on the economy which has been growing at the rate 7.3% and attracting investments mostly in petroleum sector.

The "revised estimate for real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that the economy grew by 7.23 percent first quarter of 2010 as against 6.7 percent it had earlier projected for the quarter." This is impressive compares to the world economy that has been expected to be growing at the rate 3.9 % in 2010 as result of the global recession.

The greatest threat to Nigeria’s standard of living other than inflation is unemployment; even with progressively growing economy at the rate of 7.3% the economy is not producing enough jobs to make a reasonable impact on employment. The Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga stated that unemployment in Nigeria was about 19.7% but financial and economic experts at Afripol Organization quantified that the real unemployment figure might be higher when rural and urban joblessness among the Nigerian youths are factored into equation. The collecting of data on employment will be probably cumbersome, if not difficult in rural areas where modern technology is scare and out of reach.

It must be noted that Nigeria has trade surplus with many western countries including United States at the tune of $5.5 billion. The executive arm of the government must work hard to rectify the inability to successfully implement the federal budget as it was written. As a result of shortfalls from oil revenue, Nigeria proposed issuing bonds of about N867.5 billion to finance its deficit. On the financing of budget deficit including the 2010 current expenditure the Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo reminded Nigerians that government is now borrowing from the capital market and particularly by issuing bonds to raise money. On borrowing Dr. Nwankwo did emphasis that: "Borrowing is a normal feature of all economies. Nigeria is currently one of the lowest in terms of ratio of debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Products). This does not mean Nigeria is doing well, as what is more important is whether the proceeds is being used judiciously." Therefore it is imperative that borrowed money or any money allotted for the budget is prudently utilized in its implementation.

President Jonathan reaffirmed the deficit issue on the letter he wrote to the lawmakers: "Specifically, recent revenue developments indicate significant shortfalls in both oil and non-oil revenue which may well continue for the rest of the fiscal year with adverse implications for the financing of the budget. Consequently, given the recent drop in international oil prices from over US$80 per barrel to under US$70 per barrel; it is prudent to revise the oil bench mark price to a more realistic level." He further states that, "The 2010 budget was predicated on a revenue benchmark of $67 per barrel of crude oil. But in his letter to the Senate, President Jonathan asked it to "revise downwards the aggregate level of expenditure from the N4.608billion approved in the 2010 Appropriation Act and adjust the budget details accordingly."

Daily Trust editorial, added: "In a bid to balance the budget, the federal government has also resolved to borrow from domestic and foreign sources. The 2010 budget will receive $500 million USD (N75 billion) from international bonds and has projected to borrow N897.3 billion from an already ailing domestic financial system. Several banks in the country have for several months survived on life line provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but the federal government still expects to suck such huge amount to finance the budget deficit."

The manufacturing sector recorded a lower output from " 7.03 percent in 2009 to 6.43 percent in 2010" due to lack of electric power and paucity of credit. Nigerian manufacturers do import a reasonable amount of raw materials from abroad and foreign exchange becomes an impediment to free flow of raw materials coupled with the government higher tariffs.

Mr Aganga, Nigerian minister of finance and a former managing editor at Goldman Sachs expected the economy to grow at 10 percent by 2012. According to him, Nigeria is making the requistive moves especially with rebuilding of the infrastructure, diversification and privatisation to ensure the positive economic growth.

Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

 

 

Nuclear energy and nuclear technology can be of great aid to Nigeria in her endeavor to supply steady, reliable and clean energy for her domestic electric consumption. Without doubt Nigeria at this stage of her industrial stage must do something about the paucity of electricity to power her industries and residential homes. Nuclear technology with its entire prospect has its challenges that must be appreciated and be given the requisite attention in order to avoid any catastrophe. Nigeria must do thorough feasibility study, and comprehend the convoluted technology, and implement the intricate precautionary measures and mechanisms required to operate a highly sophisticated technology.

Many countries have sorted and utilized nuclear energy for substantial deliverance of reliable electric supply."As of July 2008, there were more than 430 operating nuclear power plants and, together, they provided about 15 percent of the world's electricity in 2007. Of these 31 countries, some depend more on nuclear power than others. For instance, in France about 77 percent of the country's electricity comes from nuclear power. Lithuania comes in second, with an impressive 65 percent. In the United States, 104 nuclear power plants supply 20 percent of the electricity overall, with some states benefiting more than others." Nigeria can join these nations but she must play by rule of the game: Safety is everything.

Analyzing and dissecting the pros and cons of building nuclear plants to supply clean and steady energy to the country will not negate nor slow down the project but will strengthen the hands of Nigerian government. There is a reasonable danger associated in nuclear plants operations but with well trained technicians, technologists and scientific bureaucrats an error free management and operations are possible. As a nation, we must be frank to one another; we do not have or seems to be sustaining a maintenance culture. Nigeria is quick to build or set up shining and glaring projects but falter in rendering first class management and maintenance. The recent multi-million dollar Nigerian satellite (NigComSat-1) built and launched by the Chinese in May 2007, was shut down to prevent it spinning out of control and damaging others in orbit. The satellite project an example of a "white elephant in space" was a waste of time and resources. The billions of naira invested in the satellite technology can be utilized to solve the earthly problem of waste disposal in Kano or supply borne tap water to a struggling villages in the interior of Nigeria. Nigeria must make sure that the nuclear project will not suffer such a fate like the satellite (NigComSat-1).

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, at its inception was among the greatest aesthetic and architectural wonders of Africa but it has since deteriorated considerably due to lack of maintenance. So is the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel industry, has it not become a dead wood? All these are toddlers' picnic compared to the effects of nuclear mismanagement and God forbid a nuclear accident or incident. In nuclear technology operation, concerns must be attended to, before they metamorphosed to catastrophic accidents and incidents.

In case of nuclear power plants, they must be safely run, for there are no second chances in nuclear accident. Nigeria has the human capital and technical know-how for such a convoluted and elaborated project but lethargy poses the greatest threat to scientific development in Nigeria.

Nuclear accident and Risk management: The Chernobyl effect
No one can discuss about nuclear accident, without recollecting and mentioning the disaster of Chernobyl in the defunct Soviet Union. "It is the 20th anniversary year of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, where a reactor testing at Chernobyl (now in Ukraine) went terribly wrong on the night of April 25th-26th. This led to the world's worst nuclear disaster involving radiation exposure and explosions. Other nuclear power plant accidents include Chalk River, Canada in 1952, Windscale Pile No. 1, England in 1957, East Germany (near Greifswald) in 1976, Three Mile Island, USA in 1979, Tokaimura, Japan in 1999 and Mihama, Japan in 2004. Some of these disasters led to immediate deaths, chronic diseases like thyroid cancer and leukemia, and major damage to the environment such as groundwater contamination and burning up of plants and trees. Property was rendered useless while expensive rehabilitation, remediation and monitoring programs were carried out. The nuclear power plant disasters were due to either or all of these: improper reactor design, equipment failure and human error." Nobody can accuse Russians of scientific inferiority, notwithstanding, the industrial accident of Chernobyl happened. Nigeria has to be prepared for any eventuality which must be back up with elaborated standard operation procedure to handle any unforeseen disaster. The most important is to have safe proof paradigm designed to prevent any accident by well experienced risk managers and scientists. Nigeria can do it and operate successful nuclear plants with a solid foundation rooted on discipline, concentration and circling competence.

Nuclear Technology cost

Without doubt, it is very expensive to build and maintain nuclear plants. It will cost billions of dollars to build nuclear plants. According to the blueprint proposal about seven plants have been proposed, four in the north and three plants in the south. The exorbitant cost for construction notwithstanding, further resources are needed to run, buy and replace parts of nuclear plants as it wears and tears. Our bureaucrats cannot afford to mismanage this venture and leave sour taste in our mouths with regards to Nigerian Airway, NEPA, Ajaokuta Iron & Steel and many white elephants abandoned in the dumpster of Nigerian industrial experiments. In this era of democratic capitalism, government must not monopolize the project because of their inefficiency, corruption and over compensation. The private companies and citizens will be given opportunities to participate into the ownership of the nuclear plants. Government has to float a limited liability company in which the stocks will be available to the public to buy. Nigerian government can still own the majority stocks but there must be an injection of free enterprise mindset and reality that will be a booster for efficient and transparent run of the nuclear plants. The partnership between government and the public will lessen the cost burden and embolden transparency and probity.

Peaceful and nuclear security

Nigeria is only interested in the safe and peaceful utilization of nuclear technology for domestic energy consumption. Security must be the cornerstone for safety: Our enemies can betray us by stealing the uranium (the natural occurring element/raw material for nuclear energy) and enriched them for destructive purposes. Nigeria must create a well guarded security post to prevent any peripheral intervention, ready to exploit the technology for building bombs and destroying lives. Nigeria must be prepared with seasoned and well equipped security apparatus that has the skill to stop outside interference. Nigeria must make sure that the internal enemies of progress will not use the capture of the nuclear plants to blackmail the people and government of Nigeria.

The disposal of nuclear waste

The half life of uranium (the time it takes for half its atoms to decay) is problematic and which implies that a storage place is necessary. The waste made during nuclear fission including uranium, plutonium, and other elements are highly radioactive. These elements including uranium have long half-lives (the time it takes for half its atoms to decay) some longer than 100,000 years thus creating long time periods before the waste will settle to safe levels of radioactivity. Nigeria will not be immune with this problem of nuclear waste storage; even highly technological nation like America is still gripping with the issue. Daren Briscoe writes in NEWSWEEK (American magazine) recently: "A bigger problem than the safety of the reactors themselves is what to do with the deadly waste they produce. Nuclear power is praised for its zero carbon emissions, but it comes at price-radioactive fuel rods that remain toxic for thousands of years. If you're looking for a reason to feel queasy about building more nuclear reactors, this is it. While politicians bicker over where to put it all-nuclear waste is the ultimate "not in my backyard" dispute-the stuff is piling up. As things are now, a lot of it is simply stockpiled at the plants, submerged in open pools of water for as long as five years and eventually sealed in steel and concrete casks. "You have more than 100 reactors storing waste on-site, under what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calls a temporary license, in the worst of all possible places." So if America is having some issue with this, what must Nigeria do to handle such a difficult challenge? Nigeria must be creative, resourceful and willing to learn from others.

In totality, a storage place must be built to contain these radioactive elements, which must be warehoused in safe storage area until they poses no risk to man and the environment. Our forest, water and natural wild life must be protected from the devastating effect of uranium contamination and pollution.

What Nigeria must do

As a strategist, patriot and scientist, this paper seeks not to discourage Nigeria, who has come of age. But to elucidate the incessant vulnerability associated with this technology to Nigeria's policy makers and bureaucrats. Such a project associated with a danger of this magnitude proportion cannot be treated in nonchalant mannerism akin to Nigeria's structural and institutional weakness. Nigeria needs a steady power supply and nuclear technology can play an active role in supplying reasonable quantity of energy to Nigeria. However, Nigeria must have diversity of energy supply - solar, thermo, wind and of course nuclear. Nigeria can not make nuclear technology the principal energy supply but to initially build few numbers of nuclear plants at this stage, then as they learn and gain experience in optimum operation of nuclear plants, Nigeria can build more plants.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that ensures "Atoms for Peace" for members in nuclear field can be of great aid to Nigeria. The IAEA is a repository of information and safety guidelines on efficient operation of nuclear plants for peaceful purposes. In addition, Nigerian indigenous scientists scattered around the world can be invited to be advisers to the projects - great scientists and technologists are invariably great minds that are needed for such a Nigerian project.

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

Image of a nation might as well be the destiny of a nation. Nigeria's disfigured image in the global village has become an insignia of dishonest, dishonor and disrespect; this is outright humiliation of a nation of almost 150 million people. Majority of Nigerians are industrious, God-fearing and law abiding people. But a tiny minority is destroying the image of the country and the governance ineptitude is adding salt to the injury.

Consequentially, Nigeria is in self-doubt, bedeviled with nihilism, lethargy and encompassing corruption. Now comes the climax, a Nigerian was associated with terrorism and finally the image of the country is demolished. What Nigeria needs is genuine re-branding and re-alignment that is not cosmetics but rooted in truth, pragmatism and an affirmative change.

"There's no arguing that the image we have of another country says a lot about how we view it as a tourist destination, a place to invest or a source of consumer goods." And the rest of world's perception about Nigeria will affect her pocket and economy because less people will be incline to invest and travel to the country. A nation re-branding is not peculiar to Nigeria; many countries including Germany and Japan were re-branded at the end of Second War World: Now Germany and Japan are known as liberal democracies with peaceful and progressive policies. South Africa was re-branded with an image of gentle and cheerful multicultural country at the end of Apartheid.

The litany of Nigerian sins and misbehaviors are no longer a news to the entire world, as the world have come to see the intractable problems of Nigeria as threat to global financial and economic stability. Nigeria is known for e-mail fraud, manipulation of established standard operations and now for terrorism. The peril of this dented image is taking its toil on the average citizen of Nigeria who cannot freely travel nor conduct international business. Nigeria with all the wealth she generated from oil and local revenues cannot provide the basic necessities of life to her populace.

Many Nigerians are quick to point accusing fingers to the country's leadership but fail to see themselves as part and parcel of the unworkable Nigeria. By no means, nobody is excluding the elite and ruling class from the generated mess but the masses cannot fold their hands and anticipate a change to initiate itself. The average Nigerians must also shoulder some responsibilities by shunning corruption including coming to work on time and rejecting short /dubious path to wealth accumulation.

There are enduring and lingering ramifications that are associated with poor and disastrous image of a nation. The financial and economic impact is overwhelming especially on the wealth of nation, wealth creation and GDP. The wealth of nation and its creation must involve the attraction of foreign capitals and manpower. No serious capitalist desire to invest his wealth in a nation of untrustworthy people. Subsequently, economic downturn does give rise to mammoth unemployment; that can trigger instability and inability for government to protect lives and properties.

In 21st century of inter connecting world, an image can help to lift up a nation and this is exactly why many nations are very protective of their images. Once an image of a nation is tarnished it becomes an arduous if not an impossible task to reverse the trend. The only hope for Nigeria is that an image of a nation is neither indelible nor etched in stone. For Nigeria it is never too late to commence to make the affirmative moves in the comprehensive transformation of the country's image.

The total transformation of Nigeria's image must be deliberate, coherent and self-evident. This is not going to be superficial, a tinkering at the peripheral with piecemeal characteristics similar to toddler step taken by respectful Dora Akunyili, Nigerian Minister of Information, as she tries to re-brand her country. With all due respect, her tactics of blaming game is self-defeating, incoherent and contradicts her objective. Re-branding and image making of a nation is not a singular act but a collective effort of patriots including men and women of goodwill.

In paper presentation on Vision 2020 Nigerian project, I reiterated the importance of Nigeria's Image Management: "Nigerian policy and decision makers have not certainly explored the power of image making. The image of a nation both abstract and aesthetic speaks a volume of the nation. Nigeria must be able to tell the world that she is ripe for investment and tourism without obstruction. No foreign institutions or countries can tell the world about Nigeria more than Nigerians could do. Nigeria cannot afford to be NAIVE and NONCHALANT."Nigeria must undergo fundamental paradigm change and must be focused on a path of transformation and progress. It is not going to be a picnic nor an ego trip but a deliberate act with superior intellectual power to give birth to a new Nigeria. This is not about hiring international image consultants that will cost millions of dollars.

It is about Nigeria and Nigerians undergoing a candid self examination and making decision to do the right thing for the interest of her citizens, our children and posterity. When the fundamental changes are made, then Nigeria may hire media specialist and spokesperson to tell the story of the new Nigeria to the world. Many well known people of Nigerian heritage including musical superstars Sade, Seal, Slash of Guns and Roses; media star Adaora Udoji and sport stars Christian Okoye, Nnamdi Asomugha, and many others can be employed to be the spokespersons for the country.

Nigeria at this point in time is left with one alternative which is to rebuild her image if she desires to be relevant in geo-political and economic affairs of our shrinking global village. If Nigeria fails to travel the pathway of revival, reawakening and rebirth she will end up becoming a sinking ship and diminishing giant of Africa. Nigeria to be respectful and relevant in 21st century she must rise to the challenge of self transformation and revitalization.

Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

Published in Archive

A democratic process is a marathon race that takes a long time to be evaluated. It will be premature to postulate the failure of democracy in Nigeria for ten years is such a limited time to quantify the well being of democratic life in the country. In this journey there are pitfalls on the way but I am an eternal optimist and greatly bullish on democracy. The democratic system of government have served so many countries well and there will be no reason while Nigeria will be an exception. One thing must be made perfectly clear; democracy is about the people not only about the political leaders, the people must be allowed to fully participate in process for a gainful and meaning result.

Nigeria is lacking the civil infrastructure and architecture for the implementation of the process. But lately our civil society and the courts are rising to the occasion. There is hope and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It might appears hopeless because the leaders and political parties are obsessed about winning elections. But democracy is not only about election although it is an integral part of the process; election is a means to an end and not the end itself.

Education must play a vital role in the democratic process, the public and leaders must understand their roles in the process. Nobody nor individual owns the process for democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people. The civil society and media must be vigilant in exposing any darken corner on the path of democracy.

Democracy is an organic system with its vulnerabilities and it is not perfect; at times it can be messy, but it is the best system human beings have come up with. Nigeria can make it inspite of all the problems and abuses the politicians have fabricated. Looking back the past ten years it was bearish but the next ten years, twenty years Nigeria will surely arrive. I am optimistic on the prospect of a well and a thriving democracy in our great country Nigeria.

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

Nigeria needs to completely overhaul its police institute with a comprehensive reform that will usher in a seasoned and improved trained police men and women. Nigeria‘s reform of the police will not be a piecemeal, where many issues affecting the force will be relegated to the background for a quick fix. A comprehensive solution will be a panacea to the end of the deficiency associated with policing in Nigeria .

Nigeria cannot be a nation with a progressive economy without astute security apparatus. Capitalists and investors must perceive a sense of security in Nigeria . Security and peace will make investments attractive to Nigeria. There must be a strong law enforcement apparatus if Nigeria will make a head way in becoming one of the twenty largest economy by the year 2020.

Salaries and Wages

All things being equal, the police force can not rise to the occasion of protecting lives and properties on empty stomach. Both literally and figuratively the core men and women of the force are starving. Their penury situations cannot allow them to be all they can be. They are victims to corruption thereby debasing their profession of upholding law and order. When reasonable and livable salaries are paid, they become true professionals and the bad fruits in their midst can be detached and rid-off from the force. To enhance and dignify the police force, who are assigned the awesome job of fighting crimes in Nigeria they must be richly compensated and the perks must be made appealing.

Equipped police force

For Nigerian police force to become equal to the assigned responsibilities of fighting crimes and upholding justice, it must be equipped with the necessary materials including functioning communication system, efficient vehicles and reliable armaments to deter and destroy targets.

Educated police force
An enlightened police force must be realized by setting up institutions of higher learning dedicated to educating the police. The curriculum must be geared toward making a dedicated citizen whose civic duties comes first. They must be exposed to the history and politics of the country and must be educated on the inner workings of the governments. They must realized that the protection of lives and properties are supreme to a well manage and progressive state.

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

The disaster that beset Haiti is colossal and the human suffering with destruction brought by earthquake is up to biblical proportion. The whole world is coming together to help Haiti, the poorest country in Northern Hemisphere, to safe lives and ameliorate human sufferings. Africa is not missing in the picture; many African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and others are offering assistance to Haiti but they should synchronize their effort.

Nigerians are already part of the UN police mission in Haiti that are assiduously working to rescue people who are missing and trapped in the fallen building structures. The Nigerian Vice President Jonathan Ebele Goodluck has promised to follow up with more assistance. Rwanda and Liberia governments have contributed US $100, 000 and $50,000 respectively. Senegalese government has promised to offer land to Haitians, those that are willing to come to Senegal. And "South Africa - The government has announced a three-phase assistance package: deployment of doctors to a search and rescue team led by Rescue South Africa, a non-profit company; deployment of forensic pathologists to help identify bodies; provision of unspecified humanitarian aid in partnership with South African NGOs".

All these contributions by African countries are the right steps in affirmative direction but the planning lacks vitality and coherence. In this case Africa needs coordination that will enable her to make a reasonable impact; this is not to negate the singular effort made by each country. But when they come together under the auspices of African Union the impact will be greatly felt and they will speak with one voice. The whole world will understand that Africa can work together for the rescue and revitalization that citizens of the world are doing in Haiti. African governments must not make this solely a government intervention operation but must devise a method to include their citizens especially the wealthy people in the country to contribute to a Haiti fund and NGOs that are dedicated to charity works.

Afripol Organization has applauded Liberia and Rwanda for the cash donations they made to Haiti. For inspite of the economic downturn and problems these countries were experiencing still they made these donations. Rwanda with her past history of genocide and destruction understood quite well the suffering and Liberia with her legacy of civil war knew what it means to lose life and property on a staggering scale.

Obama's American has taken the lead and has done a good job and the American people have followed with donations. Africans can learn from this; not by giving large resources which they do not have but having a concerted planning and coordination. Nigeria and South Africa the two largest economies in Africa must shoulder bigger responsibilities, simultaneously showing sense of leadership by working together to streamline African response.

Mr. Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal policy strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

Witney W. Schneidman, an adviser on African affairs to President Barack Obama during the Presidential campaign spelled out Obama's cardinal policy objectives for Africa:

"Barack Obama will pursue three fundamental objectives on the continent. One is to accelerate Africa's integration into the global economy. A second is to enhance the peace and security of African states.
And a third is to strengthen relationships with those governments, institutions and civil society organizations committed to deepening democracy, accountability and reducing poverty in Africa."

( http://www.afripol.org/Obama.htm)

Nigeria is the epicenter of African geo-politics, therefore a stable, healthy and prosperous Nigeria is good for Africa and the world. Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa: Politically, culturally, economically and otherwise, resourceful South Africa notwithstanding, Nigeria overwhelms the continent. Nigeria is unique in Africa in the sense, that it has the requisite human and natural capitals to be making waves in economic development and scientific advancement in Africa. But intellectual lethargy especially the paucity of confidence embedded with self-doubt have dimmed its emerging light.

Nigeria’s nascent democracy is gradually losing its luster and vibrancy due to the tilting to plutocracy and institutional disfiguration, impelled by uncompromising politicians. For Nigeria to continue to be a front line nation in Africa, it must put her house in order. A strength tempered with humility with a responsibility to her continent must be Nigeria’s targeted self actualization. President Obama must shun all the diplomatic shenanigans and niceties and be forthright with Africa’s leadership and compel them to amend their ways and maximize their continent’s God giving potentials.

Peace and conflict resolutions

Nigeria must have quantifiable peace to enjoy steady economic progress. The most pressing is the issue of Niger Delta. Although Nigeria territorial integrity must be respected, Obama administration can work with Nigerian government providing logistic and confident building measures in negotiations with neglected communities in Niger delta. Also, The Obama administration must work with African Union in finding solutions to the cessation of conflicts and wars in the continent. Wars (especially internal strife) are ubiquitous in the continent. Some African governments and warmongers commit their resources to executing endless wars. The West must frown upon the sell of arms to these parties by checkmating their natives arms industries.

Africom as a security tool                                                                                                                                                                                 Africa is confronted with lack of internal security which becomes a deterrent force in economic advancement. Capital flight and low foreign investment are precipitate and ramification of insecurity.
With President Obama enormous social and political capital, he can do a better public relationship job of explaining and restreaming Africom.: Justify, Redirect or End it.

American government have set-up Africom - a military command for Africa, which is to secure peace and goodwill in Africa. Many African countries are skeptical of America’s real intention, fearing that Africom can become a tool to punish America’s foes in the region in the name of fighting terrorism. The unexpressed fear is that it could be used to control and manipulate internal policies and status quo of African nations.

America have to work succinctly to assiduously allay their fears and show to them the benefits of Africom. This must be done with goodwill and civility while respecting African territorial integrity . Peace and tranquility are good for business for all the parties concerned which can be achieved through dialogue and understanding. To this end, American diplomats in Africa have to embark on thorough enlightenment campaign.

Respect for Human Rights

The building blocks of democracy are liberty, freedom and justice. Nigeria cannot be democratic nation without liberty. Nigerians must live in the system of government that encourages freedom and justice. The respect for fundamental human rights must be instituted and adhered to; an environment that provides self-help, self-improvement and self-innovation must be encouraged. Only freedom can make these things possible and make free enterprise a reality, so that free people can create wealth and advance human dignity.

The Obama administration must encourage and support governance that accommodates checks and balances in Nigeria and indeed Africa. This will in turn provide accountability and respect for the populace. What Africa needs mostly include, elimination of dictators and socialist regimes, establishment of virile/free political platform and economy, rule of law and respect for individual rights. All these things do border on fundamental issues which foreign aid alone cannot redress. Until these issues are properly put right, the story of the optimum utilization of these billions of dollars from foreign aid will always remain a mirage.
 

Anti-corruption campaign and legislation
President Obama as the leader of the free world must support corruption elimination in Nigeria and Africa by helping local and international entities serious on the war against CORRUPTION in Africa. The responsibility of fighting corruption is too complex and gigantic to be left for one party. Both Africa and West must partake in the fight against corruption. The West must enact banking laws that will fish out bankers that accept laundered money and tainted wealth from corrupt African leaders and bureaucrats. Ill-gotten wealth must be returned to Africa without much ado, while the culprits must be exposed and prosecuted.

The West must work together with African governments on the war against corruption and bribery. Corporations and Transnational companies operating in Africa must not induce politicians and bureaucrats by bribes in their quest for contracts.
" African Union estimates that the continent loses as much as $148 billion a year to corruption. This money is rarely invested in Africa but finds its way into the international banking system and often into western banks. The proceeds of corrupt practices in Africa, (which the African experts group recommended in 2002 should be classified as a ‘crime against humanity’ because of its impact on ordinary people), are often laundered and made respectable by some of the most well known banks in the City of London or the discreet personal bankers of Geneva and Zurich."

Fair Trade for all Parties
The Obama administration must encourage fair and equitable trade with Nigeria and Africa. The giving of aid must not be the only means to defeat poverty and alleviate quality of life in Africa. Nigeria must be encouraged to rely less on oil but to diversify her economy.

The promotion of trade can be possible when concessions are made to emerging industries in Nigeria and Africa. The West can improve technological developments by investing in areas of science and technology that can sharpen the technical-know-how in the continent.

Obama’s America and the West must stand for fair trade at the World trade organization by conscientiously removing agricultural subsidies given to their own agricultural sectors that adversely affect the traffic of commodities from Africa.

Obama administration must not spoon feed Africans with depreciating aid and charitable donations but also compel them to comprehend that only trade and comprehensive reforms can be the panacea to poverty in Africa. Strategically, a wealthy and stable Nigeria can be a stabilizing force in Africa, and a wealthy Africa will apply her resources in resolving conflicts throughout the continent.

Mr.Emeka Chiakwelu is the Founding director/Principal policy strategist of Afripol Organization.Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

 

Published in Archive

Nigeria has a new Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga a managing director at Goldman Sachs branch in Britain. Aganga, a free marketer has a substantial experience in private industry together with his academic brilliance, he can efficiently manage and oversee Nigeria’s financial house. The minister of finance must be ready and keen to make sure that Nigeria will not fall into the trap of large external debt and higher inflation. This is important because Nigeria should not be throw back to the gloomy days of large foreign debt. Nigeria was overwhelm with the incireasing interest rates and arrears accumulated by the servicing of the foreign debt.

Nigeria external debt is currently over $5 billion dollars. Many Nigerians will be surprise to hear that Nigeria is still an indebted nation after she exited from the debt of Paris Club and London Club in 2006. Nigeria finally settled her debt of $36 billion but most Nigerians might think that Nigeria is forever free of external debt. But a thriving nation is likely to be in debt provided that the available credits are invested appropriately for creation of further wealth and improving the well being of the nation. Nigeria should try to establish criteria and benchmark for borrowing, at least to make sure that her debt does not exceed 2-3% of her GDP.

Nigerian Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga

In December of 2009, the former minister of finance, Mansur Muktar highlighted the state of Nigeria’s debt: "Nigeria’s exit from the Paris Club debt in 2005/2006, the external debt stock dropped dramatically and substantially from $35.94 billion to $3.54 as at the end of year 2006 but rose to $3.947 billion at the end of December 2009, including the $3.686 billion obtained from multilateral organizations namely World Bank, African Development Fund (ADF), International Development Association (IDA) and African Development Bank (AfDB) which has 40 year repayment period and 10 year moratorium period." It is essential that this is conveyed to average Nigerian taxpayers so that they become watchdogs to the finance of their country.

Also making the clarion call of country’s debt is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the managing director of World Bank and the former finance minister of Nigeria. Okonjo-Iweala was among the principal leaders that facilitated and guided the country’s successful exit from both Paris and Club of Creditors in 2006. Recently in a lecture at University of Calabar she said, "In April 2006, Nigeria paid off the last installment due on its debt settlement agreement with the Paris Club, thereby erasing 30 billion dollars in external debt and reducing government external debt to 3.5 billion dollars."

Therefore the new minister of finance, Olusegun Aganga should deliberately and carefully monitor the country’s debt. The minister must closely work with Sanusi‘s Central Bank of Nigeria to tame inflation which can easily frustrate economic growth and further weaken the depreciating naira. Nigeria is issuing bonds to raise money for infrastructures development. Aganga must get involve and make sure that money raised will not be wasted and the burden of the debt passed down to powerless Nigerians.

Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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Economic perspective and analysis by Afripol Organization www.afripol.org

The West African energy giant, Oando Plc of Nigeria is set to raise the sum of 21 billion naira ($140 million) by selling shares in the capital market. The capital raised will be used to finance ventures in energy sector and

"refinancing the acquisition of upstream assets, providing operational capital to fund the operation of the upstream business, and short and medium term investment in its gas and power business segment."

Oando Plc headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria is the biggest indigenous energy firm in Nigeria that market oil products and involve in oil exploration at its acquired upstream assets, the segment that will receive the largest chunk of the proposed capital infusion.

Oando Plc will raise the capital "through a Right Issue of 301,694,878 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N70.00 per share on the basis of one 1 new ordinary share for every 3 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each held as at the close of business on Friday, 18 December 2009." Two powerful and resourceful companies in the capital market: Vetiva Capital Management Ltd. and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc will participate in the selling of the shares to raise the proposed capital.

The capital market venture was announced by the CEO and Group Managing Director, Mr. Wale Tinubu at the end of the meeting of the executive board of directors. According to Mr. Wale the company planned to raise the capital for the refinance its acquisition of upstream assets.

The achievements of Wale Tinubu, the erudite and efficient chief executive officer must be acknowledged as a driving force at Oando Plc for his vision and leadership. Under his strategic leadership Oando‘s growth has been tremendous thus appreciating the shareholders’ dividends.

During the press conference Wale reaffirmed, "the size of the business we run at Oando Plc would require a substantial amount of capital. We are doing things in several stages. The one we are doing now is Right Issue which is a small amount of N20 billion for the recapitalisation process. Then we will be proceeding to do a much larger international equity Issue which would occur at the beginning of the second quarter. Then there is going to be two debt issues. One is a local five year debt issue which we are working on right now and the mandate has been signed, it’s in the final stages."

Wale further emphasized: "the final thing would be the bond issue. We are in the process of fund raising the debt restructuring 5 year term for N60 billion. Then we would do an international equity and debt raising of N75 billion which would come in the 1st week of April (second quarter). The bulk of the money is going into our gas and upstream division for the upstream, we have our crude oil. You are aware; we have diversified heavily towards increasing our production in the crude oil sector."

The bold move made by Oando Plc buttressed the company’s growth and strong confidence even in the turbulent oil industry especially in Nigeria with her unending problems in Niger Delta. The issue of Niger Delta has a global effect on the oil price and energy sector but with relatively less impact on the oil-marketer Oanda.Oando Plc is listed on both Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges, and has been concluding the arrangement to be listed in London Stock Exchange.

Recently it was reported by Reuters that "Dow Jones Capital Markets Report reported that Oando Plc had signed Memorandum of Understanding with Gazprom OAO. The two companies have agreed to collaborate on the development of oil and gas assets and infrastructure in the West African sub-region and the Gulf of Guinea." 

Oando Plc is growing rapidly by increasing the number of oil rigs and "All Africa reported that Oando Plc has increased its fleet of oil drilling rigs to three with the acquisition of a USD 53.5 million rig, named the Constitution. Constitution, a swamp barge rig, has capacity for approximately 15,000 psi pressure output, about 3,000 horse power as well as the ability to undertake drilling operations, work over and high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) wells of over 30,000 ft drilling depths. The facility was purchased in July 2008, and was recently delivered to the Company. "

Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol, recently speaking at Energy Workshop noted that "Energy industry is capital intensive and continuously needs injection of large resources. The growing energy companies in Nigeria and Africa must be willing to look beyond the continent to raise capital that Africa cannot provide." Therefore Oando Plc is moving in the right direction.

Oando Plc is gradually but steadily making impact in the energy industry, therefore the infusion of the 21 billion naira will strengthen and energized its business prospect.

Oando’s stocks are doing well in the stock market in spite of the global economic downturn. Oando Plc must widen its scope beyond Africa and venture into new territory particularly in East Asia and Latin America. And the company must spend more resources in public relation to become an international household name, thus deemphasizing its Nigerian localized image.

Oando Plc has the potential and the credibility to become a major player in the global energy industry in 21 century. With this enormous injection of proposed capital Oando Plc is geared up for growth and expansion.        

Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
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CAMAC Energy Inc. (NYSE Amex CAK 3.97, -0.18, -4.31%) US publicly traded Energy Company that primarily engaged and focused on strategic development of oil projects by singular and multilateral operations. The market capitalization of the formerly Pacific Asia Petroleum Inc is about 632.1 M and the stocks have been hovering slightly below or above $ 4.00 momentarily.

With the market prospect of Camac Energy Inc, the stocks are highly recommendable for a diversified portfolio especially at this time in the global economy and the stocks are likely to appreciate in near future. The stocks which traded without much exposure at OTC bulletin board as Pacific Asia Petroleum is now a listed company at AMEX and NYSE as Camac Energy Inc after acquiring principal assets in the Oyo Oilfield. With its superior management team and implementable strategies it can grow to become a mid cap or even a large cap energy company at a faster pace. Superior management as an invaluable human capital can be an antidote to mistakes and bulwark to unforeseen circumstances and risk management.

Camac Energy Inc has opportunities for advancement and growth because of its holdings particularly in West Africa and China oil fields. Moreover the management has high quality individuals who have been in oil business for long time with enviable experience. The human capital can be leverage for advancing the energy company. The beginning of standard & Poor’s Factual Stock Report coverage comes with a credit rating that will enhance accountability and transparency, thus affirming optimum confidence in the company.

In Nigeria, Camac energy’s " principal assets include the Oyo Oilfield, an offshore oil asset in deepwater Nigeria that started production in December 2009; the Zijinshan Gas Asset, a 100%-owned gas asset in the Shanxi Province, China; and the Enhanced Oil Recovery and Production business in Northern China."

With its footing in west Africa, Camac Energy Inc may not only have to rely only its operation in Oyo Oilfield but it can also bid for oil exploration licenses in Nigerian deep waters and off shore. In Nigeria the risk of political tension and disturbances in Niger Delta is slowing down and it can minimize the political risk by bidding for off shore drilling. In China, Camac Energy with its subsidiaries can explore more oil fields in negotiated partnership with the authorities of provinces in the country.

The quantum development of Energy Company entails high intensive capital and lot of patience and prudence. This is where the experience and management acumen of quality individuals including the company’s President and CEO, Frank C. Ingriselli and Dr. kase lawal, a board member of the company, The chairman and Founder of Camac International Corporation comes handy.

Dr. Kase Lawal as a strategic asset

kase Lawal, Chairman of Camac Energy Inc has a strategic experience in global oil business, his dealings and undertakings in the world of oil deals can help propel Camac Energy Inc to greater heights. The management skill of the CEO Frank C. Ingriselli has been noted and enhanced since his touch of guidance he gave to the formerly Pacific Asia Inc until it became Camac Energy Inc and his invaluable experience as the former president of Texaco international. Lawal and Ingriselli intellectual synergy is a solid foundation.

Dr. Kase Lawal has a good and solid track record in company development and management. He has not been exempted from risks and mistakes associated in the business world but he has a sustainable quality that aided him to triumph over hiccups. He is the Founder/chairman and chief executive officer of CAMAC International Corporation and chairman of Allied Energy Corporation. The managerial prudence, business touch and guidance he utilized as he continued to develop his CAMAC Holdings can become a great asset to Camac Energy Inc. Kase Lawal as board member of Camac Energy Inc may not manage the daily business activities of Camac Energy Inc but his strategic input from his long accumulated experience can become an essential building block to the company.

Reorganization as inevitable tool for growth

Camac Energy Inc needs middle managers who are willing to work hard and provides the strategic compass for the company’s growth. These managers must be willing to take calculative risks and willing to feel the pulse of the shareholders. Reorganization enable a company to adapt to dynamics of the market place and able to compete effectively in the high energy of oil exploration and development.

Camac Energy Inc has good people in management including the recently new CFO Abiola Lawal, an erudite and intelligent manager. Mr. Abiola Lawal has been among the pillars of Oando Plc from where he came to joined Camac Energy, his strategic endeavors at Oando Plc speaks volume of his vision and skill. He brings the strategic depth to bear to the new position.

Camac Energy Inc is poise for growth and advancement but it must be prepare and ready for the challenges and opportunities in this competitive arena of oil’s exploration and production.

Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

www.afripol.org

 

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HOUSTON °F
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