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Senate approves Nigeria’s request for $5.5 bln external borrowing

The borrowing is part of a revised budget for 2020.

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Nigerian Senate at a plenary session./@NassNigeria

Nigeria’s upper chamber of parliament on Tuesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for $5.51 billion in external borrowing from international lenders.

The borrowing is part of a revised budget for 2020.

The revisions allow for the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp drop in oil prices, which has dented Nigeria’s spending plans because oil sales make up 90% of its foreign exchange earnings.

The money from the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, World Bank and Islamic Development Bank is to fund the deficit, a Reuters report said.

“As regards the IMF loan, there are no usual onerous conditions for borrowing, such as currency devaluation and deregulation of certain sectors of the economy attached to this loan,” a Senate committee on the loans stated.

Buhari submitted a revised budget of 10.51 trillion naira ($29.19 billion) to parliament last week for approval. Lawmakers can make changes to the budget, before it is sent back to the president to pass into law should he agree to any revisions.

Borrowing requests must be approved separately by lawmakers and the House of Representatives is being awaited to pass or reject its own version.

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Nigeria To Ban Fish Importation By 2022

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Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, says the West African country plans to ban fish importation in the next two years.

The minister, who said this when he spoke at the 35th Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday, added that the Nigerian government had ordered fish importers to consider farming and production locally.

Nanono noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated and is implementing programmes, especially in the agriculture sector, to diversify the economy.

Nanono, who was represented by the Director of Federal Department of Fisheries, Mr Imeh Umoh, noted that an estimated over 12 million Nigerians are actively engaged in primary fish production.

He added that contribution of fisheries to the national Gross Domestic Products is about 4.5 per cent.

He said, “Let me inform you that the vision of Mr President is to grow Nigeria’s agriculture sector to achieve a hunger-free nation, through agriculture that drives income growth, accelerate the achievement of food and nutritional security, generate employment and transform Nigeria into a leading player in the group of food and fish markets, and to create wealth for millions. It is in this regard that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, under this present administration, is pursuing a holistic approach to the development of the fisheries subsector through the diversification programme along the value chain process.

“In line with the theme of this conference, the ministry has developed various programmes to increase domestic food/fish production and the main target is the empowerment of the youth and other groups especially the women. All these programmes are tailored towards wealth and jobs creation, arrest and prevention of youth restiveness. Currently, the total demand for fish is 3.6 million tonnes annually while Nigerian is producing 1.1 million tonnes, leaving a deficit of about 2.5 million tonnes to be supplemented by importation.

“As part of the measures of the ministry to reduce this importation and generate employment, the government has directed all fish importers to go into backwards integration for local consumption and export to the international market. In this regard, several companies have complied with the policy and the ministry is optimistic that in the next two years, Nigeria will have no business with importation of fish.”

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Tunisia’s Jerandi To Chair IOF Session

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The Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emigration and Tunisians Abroad, Othman Jerandi, will be in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday where he will chair the 39th ministerial conference of the the International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF).

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that this session, which will be chaired by Tunisia as the host country of the 18th Francophonie Summit, scheduled for 2021, will be mainly devoted to discussions on ways and means to strengthen cooperation and coordination among member countries in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The meeting will also look at several initiatives and activities relating to cooperation within the framework of the IOF.

These include those concerning the economic strategy of La Francophonie for the 2020/2025 period, the Women’s Support Fund and the role of the organisation at the international level.

Preparations for the next Summit will also be presented to participants at the 39th ministerial conference.

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Trump Imposes New Travel Restriction on Visitors From 15 African Countries

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President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, has introduced a new temporary travel rule which requires citizens of 15 African countries visiting the US to post bonds of up to $15,000.

The new rule is expected to take effect from December 24, 2020.

The six-month pilot program – which targets visitor and business visas – will act as a deterrence to those who overstay their visas, the US state department said.

Outgoing President Donald Trump, who lost a re-election bid earlier this month, made restricting immigration a central part of his four-year term in office.

President-elect Joe Biden, Democrat, has pledged to reverse many of the Republican president’s immigration policies, but untangling hundreds of changes could take months or years.

The visa bond rule targets countries whose nationals had an “overstay rate” of 10% or higher in 2019 and will now be required to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.

While those nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively few travellers to the U.S.

The African countries affected are Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Burundi.

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