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Elumelu urges US Congress to pass the Electrify Africa Act

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Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings and Founder Tony Elumelu Foundation has called on the United States Congress to pass the ‘Electrify Africa Act’ stating that the passage in to law would make a world of difference in Africa.

“When you leave this place call your Representatives and the leadership of the House and ask them to pass the bill” Elumelu urged members of the packed audience.

The bill which would preserve and expand President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative by codifying access to electricity as a U.S. foreign policy priority for Africa has already been passed by the U.S. Senate and is expected be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives next week.

Speaking at the Mariott Hotel in Washington D.C; venue of the “Power Africa Summit” on Thursday, January 28, 2016, Elumelu commended President Obama for working through the Power Africa Initiative to mobilize the private sector to invest $43 billion in the African power sector.

According to Mr. Elumelu, Africa must win the energy challenge if it seeks to become an industrial power in the 21st century, noting that “power outages on the continent must spark power outrages. The kind of outrage that ignites the activist in us”

Elumelu’s Heirs Holdings; a propriety Investment company, through Transcorp Power Limited has committed $2.5 billion to deliver 2,000 megawatts of electricity under the Power Africa Initiative. Already Transcorp Power is currently generating about 19% of Nigeria’s power needs with a target to increase capacity to 25% in the near future.

“Power cuts across and has impact on healthcare delivery, job creation, education, food security communications and all other sectors of the economy. It is unacceptable that 600 million Africans lack access to energy in the 21st century” Elumelu said.

The call in Washington DC, follows the joint letter to the U.S. Congress from Elumelu and President of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote, on behalf of the African Energy Leaders Group (AELG), which they co-founded with other leaders in January 2015. The letter, similarly urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to act swiftly and pass this critical piece of legislation to scale up U.S. efforts to help provide Africans with access to electricity.

In continuation of his advocacy for Africa, Elumelu also testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission on ‘The Future of the U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Relationship’ on the same day. Chaired by Ambassador Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative, the Hearing is part of efforts by the U.S. government to put building blocks in place for the next phase in its economic relationship with Africa.

As a recognized African business and thought leader, Elumelu was invited to share ideas on how to enhance the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationships beyond the preferential access to the U.S. market for Africa’s products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to other tools like free trade agreements and investment treaties among others.

Speaking at the Hearing, Mr. Tony Elumelu said Africa does not need another trade agreement or preferential program and called for a new trade paradigm in the trade and investment relationship with Africa. He said “It is time to move beyond the unequal exchange of cheap raw materials for expensive finished goods that disadvantages Africa, to one that ensures technology transfer and sustainable economic development, huge economic returns for investors and creates new jobs for both sides.”

He proposed three approaches to achieving this; applying the principles of Africapitalism; focus on identifying and enabling specific value chains and promoting entrepreneurship. “Africapitalism can help shape the new trade paradigm because it requires governments, donors and the private sector to work together in “Shared Purpose” to ensure the creation of national plans and supporting policies around specific sectors and related targets, so the private sector can step in with capital and expertise geared to achieve those targets, be they tons of grain produced, megawatts of electricity generated or industrial parks created” he stated.

Apart from Elumelu, testimonies were also taken from Mr. Donald Kaberuka, Former President of the African Development Bank, Mr. Jim Kolbe, President JTK Consulting, Mr. Tom Hart, Executive Director, One Campaign and Mr. Scott Eisner, President U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Others included Senator Johnny Isakson, who said that AGOA has become a win-win for the U.S. and Africa, disclosing that a South African market for poultry products was opened from his home state of Georgia and Delaware on account of it.

Whilst stating that “Africa needs America, just as much America needs Africa” Froman in his remarks at the Hearing, said Africa’s next decades will be central to the global economy due to the rising number of African consumers. To shape the next American policy of engaging with Africa, he said the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is talking with its African partners, with industry and civil society, with academia and the investor community, with foundations in the U.S. and Africa on the path forward.

“This input is critical as we prepare a public report for delivery to Congress in June this year that will layout a set of options and road maps for advancing the US-Africa trade and investment agenda” concluded Ambassador Froman.

Elumelu’s engagements in the U.S. comes after the recent visit by a delegation of members of Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), along with representatives of several U.S. government trade and investment-focused agencies. Led by the Honourable Penny Pritzker – U.S. Secretary of Commerce, they were on a fact-finding mission to Africa to inform their report to the U.S. President on recommendations to strengthen commercial engagement between the U.S. and Africa, which will result in mutually beneficial growth.

Elumelu hosted the delegation in Lagos, provided them an opportunity to interact and hear directly from young aspiring entrepreneurs drawn from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP); an audacious initiative that provides seed capital, training, mentorship and a networking platform for 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10 year period. Endowed with $100million by the African Philanthropist, the programme, which commenced last year with 1000 beneficiaries, is currently in its second year with another 1000 beneficiaries from Africa, scheduled to participate and benefit from the novel entrepreneurship development program in 2016.

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Between Gov. Hope Uzodimma And Imo Hoteliers…….

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Governor Hope Uzodimma has prevented the proposed strike by the Imo Hoteliers Association.

The strike was scheduled to commence on Tuesday but the Chairman of the association, Mr. Chima Chukwunyere announced in Owerri that the strike has been suspended.

Chukwunyere said that the proposed strike was suspended after due consultations with Gov. Uzodimma.

According to him, Uzodimma promised to personally intervene to solve all the outstanding issues raised by the association.

“The governor condemned the actions of sealing and looting of the hotels illegally and directed that no ministry should use consultants in revenue collection.

” He promised to convene a meeting of the executives of the Imo Internal Revenue Service and those of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Imo chapter, to harmonize the demand notice issued to the hoteliers.“

Chukwunyere said that the governor also advised members to pay taxes to enable the Imo government to function and serve the state better.

The association on Sept. 10 threatened to embark on strike over alleged multiple taxations, illegal sealing of hotels, and unprofessional conduct of revenue collectors.

 

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Despite his “expulsion”, ADC presidential candidate, Kachikwu, makes INEC list

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Mr Kachikwu was expelled from the party last Friday by the Ralph Nwosu-led NWC.

The embattled presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has been named among candidates validly nominated by political parties for the 2023 presidential election despite his “expulsion” from the party.

Mr Kachikwu was among the 18 presidential candidates approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.

The Ralph Nwosu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party announced the expulsion of Mr Kachikwu from the party last Friday for alleged anti-party activities.

He was expelled along with seven other key party leaders following the recommendation of a seven-member disciplinary committee earlier set up by the ADC NWC. The NWC had earlier on 2 September placed the presidential candidate on suspension.

Mr Nwosu, in a statement issued late Friday, said the disciplinary committee found Mr Kachikwu guilty of allegations of gross misconduct, and gross violations of its constitution, among others.

But in its reaction the following day, the interim leadership of the ADC dismissed Mr Kachikwu’s purported expulsion.

The interim National Chairman of the Party, Patricia Akwashiki, in a statement, described the action of the erstwhile chairman, Mr Nwosu, as the antics of a sinking man clutching at straws.

The crisis rocking the ADC has its genesis in the call for the resignation of the national chairman by 27 state chairmen of the party, having spent 17 years in the office.

At the time of filing this report, we could not confirm if the party’s leadership had made formal or legal requests to the commission to remove the candidate from the list.

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Stella Obasanjo’s brother, John Abebe, arraigned for fraud

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Dr. John Abebe, the younger brother of a former First Lady, Stella Obasanjo, was on Monday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja over allegations of fraud.

Abebe was arraigned alongside a former Head of Firstbank Plc, United Kingdom Correspondent Office, Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, before Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe on six charges of conspiracy, stealing, and obtaining money under pretence.

Part of the counts against the defendants read: “That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; stealing the sum of N120 million worth of property of Arsenal Technologies Limited.”

“That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; obtaining by false pretence the sum of N120 million property of Arsenal Technologies Limited under the pretence that your property lying being and situate at 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos State, which you pledged as the security to the Arsenal Technologies Limited was unencumbered, which representation you knew to be false.”

“That you Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and to gain for yourself the sum of $1,000,000.00 or its Naira equivalent from Arsenal Technologies Limited by false pretence to procure the execution of valuable security to wit; a deed of assignment between Inducon Nigeria Limited and Arsenal Technologies Limited, wherein you falsely claimed that the property lying being and situate at No. 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos was unencumbered and that you have full powers to assign and transfer the said property to the assignor; Arsenal Technologies Limited.

According to EFCC, the offences committed are contrary to Sections 280(1), (12), 8 (7), 285(1) and 278(1)(b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Following their plea, the prosecutor, Sulaimon urged the court to fix a trial date and to remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the hearing and determination of the charge.

However, the defense counsel, Anthony Popo and Sam Etaifo urged the court to grant their clients bail in the most liberal terms.

While moving the bail application on behalf of Abebe, Popo told the judge that the matter before her is a commercial transaction between the first defendant and the nominal complainant, which he is ready to settle out of court.

He also claimed that Abebe had paid back the sums of $100,000 and N30 million to the complainant and had also deposited the title document of 26 acres of land and the documents of a property in London to show his seriousness to resolve the matter.

The lawyer further submitted that the defendant would not jump bail since he never violated the terms of the administrative bail granted to him by the EFCC.

The prosecutor did not oppose the application but urged the court to impose stringent terms that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court for their trial.

In her ruling, Justice Abike-Fadipe granted the first defendant bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.

She directed that the surety must be a resident of Lagos and must deposit the title document of a land property whose value must not be less than N20m

The judge also admitted the second defendant to bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum, who must be a resident of the state.

Justice Abike-Fadipe further ordered that the defendant shall continue to enjoy the administrative bail earlier granted to them by the EFCC but if they failed after seven days to perfect the terms of the bail she granted them, they shall be arrested and remanded in prison.

She adjourned the case to December 6 for commencement of trial.

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