Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Federal Government has announced that it has disengaged from the membership of over 90 organisations that are not relevant to the economic policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the African Trade Insurance (ATI) agency in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Ms Zainab Ahmed, said the government came to the decision while carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of Nigeria’s membership of the organisations.
It also said that it has granted approval to ATI in view of its rich profile of being a multilateral institution, recognised under the United Nations’ Charter with 13 African countries as members.
“Our further check on the agency also reveals that its shareholders also include public and private entities such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), Trade Development Bank, PTA Reinsurance Company and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
It has since 2003, supported over $25 billion worth of trade and investment across the African continent and secured an investment grade rating of ‘A’ from Standards and Poors,” she said.
According to her, ATI would provide risk guarantees for foreign investments into Nigeria as well as Nigerian exports. She said that the organisation would provide value-addition in Nigeria.
“Nigeria, therefore feels justified with its decision to join this league of countries and international bodies as co-members in view of the expected value addition to the Nigerian economy. We believe that there could not have been a better time than now to subscribe to the agency considering that our economic challenges are easing,” Ahmed noted.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, International Economic Relations Department, Aliyu Ahmed, assured that Nigeria’s membership and subsequent operation of the agency will help to further reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria in view of the Executive Order on ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Earlier, the ATI’s Chief Executive Officer, George Otieno, had said that the government of Nigeria and private sector investors would soon receive important support that will help boost key industries such as the banking sector as well as providing access to competitively priced credit and loan facilities for institutions in Nigeria.
“Relief is expected once Nigeria finalises its membership into ATI, which is nearing completion. ATI is Africa’s only multilateral credit and investment insurer, similar to the World Bank’s MIGA but with a focus purely on Africa. In order for a country to access ATI’s full state of investment solutions, it must be a full member and shareholder” he said.
ATI was founded in 2001 by African states to cover the trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa.
ATI provides broad range of investment risk solutions in particular mitigating against the risks of sovereign and corporate non-payment and contractual breach.
As of year end 2017, ATI has supported $35 billion in trade and investments across Africa in sectors such as agribusiness, energy, exports, housing, infrastructure manufacturing, mining and telecommunications.
Since 2008, ATI has maintained an ‘A’ rating for Financial Strength and Counter-party Credit by Standard & Poor’s.