MERRY CHRISTMAS &
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Abuja, 9 -11 November 2016
Russian - Nigerian Joint Commission on Economic,
Scientific and Technical Cooperation
From November 9th -11th the Hon. Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Co-Chairman of the Intergovernmental Russian-Nigerian Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Mr. Alexander Tkachev led the Russian Government delegation and represented the President of the Russian Federation to the Russia - Nigeria Bilateral Commission to Nigeria - the first one in 6 years
L to R: Dr Fawole, Ike Chioke, Mr. Gromyko (Deputy Minister for Agriculture of Russia), Mr Godwin Obaseki (Edo State Governor), Mr. Alexander Tkachev (Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation), Mr Nikolai Udovichenko, Mr TJ, Mr Jerome Okolo (Executive Vice Chairman of GeoQinetiq), George Osemwengie Agbonlahor (SISA Holdings)
During his visit to Nigeria, Mr. Alexander Tkachev, accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture of Russia, Mr. Gromyko (grandson of Andrey Gromyko), and H.E. the Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of the Russian Federation, Mr. Nikolai Udovichenko held meetings with the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, top officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Edo state Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the Managing Director of Afrinvest Mr. Ike Chioke, Executive Vice Chairman of GeoQinetiq - Jerome Okolo as well as other prominent Nigerian businessmen.
In the course of the meetings they discussed issues of bilateral trade and investment cooperation, including increasing supplies of Russian agricultural production to Nigeria and ECOWAS region. Special attention was drawn to the measures for providing resumption of aluminium production at the Alscon plant owned by the Russian company «Rusal».
The Russian and Nigerian Government representatives discussed key spheres of bilateral cooperation, including agriculture, industry, power sector, military-technical cooperation, mining and solid minerals. Following the outcomes of the session, the parties signed bilateral protocol, which reflects specific measures for stimulating economic partnership between Russia and Nigeria.
In particular, the Russian side expressed its readiness to participate in the efforts to revive Ajaokuta steel plant, to support large scale Russian investments aimed at increasing the supplies of food products and stimulating agricultural production in Nigeria, to bringing forward plans to establish assembly plants to produce agricultural and transport-related machinery.
End of year goodwill message by the chairman, Rex Essenowo
Moscow,25 December 2016
Being the goodwill message presented by the chairman, Rex Essenowo.
Marking the end of year 2016 and beginning of a New year, 2017.
Complements of the seasons to you,
Distinguished colleagues and friends of Nigeria,
Partners in progress, and members
As the year 2016 draws closer to the end, permit me to use this opportunity to congratulate all Christians all over the world, who are celebrating Christmas today. And as well use this Festive season to wish everyone, both Christians and non Christians, very happy and peaceful holidays!
To many of us, this year was a very difficult one, but thankfully to God Almighty and nature, everything that have a beginning also has an end.
The year 2016 despite huge challenges we faced, as individual members, citizens with families and relatives back home in Nigeria. Most of us have the feeling that our country has been under siege for so long, mired by controversies, economic and social crises that started many years back. Even being far away, thousands of kilometers away from the shores of Nigeria, we are feeling the pains of Nigeria and our people. In our host country, Russia also, and her citizens are also experiencing crises, and Nigerians in Russia are also into it, most especially, shortage of financial resources, inability of parents to pay school fees; students not getting their stipends on time, unemployment, documentation and many other issues being attributed different reasons. Despite all the financial problems, unemployment or underemployment majority of citizens experienced, I still consider the year to be a very fruitful one, as all of us have made it to this date successfully.
Unfortunately, we have lost friends and beloved ones along the way, due to one reason or the other. But such is life and as we normally say, everything comes by the will God, and here, we survived by His grace.
For those who have departed this year, - May their souls rest in perfect peace!
I believe that everyone worked hard to overcome many challenges this particular year, I want to believe also that, now we are beginning to see the end to most of the serious crises of recent times both in Nigeria and Russia. But we shall continue to look further to better times ahead. Without diverting into, national politics, geo-politics or global political issues, I want to concentrate on our day to day business, as it affects us and fellow citizens mostly in Russia, other European countries and Nigeria.
For us in NIDO, first and foremost, I will love to draw your attention to the successful conclusion of the reforms that went on in NIDO Europe over the past 5 years. The just concluded November AGM in Athens, Greece brought the reforms to a logical conclusion with the ratification of a new constitution and the election of a new Board of Trustees of NIDO Europe; now comprising of the Central Executive Committee and the Chapter Chairs. This is to say, that most of the functions of the organization and core decisions have been shifted to the Chapters, and as such; it is now our direct responsibility as members of NIDOE to draw up strategic plans and programs that will generate growth of NIDOE with increasing participation of members from all chapters in the standing working committees and other vital forums, aimed towards the development of our homeland.
Despite the fact that, the reforms were long and painful processes; but thanks to the synergy and commitments displayed by the the previous BOT, which was headed by Hon. Dr. George Manuwike, and his honorable Vice, Dr. Bashir Obasekola, who also happened to be our former chairman, their contributions with active partnership with all the chapter chairs and members have brought smooth transition to NIDOE as a body. We witnessed a peaceful election of the new Board of NIDOE, in which their immense contributions earlier paved ways to the review, adoption and finally, leading to the ratification of this vital document. With their priceless sacrifices, the new operational structure of NIDOE, provided by the MEMART has fixed most of the loopholes that were responsible for setbacks and crises that almost paralyzed the organization. This new dawn is expected to trigger positive developments that will enable members and chapters interact more vibrantly, and easily coordinate operations successfully, and as well enable us achieve our aims and objectives within targeted frameworks, on programs and within the stipulated time frame.
It is therefore important to note that, member’s active participation is the key generator of positive growth in this noble association. This makes it easier in identifying problems, finding resolutions to many economic and socio-cultural issues of national importance and also, for the good and benefit of our members. It is therefore important that, all members update their status on time, and a get themselves acquainted with the new NIDO Europe’s constitution, as all members in the chapters are now automatically members of NIDO by subscription; and so we expect active participation.
Benefits: There are huge opportunities and roles for members to play, beginning with engagements in the Executive Council of our chapter, (Our chapter’s election is coming up early 2017); active participation in standing committees of NIDO Europe, volunteering on special duties both in our host countries, Europe and Nigeria;, active participation in our forums; Capacity building and initiatives on business missions and other important activities; sponsorship of our programs, to mention but a few. These new opportunities indicate that, there are numerous ways members can truly play vital roles effectively and contribute positively in consultation with the Executive council and the continental body.
The level of engagements and communications between the Continental Boards under the umbrella of NIDO Worldwide platform, which we lunched last year in Abuja has increased, while NIDO is also putting up new proposals to the Federal government through different channels, including, direct contact with the Presidency; through the offices of the Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Abike Dabiri; In the legislative arm, through the The Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Rita Orji, as well as working with the Ministries, other related government agencies.
Nigeria’s Current Challenges: We are all aware that, Nigeria is experiencing an economic recession since the second quarter of this year. The effort of the Federal and states governments to improve the living conditions of citizens has been diminished partly, due to dwindling oil prices in the global market, leading to lack of funds. Even the Central Bank of Nigeria’s fiscal policy, which was meant to reduce dependency on imported good, diversify the economy and encourage local production of goods; despite the good will of the government, the CBN’s policy complicated the problems of businesses and citizens; On the other hand, poverty has generated social unrest, sabotage through militancy in the North East, the Niger Delta, alongside various criminal activities by various groups in the country. These things are not helping matters either.
However, as we move on to next year, I strongly believe that both government, individual and collective efforts will be successful and bring these crises under control. We shall continue to work with the government and we look forward to the total eradication of these challenges, God’s willing, this coming year 2017.
Roadmap and Expectations for 2017:
As we look forward to the coming year, below are the few, but not limited to areas where we have great expectations. We consider National security to be a number one priority, so we support the efforts made by the Federal government to bring peace to all parts of the nation, most especially, the North East, the Niger Delta region and any other part of the country with security concerns.
We support peaceful dialog and negotiations with the Niger Delta and other Youth groups with the aim of improving the welfare of citizens
We support the ongoing war against corruption in Nigeria, and we hope to see more decisive actions across board that will purge of the system, discourage waste of funds, while increasing effective management of resources for the benefit of citizen’s welfare, infrastructural development and health care
Father more, the key areas:
2- As we know, both the Federal and state government are embarking on new policies that will boost agricultural production. A recent visit by the Russian Minster of Agriculture Mr. Alexander Tkachev, brought about the signing of various MOUs which is expected to create new opportunities for cooperation with Russia to boost Nigeria’s food production, processing and preservation. We look forward to new developments in this area, including stronger partnership with Nigerians in the Diaspora and engagement of Russian trained graduates who are already settled in Nigeria and of course, more of similar developments in other sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power generation, housing, healthcare and Nano technology..
3- Ajaokuta steel mill has been on the spotlight since the beginning of this year. With various settlements that have taken place this year, including out of court settlements with the Indians, we are expecting positive development in the iron and steel industry in 2017. NIDO Russia will continue to support the Federal government effort in boosting Nigeria’s steel production and national development; we call on all Nigerian professionals, engineers to join us, moving forward together in the right direction with the government.
4 – The Aluminum plant(ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi remains a major concern to us, as Nigerians consumers, the country and global market continue to stay deprived of Nigeria’s Aluminum products, despite huge resources, funds earlier invested, the good will of the Russian investors, huge production capacity of the plant. It is worrisome that the problems with ALSCON have also generated unemployment at these difficult times. We look forward to new initiatives and kind gestures from conflicting parties in resolving the outstanding issues once and for all for the benefit of all.
5– While the Petroleum industry Bill is still awaiting ratification the signature of President Buhari, We commend the efforts made so far to reduced fuel scarcity and bring the crises under control; however, we expect more decisive and quicker actions from the Federal government in providing a lasting solution to the problems with Nigerian refineries, as well as increasing Nigeria’s refining capacity to satisfy both local consumption and also to meet export demand.
6 – Despite all the challenges we are facing in the country, the news that broke out this week was an impressing one. Nigerian Diaspora remittance has tremendously increased from 21 billion USD in the previous year to $35 billion USD this year. This shows that Nigerians in the Diaspora are getting it right and on time. Nigerians are the best investors that the country can have, and I want to use this opportunity to remind all our members that, the best time to invest is the time of crises. The exchange rate favors investors right now. So if you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to invest in Nigeria, as the crises will be over, much sooner.
7 – NIDO Europe has reactivated the housing scheme with Aso Mortgage and Savings PLC. NIDOE lunched this program with the company 2 years ago at the Nigerian high Commission in London. At the moment, there are completed buildings in Lagos, Abuja and other locations in Nigeria.
The houses are available for our members to buy at discount rates. We encourage interested members to contact us, so that we can help in facilitating the process.
8 – Beginning from next year, we shall start engaging members on periodic online video conferences, where members can discuss new strategies on improving our well being and as well boost our national economy. This new opportunities will also help in guidance and counseling for new members of NIDO Russia, and also help us in identifying our common problems and ways of solving them.
9- We are opening a new registry for Nigerians with registered company in Russia and Nigeria. The Register and updates will help us in serving you better and involve you in more productive enjoyments. Also, this process with enable us to identify members and their profiles, easily contact them, and as well enable us to increase our day to day business communications and consultation on demand. We need more capable hands from professionals and citizens alike. Join us now.
10 – There are numerous programs also, coming up under the NIDO Europe platform, our contribution and participation is very important as we intend to retain NIDO Russia‘s position as a key chapter in Europe.
11 – We shall continue maintaining very good relationship with the Nigerian Embassy, despite low economic activities and the current economic crises but at the same time, we look forward to 2017 in boosting our relationship with joint activities that will promote Nigeria and foster business/economic activities between Nigeria and Russian.
NIDO Russia believes in the strategic economic importance of having a Grade-A embassy in Moscow and we look forward to working out new engagements that will further improve Nigeria – Russian business and economic development for the benefits of Nigerian citizens in Russia and towards national development.
We look forward to the arrival of a newly appointed Nigerian Ambassador to Russia in 2017 and hope that the Federal government will work with the Russian government to unleash the full economic potentials of both nations through vibrant and charismatic diplomacy, friendship and culture, as well as in areas of technical and scientific cooperation.
12- Recently, we have agreed in principles, to start working on strategic partnership with the Russia-Nigerian Business Council. The re-enforced collaboration is expected to re-activate our potentials in coordination of business activities between our members, investors, as well as Nigerian businesses interested in the Russian market. This coming year will bring us new developments as we have already mapped out plans that will enable us to achieve new targets, boost trade relationship and as well, increase our trade balance between Russia and Nigeria. The new drive will also bring members closer to the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industries; improve working relationship with the related government agencies, States and other Federal government’s institutions, willing to work with us. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is on the way and you will be duly informed at the right time.
13 – On Diaspora Affairs: We are still expecting the resolution of outstanding issues concerning the Diaspora Commission bill with the signature of President Muhammadu Buhari . To this regards. I join NIDO Worldwide to call on his Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, , Hon. Abike Dabiri to activate the full potentials of her mandate, through her desk in advising Mr. President, so that Nigerians in the Diaspora can truly unleash their full economic potentials, and as well ease the role of Nigerians in Diaspora. Signing the bill into law will bring more success and as well, boost Diaspora participation in national economy, relatively, investors’ confidence.
14 – On the Diaspora voting rights, much has been promised both from the Presidency and the parliaments; we hope that this issue well move from promises into action. We look forward to the government and related agencies solving this problem. NIDO at all levels is ready to cooperate with the government, so as to enable Nigerians in the Diaspora truly exercise their voting rights.
Furthermore, I appeal to all members once again to remain good and law abiding citizens in Russia. Register and update their status with the organization, invite fellow Nigerians to our forums, and endeavor to support the organization by paying their dues on time.
Remember that NIDO remains open to all Nigerians, and being an active member makes you the backbone of NIDO Europe, a good Ambassador to our great nation. No matter how difficult it is for everyone, every problem has a life span and the current crises are coming to end soon. So, do not hesitate in doing the needful.
Finally, Dear friends and distinguished colleagues, permit me to seize this opportunity to thank all members of the Executive council, most especially, Mr. Joshua Olasehinde, for his exceptional display of patriotism through numerous actions, commitment to duty and for his exceptionally roles he played in NIDO Europe Committees, the various contributions he has displayed in sponsoring Nigerian Community and NIDO Russia and Europe.
I also thank the Nigerian Embassy, Moscow and the Charge D’Affairs, His Excellency, Mr.Usman Gafai, for constant support despite difficulties faced by the Federal Government and the Embassy in particular.
Many thanks as well, to the Institute of African studies, (Russian Academy of Sciences) for all their continuous support and interest to work with NIDO Russia;
Many thanks also to our regional coordinators doing their best for NIDO and our country; Thank you to all our members, fellow Nigerians; the president and members of the Nigerian Community, Russia, partners, colleagues in other European chapters, NIDO Worldwide and friends for continuous support to my humble self, the Executive council of NIDO Russia and the entire NIDO organization.
You have made the NIDO family, bigger, wider, and friendlier and as well, focused to the task. The future of our dear nation and the Nigeria-Russian Friendship, with economic and cultural cooperation remain our priorities.
On behalves of the Executive council and the entire NIDO Russia, and the chairman of the Board, NIDO Europe, Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, I wish you and your families, a very Merry Christmas, peaceful holidays, love to your homes and a very happy and prosperous new year 2017.
And in overall, unity, peace and progress to our dear nation, Nigeria!
Thank you ounce again God bless you!
Long Live NIDO Russia,
Long Live Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation, (NIDO-Europe and world Wide)
And Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!