TIlE GUARDIAN, Tuesday; March 8,2on
Argentina to co-operate with Nigeria on agric, energy, says minister A RGENTINA
has unfolded £lplans to co-operate with Nigeria in various fields of human endeavours, with particular focus on agriculture and energy, the Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister, Me Hector Timerman said_ Timerman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Buenos Aires on Sunday "the co-operation is the focus of the newly-signed bilateral agreement between the two countries." Argentina and Nigeria had on Tuesday, last week, in Buenos Aires, signed a cooperation agreement, with Timerman signing for Argentina, while Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia, signed on behalf of the Federal Government Timerman said: "Argentina has found it very imporrantto establish a deeper and stronger relationsbip with Nigeria_ The recent two-day visit by Nigeria's foreign affairs minister is an engine to move forward the co-operation between our two countries
and I have promised him that I will on my part very soon visit Nigeria too." Timerman, whose portfolio also covers International Trade and Worship, said "we will co-operate in agriculture, energy and in many fields of human resources, but in many areas that can contribute to the well-being of our people." Spealdng on the bilateral agreement, Ajumogobia said it was a way of strenghtening the South-South co-operation in world and politics. He said, "we have been talking about South-South cooperation for a very long time, no major advancement has been seen. "Now, we belive that it is through broadening and deepening our bilateral relations across the South-South divide that we can enhance trade and investment in both countries." Ajumogobia said Nigeria believes that Argentina has a lot to offer to derive mutual benefits from the agreement "We believe that Argentina has a lot to offer us. Food secu-
NICOWAwants state govtto subsidise sale of fertlisers '"ncIE President, Nigeria CoJ. operative Women Alliance (NICOWA), Dr. Esther Eka has called on the state governments to subsidise the price of fertilisers for farmers. Eka, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, in Uyo, said that the measure would enable many farmers to afford it and improve their productivity. She noted that the AlcwaIbom government had subsidised the cost to as low as Nt, 800 per bag and advised other states governors to do same. She explained that the farmers and agriculturists should be given encouragement in every aspect to stem the high cost of food in the country.
The NICOWA president said given more boosts to agriculture would go along way in the growth of the Nigeria's economy. Sbe advised farmers in the state to make use of the availability of fertiliser to improve their farm produce. She said that the vision of NICOWA was to raise and strengthen a generation of leaders, who would be key players in building a strong, vibrant, competitive and sustainable economy in the society. "We are out to establish an effective and efficient institution that will enhance sustainable economic empowerment and developmenton wt)men in Nigeria," said.
rity is one of our priorities and Argentina is renowned in the agricultral sector. So, we believe there is a lot we can benefit in terms of transfer of technology, in term of cooperation and so on. "We are hopeful that there will be investment in other areas like the power sector, as well as, oil and gas sector. Argentina is already operating in the Niger-Delta region, in the area of oil pipelines." The Foreign Affairs minister said the new 'bilatral agree-
ment is wider and covers so many areas. 'There is so much else in it, but as this is the first official visit at this level of a Ni~erian official like foreign mimster, it is the beginning of a new relationship that will be based on economic development and cultural exchanges," he said. He gave the assurance that the Nigerian government was set to explore all aspects of the co-operation in the nearest future for the mutual benefit of both countries.
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IN a bid to tackle the problem lof misappropriation of funds in government establishments, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) is to institutionalise anti-graft reforms in the counay. 111e Director-General (OG) of BPP, Dr. Emeka Eze made the announcement on Saturday in OWerri. Eze made the announcement in his acceptance speech after being conferred WIth an Honorary Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) degree bY the University of Federal Technology, OWerri. He said he accepted the headship of the agency conscious of the challenges ahead and "as the OG of the BPP, I have an onerous responsibility of driving a very difficult reform, where the need to safeguard public treasury is very paramount "Most of the time, my office is constantly at loggerheads with the established institutions and those, who think that public treasury is there for grabs," he added. The BPP director general said the task of institutionalising the reforms was made more challenging by the absence of
academic institutions that offered public procurement as a course of study. He explained that due to this deficiency, his friends in both the private and public sectors rallied round and resolved to fund the establishment of a Public Procurement Research Centre for the university. Eze commended the National Assembly for the passage of the Public Procurement Act in 2007.
Mr. Bon Oti, vice chairman, Presidential Committee on Project Monitoring, who spoke on behalf of Eze's friends, announced that they would mobilise the funds for the establishment of the institute by the university in any part of thecounay. In an interview with newsmen after the conferment, the BPP chief accused Nigerian elites of posing a major challenge to the operations of the agency. 'The challenge we face is the resistance by the elites from all shades to reforms and you know that we have the elites in the civil service, in business and religious circles who have benefited from the old order and feel they will be losers as a result of the reforms.
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