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Lack of infrastructure hampers industrialisation in Africa – AfDB

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Mr Emmanuel Akinwunmi, the Principal Private Sector Specialist, African Development Bank (AfDB) says industrialisation process in Africa is hampered by lack of infrastructure and competitiveness.

Akinwunmi made this observation at inauguration of the Local <span;>Organising Committee (LOC) on the Nigeria Industrialisation Summit, on Friday, in Abuja.

The summit is being organised by Madewell Garment Ltd., in collaboration with Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the African Development Bank.

He pledged the bank’s commitment to continue to support initiatives on industrialisation through strategy, which involved agribusiness, special agricultural processing zone among others.

Akinwunmi decried the high importation of textiles and garments in the country, adding that local production and patronage of the industry to revert the over dependency on foreign garments needed to be addressed.

“The AfDB is advocating that whatever you produce, you process and sell locally,’’ he said.

Chief David Iweta, the Chairman, Madewell Garment Ltd., said the Nigeria Industrialisation Summit would unlock potential embedded in agro-agric.

He said the summit, scheduled to hold in Abuja, from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30, had as its objective to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

Iweta said it would attract investors globally and position Nigeria for international capital flows toward the development of the Special Agro Processing Zones initiative of the AfDB.

He explained that the summit being based on Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Sustainability Plan would dwell on “how to feed, cloth and house Nigeria’’, designed as a solution to unemployment, poverty and insecurity.

According to him, the project which will have its pilot scheme in Delta state at Jesse Export Processing Zone and Anchor (JEPZA) is projected to engage 300, 000 workers in the development of garment and textiles projects.

“It will also look into massive housing development, transportation and logistics, development of livestock, goat diary, fishery, cow meat and hides processing, oil palm and banana plantation and 25,000 pig value chain project, among others,” he said.

He said that the project would equally train 20, 000 Information Communication and Technology (ICT) talents to drive the economy and industrialisation, while contract had been signed by two universities to actualise this.

The chairman said market such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) were being targeted for export.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee was inaugurated by Prince Clement Agba, the Minister of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning, represented by Mr Aso Vakporaye, the Director, Economic Growth Department of the ministry.

The inaugurated committee comprises representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, AfDB, Madewell Group, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, among others.

The minister, while inaugurating the committee, said the representatives of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were chosen in consideration of the roles which they played in the past in line with development.

He advised that being very relevant to the proposed summit; they were expected to bring their expertise to bear to actualise its aim on national economic development.

Responding, Amb. Joe Keshi, Summit Advisor said the members of the committee would work diligently to meet expectations and equally implement ideas of past achievers for national development. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

Double trouble for Ahmed Idris: arrested by EFCC, suspended by Minister

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The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has been directed to proceed on indefinite suspension over alleged laundering of N80 billion.

Idris, was suspended on Wednesday by Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In a letter dated May 18, 2022, the minister said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

Ahmed Idris, was on Monday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). over alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

Wilson Uwajaren, Head of Media and Public Information of the EFCC, stated that verified intelligence reports showed that Idris raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

Uwujaren added that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and in Abuja.

According to EFCC, Idris was arrested after he failed to honour invitations by the Commission to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.

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NEPC, 13 trade promotion organisations shortlisted for WTOP award

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The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has been nominated along side 13 other Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) for the 2022 World Trade Organisation (WTPO) Awards for Excellence in Trade Promotion.

A statement released on Monday by Ndubueze Okeke Head, Corporate Communications of the NEPC, it said Nigeria is poised to clinch the “Best Use of a Partnership”.

He said the NEPC has been shortlisted along with Apex Brazil, Jamaica Promotion Corporation, Qatar Development Bank-Tesder and Saudi Export Development Authority.

The WTPO Award which is scheduled to hold on 17th May, 2022 in Accra, Ghana is open to all national TPOs.

The statement also said, “NEPC acknowledged WTPO as it recognizes excellence in providing trade support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to become competitive in international trade.

“In 2018, Nigeria, through NEPC won the award for the ‘Best initiative to Ensure that Trade is Inclusive and Sustainable”.

The NEPC won that category with its Zero to Export initiative which builds capacity of would-be exporters and SMEs on export procedures and documentation as well as provide practical training on product sourcing and market access.

The NEPC said that the initiative had trained 560 SMEs.

The International Trade Centre Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton said, “At a time when small firms have been hit by supply chain disruptions, climate change crises and other socio-economic challenges, it important to show inspiring models that connect small firms to Trade opportunities that are Inclusive and sustainable”.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak will represent Nigeria at the Award Ceremony.

The statement further said, Austria, Canada, Malaysia, Tanzania is competing in the “Best use of Information Technology”, while Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea, Netherlands and Zimbabwe will compete for the “Best initiative to ensure that trade is inclusive and sustainable category”.

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Skils acquisition: ITF, Sightsavers train 32 physically challenged on 8 set of skills

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In fulfilling its mandate of promoting skills acquisition in the country, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), in partnership with Sightsavers, an international non-governmental organization that promotes disability rights have trained and graduated 32 Nigerians on different skills.

The skills include, computer hardware, event management, catering, phone repair, photography and poultry management.

Sir Joseph Ari, Director General of the ITF, at the graduation ceremony in Abuja on Thursday, said that the agency has made the training of physically challenged persons a priority.

He said “Among the the 34 that started the training only 2 couldn’t continue, therefore making the graduands 32.

“There is a physically challenged Act today in Nigeria, therefore as an agency thatt caters for the growth and development of youths and women through skills acquisition, we have decided to focus on our attention on the physically challenged so they can acquire different skills and contribute their quota to national development because we believe there is ability in disability,”

Yahaya Manu, Area Manager, ITF Kaduna, who reppresented Ari, also charged the graduands to make good use of their start up parks provides to them by the agency.

“Now that you have acquired these special skills, I urge you to deploy it into judicious use so you can contribute your quota to the growth and development of the country, because the ultimate aim of this training is to reduce youth unemployment,, and the agency is always committed to support the physically challenged in any capacity” he further stated.

On his part, the country director of Sightsavers Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, said the rationale behind their partnership with the ITF is to transform the labour market system to be disability inclusive.

“We are building the disability confidence of employers, job readiness of young persons with disabilities and supporting government agencies to ensure their programs promote disability inclusive economic empowerment.

“While we have trained hundreds of persons with disabilities on soft and digital” skills, preparing and connecting them to formal job, we decided to partner with ITF to empower the graduates today in vocational training and prepare them for entrepreneurship,” he said.

He said the courses were carefully selected for the disability persons due to its relevance to the labour market while admonishing the graduands to apply the knowledge they have gathered during the training to start their business.

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