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IATF 2021 projected to generate $40bn — Afreximbank

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The 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) is projected to generate more than US$40 billion in trade and investment deals, Dr George Elombi, Executive Vice President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services at African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has said.

Elombi made the disclosure at a roadshow in Lagos in preparation for the 2nd IATF scheduled to hold in Durban, South Africa from Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, 2021.

He said the IATF was crutial in supporting African integration and promoting the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a core mandate of the Afreximbank.

According to him, AfCFTA has become a framework for African economic recovery in the context of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Elombi said factors such as market fragmentation, lack of economies of scale, reliance on the export of primary commodities, under-developed regional value chains, and tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade had adversely affected the growth of Africa’s trade.

This, he noted, had resulted in a very low percentage of intra-African trade, averaging around 15 per cent and continuously subjecting Africa’s growth and development to external forces.

“Nigeria is the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing about 17 per cent of the African Economy and about 64 per cent of the economy of West Africa by Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Notably, as at 2020, Nigeria’s imports from the African region relative to total imports was at 7 per cent, while the share of Nigeria’s exports to the African region relative to total exports was at 20 per cent.

“For those reasons, and many more, Nigeria stands to benefit the most from an intra African trade fair, an event intended to enhance the trade of African states among themselves, and to meet the objectives of Agenda 2063 as declared by African Heads of State.

“Over years, the bank has supported and facilitated trade and investments in Nigeria through its array of financial and non-financial instruments.

“The Bank has approved over US$26 billion in support of Nigerian public and private sector entities and is currently implementing several of its flagship continental initiatives in Nigeria.

“Some of these initiatives include the development of The African Medical Center of Excellence Initiative (AMCE) in Abuja, the African Quality Assurance Center being developed in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and the Afreximbank Africa Trade Center being in Abuja,” he said.

Elombi added that the bank was committed to supporting the Nigerian economy through various funding programmes for Nigerian businesses.

He revealed that from January to August 2021, total loan approvals for Nigeria were in excess of US$1.89 billion and at the end of August 2021, the bank’s total loans exposure to Nigeria was US$5.5 billion.

“This represents 26.8 per cent share of the bank’s total loans and advances.

“For those reasons, we also think that IATF, an Afreximbank event, deserves the full support of Nigeria,” he said.

Chief Diana Chen, Chairman Choice International Group, GAC Motors, said that the Nigerian economy would grow by an additional five per cent if efforts are focused on the automotive industry.

She, however, noted the country lacked policies, good education system, skills and training to harness the opportunities of the sector.

“We need the people to be well trained so when the opportunities or investors come, they will be ready.

“Economy is a matter of confidence. If you can build the confidence of the people, the economy will grow.

“If you put the effort that you put in oil in automobile, GDP will grow by at least 5 per cent,” she said.(NAN)

 

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SON insist on international best practices, set-up committee to audit, certify education sector

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In ensuring that educational management system in the country deliver on their mandate of impacting knowledge and skills, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated national technical committee for adoption and certification of education management standards.

At the inauguration in Abuja, Farouk Salim, Director General of SON, said one of the challenges facing Nigeria has been international standards both in products and services delivery, which is why the organisation is aligning to best international practice.

“One of SON mandate is to support all businesses in determining quality of products/services using ; standardization, certifications and quality assurance. As such our decision to adopt this international standard on educational organizations management system ISO 21001:2018 is apt at this time when we have opened our borders to all forms of trade with other African countries.

“It is important that we promote and sustain our learning institutions by ensuring that the services that are provided in our schools meet the needs of learners, promote equal opportunities for all students and earn the confidence and approval of learners’ sponsors in order to contribute their quota to national growth and development,” he said.

Salim, represented by Engr. Timothy Abner, Director Training services at the SON added that although government is doing a lot to upgrade the standard of products and the education sector, he however also noted there should be additional effort of adopting and establishing this international best practice will assist Nigeria to always deliver globally recognized services and products in different sectors of the economy.

The Committee is to draw up requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of educational organizations management systems.

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Senate summons CBN Governor over naira fall

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…proceeds on annual recess till Sept. 20 
The Senate, on Wednesday, resolved to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to educate and inform senators in a closed session on the reasons for the rapid depreciation of the value of the naira.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to assess the impact of CBN intervention funds meant to support critical sectors of the economy.
The resolutions were reached by lawmakers after the upper chamber considered a motion sponsored by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC – Ekiti North).
The motion was entitled, “State of CBN Intervention Funds and Free Fall Of Naira.”
Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Order, as amended, Adetunmbi bemoaned Nigeria’s economic reality amid an urgent call for “extraordinary measures”.
He noted that the CBN through its numerous multi-sectoral intervention funds, provided special funds to support critical sectors of the economy.
He explained that in view of such interventions, it had become necessary to assess the state of implementation and effectiveness of the funds deployed for the purpose.
The lawmaker, recalled that the CBN in 2021, placed an indefinite halt on forex bidding by Bureau de Change operators (BDCS) and importers over allegations of abuse and mismanagement.
He observed that the halt by the CBN resulted in a spike of the exchange rate.
According to Adetunmbi, “the two instruments of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) could only serve less than 20% of the total forex demand by travelers and businesses.”
He expressed worry that the import and export window meant to serve the forex needs of business giants, “has become a rare opportunity that only a privileged few can access.”
“These and a number of others have contributed to the excessive scarcity of forex in Nigeria today”, he added.
He noted that as at the 26th of July 2022 (yesterday), the exchange rate in the autonomous segment (BDCS) of the foreign exchange market is N670 to 1 United States Dollar and projected to end at N1000 by end of the year based on the current rate of depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the Central Bank to take new measures to curb forex scarcity and address the sliding rate of Naira exchange.
In his contribution, Senator Sani Musa (APC – Niger East), faulted the Central Bank’s decision to halt foreign exchange biddings, thereby cutting off the parallel market – Bureau de change operators.
According to him, the attempt by the CBN to control the value of the naira with the continuous exclusion of BDCs would only lead to its further depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the apex bank to rather ensure the regulation and monitoring of the parallel market.
“What CBN used to do was to give out $10,000 (USD) to each of these BDCs with a clear directive for it not to be sold above N470 as against the $419 exchange rate. It worked.
“But today, nobody is determining where the rate is going and I can assure you we can’t have that solution because we are only importing”, he said.
On his part, Senator representing Katsina North District, Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita, said one way to improve the value of the naira was to encourage foreign investments to attract inflow of other currencies into Nigeria.
“The only way we can access the dollar will be determined by other economies and not ours”, he noted.
He, however, attributed the lack of foreign investments into Nigeria on the poor security situation caused by banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
The Senate, in its resolutions, called on the CBN to urgently intervene to stop the rapid decline in the value of the Naira vis-à-vis the Dollar and other international currencies.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to conduct an assessment of CBN intervention funds and the declining value of Naira to come up with sustainable solutions.
The Senate, at the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, adjourned plenary till September 20th, 2022, for its annual recess.
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Buhari seeks Senate’s nod on four re-appointed nominees as Directors of CBN board

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The Senate, on Tuesday, received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari, to confirm the re-appointment of four nominees as Non-Executive Directors of the Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The request was contained in a latter dated 21st July, 2022, and read at the start of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The President, in the letter, explained that the request to confirm the nominees was made in accordance with Section 10(3)(a) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.

The nominees for confirmation include: Prof. Mike Idiahi Obadan (South South), Prof. Justitia Odinakachukwu Nnabuko (South East), Prof. Ummu Ahmed Jalingo (North East), and Mr. Adeola Adetunji (South West).

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