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Economy: We’ll take advantage of Intra-African Trade Fair – Buhari

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President Muhammad Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured participants at the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, that his delegation is attending with ‘‘full force’’ to maximize the advantage of the gathering.

Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s media aide, said in a statement in Abuja, that Buhari stated this while addressing the opening ceremony of the event in Durban, South Africa, on Monday.

The President said: ‘‘Let me assure you that Nigeria has come to Durban in full force to actively participate in this very important trade fair and take full advantage of all the opportunities it will provide.

‘‘We have streamlined the country’s participation under one roof to enable you access all the information you need.”

He expressed optimism that the creation of the biggest free trade area in the world, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), would work, especially with the active collaboration of the public and private sectors.

The president canvassed support for the implementation of the free trade initiative, listing several benefits to the continent, including doubling trade in 10 years and reducing over-reliance on imports.

The Nigerian leader expressed concern that most of Africa’s existing challenges, whether security, economy, or corruption, could be traced to the inability over the years to domesticate the production of most basic requirements and provide jobs to her teeming and dynamic youth population.

‘‘Under the African Continental Free Trade Area, we can double our intra-African trade by 2030, reduce our reliance on imports and therefore create more jobs within the continent.

‘‘We cannot achieve this goal by talking alone. The implementation will be a difficult journey. But all challenges are surmountable if both the public and private sectors collaborate.

‘‘On the public sector side, Governments must support local entrepreneurs to build scale and therefore improve productivity.

‘‘This means providing incentives to encourage our businesses to formalise and comply with laid down regulations,’’ he said.

On the rules of engagement for the free trade initiative, President Buhari reminded fellow Heads of State and participants at the trade fair, that:

‘‘Free trade must also be fair and fairness can only be achieved when there is full compliance with regulations, especially those relating to rules of origin.

‘‘The AfCFTA is for ‘made-in-Africa’ products and services.

‘‘Africa must be a marketplace where no country is left behind. As we implement, we must ensure that we create jobs and enhance revenues for all parties.

‘‘We must leverage on one another’s strengths to succeed.”

He also called on businesses in Africa to key into existing regional value chains or build new ones, either to extend operations into the higher value segments of their industries or to satisfy the Area’s rules of origin requirements.

The Nigerian leader expressed delight that the Intra-African Trade Fair is uniquely positioned to help in these areas.

The President stressed that the Nigerian economy under his administration had witnessed a re-engineering.

‘‘As many of you are aware, in the past five years, Nigeria has made significant strides towards the diversification of her economy from an oil revenue-dependent country to a nation with diverse revenue sources.

‘‘We were able to achieve this by putting in place fiscal, monetary and trade policies that support investments and investors in key sectors such as agriculture, mining, telecommunications and digital economy, banking and financial services, tourism, and manufacturing,’’ he said.

While declaring that Nigeria is open for business, the President highlighted that progress is being made in the reforms of key institutions, the fight against corruption as well as the ease of doing business in the country.

He congratulated the African Union Commission, the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Africa Export-Import Bank for their dedication and relentless effort in seeing the Trade Area become a reality.

‘‘Today is a great day for Africa as we start our collaborative journey towards collective economic prosperity through the African Continental Free Trade Area.

”I very much look forward to seeing more African products manufactured in Africa using African resources.

‘‘I also commend the people of Durban for hosting this year’s Intra-African Trade Fair. I sincerely hope that we will witness milestone agreements among African businesses at this gathering.

‘‘Through these gatherings, we will be laying a solid foundation for future business-to-business, business and government, and government-to-government co-operation,’’ he said.

President Buhari’s expectation of a good performance by Nigerian businesses at the Durban Fair is hinged on the outcome of the last edition in Cairo, Egypt, at which they got deals worth over US$ 3.3 billion.

Current records show that Intra African trade accounts for only 15 per cent of their transactions.

 

 

 

(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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Senate in Session
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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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CBN Headquarters Abuja
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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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