By Ossom Raphael
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo, Thursday said poor knowledge of the Geographical Indications (GI) and absence of a specific legal framework has continued to render Nigeria’s products more vulnerable to misappropriation.
The Minister however said that the Federal Government will collaborate with the European Union to intensify campaigns for product specification in the country to boost exportation of Nigerian unique products.
Adebayo said this at the National Conference on Creation of Legal and Institutional Framework for Geographical Indications in Abuja.
According to him, “the AfriPI Project has gone a long way in supporting African companies, creators and inventors to generate value from their intellectual property.
“For many years, stakeholders from both the public and private sector in Nigeria have worked hard to promote and draw attention to geographical indications and other forms of intellectual property protection in Nigeria.
“The benefits obtainable from geographical indications in Nigeria are immense. Nigeria Is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world. We can boast of a wide variety of products that can be classified as GI.
“These range from the popular Ijebu garri to Nsukka Yellow Pepper, the Sokoto Red Skin Goat and the famous Yauri Onions.
“Unfortunately, poor knowledge of geographical Indications and the absence of a specific legal framework has rendered our unique products more vulnerable to misappropriation”.
Adebayo further said that Nigeria is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, and added that the nation boast of a wide variety of products that can be classified as Geographical Indications.
According to him, these products, range from the popular Ijebu garri, Nsukka yellow pepper, the Sokoto Red Skin Goat and the famous Yauri Onions.
“Nigeria has a strategic ambition to position itself as a major supply chain partner to key off-taker nations.
“Geographical Indication will play a major role in helping Nigerian producers generate greater value for their products.
“Agri-food and drink products which have names that are protected by the European Union as Geographical Indications represent a sales value of about £75billion,” Adebayo said.
The minister however reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria exports more finished and hope that the onference will go a long way in helping Nigeria establish an enabling environment for the growth and expansion of the GI products
Also speaking, the Director General of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Daren Tang, said Geographical Indication is emerging as an important tool for developing countries to create jobs, attract investments and grow the economy.
Tang, who spoke virtually, commended the Nigerian government for its commitment to institutionalising a legal framework on the geographical indication, noted that it would benefit farmers, artisans, among others.
On his part, Head of European Union Intellectual Property, Ignacio Medrano said: “we have important and specific product with quality in Nigeria. We are here to support the country to establish legal framework, to establish protection for agricultural products with specific links to tradition and culture.
“We are convinced that here in Nigeria, with the protection of the Geographical Indications, there will be an increase in agricultural product price, export and tourism,” he said
In his remarks, the Director-General for Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Commission, John Clarke said Agriculture has huge potential for export in Nigeria.
Clark said with a proper framework for farmers, the country’s economy will grow rapidly due to abundant agriculture unique varieties that will be exported.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the National Technical Working Group, Sand Mba Kalu, said Geographical Indication, even though relatively new in Nigeria, is a hope for the common man to be able to promote his or her product to the global market
ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation re-elects Dr. Ezra, as president
Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has been reelected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra Ghana.
Dr. Yakusat, will serve another One-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries in driving trade within the sub-region.
His re-election is also in line with Article 11 of the ECOWAS TPO Network. The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organization is a network of all Trade Promotion Organizations in West Africa established by the decisions of Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.
Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr. Yakusat, became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.
A statement by the council said the re-election of Dr. Ezra was at the end of 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Network held at Alisa hotel, Accra, Ghana from 19th – 20th May, 2022.
He was re-elected along with the vice president, Mr. Ben Guy Mbangue from Cote’ D’ivoire.
The duo constitute the Executive Bureau of the Network and the tenure expires after one year. All members present unanimously re-elected the President and Vice President respectively.
World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022
World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.
The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.
A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.
It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.
“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.
“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”
The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.
“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.
The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.
It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.
Double trouble for Ahmed Idris: arrested by EFCC, suspended by Minister
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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