By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice says there is need to focus on the non-oil sector to boost export and drive economic growth.
The minister made the call at the just concluded National Conference on creating Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Geographical Indications in Nigeria.
The AGF who was represented by Barr Ifunanya Nwajagu, Director, Legal Drafting at the Federal Ministry of Justice said that focusing on Geographic Indications will serve as a further panacea for poverty reduction, community development and social inclusiveness.
Malami said: “The time has come to move away from oil economy. Surely, the time has come to embrace green economy through economic drive powered by geographical indications for which Nigeria is richly endowed in quality assets and products.
“Needless to state clearly that Geographical Indications represent economic opportunities in rural areas, leading to more rural jobs and stronger rural communities.
“The right to use a geographical name belongs to the community of producers in a given area and empowers those who are involved in the origin of so many wonderful products thereby making Geographic Indications the perfect tool for local development”.
On the relevance of Legal framework to back GIs, Mr. Malami said: “It is worthy of mention that we currently have varieties of unique agricultural and natural products that qualify as geographical indications such as “sokoto goats’ skin”, “Ijebu garri”, “skin hide of Kano”, “Kilishi”, “Yaji” (dry pepper), “Ose Nsukka” (Yellow pepper), “Aso Oke, “Adire”, “Ofada Rice”, “fura” and many more. Yet, none of these have benefitted from any comprehensive registration, international recognition and commercialization.
“Therefore, for Nigeria to avail itself of the opportunities in and benefits of its Geographic Indications, our efforts must begin at home, with the establishment of an appropriate legal framework, supported by robust efforts to promote the Geographic Indications in formalizing the traditional knowledge and techniques employed by originating geographic regions, standardizing methods of production, and actively driving recognition for Geographic Indications in international trade.
“To be or not to be, depends on a carefully grafted legal and institutional frameworks that meets the needs of today while guaranteeing the future and bearing in mind, global and continental trends in the fields of geographical indications.
“The legal framework will set out the roles and procedures for the actualization of the benefits of geographical indications so that they shall be recognized and protected locally in order to be recognized internationally too. The establishment of a legal framework for the Gls in Nigeria is very imperative, likewise the ratification and domestication of the relevant international treaties/ conventions and protocols,”
The Justice minister further said that the ministry is poised to lend its support and collaboration with the stakeholders towards the birthing of a reliable legal instrument.
“The Federal Ministry of Justice is aware of treaties and conventions to which Nigeria is a party including the recent African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the need to provide legislation that promotes trade and investment while meeting the needs of the people.
“The Federal Ministry of Justice awaits the drafting instructions from the organizers of this conference, as a team of drafters are available to review the Bill in line with our current precedent for Executive Bill for onward transmission to the Federal Executive Council,” he further stated.
Speaking as a panelist, Mr. Aminu Waklek, Senior Assistant Registrar, Trade Marks Registry, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment says consensus is key to arrive at quality of products as well as determining who is qualified to be a member of the Patent rights Association.
He said there must be cohesion among the different patent right groups in order to promote export of their products.
In her submissions, Prof. Adejoke Oyewunmi, a Professor of intellectual property at the University of Lagos said the functions of the GIs must be clearly stated on the Draft law for GIs even as she called for collaborations between Nigeria and other countries especially with the coming of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to promote Geographical Indications in Nigeria.
President Buhari transmits Business Facilitation bill to N’Assembly
The Senate has received the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022, forwarded to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, for consideration and passage.
The bill was accompanied by a letter dated 17th June, 2022.
The letter, addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was read during plenary on Tuesday.
President Buhari, in the letter, explained that the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill would promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
It reads, “Pursuant to Sections 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 for the kind consideration of the Senate.
“Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 seeks to promote the war of doing business in Nigeria by amending relevant legislation.
“While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
N5 trillion urgently needed to cushion effects double digits increase on ordinary Nigerians – World Bank
The World Bank has warned that Nigeria could lose about N5trillion in 2022 from gasoline subsidies.
The bank also said that N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities.
The World Bank said in it Nigeria Development Update (NDU) released on Tuesday in Abuja.
The report said: “When we launched our previous Nigeria Development Update in November 2021, we estimated that Nigeria could stand to lose more than N3 trillion in revenues in 2022 because the proceeds from crude oil sales, instead of going to the federation account, would be used to cover the rising cost of gasoline subsidies that mostly benefit the rich”.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria Shubham Chaudhuri, however noted: “Sadly, that projection turned out to be optimistic. With oil prices going up significantly, and with it, the price of imported gasoline, we now estimate that the foregone revenues as a result of gasoline subsidies will be closer to 5 trillion Naira in 2022.
“N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities, to invest in Nigeria’s children and youth, and in the infrastructure needed for private businesses small and large to flourish, grow and create jobs.”
The report noted: “Nigeria is in a paradoxical situation: growth prospects have improved compared to six months ago but inflationary and fiscal pressures have increased considerably, leaving the economy much more vulnerable”.
Nigeria’s banking sector now immune to economic shock – NDIC
Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that the banking sector is now immunized to withstand shocks that may impact the economy and the financial system.
Mr Bello Hassan, Managing Director of NDIC said this at a retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions with the NDIC, in Lagos.
Any change in fundamental macroeconomic variables or relationships that has a significant impact on macroeconomic outcomes and measures of economic performance, such as unemployment, consumption, and inflation, is referred to as an economic shock.
Mustapha Ibrahim, Executive Director (Operations), who represented the NDIC boss, said Nigerian banking industry was currently resilient to most of these difficulties, particularly external shocks over which the Corporation had no control.
He said: “We have tried to immunise the system to withstand shocks that may be impacting on the economy and the financial system”.
Hassan, further said that effective risk-based management remained critical to a safe and sound financial system.
“The NDIC and the Central Bank of Nigeria have a very robust supervisory framework under the risk-based supervisory format the risk-based approach is actually proactive. For the most part, we try to anticipate all these risks – Macro, micro, domestically and globally – to address them continuously.
“So, it is so dynamic that we also are constantly on a real-time basis, monitoring the industry continuously and fine-tuning our supervisory tools, both onsite and offsite, to mitigate some of the challenges the banks may be facing,” he said.
On his part, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said the retreat demonstrated progress in creating lasting and workable relationships in the national interest.
Sani, who was represented by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi, was optimistic that the outcome will aid in the strengthening of the financial and banking sectors, particularly the corporation’s supervisory and regulatory role.
“The National Assembly and NDIC are key institutions critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. While we provide the legal and institutional frameworks, NDIC carries out its regulatory or supervisory responsibilities in order to safeguard the banking sector.
“Engagement of this nature gives us the platform to deeply look into our activities and responsibilities and also examine how far we have gone in carrying out our mandate as required. It helps in injecting fresh ideas into our operations which will materialise into an improved, effective and efficient service delivery to Nigerians,” he said.
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