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Nigeria’s N50bn export expansion facility programme gains steam – Awolowo

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Mr-Segun Awolowo
Mr-Segun Awolowo
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Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports leveraging the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network.

The network, which was recently inaugurated, is geared towards increasing the volume of trade within the region.

Mr Segun Awolowo, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, is also the inaugural President of the ECOWAS TPOs.

The NEPC has started repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP).

The EEFP is a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) whose development and implementation is being led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

EEFP is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it is a spin-off of the Zero Oil Plan developed by NEPC and approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

Besides providing financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, the EEFP will engender the establishment of top-notch warehouses in the country, close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to global competitive standards ahead of their exportation.

The EEFP, in line with the ESP, is focused on cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the non-oil export sector, thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.

Earlier in March, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, inaugurated the EEFP and the first online Grant Management Portal (GMP) for non-oil exports.

While the EEFP is being implemented by the NEPC, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is the supervisory body over the agency and its operations.

The programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries since the inauguration but it has received more than 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which more than 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.

Federal Government officials say further details and plans on disbursement to final successful beneficiaries are being awaited.

More so, Adebayo said that aside being an intervention to save and create jobs, the programme would support resilience in shoring up foreign exchange, diversification, modernisation of Nigeria’s economy and acceleration of economic growth and economic support.

Under the EEPF, there are 16 programmes as approved in the Implementation Work plan under seven work streams.

The work streams are Capacity Building, Emergency Interventions, Export Aggregation, Export Inclusion, Export Trade facilitation, Institutional Strengthening and Market Development.

The Emergency Intervention is to support existing exporters in responding to shocks caused by COVID-19, while Market Development involves penetrating identified export markets as value chain analysis for priority products, leveraging Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and other trade treaties.

Considering the significant role it plays in growing the Nigerian economy, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is the target group of support from the EEFP and the Export Development Fund (EDF).

At the recent inauguration of the TPO Network, Osinbajo said that there was need to expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region, with the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

On his part, Awolowo had said that the network would work towards facilitating the ease of trade for MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa in general. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

Tinubu To Present 2024 Supplementary Budget To NASS

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President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
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President Bola Tinubu will soon present the 2024 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly (NASS).

“I submitted the last budget to you,” the President said when he addressed a joint sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“You expeditiously passed it. We are walking the talk. I will soon bring the Year 2024 (Supplementary) Appropriation Bill. That is just for your information,” the President said in his terse speech at the joint sitting to mark the Silver Jubilee Of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

In his response, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, said, “Thank you, Mr President, we will be expecting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill of 2024 as soon as possible.”

Also, at the joint sitting which coincided with the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration, the President confirmed ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’ as the “latest national anthem”.

Tinubu said, “You sang out the latest national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’. This is our diversity, representing all characters and how we blend to be brothers and sisters.”

The President pleaded with both the Senate and the House of Representatives to continue to collaborate and work together with the administration to build the country on the path of sustained progress and development.

“We have no other choice; it is our nation. No other institution or personality will help us unless we do it ourselves. No amount of aid from foreign countries or any other nation (will fix us), they take care of themselves first. Let us work together as we are doing to build our nation, not only for us but for generations unborn,” he said.

 

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We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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