- Nigeria Ratifies WTO’s Trade Facilitation Deal
The Federal Government has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement, making it the 107th World Trade Organisation member to do so.
The development was confirmed by the Strategic Communications Adviser to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Constance Ikokwu, in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.
The statement said with the endorsement by Nigeria, only three more ratifications from members were needed to achieve the two-third threshold that would bring the TFA into force.
In addition to Nigeria, some other African countries that have ratified the deal are Botswana, Niger, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia, Lesotho, Mali, Senegal, Swaziland, Gabon, Ghana and Mozambique.
Nigeria’s instrument of acceptance, according to the statement, was submitted to the WTO by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah.
It said Enelamah met with the WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to submit the endorsement.
The statement quoted the minister to have said, “Nigeria’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement is a reflection of our commitment to the WTO and a rules-based economy. It is evidence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to rapidly implement his presidential initiative on the creation of an enabling environment for business.
“Nigeria will like to see a strengthened WTO that reflects the development principles of developing countries like Nigeria, and we praise the effectiveness of DG Azevêdo in this regard.”
The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the agreement and ratification is a means of expression for a country to be legally bound by a treaty.
Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.
It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between Customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and Customs compliance issues.
It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.
According to a 2015 study carried out by the WTO economists, the full implementation of the TFA will reduce members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries having the most to gain.
The TFA also has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half, while also reducing the time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent, respectively over the current average.
The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1tn.
Honeywell Flour Mills Introduces Spaghetti Mini Pack
Honeywell Flour Mills Plc has introduced its new spaghetti mini pack as part of efforts to develop pocket-friendly products to customers.
The product was introduced at an unveiling ceremony held recently in Ogun State. The launch was attended by the company’s key executives.
They included the Managing Director of Honeywell Flour Mills, Lanre Jaiyeola; Director of Manufacturing Operations, Ifeanyi Abadom; Head of Operations, Sagamu, Tunde Adebayo, and Consumer Marketing Manager, Esther Tontoye.
According to the company, the launch of Honeywell Spaghetti Mini was based on extensive research and insight into the Nigerian consumer behaviour over the past decade.
The product was specifically developed to meet the expectations of today’s Nigerian consumer market, it added. The Spaghetti Mini 200 gm pack has a retail price of N100, fulfilling the company’s drive for affordability.
Commenting on the launch of the product, Jaiyeola said: “Honeywell Flour Mills is a key player in the food manufacturing business in Nigeria today and our consumers play a pivotal role in this regard.
“This new product is the first of its kind in the pasta category and we are happy to have introduced it to the Nigerian market.
“We are more than delighted to launch this innovative product in response to our observation and findings into Nigeria’s consumer behaviour and the push for convenience,” he added.
As a customer-centric organisation, “we continue to look for diverse and innovative ways to satisfy our consumers optimally. Innovation for us remains the yardstick which we believe will allow us to deliver even more superior products.
“And we will continue to fulfil our core objective – to support the food security agenda of the government by producing good quality, nutritious and affordable food products for the complete satisfaction of Nigerians.”
Buttressing Jaiyeola’s statement, Abadom, said, “the Honeywell Spaghetti Mini is a unique product that will satisfy a yearning for convenience in Nigerians. And with the development of this product, we have ensured that the policies, desired standards and quality set for ourselves are being surpassed.”
South African Government to Sell Stake in South African Airways to Takatso Consortium
The South African government is selling a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA) to Takatso consortium, which will initially commit more than 3 billion rand ($221 million) to give the struggling airline a new lease of life.
SAA has been under a form of bankruptcy protection since December 2019, but its fortunes worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic and all its operations were mothballed in September 2020 when funds ran low.
The airline is one of a handful of South African state companies that depend on government bailouts, placing the national budget under huge strain at a time of rapidly rising debt.
The partnership with Takatso will alleviate that financial burden, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan told journalists on Friday as the state would no longer provide any funding to the airline, which exited administration in late April after receiving 7.8 billion rand from the government. read more
Gordhan added that the government will retain a 49% stake with the intention of eventually listing the airline to address future funding requirements.
“The objective of bringing in an equity partner to SAA is to augment it with the required technical, financial and operational expertise to ensure a sustainable, agile and viable South African airline,” he said.
The consortium includes pan-African investor group Harith Global Partners and aviation group Global Aviation, Gordhan said.
Following the announcement, co-founder and consortium Chair Tshepo Mahloele told Reuters that 3 billion rand should be sufficient to operate the airline for 12 to 36 months.
The government could dispose of more of its ownership stake going forward, he added.
“They aren’t married to this 49%,” he said. “They won’t be putting more money into this asset.”
An initial public offering for the airline is unlikely to happen within the next three years, and SAA would first need to become profitable, Takatso Chief Executive Gidon Novick said.
Novick said Takatso would seek to relaunch SAA as soon as possible, prioritising first domestic service followed by regional destinations.
International long-haul routes would follow but would be selected carefully, and SAA would also work to forge partnerships with major carriers.
“We’re going to be competing with the greatest airlines in the world, and we need to be mindful of that,” Novick said.
The airline’s subsidiaries meanwhile will be evaluated, in particular Air Chefs, SAA Technical and low-cost airline Mango, Gordhan said, noting that “anything can happen” when asked if some could be shut down.
SAA will continue to be domiciled in South Africa and the government will have a “golden share” of 33% of the entity’s voting rights and certain areas of national interest, Gordhan said.
($1 = 13.5379 rand)
Coca-Cola Partners NGOs To Clear Plastic Waste In Nigeria
Coca-Cola Nigeria has said it partnered with non-profit organisations to reduce plastic pollution across the country.
In a statement on Thursday, it said it would be doing more to promote environmental sustainability as part of efforts to commemorate World Environment Day.
It stated that it had introduced initiatives to protect the environment through its philanthropic arm, the Coca-Cola Foundation.
Coca-Cola said that it supported the Statewide Waste and Environmental Education Foundation to launch the Eko Beach Race 2021 themed ‘A race against plastic pollution.’
The event had in attendance 2,000 youths, students and sports enthusiasts who participated in a marathon race and beach clean-up.
SWEEP Foundation’s President, Obuesi Philips, stated at the event that it “was geared towards recognising the growing contributions of sport to the realisation of societal development.”
The drink maker also partnered with the Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative to host the “Recycle and Win” festival.
It included community outreach and clean-up programmes in Kwara, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe and Oyo States. Coca-Cola said that 10 tons of plastic bottles were recovered through the process.
The Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Coca-Cola, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, urged Nigerians to adopt more eco-friendly practices while emphasising the urgency of the current global situation.
Onyemelukwe stated, “At Coca-Cola, we recognise there is a packaging waste problem globally and especially in Nigeria, which is why we pioneered the World Without Waste initiative to engineer innovative solutions to tackle this challenge.
“World Environment Day presents an opportunity for us to act on this mandate as seen by the number of environmental sustainability initiatives we have supported in collaboration with local implementing partners.”
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