- Morocco’s Admittance Into ECOWAS’ll Kill Nigeria’s Productive Sector – MAN
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has opposed the planned admission of Morocco into the Economic Community of West African States.
The association warned the Federal Government against supporting the plan at its 45th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos on Thursday, stating that it would have a disastrous effect on the nation’s manufacturers.
The President, MAN, Mr. Frank Jacobs, said the admission of Morocco into ECOWAS would be equivalent to signing the Economic Partnership Agreement through the back door.
He stated, “We, therefore, urge the Federal Government to vehemently oppose the move as it will spell doom for the productive sector of the economy.
“We are aware that Morocco and the European Union have trade agreements, which means if they become part of ECOWAS, products that come into Morocco from the EU will end up in Nigeria; after all, Nigeria is the biggest market among all these countries in the ECOWAS, so we are vehemently oppose to Morocco being admitted into ECOWAS; it will really affect us badly, so we are telling our government not to allow it become part of ECOWAS because it will badly affect the productive sector of our economy.
“Come to think of it, why should it be part of ECOWAS? It is too far, ECOWAS is Economic States of West African States; Morocco is not part of West Africa and it shouldn’t be part of ECOWAS.”
While lauding the Federal Government for the introduction of some policies, which he noted had stimulated the economy, MAN president appealed that there were still three key challenges that had to be adequately addressed for the nation’s productive sector to boom.
The challenges, according to him are inadequate and unstable power, non-availability of foreign exchange for the importation of essential manufacturing inputs, and unrestrained high interest rates.
Jacobs said with the prevailing double-digit interest rates, the Nigerian economy would continue to suffer decline, adding, “Therefore, we recommend, as the association had done in the past and always, a single-digit interest rate.”
On Morocco joining the ECOWAS, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria had recently called on the Federal Government to resist any attempt by other member countries of ECOWAS to admit Morocco into the regional body.
Noting that Morocco, by reason of its geographical location, did not qualify to be admitted into the regional organisation, the association, through its founding Chairman and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka, warned that Morocco’s motive was political and aimed at whittling down the strength of Nigeria for her role in the admission of Western Sahara into the then Organisation of African Unity.
The association wondered why the Federal Government had so far not engaged in a vigorous campaign against Morocco’s move, stressing that the government owed Nigerians an explanation.
Another group, the Nigerian Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara, also opposed the admission of Morocco into ECOWAS. The group said the 15-nation body had little in common with the North African kingdom, especially as it maintained a grip on Western Sahara.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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