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FEC Approves New Import Tariffs on Goods from African Countries

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  • FEC Approves New Import Tariffs on Goods from African Countries

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday in Abuja approved 0.2 per cent import rate on cost, insurance and freight on goods coming into Nigeria from African countries.

Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the levy was meant to enhance sustainable financing of membership subscription in the African Union (AU).

According to her, certain imports are exempted from the new levy, which she listed to include goods coming into Nigeria outside the coverage of AU; goods coming into the country for aids and goods coming from non-member countries.

Ahmed also said bearing in mind that accruals from this levy will exceed Nigeria’s subscription in the AU, the remaining profit will be deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and subsequently deployed to finance Nigeria’s subscription to other international organisations such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.

She said: “The Federal Executive Council meeting approved a new import levy for sustainable financing of Nigeria’s membership subscription in the African Union. It approved a rate of 0.2 percent as a new import levy on cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) that will be charged on imports coming into Nigeria but with some exceptions.

“The exceptions include goods originating from outside the territory of member countries that are coming into the country for consumptions. It also includes goods that are coming in for aid and goods that are originating from non-member countries but are imported through specific financing agreements that ask for such kinds of exemptions.

“It also exempts goods that have been ordered and are under importation process before the scheme was announced into effect. The purpose of this new levy is to enable the African Union member countries pay on a sustainable basis their subscriptions to African Union.

“The council also approved that for Nigeria, knowing that what will accrue from this new levy will be more than what is required as subscriptions to the African Union, the balance that will be left will be put in a special account in the Central Bank of Nigeria and will be used to finance her subscriptions to multilateral organisations as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and institutions like that. And if there is any excess left from that in the revenue pool, it will be used to financed the budget.”

The minister also said the council approved the constitution of a steering committee to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to handle the design and implementation of a national single window, which she said would be a web portal for the integration “of all government agencies that are operators, that are implementers in the port business or trading in the port system.”

According to her, “the trading platform will enable better efficiency of port operations and we project that it will significantly increase government revenues.”

She also said the council approved the extension of CBN intervention for continued support to the power sector, particularly the generation arm of the sector.

“This is based on a commitment that we signed into as a country, where we have several guarantees to the generation companies (Gencos) to bridge any gap that they have after the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has settled them,” she explained.

FEC also approved nine memoranda of understanding from the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, for the provision of various infrastructure in the FCT.

According to the minister, the infrastructure include: the rehabilitation of failed walkways within the Wuse District at the cost of N1.9 billion with a completion period of 12 months; the preparation of electricity master plan for Phase IV of Abuja at the cost of N189 million with a completion of ten months and the design of infrastructure for institution and research district in phase III of Abuja at the cost of N197 million, among others.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

India, Spain, the Netherlands, USA, Nigeria’s Major Export Markets -NBS

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India, Spain and the Netherland top Nigeria’s export markets in the final quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020 report showed that the United States and China trailed the three.

However, the NBS revealed Nigeria exports mainly crude oil and natural gas during the period under review.

It, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.

“The major export to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were motor spirits, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”

The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.

This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.

The NBS, however, noted that the index was negatively affected by animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products.

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Economy

Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy

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The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.

Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.

The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.

According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.

Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.

The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.

He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.

‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”

Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.

Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.

‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.

Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.

Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.

The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.

Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.

According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.

The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.

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Economy

France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership

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France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.

Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.

A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.

“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”

It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.

It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.

It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.

It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”

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