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SON Proposes Bilateral Agreement to Curb Substandard Goods

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stressed the need for bilateral agreement between Nigeria and other countries to address the influx of substandard goods into the country.

The Director-General of SON, Mr. Farouk Salim, who spoke yesterday on the Morning Show of Arise News television channel, raised the concern of influx of substandard products into Nigeria, despite measures put in place by SON to address such issue.

According to him, “If people can go to other countries, import substandard products and bring them into the country, there is no reason why we should not sign an agreement where we should be able to have them take those bad products back to the country where they came from, and hopefully the country should be able to penalise the factory or industry making those substandard products.”

He, however, said to achieve result, there must be an agreement between two governments to punish those involved in producing, exporting and importing substandard products.

Salim said: “In a situation where our Nigerian businessmen are unknowingly tricked into buying products that they thought were up to standard, then that country should be able to penalise the culprits and make them pay for their intentions and actions.”

Speaking about the dumping of electronic waste in Nigeria, Salim said the responsibility of SON stops at ensuring that the products people are using are up to the standards that manufacturers claim they are, and also up to the standards we set in the country for the products.

“So end-of-life product essentially is an area which is not part of the SON’s purview, as we have environmental organisations that are supposed to watch out for those kinds of things. If anyone is importing products that are already obsolete or are not good, it’s definitely our responsibility to stop it. If it is something coming into the country and it’s below standards, then that’s something we have to deal with, and that’s the reason we are supposed to be at the ports to make sure products coming in are not only genuine and up to standards, but are also not expired products. If they are products that have already been brought in and their life span is expired, then that’s something else,” he explained.

Giving details of the operations of SON, Salim further explained that his men recently intercepted imported used tyres into the country in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, and they were all confiscated and destroyed.

“What we did was to negotiate with the importer to either go to court or sign a waiver for the destruction of the used tyres. We also do that with imported gas cylinders that are substandard, and we destroyed several substandard gas cylinders four weeks ago,” he said.

Economy

Covid-19: African Trade Finance Sees $5B in Portfolio Outflows in Q1 2020

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AfDB

In a recent report, it was asserted that there has been a massive portfolio outflow of over $5 billion from Africa in the first quarter of 2021, this was a result of Constrained global financial conditions caused by Covid-19.

This report was conducted by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) jointly with the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank-hosted Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership.

The African Trade Finance Survey Report Launched on 15 April 2021, examines how trade finance has evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic and highlights the role it can play in overcoming the social and economic fallout of the disease.

At the launch, the president of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah said a growing number of international banks were becoming even more reluctant to take on payment risks in countries where economic conditions were deteriorating.

“These massive capital outflows strained African banks, many of which recorded sharp drops in their net foreign assets. This further exacerbated liquidity constraints and undermined the capacity of banks to finance African trade,” he said.

The survey covers the first four months of 2020, including April, when global trade recorded its largest contraction on record. It aims to inform the design of interventions to address market challenges and effectively engage African financial institutions, trade finance intermediaries, regulatory authorities, and national authorities to accelerate efforts to bridge the region’s trade finance gap.

The report made numerous recommendations, including greater engagement between central banks and the industry, a push for increased digitalization and uptake of new technologies, and better data.

Despite the many challenges that came along with Covid-19, some opportunities also arose, the report noted. In fact, a few African countries’ economies showed strong resilience and expansion during the pandemic primarily due to their ability to be agile and to digitalize swiftly over the period.

To mitigate the significant outflows and mobilize for recovery, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, urged African leaders, especially Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers and development partners, to further support institutions such as Afreximbank through capital increases and deploy more resources towards Africa’s recovery.

Mervat Soltan, Chairperson and Managing Director at the Export Development Bank of Egypt, said the Bank had seen a significant increase in its digital services during the pandemic downturn. “Digitalization, which sustained business and trade growth during the pandemic, offers a great opportunity to help reduce costs and increase the use of trade finance facilities, and should become an integral part of the strategy to boost African trade post-Covid-19,” she added.

One way to boost African trade is through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa estimates can improve intra-Africa trade by over 50 percent. Bola Adesola, Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered, said the AfCFTA can provide an ideal platform to help drive new businesses on the continent, which will help accelerate trade.

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Economy

Customs Realises N446.1 Billion Revenue in Q1 2021

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Nigeria Customs Service

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) realised N466.1 billion in revenue in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, according to the latest data from the Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah.

The data showed NCS realised N157.6 billion in January; N138.9 billion in February and N169.4 billion in March 2021.

A further breakdown showed the agency generated N216.9 billion of the total amount from import duty, while N105.2 billion was realised as Customs VAT and N55.5 billion was generated as a non-federation accounts levies.

Another N50.8 billion was generated from federation account levies while N34.5 billion was gotten from excise duty as well as N2.8 billion from fees.

Similarly, the data showed that within the period under review, the service made a seizure of different contraband goods valued at N1,996,145,258.

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Economy

AfCFTA to Give Nigerian Businesses Access to $504.17 Billion African Market – CBN

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could give Nigerian businesses access to African markets worth $504.17 billion in goods when fully implemented.

Emefiele, who spoke at the Zenith Bank’s 2021 Export Seminar held virtually in Lagos on Tuesday, said an extra $162 billion in services will also come to the country.

He, therefore, encourage Nigerian firms to seize the AfCFTA opportunity and ensure the nation becomes a significant hub for international and domestic manufacturing companies seeking to serve the country.

I believe the AFCFTA will provide an opportunity for these young talented Nigerians to expand their services across the African region. Developing trade portals that could support instant sales of goods manufactured in Nigeria to consumers in other parts of Africa is one aspect that can help to support the creation of jobs in Nigeria and improve foreign exchange inflows for the country,” he said.

The CBN Boss said financial institutions in Nigeria are already playing a significant role in expanding across the continent.

I would like to encourage them to also leverage their presence in other parts of Africa, to support Nigerian businesses seeking to expand into new markets in Africa, by providing trade facilities to those with strong potentials for growth,” he said.

Emefiele added that the central bank has taken steps to improve productive capacity of businesses, which he said would enable them to take advantage of export opportunities in Africa.

Our intervention programs in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, are helping to enable businesses expand their scale of production, which is meeting growing domestic demand for goods, but also providing goods for the export market.

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