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NLC Meets on Govs’ N380/Litre Petrol Proposal Today, Experts Warn FG

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The Nigeria Labour Congress will today (Friday) come up with its position on the recommendation by governors that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, be raised from N162/litre to N408.5/litre.

A committee set up by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum had on Wednesday called for immediate removal of petrol subsidy. It recommended a petrol price of between and N380/litre and N408.5/litre.

However, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday advised the Federal Government to be tactful when removing petrol subsidy. They recommended that it be done gradually.

Also, officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation told our correspondent that the oil firm was awaiting the Federal Government’s position on the recommendation of the governors before it would adjust petrol price.

NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for more than three years running.

When contacted by our correspondent on Thursday for the position of the NLC on the latest recommendation of the governors as touching petrol price, the Deputy President, Joe Ajaero, replied, “Congress will come up with a position latest tomorrow (Friday).”

Officials of both the NLC and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers in separate exclusive interviews had last week argued that the continued imports of petrol by the NNPC was at the detriment of Nigeria’s refineries.

They also insisted that the government should fix Nigeria’s refineries and stop importing petrol to help halt subsidy and save funds for the country, as they opposed subsidy removal now.

Commenting on the matter, the President, ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, said in an interview that it would be painful to raise petrol price to N408/litre this time and called for gradual increment.

He said, “The subsidy removal can be staggered. They (government) can stagger it by either removing about 25 per cent in the first three months, another 25 per cent next, and so on. They can stagger it.

“But as they remove the subsidy people will also want to see the benefits coming.”

Abubakar said the ACCI was in support of subsidy removal, but stressed that the amount saved must be properly channeled into infrastructure development.

On his part, the Director-General, LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf, explained that the inevitability of the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector had not been in doubt.

He said given the huge financing gaps that existed at all levels of government, it was impossible to continue to sustain the subsidy regime, adding that the opportunity cost of petrol subsidy was huge.

Yusuf said, “But the transitioning process from a subsidy regime to a deregulated policy space calls for a strategy that is inclusive and socially sensitive.

“It is a tricky situation that demands tactful handling. It has profound social dimension. There is a strong economic argument, there is significant investment effect and there is a potential substantial political cost.”

The LCCI DG, however, noted that the bigger conversation should be around what should be done to mitigate the short term adverse social effect on the vulnerable segments of the society.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, told our correspondent that the oil firm would await the Federal Government’s position on the governors’ recommendation before changing petrol price.

He said, “We really cannot take a position on that now because we don’t want to pre-empt whatever government is going to decide and it is whatever the Federal Government decides that will come to play.

Obateru said the corporation was aware of the recommendation by the governors and admitted that petrol subsidy had truly been a burden on NNPC.

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.

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Economy

Intra-Regional Trade Potential a Key Focus in New Report

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A new focus report, produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG) in partnership with the African Economic Zones Organisation (AEZO), shines a spotlight on the continent’s rapidly developing industrial sector, which is poised to become a key driver of broader economic growth as regional integration increases.

Titled ”Economic Zones in Africa – Focus Report”, the report was launched at the AEZO’s 6th Annual Meeting II, which took place on November 25 at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat office in Ghana, with participants also able to attend remotely. The meeting was held under the banner “Connecting African Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to Global Value Chains at the era of the AfCFTA” and explored a range of topical issues relating to SEZs, from their potential to boost trade to the impact of Covid-19 on the continent’s supply chains.

The focus report examines the wealth of benefits that the AfCFTA is expected to deliver to both Africa’s economic zones and the businesses located in them, which range from greater market access to a reduction in trade barriers and lower production costs.

The disruption that the pandemic brought to supply chains and the opportunities emerging from the health crisis for businesses to become part of nascent regional value chains across a more closely connected continent are a key focus.

The report also charts the digital transformation taking place in many of Africa’s economic zones, as businesses make the move away from traditional segments to high-tech processes and digital services, adding value to their offerings in the process.

In addition, it provides in-depth analysis of the drive evident among many SEZs to put environmental, social and governance principles and sustainable business practices at the heart of their strategies, at a time when ethical investment and alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals are high on the global agenda.

The report includes in-depth case studies and viewpoints by representatives from key industry players namely: Tanger Med; Polaris Parks; Lagos Free Zones; Ghana Free Zones Authority; Misurata Free Zone; and Sebore Farms.

It also includes a contribution from Ahmed Bennis, Secretary General, AEZO, in which he highlights the role that SEZs are playing in the continent’s industrial transformation and the importance of supporting their development.

“Economic zones can play a game-changing role in Africa’s diversification and inclusion by providing end-to-end solutions and services that support industrial upgrades and increase countries’ attractiveness for investment,” he said. “With the implementation of AfCFTA and the post-Covid-19 recovery that the world is beginning to experience, we believe that real investment opportunities exist in Africa at this moment, which can translate into job creation and social and economic development. Africa has resources that need to be developed and economic zones can play a key role in this.”

Bernardo Bruzzone, OBG’s Regional Editor for Africa, added that while African economic zones had experienced production problems during the pandemic due to global supply chain disruptions, ongoing remedial action, including new infrastructure and human capital development, would help provide resilience against future external shocks.

“Africa’s real GDP growth is forecast to reach 3.4% in 2021, with an increase in intra-regional trade and improved connectivity among the facilitators of economic recovery,” Bruzzone said. “Looking ahead, we see economic zones as having a key role to play in helping the AfCFTA achieve its potential through the development of new strategies that will lead to a more diverse, higher-value range of exports.”

The study forms part of a series of tailored reports that OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including a range of country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.

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Lagos Budget N1.4 Trillion for 2022, Budget Surpasses Five Other Southwest States Combined

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Lagos state government has proposed N1.388 trillion budget for the year 2022. The proposed budget was presented to the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

While presenting the proposed budget, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State would be spending N325 billion on vital infrastructure projects in key sectors to energise and expand the growth of the State’s economy.

The key areas of growth identified by the Governor include Works and Infrastructure, Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy and Mineral Resources, Tourism, Entertainment and Creative Industry, Commerce and Industry, Wealth Creation and Employment.

The proposed budget, christened “Budget of Consolidation”, will be the last full-year fiscal plan of the State before the next general election.

About N823.4 billion, representing 59 per cent of the 2022 budget, is earmarked for capital expenditure. Recurrent expenditure, representing 41 per cent, is N565 billion, which includes personnel cost, overhead and debt services.

Of the total proposed expenditure, N1.135 trillion would accrue from Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs) and federal transfers, while deficit financing of N253 billion would be sourced from external and domestic loans, and bonds projected to be within the State’s fiscal sustainability parameters.

The State would be earmarking an aggregate of N137.64 billion, representing 9.92 per cent of the 2022 budget, for the funding of green investment in Environment, Social Protection, Housing and Community Amenities.

This financial proposal is presented with a sense of duty and absolute commitment to the transformation of Lagos to a preferred global destination for residence, commerce, and investment. The budget projects to see a continuing but gradual recovery to growth in economic activity as the global economy cautiously recovers from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic,” the governor said while presenting the budget to the house.

Meanwhile, the 1.388 trillion budgeted for 2022 is higher than the budget of the five other southwest states combined. For 2022, Ekiti State’s budget is 100.7 billion, Osun 129.7 billion, Ondo 191billion, Oyo 294 billion. Ogun’s budget for 2022 is not yet finalised, but going by their 2021 budget of 339 billion, the combined budget of the five South-West states then amount to 1.053 trillion. With this, Lagos state budget is higher than the five states budget with a difference of 335 billion.

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Nigeria’s Export Trade to Surpass $100 Billion by 2030 – Report

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New research conducted by the Standard Chartered Bank has predicted that Nigeria’s export trade will reach an amount of $112 billion in 2030, and will then be recording a Year-on-Year increase of 9.7 percent.

The research also led to the projection that India, Indonesia and Mainland China will be the major avenues leading to an increase in the country’s involvement in global trade.

The research is titled “Future of Trade 2030: Trends and Markets to Watch,” and also projected that the global exports trade will grow from $17.4 trillion and reach $29.7 trillion between 2021 and 2030. It was also projected that the trade will be largely moved by 13 markets, some of which are Bangladesh, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mainland China and Kenya. Others that will drive the trade are Nigeria, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The report added that the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa will have the biggest share of fast-growing markets in the future. It also said that these three regions will see an increase in investment flows, with about 82 percent of respondents in the research confirming their desire to bring up new production locations in these regions within the next five to ten years. This act would support the trend towards rebalancing to upcoming markets and greater risk diversification of supply chains.

The research also said that global trade will be revamped by five vital trends, which are the wider adoption of sustainable, fair-trade practices, demand for more inclusive participation, greater risk diversification, increased digitization and a rebalancing towards high-growth upcoming markets.

Close to 90 percent of the corporate leaders contacted for the study agreed that these five trends will shape the future of trade and form part of their five to ten-year expansion strategies across borders.

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