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NESG Urged FG To Develop Industrial Policy for Manufacturing Sector

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The 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook report by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has urged the federal government to develop industrial policy and sectoral plans for priority areas as well as address the challenge of insecurity in the country.

The report disclosed that the manufacturing sector is one of the six sectors that have the potential to create jobs and reduce poverty.

The report also noted that for the sector to create jobs and reduce poverty, private investments would play a major role.

It further explained that from recent happenings, actual investments in manufacturing are realised when there is an intersection of market opportunities and government support. It maintained that Nigeria’s reliance on imports, its large market and the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement present a huge opportunity for investment in the manufacturing sector, especially in agro-processing and light manufacturing.

Also, the report noted that Nigeria’s manufacturing sector faced several challenges even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

It posited that prior to the pandemic, the sector had suffered mainly from the closure of land borders in September 2019, which reduced informal exports and indirectly affected several manufacturing outfits in Aba, Kano and Lagos.

The report stated that perennial problems of power supply, logistics bottlenecks, infrastructure deficits, limited access to credit, foreign exchange scarcity have continuously affected the sector’s performance over time.

It added: “The growth of the manufacturing sector has been stagnant (average growth of -0.6% from 2015 to 2019) while capacity utilisation has remained low.

“The manufacturing sector is made up of 13 subsectors, including oil refining; cement; food, beverage and tobacco; textile, apparel and footwear; wood and wood products; pulp, paper and paper products; chemical and pharmaceutical products; non-metallic products; plastic and rubber products; electrical and electronics; basic metal, iron and steel; motor vehicles and assembly and other manufacturing.”

According to the report: “The sector is dominated by informal players that are mostly micro, small, and medium enterprises.

“Manufacturing is Nigeria’s third-largest sector in terms of employment, after agriculture and trade, but the poor quality of infrastructure remains the longest standing problem of the sector in Nigeria and contributes to the high cost of production.

“Bad road networks and inadequate electricity supply also make it difficult for businesses to maximise returns and limit operations costs in the sector.

“However, Nigeria has numerous favourable conditions for investment, especially in its manufacturing sector.

“Some of these conditions include large arable land, strategic location in Africa and large market and opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

“Developing Nigeria’s manufacturing sector is the solution to Nigeria’s foreign exchange problems as the sector has the potential to create jobs and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty if the government addresses the current challenges.

“Already, there are several initiatives and interventions in the manufacturing sector, ranging from import restrictions to the establishment of 43 export processing zones which are currently at different stages of development, according to the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority.”

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Economy

Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Begins Full Operations of Lagos-Ibadan Train, Releases Timetable

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

The newly completed Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge railway service from Lagos to Ibadan will commence full operations on Tuesday, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).

The management of NRC disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr. Jerry Oche in Lagos on Sunday.

According to Oche, the Lagos Ibadan Train Services will henceforth be available in the morning.

He said “The updated timetable for Tuesday to Friday is as follows: Lagos to Ibadan: 8:00 a:m from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alogo megi Ebute – Meta Lagos. Also, the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:00 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.

“The train will take off from Lagos to Ibadan: 4:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station Alagomji, while from Ibadan to Lagos: 4:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.

“The standard gauge train schedule on Saturday from Lagos to Ibadan: 8:30 am from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomeji while the train will leave from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:30 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.

“For Saturday evening from Lagos to Ibadan: 6:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomji, while the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 6:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya,” Oche said.

He added that the Alagomeji, Abeokuta, and Moniya were still the stop stations of the Lagos Ibadan Train Services

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MyOffice to Supply 220 Million Rubles Worth of Licenses to Republic of Burundi

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Myoffice software - Investors King

MyOffice, a Russian developer of office software for document collaboration and communication, announced the expansion of cooperation with the Republic of Burundi.  MyOffice distribution partner in Africa, Independence.digital, and INGO Tech s.a.r.l., a Burundian IT company and integrator, have signed a contract, under which Russian office software licenses worth about 220 million rubles ($3 million) will be supplied.

This news was reported by Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice, at Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2021.

In accordance with the contract, over the course of five years, the customer will receive MyOffice Standard and MyOffice Professional licenses, depending on their needs. The purchased office software will be installed on the national servers of the Republic of Burundi. The purchase of Russian software will help bolster the digital independence of the country and organize the secure storage of electronic documents and files. At the same time, full control over user data will be ensured.

MyOffice has been ramping up business relations with the Republic since 2019, when the company announced at the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum that it would supply 300 licenses of MyOffice Professional to the Government of Burundi. At the time, it was the first international contract for the Russian developer.

“The Republic of Burundi has been successfully using Russian software for two years now. Several top government officials have been trained at a certified training center in Russia and have mastered the office software. The decision to expand cooperation was made in the wake of the positive experience of using Russian office software and our high evaluation of its reliability,” said Rossalyn Kamariza, CEO of INGO Tech.

“The digitalization of the African countries is progressing by leaps and bounds and has a direct impact on their economic well-being. According to the estimates of independent analytical agencies, fast-paced implementation of modern technological products will cause the GDP of the region to grow by $148–318 billion by 2025,” stated Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice.

“Our contract for the supply of MyOffice software shows that the government of the Republic of Burundi not only cares about the economic development of its country, but also pays great attention to the security of the digital solutions it uses. In turn, for MyOffice, this commercial delivery during the pandemic, with many international processes slowed down, is an important milestone in bolstering its position on the global market and a spectacular example of the high export potential of Russian IT solutions.”

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Cuba’s Central Bank Suspends US Dollar Deposits Nationwide

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Cuba, the island country located where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet, said this week U.S. dollars will be suspended in the country.

The mandate comes from the country’s central bank and foreign tourists have been told to leave U.S. dollars at home when visiting. The announcement was invoked at a roundtable discussion that was aired on state-sponsored Cuban television.

“In view of the obstacles that the U.S. embargo creates for the national bank system to deposit abroad the U.S. dollars that are collected in the country, a decision was made to temporarily suspend deposits in U.S. banknotes in Cuba’s bank and financial system,” the Central Bank of Cuba (Banco Central de Cuba, BCC) members said.

Yamilé Berra Cires, the vice president of the BCC, explained during the roundtable discussion that at the beginning of the Trump administration’s leadership, the U.S. tightened the embargo’s grip. The United States has had an embargo with Cuba since 1958 and the U.S. has had numerous issues with Cuba during the Eisenhower presidency and Kennedy presidency as well. After the 2008 crisis, the U.S. and Cuba seemed to gravitate toward friendlier terms during the Obama presidency.

However, BCC vice president Berra Cires claims issues have gotten worse since Trump and said 24 foreign banks stopped dealing with Cuba. Berra Cires also said during the roundtable discussion that 95 foreign financial institutions reported on the transgressions of Cuban national banks doing business with counterparties. “It is ever more difficult for Cuba to find international banking or financing institutions willing to receive, convert or process U.S. currency in cash,” Berra Cires further remarked.

“People who will be coming into the country during this time will have to arrive with a currency other than the dollar,” Francisco Mayobre Lence the BCC’s first vice president said.

Of course, after hearing about the USD ban in Cuba, members of the cryptocurrency community wanted Cuba to adopt digital currencies like El Salvador recently did with bitcoin. “It’s like [a] 50-year embargo. It’s really depressing,” one individual wrote about the Cuba situation with America on Reddit. “Will they take crypto now?” another Redditor asked in the r/cryptocurrency thread. Another crypto enthusiast responded to the question and said:

I doubt they want to be the last Latin American country to do so.

Minister-president of the Cuban central bank, Marta Sabina Wilson González explained during the roundtable discussion that Cuba had no choice but to make the decision. “We had no choice but to take this measure, which we are explaining at the Round Table, as we always do when it is a measure that affects the people, who will understand that there is no other option,” the minister detailed.

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