Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, has urged Nigerian investors and business owners to harness and maximize the business opportunities that are inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
This will help boost intra-Africa trade beyond the current level of 17 percent as well as promote industrialization and the economic growth of the continent.
Wole Adeniyi, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, made the call at the African Continental Free Trade Area webinar organised by Stanbic IBTC themed: “AfCFTA State of Play: Understanding Potential and Maximising Opportunities for the Customer.”
Wole stated that multiple studies have shown that the increase in trade has a direct impact on reducing unemployment and poverty in societies, and noted that the AfCFTA agreement presents numerous trade opportunities that are both exciting and promising not just for the continent but specifically for the Nigerian market.
He emphasised Stanbic IBTC’s readiness to leverage the trade opportunities of the AfCFTA agreement to unlock business opportunities for its clients in the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector as well as its corporate clients.
While delivering his keynote address on the theme of the event, the guest speaker, Bamidele Ayemibo, lead consultant at 3T Impex Trade Academy, pointed out that with the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement, Africa has the opportunity of becoming the largest market in the world with a population of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.
Bamidele underscored that the goal of AfCFTA is to create a single market for Africa and encourage the free movement of goods and services thereby facilitating trade transactions.
He pointed out that Nigerian customers can take advantage of the non-sensitive list, the sensitive list and the exclusive list in the agreement while engaging in various trade transactions with other African countries.
According to him, out of about 5,000 Harmonised System (HS) codes or products in the world that fall under the non-sensitive list, 90 percent will be duty-free and Nigerian customers can take advantage of this.
He added that countries are allowed to liberalize their products under the sensitive list within a period of 10 years while the exclusive list enables countries not to liberalize their products in order to protect that sector of their economy.
Bamidele stressed that the Federal Government is currently developing a portal where Nigerian customers and investors can trade with other countries under the AfCFTA agreement.
He further explained that AfCFTA presents a huge potential for Nigerian manufactured products on the African continent because Nigeria produces about 90 percent of such products that are imported by other African countries.
While appreciating Stanbic IBTC for the bold step it has taken to educate its clients and investors about the benefits of AfCFTA, Ayemibo added that information enables agreements such as the AfCFTA to thrive, lamenting that previous agreements like the Ecowas Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) collapsed due to lack of adequate information.
He also added that with its vast footprint across Africa through Standard Bank Group, Stanbic IBTC can reach out to its numerous customers, educate them on the benefits of the AfCTFA agreement and facilitate their trade and investment requirements under the Agreement.
The African Continental Free Trade Area was created by the agreement that was first signed by 44 African states in March 2018. Nigeria signed the AfCFTA in July 2019 and deposited its instruments of ratification in December 2020 becoming the 34th African country to fully ratify the agreement.
Ethiopian Airline To Resume Flight To Enugu Oct. 1st
The Ethiopian Airline said on Sunday it would resume flights to Enugu as from Oct. 1, two years after it suspended flight to the South-Eastern state.
The airline’s General Manager, Shimeles Arage, who confirmed the proposed resumption in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, said that every week there would be a flight on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with B787 Dreamliner.
“Oct. 1 is Nigeria’s Independence Day and the flight to Enugu on that day will reinforce Ethiopian Airline good relations with Nigeria since the first flight to Nigeria in 1960,” he said.
Arage recalled that the airline stopped flights to Enugu in 2019 when the Nigerian aviation authorities closed the airport to refurbish the runway.
He said before the closure of the airport for runway repairs, Ethiopian was the only international airline flying to Enugu.
The airport was officially re-opened to domestic flights in 2020 and to international flights in Aug. 2021.
EFCC Chairman, Bawa Slumps in Abuja
The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, broke down while presenting his brief address and was rushed out of the banquet hall at the presidential villa on Thursday.
Bawa was offering his goodwill message at the National Identity Day celebration when he suddenly stopped speaking and asked to be excused.
“Please, excuse me, I can’t continue,” he said then walked off the stage before slumping on his chair and was eventually taken out.
Earlier, he mentioned that the EFCC was grieving the loss of a colleague.
He broke down while talking about a man the commission arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, with 116 SIM cards.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, and other senior officials at the event accompanied the EFCC boss as he was taken out of the hall.
The Master of Ceremonies later announced that Bawa’s condition was stable.
“I am happy to announce to you that the EFCC Chairman is now stable,” he said.
The minister, during his speech, also said that Bawa was stable but should be put in prayers.
Osinbajo to Represent Nigeria at ECOWAS Meeting in Accra Concerning Situation in Guinea
President Muhammadu Buhari would be represented by his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political situation in the Republic of Guinea today.
Prof. Osinbajo had participated last week at the previous ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the political situation in Guinea and Mali. That meeting was held virtually on the 8th of September.
The Authority decided then that Guinea be immediately suspended from all ECOWAS governing bodies and statutory meetings. ECOWAS leaders had also called for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Conde and other arrested persons; demanded the immediate return of Guinea to constitutional order; and decided to immediately dispatch a high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea to assess the situation.
The physical meeting taking place today will review the situation in Guinea in light of the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to Conakry.
The Vice President, who leaves Abuja this morning, would be accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and is expected back in Abuja later today.
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