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Nigeria Seeks Fair Trade as Buhari Signs AfCFTA

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  • Nigeria Seeks Fair Trade as Buhari Signs AfCFTA

Nigeria became the 53rd country to join the African Continental Free Trade Area on Sunday after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA Agreement in Niamey, Niger Republic.

The Republic of Benin also joined the group, bringing to 54, the total of African countries out of 55 that had endorsed the AfCFTA agreement. Only Eritrea is left out.

The Nigerian President appended his signature to the agreement at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on the Launch of the Operational Phase of the AfCFTA.

“A total of 26 African countries have deposited instruments of ratification, with Gabon being the latest after depositing her instrument of ratification during the Extraordinary Summit.

The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019, thirty days after having received the twenty-second instrument of ratification on 29th April 2019 in conformity with legal provision”, a State House statement by the Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said on Sunday.

But, speaking at the event in Niamey, Buhari noted that much as Nigeria supported free trade among the African countries, the trade must also be fair to all.

He said, “Nigeria wishes to emphasise that free trade must also be fair trade.

‘‘As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hard-working population.

‘‘I wish to assure you that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want.”

Buhari spoke in details on Nigeria’s position on the trade agreement, especially on how best to make it successful.

He stated, ‘‘I have just had the honour of signing the agreement establishing the AfCFTA on behalf of my country, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

‘‘This is coming over a year since the AfCFTA Agreement was opened for signature in Kigali, Rwanda, at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union, on 21st March 2018.

‘‘In fact, you will recall that the treaty establishing the African Economic Community was signed in Abuja in 1991.

‘‘We fully understand the potential of the AfCFTA to transform trade in Africa and contribute towards solving some of the continent’s challenges, whether security, economic or corruption.

‘‘But it is also clear to us that for AfCFTA to succeed, we need the full support and buy-in of our private sector and civil society stakeholders and the public in general.

‘‘It is against this background that we embarked on an extensive nationwide consultation and sensitisation programme of our domestic stakeholders on the AfCFTA.

‘‘Our consultations and assessments reaffirmed that the AfCFTA can be a platform for African manufacturers of goods and providers of service to construct regional value chains for made in Africa goods and services.

‘‘It was also obvious that we have a lot of work to do to prepare our nation to achieve our vision for intra-African trade which is the free movement of ‘made in Africa goods’ .”

‘‘Some of the critical challenges that we identified will require our collective action as a Union and we will be presenting them for consideration at the appropriate AfCFTA fora.

‘‘Examples are tackling injurious trade practices by third parties and attracting the investment we need to grow local manufacturing and service capacities.’’

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Segun Awolowo, has disclosed that 22 non-oil sector products have been identified by the Federal Government for export, worth about $30,000bn in earning yearly.

Awolowo, who spoke with State House Correspondents in Abuja, also said Nigeria could create as much as 500,000 new export-related jobs by belonging to the AfCFTA.

He named cocoa, cotton, cement, leather, cashew, Sesame, Shea butter, palm oil, fertiliser, petrochemicals, and rubber among other products to be exported in favour of Nigeria.

Awolowo added that Buhari had already been given a briefing on the products.

He explained, “What we hope to achieve is to raise more revenue for Nigeria from other sources. You know 90 per cent of our revenue is from oil and we cannot survive. Even though oil prices are rising a bit because of Iran, there is a problem there.

“But we should not rest on our oars because; those days of $140 per barrel are gone forever. So, we have to look inwards and produce more.

“The zero oil plan is about raising production and productivity. We identified 22 sectors where we can earn foreign exchange apart from oil. We are hoping that in the next 10-15 years, we will be able to raise $150bn from sources outside oil. That is what we are working on and we are galvanising the whole states behind us in order to raise production and productivity.

“We are working with the relevant ministries, departments and agencies to achieve this. You know the Central Bank of Nigeria just announced an initiative on five of our products and giving them low interest rates to farm and raise production.”

On the potential in cocoa, for example, Awolowo noted, “Cocoa is an immediate win for us because it’s been our number one non-oil revenue making. But we are on less than 300,000 metric tons; Ghana is heading to 900,000, and Cote d’ Ivoire is almost two million metric tons.

“So, how do we compete? Meanwhile, if you see the land mass in Nigeria, you can imagine what we can do. Another sector is Shea nut; cashew is another breadwinner for us, so let us raise production, let’s give our farmers, plantations low interest loan so that they can raise production for us. We are also looking at value addition for all because that is the way you create jobs, we cannot continue to sell the raw materials.”

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

Delta State Gov Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Budget for 2021

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Ifeanyi Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Proposed Budget for 2021

The Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday presented a N378.48 billion budget to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration for the 2021 fiscal year.

The budget christened “Budget of Recovery” appropriated N207.52 billion for Capital Expenditure while Recurrent Expenditure was allocated N171.32 billion.

According to the Governor, capital expenditure accounted for 54.76 percent of the budget while 45.24 percent represented recurrent expenditure.

He explained that the allocations were in line with his administration’s agenda of spending more on projects and programmes that would impact positively on the socio-economic well-being of the people of Delta.

The proposed budget for 2021 is N96.2 billion or 34.05 per cent more than the N282 billion approved for 2020.

The governor said that the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health, job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.

According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector while N35 billion is allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 10.93 billion and the regional sector, N42 billion.

“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on Road Infrastructure; N6.79 billion on Health; Education will gulp N23.55 billion; Agriculture, N2.04 billion and Water Sector, N1.83 billion.

“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 Billion and Youth Development, N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” Okowa said.

Okowa also explained that due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the world at large, government spending was significantly affected by the global pandemic and that Delta was no exception.

The governor, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.

“Overall, the proposed 2021 Budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.

“It also entails improving processes and systems in Public Financial Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”

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Economy

FG to Create 5 Million Jobs for Nigerian Youths in the Power Sector

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Federal Government Plans to Create 5 Million Jobs for Youths in the Power Sector

The Federal Government is working on creating at least 5 million jobs for Nigerian youths in the power sector, according to the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman.

The minister, who spoke at a stakeholder meeting in Jalingo, Taraba State, said the youths should foster peace and harmony as the Federal Government, in line with some of their demands, is working on creating massive job opportunities for them in the power sector.

He said the initiative is part of president Muhammadu Buhari’s plans to lift 100 million people out of poverty within 10 years.

Mamman explained that the youths will benefit from the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative as more opportunities will be available in renewable energy, installation and the maintenance of meters.

He said: “Plans are ongoing to kick start this and it is being designed to ensure that majority of the firms and the installers are Nigerian youths. This is also part of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s focus on lifting 100 million people out of poverty within 10 years.

“From the briefings I have received so far, the youths are taking up opportunities in this aspect as well as in renewable energy. This is another way the government will be empowering young Nigerians as the local assembly; installation and the maintenance of these meters are largely handled by our industrious youths.”

“The minister urged the youths to vigilant and resist and attempt by some people to use them to incite violence for their sinister motive, noting that the Federal Government was tailoring more programmes for the youths through the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative and in building capacity on renewable energy.”

“There is the assurance of Mr. President that Nigerians will be beneficiaries of the Siemens project which will turn around the power supply situation of Nigeria. When this happens, industries will be revived and SMEs driven by youths will thrive more.”

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Economy

Lagos Loses N1 Trillion to #EndSARS Protest, a Year Budget – Gov

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Lagos Needs N1 Trillion to Fix Vandalised Infrastructure, a Year Budget – Gov

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has puts the total economic cost of past week destruction and vandalism in the state at about N1 trillion.

Sanwo-olu, who spoke with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, that was on a fact-finding visit to Lagos on Sunday, said the state may spend up to N1 trillion to fix damages done to infrastructure.

Speaking on the situation, Femi Gbajabiamila, said “The House of Representatives will do all it can to compensate all those who suffered brutality including policemen that lost their lives in the process.

“Also whatever the house can do in rebuilding Lagos and other states it will do. We are now in a state of reconstruction. What must be done will be done.

“I learnt from the governor of Lagos State that it will take N1.0 trillion to rebuild what had been lost and I asked him what is the budget size of the state he said about N1.0 trillion. You can see we are moving backward.

Rotimi Akeredolu, Chairman of the South West Governors, who was part of the visit, stated, “We are indeed surprised at the extent of damage to lives and properties in Lagos. We will be right to say Lagos was turned into a war zone.

“We are deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, police stations and investments of our people have been burnt despite the proximity of security agencies to those areas. However, while responding to the total number of government’s buildings burnt among others,” Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, stated.

We are still counting. The state is still taking inventories of all that happened and not until all that is concluded we can’t not ascertained for now the total number of burnt structures. But I can tell you it’s very huge.

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