President Muhammadu Buhari has made an about turn regarding the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) act. The President expressed his willingness to sign the act while receiving his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa.
“I am very careful about what I sign, whether it is my cheque book or agreements especially when it involves nation states. I didn’t read it fast enough before my officials saw that it was all right for signature. I kept it on my table. I will soon sign it.”
In addition, he also stated that he had been hesitant in signing the law, so as to protect infant industries in the country.
“We are so populated and have so many young unemployed citizens and our industries are just coming up. So, in trying to guarantee employment, goods and services in our country, we have to be careful with agreements that will compete, maybe successfully, against our upcoming industries.”
Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun during the opening session of the Africa Export-Import bank (AFREXIM) Annual Meeting in Abuja had stated that the President had withheld his signature to enable widespread consultation.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) in March this year, approved the signing of the Act, but the President at the last minute declined to attend the African Union (AU) meeting in Kigali, Rwanda where this was to take place. 44 countries of the 55 that make up the AU have signed.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had also expressed opposition to the agreement, as the issues that they had were not adequately addressed.
Objectives of the AFCFTA
The objectives of the Act include:
- To create a single Market for Goods, Services, and Movement of Persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African Continent.
- Create a liberalised market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiations, contribute to the movement of capital and natural persons and facilitate investments building on the initiatives and developments in the State Parties and RECs.
- Lay the foundations for the establishment, at a later stage, a Continental Customs Union.
- Promote and attain sustainable and inclusive social and economic development and structural transformation of the State Parties.
- Enhance the competitiveness of the economies of State Parties within the continent and at the global market.
- Promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, Agricultural Development and Food Security.
- Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021
The CAC is prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.
This is coming after CAC had in November 2020, announced the implementation of new technology that will change the face of business registration including allowing customers to print their certificates with verifiable QR code from anywhere in the world.
This disclosure was made by the Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Abubakar, at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.
In order to achieve this target, the Registrar-General said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.
Abubakar noted that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.
He, however, pointed out that CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50% of its workforce.
While bidding farewell to Seriki, the Registrar-General said he received the news of his appointment with mixed feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.
In case you missed it
- The CAC recently announced the upgrade of its website and online registration portal to include features, which allow for the automation of some selected services and processes, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate of improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
- The selected services and processes include Electronic search of company records, Upgraded Companies Registration Portal for Pre-incorporation filings and Post incorporation filings.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it is now prioritizing the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of year 2021. pic.twitter.com/mMGjLN1JeS
— Corporate Affairs Commission (@cacnigeria1) April 11, 2021
DEAL: Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone raises $10m to scale its products and services
Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa.
Appzone a fintech software provider that builds proprietary solutions for financial institutions and their banking and payments services announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A investment.
The Series A round was led by CardinalStone Capital Advisers, a Lagos-based investment firm. Other investors include V8 Capital, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures. New York-based but Africa-focused firm Lateral Investment Partners also participated.
Founded in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone functions as an enabler (at payment rails and the core infrastructure) within banking and payments.
Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa. Together, they amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300million.
Before now, Appzone closed a $2 million deal from South African Business Connexion (BCX) in 2014. Four years later, it raised $2.5 million in convertible debt and bought back shares from BCX in the process. But overall, the company says it has raised $15 million in equity funding.
This new funding will be used to scale its products and services and expand across more African countries. The startup also plans to achieve scale by growing its engineering team.
What they are saying
Yomi Jemibewon, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers, said the firm’s investment in Appzone is further proof of Africa’s potential as the future hub of world-class technology.
“Appzone is building a disruptive fintech ecosystem that will be the backbone of Africa’s finance industry with products across payments, infrastructure, and software as a service. The impact of Appzone’s work is multifold — the company’s products deepen financial inclusion across the continent whilst providing best-fit and low-cost solutions to financial institutions. Its emphasis on premium talent also helps stem brain drain, rewarding Africa’s best brains with best-in-class employment opportunities.”
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Berger Paints Nigeria Plc reports a 67% decline in Profits in FY 2020.