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Dangote raises concerns over FG’s signing of AfCFTA

Nigeria not against AfCFTA -Dangote

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Aliko Dangote

African business tycoon, Aliko Dangote has clarified that he’s not the one preventing the Federal Government from signing Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

While speaking in a panel session at the just concluded Africa Trade forum held in Lagos, the African richest man said he has no reason to prevent the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration from signing the AfCFTA.

According to him, the signing of the AfCFTA would be a plus to his company.

Dangote said: “I was in another forum recently and when the Ghanaian president was asked why the AfCFTA has not been signed by Nigeria and he pointed at me, he said they should ask me.

Dangote argued that Nigeria is not against the AfCFTA either, pointing out that the regional economic block needs to function properly before a continent-wide agreement can prosper.

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“We created the Economic Community of West African States in 1975, but today, it is not working. To take our cement to Ghana today, we pay 38 taxes: 13 in the Benin Republic, 15 in Togo and 10 in Ghana. These increases our cost by 28 per cent,” Dangote added.

The billionaire decried the neglect of critical stakeholders in other African countries in the build-up to the signing of the agreement.

Nairametrics had reported that President Buhari made an about turn regarding the signing of the 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.” The president was quoted.

Objectives of the AFCFTA

The objectives of the Act include:

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  • 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.

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Consumer Goods

Floods disrupt operations in Flour Mills’ Sugar Estate 

Heavy floods at Flour Mills’ Sunti Golden Sugar Estate has disrupted its operations.

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Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, 2018 FY: Flour Mills’ shareholders unanimously endorse N4.92 billion dividend , FMN redeems N1 billion pledge to CACOVID relief fund, donates $1.5 million worth of medical supplies

Sunti Golden Sugar Estate (SGSE), owned by Flour Mills, has suffered some disruptions to its operations as floodwater breached the Sugar Estate. 

This information was gathered by Nairametrics from a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the Company’s Secretary, Umolu Joseph A. O.  

The largest miller by market capitalization, explains that the floods were as a result of the long rainfalls recorded recently at the northern and central parts of the Niger basin, as the floods were triggered by severe downpours at the Sokoto Rima basin, and as a consequence, the Kainji and Jeba dams witnessed an upsurge in the lateral flow of water. 

The Management stated that SGSE has suffered some disruptions to operations, as the resulting high inflows in the downstream Niger River caused a breach to the extensive and properly designed dyke systems at Sunti Golden Sugar Estates (SGSE). 

This development is expected to delay the expansion project, geared towards increasing the area under cultivation to 4,000 hectares by mid-2021. 

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The Miller assures stakeholders, that there is no immediate threat to the earlier indicated earnings projections of FMN, as immediate safety protocols have been instituted to safeguard employees, property and equipment. Hence the breach is not foreseen to impact the overall performance of the Group. 

The company informs investors and other key stakeholders that the actual state of damage to the current sugarcane crop at Sunti, can only truly be assessed once the floodwater subsides, and ensures that it will release further details in due course as the need arises. 

Shares of Flour Mills at the end of the trading session on Friday closed at N21.50, and this is 6.70% higher than the market opening price for the day, 8.59% higher than the market opening price for the week, and 14.36% higher than the market opening price for the month. While the YTD gains stood at 9.14%. 

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Flour Mills shares are currently trading in the overbought zones, going with the agreement of Technical Momentum  Indicators, like the William Percentage Range, the Relative Strength Index and its stochastic variant, as the shares of the company are driven by strong fundamentals. 

In like manners, the company shares currently trade at 21.15x earnings per share (EPS), and 0.57x book value per share (BVPS), with a Market capitalization of N81.628 billion.  

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Hospitality & Travel

Aviation Unions threaten to shut airspace on Monday, as NLC insists on strike

All aviation workers are directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide on 28th September 2020.

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Major aviation unions in Nigeria have threatened to shut the nation’s airspace in support of the Organised Labour nationwide industrial action expected to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020.

The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals.

This was disclosed by the General Secretary of the National Union of Aviation Employees, Aba Ocheme, in a statement, according to Vanguard.

The unions reportedly asked their members to withdraw services from all aerodromes nationwide indefinitely.

He said, “As such all workers in the aviation sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide as from 00hrs of 28th September 2020 until otherwise communicated by the NLC/TUC or our unions. All workers shall comply.”

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Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday also insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.

In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

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Ugboaja explained that the NLC has asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2,000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.

Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.

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Business

It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic – Cheta Nwanze

Finding loans to finance rail to the Niger Republic would be difficult, says Cheta Nwanze.

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It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic- Cheta Nwanze

Cheta Nwanze, Lead Partner at socioeconomic research firm, SBM Intelligence, says that it would be difficult to find loan financiers for the proposed $1.9 billion rail project from Kano to Maradi in Niger republic.

Cheta, in an interview with Nairametrics on Friday, explained that it appears that Nigeria is more keen on the project than Niger Republic.

Back story: Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Executive Council has approved the disbursement of $1.96 billion, for the railway line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic.

According to the report, the President is also expected to commission the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo, and Delta States.

“Nigeria is investing so much in this rail line, given that we are Niger’s 4th largest trading partner,” Cheta said.

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He added that Niger, although being landlocked already, has an existing infrastructure for its imports and export services, which is much better utilized than Nigeria’s export infrastructure.

“The majority of their imports from France, China, and the USA come in via the port of Lome, precisely because the port in Lome works, and the rail link in Togo is much better than ours.

“Nigeria, on the other hand, has let its Apapa port to become a wreck, while transportation between Lagos and Kano/Jibia is a nightmare, if we’re being charitable with words.”

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(READ MORE: Trade and Investments, a way out of Nigeria’s economic troubles – Fola Fagbule)

According to him, with the reality of the Apapa congestion and other factors, finding fund for such project, when debt to service ratio is high and amidst reduced oil revenue, will be difficult.

“With these realities in mind, I find it difficult to imagine who will extend such a loan to Nigeria, especially since, as far as all the information available to me indicates, Niger does not seem as keen on pushing this as Nigeria does,” he added.

However, the media aide to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the Federal Government is not constructing a rail line from Nigeria linking Kano-Dutse-Maradi into the Niger Republic, as it will only stop at the designated border point.

Maradi is 55km from the Katsina border Town of Jibia.

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