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Nigeria’s decision to sign the AfCFTA might be a grievous mistake after all

@NGRPresident announced on Tuesday that it will finally become a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (#AfCFTA) after one year of delay, but the decision could backfire beyond measure.

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Q1 2020, AfCFTA, African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa Free Trade Agreement, Business new, Nairametrics news

The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Tuesday that it will finally become a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) after one year of delay.

This development comes after the President Buhari-led Government initially expressed an unwillingness to sign the agreement, given some factors which major stakeholders like Aliko Dangote, Abdul Samad, and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria worried could backfire against the country.

The President is now set to sign the deal on July 7, 2019, when African leaders meet in Niemey, Niger, for an Extraordinary Summit of the African Union.

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[READ ALSO: Dangote raises concerns over FG’s signing of AfCFTA]

Why the change of mind? President Muhammadu Buhari set up a panel in March to appraise the situation. The panel, which was led by Desmond Guobadia, reportedly gave a go-ahead for Nigeria to sign it, stating that, “Our reports show that, on balance, Nigeria should consider joining the AfCFTA”.

The Government also disclosed that after extensive domestic consultations, the decision was made to join the 52 out of 55 African countries backing the policy.

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Nigeria to sign AfCFTA, Countries that have signed AfCFTA

Nigeria’s President Munhammadu Buhari

Why Nigeria’s participation is vital: Nigeria is the largest market in Africa and the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of about 200 million citizens. Nigeria’s economy is a major contributor to Africa’s gross domestic product and economic growth with Lagos being one of the top ten largest economies in Africa.

Therefore, Nigeria presents viable market opportunities, a sizable customer base, and high purchasing power compared to other African countries that can boost exportation revenue for members of the AfCFTA.

[READ ALSO: BUA Group’s Chairman reveals the risk of Nigeria signing AfCFTA]

The benefit of the AfCFTA: The single market agenda was initiated to reduce barriers to trade through the removal of import duties and non-tariff barriers. This is expected to “stimulate intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, creating a 52 percent increase in trade by 2022; and a vital $10 billion decrease in imports from outside Africa.” African Development Bank (AfDB).

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Is Nigeria making a grievous mistake? Although the AfCFTA was created to promote a single market and free movement of goods among African countries, the deal might not augur well for Nigeria after all. Nigeria has porous borders, a situation that makes it easy for goods to be moved into the country without adequate checks. The AfCFTA could, therefore, make it easier for more goods to be dumped into the country going forward.

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Nigeria to sign AfCFTA, Countries that have signed AfCFTA, Nigeria's borders, Nigeria's port, Lilypond Terminal

Offloading and loading of containers at the port

  • Agreed, the AfCFTA was created to drive Made-in-Africa goods. However, there have been fears that some countries might collude with Western and Asian countries to smuggle in foreign goods and disguise as African made, thereby eroding the objective of AfCFTA. This is one of the factors that delayed Nigeria’s commitment to the single market agenda, and the panel warned of it, “The risk is that it will provide incentive for traders to disguise goods imported from outside the continent as made-in-Africa goods” the report says.
  • This move could also affect the Buy-Naija-To-Grow-Naira campaign in Nigeria. The country does not currently produce enough products and Nigerians are not totally sold on Made-in-Nigeria goods just yet. This is why opening the border for goods made in other parts of the continent could be a setback for local manufacturers.

[READ ALSO: Again, MAN warns FG against signing of AfCFTA]

  • Also, African countries are known for not always keeping to trade agreement like AfCFTA. In an interview in April, the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, had stated that the AfCFTA could end up like previous treaties that were largely futile trade-relationship. Rabiu stated that treaties like Ecowas Trade Labourisation Scheme (ETLS), has not benefited some businesses in Nigeria.
  • This is because other countries such as Benin Republic and Burkina Faso who are members of ETLS, do not allow the importation of some goods from Nigeria into their countries. According to Rabiu, if these member nations can restrict trade relations between Nigeria and their country, then a bigger treaty like the AfCFTA would hold no weight. Although Rabiu believes AfCFTA has its opportunities.

Dangote and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have all raised concern regarding the AfCFTA, because while Nigeria is a viable business option for growth for the African continent, Nigeria and other African countries could be an hostile business environment for Nigerian goods to thrive.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 3rd of December 2020, 343 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 68,303 confirmed cases.

On the 3rd of December 2020, 343 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.

To date, 68,303 cases have been confirmed, 64,291 cases have been discharged and 1,179 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 779,708 tests have been carried out as of December 3rd, 2020 compared to 756,237 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 3rd December 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 68,303
  • Total Number Discharged – 64,291
  • Total Deaths – 1,179
  • Total Tests Carried out – 779,708

According to the NCDC, the 343 new cases were reported from 14 states- FCT (123) Lagos (106) Kaduna (72) Nasarawa (14) Rivers(5), Bauchi (4), Imo (4), Ogun (4), Ekiti (3) Edo (2), Oyo (2), Plateau (2) Akwa Ibom (1) and Kano (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,545, followed by Abuja (6,991), Plateau (3,904), Oyo (3,730), Kaduna (3,245), Rivers (3,001), Edo (2,705), Ogun (2,237), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,799), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332),  Kwara (1,110), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,030), Osun (947), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (778), and Borno (745).

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Imo State has recorded 681 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (493), Bayelsa (456),  Ekiti (377), Akwa Ibom (340), Jigawa (331), Niger (298), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (166), Taraba (163), Yobe (100), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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Energy

Engineer Sanusi Garba assumes office as Chairman of NERC

The new NERC boss has assumed office today in an investiture event witnessed by other Commissioners of the Commission.

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Engineer Sanusi Garba, today, December 3, 2020, formally assumed office as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

This is according to the statement issued by the media team of the NERC via the official Twitter handle of the Commission.

Engineer Garba whose appointment was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday will be replacing Professor James Momoh, the outgoing chairman of the Commission.

Speaking at the handover ceremony today, the New Chairman of the Commission recognized the efforts and the hard work of Prof. Momoh and thanked the outgoing chairman for his contributions to the development of the Commission and the sector in general.

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However, Professor Momoh on his part pledged his continuous support to the Commission and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve the country.

What you should know

  • The new Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engineer Sanusi Garba is a seasoned professional in the Nigerian Energy Supply Industry (NESI), and also a top officer in the Commission.
  • Prior to his nomination as the Chairman of NERC, Garba served as the Vice Chairman of NERC, under the leadership of Prof. Momoh. He also served as the Chief Executive of Katsina Steel Rolling Co. Ltd and the Director (Power) in the Federal Ministry of Power with responsibility for the Generation, Transmission and Distribution aspects of the electricity industry.
  • He also served as Executive Director (Generation) at the Niger Delta Power Holding Co. Ltd during which he provided technical and commercial leadership for the efficient operation of seven (7) NIPP thermal power plants.
  • Engr Garba, who is a seasoned professional has served on many Federal Government Committees including the Presidential Committee on Power Sector Reform (2007/8) and the Presidential Task Force on Power (2009/10).

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu gifts families of slain police officers N10 million each

Governor Sanwo-Olu has compensated the families of slain police officers with the sum of N10 million each.

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Sanwo-Olu to stop pension for former governors, deputies, #EndSARS: Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to include Lekki toll gate incident – Sanwo-Olu, Lagos approves resumption of all classes in public, private schools, Lagos takes major step towards delivery of Fourth Mainland Bridge, Lagos to construct rail line to airport terminal for international passengers, COVID-19: Lagos State to begin curfew on Sunday to disinfect metropolis, Lagos state government discharges 7 more coronavirus patients, Lagos state will reverse to full lockdown, Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office, Lekki regional road: Sanwo-Olu revokes land titles of Elegushi Royal family, Lagos pays N1.3 billion into the RSA of 246 retirees, Lagos State to empower 2.5 million youths in Arts and Crafts

The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has brought respite to the families of police officers killed during the violence witnessed in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

According to the disclosure on the Twitter page of the Lagos State Government, the families were handed a cheque of N10 million each and the children of the slain officers awarded scholarships by the government.

What they are saying: Commenting on the recent development, a tweet by the Lagos State Government read thus: “Governor @jidesanwoolu handing over a cheque of 10 million naira each to the families of police officers who lost their lives during the unrest that followed the EndSARS protest and awarding scholarship to their children.’’

Why this matters: The recent effort by the Governor is in fulfillment of the promise he had earlier made to compensate affected victims of the post-EndSARS protest which led to the loss of lives and valuable properties both in the state and the country at large.

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The compensation will be viewed by serving officers as a motivation, aimed at promoting patriotism, loyalty, commitment and dedication to national service.

What you should know

  • Lagos State Government had earlier set up a N200 million fund for victims of police brutality
  • As a follow-up, Nairametrics had earlier reported that Lagos State Government offered scholarships to children of slain police officers.

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