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AfCFTA: African leaders are launching the historic trade agreement today

The stage is set as Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders converge to launch the long-awaited African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) today, July 7 at the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of the Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres in Niamey, the Nigerien capital.

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AfCFTA

Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, and other African leaders will be launching the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) today, July 7. The launch will take place at the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of the Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres in Niamey, the Nigerien capital.

The landmark free trade agreement is expected to progressively eliminate tariffs among African Union members, creating the world’s largest free-trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. Also, other issues such as looming security and migration crises on the continent will be addressed.

The AFCTA is expected to bring together 55 countries into even though 23 countries have signed so far, with Nigeria, Eritrea, and Benin holding out.

President Muhammadu while receiving the AfCFTA report from the committee

[ALSO READ: Nigeria’s decision to sign the AfCFTA might be a grievous mistake]

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However, just like Nigeria, Benin has agreed to sign With the latest development, Eritrea becomes the loner yet to sign up to the deal.

The AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga, on Friday, disclosed that Benin had also declared that it will sign up on the same day that Nigeria does.

A brief into AFCTA: The official launch of the AfCFTA comes after 24 countries ratified the grand agreement to create a single market of over 1.2 billion people, which will open up markets with a combined GDP of $3 trillion, half of which is controlled by the continent’s biggest economies, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria. Note that Nigeria controls almost 75% of the ECOWAS sub region’s GDP.

Basically, there are eight regional economic blocs, four of which have Customs Unions. The AfCFTA is expected to leverage on these blocs, and finally create a Customs Union that attracts investors.

On the Agenda: Apart from trade barriers related issues, other items that will be addressed in the summit include the management of security situation in the region and migration crisis

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  • On the summit agenda is security. Basically, Summit host Niger has faced constant attacks by jihadist groups while has Nigeria has battled the Boko-Haram insurgency.
  • Also, members in the G5-Sahel (Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) security pact will reportedly seek backing at the AU summit to push for a greater UN security force to address the terror threat.
  • The countries hope to activate Chapter VII of the UN Charter that allows for the UN Security Council to determine a threat to peace and propose measures, including military deployment, to deal with it.
  • Also, African leaders are expected to discuss boosting intelligence cooperation and the global migration crisis.

Some outstanding issues: while AfCFTA is a great feat to celebrate, discussions on various key components remain outstanding. These include

  • An agreement on the critical schedules of rules of origin, tariff concessions and specific commitments in services under Phase I of the negotiations, which were expected to be concluded before the official launch.
  • Negotiations for protocols under Phase II which include Intellectual property rights, investment, and competition policy—are all outstanding and are expected to have been concluded for adoption by January 2021.
  • The Phase II negotiations are expected to address concerns about smuggling and tax evasion.

 

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Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Just in: NUPENG calls off strike for petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State

The disclosure was made in a series of tweet posts by the SSA to the Lagos State Governor.

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The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has called off the strike action of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) in Lagos State which started earlier today.

This is contained in the communique which was signed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Olateru Odusote and the Deputy National President of NUPENG, Solomon Kilanko, on Monday, August 10, 2020.

The disclosure was made in a series of tweet posts by the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on New Media, Jubril Gawat, through his official twitter handle.

Jubril disclosed that the state will set up a standing committee to discuss with the union on an ongoing basis to resolve the various issues as they arise. The state government will also review the timing restriction on movement of petroleum tankers within the next week.

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Details later…

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FMDQ says newly signed CAMA bill will make Nigeria a powerful destination of capital

The new Bill introduces some corporate legal innovations aimed at boosting the ease of doing business.

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AFEX to partner with FMDQ and Dubai Commodities Exchange

FMDQ Securities Exchange has revealed that the new Companies and Allied Matters Bill 2020, that was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, would reposition Nigeria as a powerful destination of capital.

The newly signed Companies and Allied Matters Act. 2020 bill, repeals and replaces the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990.

While making the disclosure in Lagos on Monday, August 10, 2020, the Group Chief Executive Officer of FMDQ, Bola Onadele, said the country’s financial market and the economy as a whole would receive the long-awaited boost to encourage economic development with the new CAMA.

READ MORE: President Buhari signs amended Companies Allied Matters bill

The new Bill introduces some corporate legal innovations aimed at boosting the ease of doing business in the country. Some of such innovation are reduction in filing fee and other reforms to encourage small and medium enterprises, provisions for the establishment of private companies with a single shareholder and limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships, among others.

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According to a report from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), FMDQ’s Onadele pointed out that the implementation of the new CAMA, would lead to a new wave of innovative developments in the Nigerian financial market and as well as improve the ease of doing business in the country.

Onadele said, ‘’With the increasing sophistication of the global financial markets comes the need for domestic markets to develop their architecture and infrastructures to support requisite advancement as well as align with international standards, and the new CAMA 2020 will position Nigeria and its capital market at par with its international counterparts.’’

“Chief of the several impactful provisions in the CAMA 2020, is the inclusion of netting and bankruptcy remoteness provisions which signal the birth of a new financial market in Nigeria.’’

“The CAMA 2020 commendably sets the tone for the actualisation of key innovations in the market, providing enabling legal backing for netting, bankruptcy remoteness and attendant regulatory frameworks for the smooth functioning of financial markets in Nigeria,” he said.

Going further, he said noted that these game-changing provisions would provide the remedy to critical legal deficiencies that were affecting the development of the financial markets.

Onadele disclosed that the netting provisions in the CAMA would address the credit risk challenges, operational and legal bottlenecks of gross settlement for spot and derivatives transactions.

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He said the derivatives market would enhance market liquidity, improve price discovery, reduce risk capital charges and transaction costs as well as increase financial markets stability.

READ: It costs more to ship through Apapa port than Ghana’s Tema port, others –SBM

Nairametrics had 3 days ago reported that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new Company and Allied Matters Bill 2020, which was recently passed by the National Assembly. The newly signed bill replaces the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 and introduced several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing the ease of doing business in the country.

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Nigeria to begin gold production in 2021 with the Segilola Gold Project

The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve.

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Nigeria to begin gold production in 2021 with the Segilola Gold Project, Nigeria to save $300 million from importation of barite 

Nigeria is set to commence gold production in 2021 after the launch of the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state. This was disclosed by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, while taking stock of his first year in office as Minister.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the project is expected to create about direct 400 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs along the gold value chain.

READ ALSO: Why Ajaokuta Cannot Make Steel

He added that once the project takes off, Nigeria would become a major gold producing country, a move that would hasten the diversification of the economy and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.

He noted that the government was creating an enabling environment across the gold value chain. According to him, “the international roadshows we have had in the past have borne fruits. Today we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project, which is projected to start producing in the first half of next year.”

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The minister also noted that the government has licenced two gold refineries to refine gold to the London Bullion Market Association, LBMA, standard.

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About the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Adegbite explained that the global travel restriction caused by the pandemic had prevented the technical experts from Russia from coming over to the plant to conduct an audit of the steel plant. He assured that this would be done as soon as the flight restriction was over, and there are hopes to revive the plant before the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.

Why it matters

The take-off of gold production in Nigeria is expected to open up an industry centred around gold production, from equipment leasing and repairs, logistic and transport. Note that gold requires a specialized means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators among others. These, according to Adegbite, would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs across the gold value chain.

READ ALSO: Mambilla Plant: FG disburses N700 million for power project

The minister further stated that Nigeria has mined, processed, and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI. The first batch of PAGMI gold was unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020.

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The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve after being purchased by the Central Bank.

“PAGMI will result in the creation of thousands of new mining and formalized jobs, leading to poverty alleviation for many households. Under the scheme, artisanal and small scale gold miners will earn more from higher productivity, better recovery rates through mechanization of operations, and better access to reliable geological information,” he said.

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