The recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria, banning the importation of maize, has been described as ill-timed, with potential negative consequences for Nigeria’s poultry sector. The apex bank had on July 13 restricted access for importation of maize through the official CBN forex window. It hinged its decision on the need ‘to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase jobs which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.’
However, Dr. Ikechukwu Kelikume, the Programme Director of the Lagos Business School Agribusiness programme, stated that the policy could further compound the woes of poultry farmers given that maize, which constitutes over 50 per cent of poultry feed content is currently very scarce, and where available, is very expensive, even as the price keeps rising.
Although admitting that the CBN’s earlier policies of Agric, Small and Medium enterprise scheme and the Anchor Borrowers Programme have been largely successful, he opined that the current decision to discontinue the processing of Form M for the importation of Maize could reverse the gains of those interventions.
On the consequences of the CBN directive, Kelikume said: “The situation spells doom for poultry farmers across the country who are beginning to cut down on production because of the high cost of feed and imported medication for the birds. A negative spillover effect of the high cost of feed is the scarcity of eggs and a consequent rise in its price across the country. The implications of the current challenges in the maize value chain are that the gains of employing more people in the agricultural sector will be rolled back in the coming months.”
He added: “As it stands, there is no alternative for the poultry farmers, as the poultry sector will face a catastrophic shortage of feeds, a critical input in their business. This situation will render tens of thousands of them unemployed and undo all the gains made by this sector in the past five years. Thousands of poultry businesses will shut down in the face of high operating costs, leaving business owners and their employees without a means of livelihood.”
The University Don stated that the apex bank’s decision to ban maize importation was too abrupt, urging the CBN to reverse the decision. “As a matter of necessity, the CBN’s decision to discontinue the processing of Form M for the importation of Maize/Corn must be revisited. It is expedient at this time for the Central Bank to allow importers of Maize to import it through the CBN Foreign exchange window, to close the gap in maize shortage while preparing for a phased discontinuation of maize importation in the country,” he said.
He estimates the current shortfall in the maize value chain to be around 100,000 metric tons, which translates to an import bill of less than $20 million, describing that as a negligible import burden, even in the current tight foreign exchange situation, and a small price to pay to salvage the poultry sector.
The LBS Agribusiness Programme Director further counselled: “The time to act is now. The government must put its mechanism in place to import Maize into the country as a temporary measure to plug the pending scarcity that is imminent in the last quarter of the year 2020. Nigeria has a high production potential for maize. Notwithstanding, the current challenge is that the production and supply bottlenecks in the sector have first to be checkmated for any meaningful import restriction measure to be effective.”
We are ready to see AfCFTA succeed and invest in Key Infrastructure Projects – Abdul Samad Rabiu
BUA Group boss expressed optimism in the implementation of AfCFTA as he meets with the AfCFTA Secretary-General in Lagos.
The Executive Chairman/CEO, BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu has expressed excitement and readiness to work towards the implementation and success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement which when fully operational, will transform the African economy and enhance development across the continent. Abdul Samad Rabiu expressed this while receiving the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene and the Acting Director, National Office of Trade Negotiations, Victor Offiong at the BUA HQ in Lagos State.
Rabiu spoke in depth about the current status of regional agreements from the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) to the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union, dumping, Proliferation of small arms and illicit, Smuggling, the Trans-African highway and Private sector/African Union/government partnerships – noting that these areas were critical to the success of the AfCFTA.
He specifically said due to the poor implementation of regional trade agreements, there is a high level of distrust amongst Africa nations despite their support for AfCFTA. He expressed serious concern over “a situation where people cannot move goods produced in African countries where over 90% value has been added to other African Countries”.
In proffering solutions to the problems, Rabiu said for the AfCFTA integration to be successful, there must be free movement through liberalized air travel, operations, and visa-free regimes across the Africa continent for businesses and individuals. He also emphasized that Private Sector must be invited by the Governments of Africa to discuss the way forward for sustainable investments and partnerships noting that the private sector has a lot to offer the continent saying, “For cross border trade to work, everyone – governments, private sector and DFIs must be willing to collaborate fast to fix infrastructure to spur growth. BUA is interested in being part of these effort and we also urge the secretariat to look into a private-sector led development of the Trans African Highway.”
“I am personally ready to mobilize like-minded businesses across the continent with the resources required (steel, cement, etc.) to do these roads at a concession and guaranteed by sovereign African nations. This can be done by the private sector with support from governments and the DFIs. Why don’t we for example partner with various governments and engage the Special Envoy for Infrastructure in Africa, H.E. Ralia Odinga and take the Mombasa – Lagos Highway into consideration. The Lagos-Mombasa Highway 8 is about 6,259kms or 3880miles and is contiguous with the Dakar – Lagos Route. If these roads are actualized, imagine the number of jobs that will be created as well as the amount of trade that will be facilitated as a result.
“We are more than excited about the possibilities of the Free Trade Agreement for us, Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa – now more than ever. The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, if actualized and harnessed properly, will help spur development and trade within Africa like we have never witnessed before”. Rabiu said.
On his part, the Secretary-General AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene said the issues raised by Abdul Samad Rabiu were top priorities of the AfCFTA and added that opportunities will be created for the Africa private sector to boost intra-Africa trade.
“It is also my pleasure to congratulate you on your appointment and on the opening of the AfCFTA secretariat last month in Ghana. I believe the secretariat will further help to facilitate the prompt actualization of the AfCFTA vision.
“As you may already know, BUA is in the business of Foods, Mining, Manufacturing and infrastructure. The Fact that our manufacturing and mining businesses are mostly located in areas that are potentially primed for exports makes the continental free trade area attractive for us here at BUA. For instance, our Cement business in Sokoto, Nigeria is about 1,000kilometres to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and less than a 100kms from the border with Niger Republic, and also our upcoming project in Adamawa is situated at a border town in Adamawa – very close to the Cameroonian border. We are already doing some exports and are putting up a third line in sokoto with at least 70% of its output to be dedicated to Niger Republic & Burkina Faso. Based on these, we are therefore well positioned to take advantage of the agreement and this will also help drive the AfCFTA vision.
“However, for the agreement to succeed, we believe a lot needs to be done and addressed. These include: THE STATUS OF CURRENT REGIONAL AGREEMENTS – FOR EXAMPLE, ETLS, EAC Customs Union, MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE WITHIN THE CONTINENT, DUMPING, PROLIFERATION OF SMALL ARMS AND ILLICIT DRUGS, SMUGGLING, THE TRANS AFRICAN HIGHWAY, PRIVATE SECTOR/AU/GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS.
“Mr. Secretary General, I am sure you are well aware that there’s still a high level of distrust despite the overwhelming support for the AfCFTA. One of the causes has been the poor implementation of previous agreements for example, the ETLS – The ECOWAS TRADE LIBERALISATION SCHEME and the EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY
A situation where people cannot move goods produced in African countries where over 90% value has been added to other African Countries is a cause of concern.
“How do we intend to address these issues? What is the Status of these regional agreements scheme going into the AfCFTA and how do we fix the issues that have beset it especially with regards to free movement of goods and services, tariffs amongst other things.
“For integration to be successful, we must facilitate free movement via liberalized air travel, operations, and visa-free regimes across the continent for businesses and individuals. Currently, it is more tedious to travel within Africa than from Europe to Africa. This is not the best for business or for integration.
“The current situation where an Australian or Euopean can easily enter an African Country unlike an African gives great cause for concern. As it currently stands, only 25% of Africans can travel visa-free to other African countries whilst another 20% can get visas on arrival. We understand that there are still pending issues with security amongst other things but the Free Movement Protocol of the AfCFTA needs to be pushed with renewed vigor
“The lessons learnt from operating the current regional economic blocs are some of the biggest hindrances to the full acceptance of the CFTA. For instance… Nigeria with its huge population and large economy is a prime target for dumping from smaller neighboring countries however, these same countries do not permit the importation of some 100% produced in Nigerian goods whilst flooding Nigeria with goods/food imported from outside Africa. How do we protect import dependent states and those with high populations from Dumping?
“We understand the need to protect smaller nations and boost fair trade however, measures must be put in place to prevent dumping and promote made in Africa by Africans for Africa trade rather than the current scenario whereby certain countries take advantage of these policies.
“In Nigeria for instance, we have seen it happen with rice and cheap imports from other countries being smuggled and dumped into the country. AfCFTA negotiations must take these into account. The final agreement should be crafted in ways to prevent goods produced and imported from outside Africa (above national consumption needs) benefitting from the pacts. This will in turn prevent the larger countries and the continent from becoming dumping grounds and make smaller countries with value on offer to be less protectionist in nature.
PROLIFERATION OF SMALL ARMS & ILLICIT DRUGS, AND SMUGGLING
Whilst I am in support of liberalizing the free movement of persons across the continent, it is important to acknowledge the security challenges we face from the proliferation of small arms and illicit drugs. This was one of the main issues I believe led Nigeria to close its borders with its neighbors. I daresay that the proliferation of arm, drugs, and smuggling go hand-in-hand. Both are crimes against economic, physical and territorial integrity and security of African Nations. More needs to be done in this regard.
PRIVATE SECTOR AU PARTNERSHIP & THE TRANSAFRICA HIGHWAY
On private sector involvement, It is our opinion that the Private Sector should be invited by the Governments of Africa and the Secretariat to discuss the way forward for sustainable investments and partnerships.
For cross border trade to work, everyone – governments, private sector and DFIs must be willing to collaborate fast to fix infrastructure to spur growth. BUA is interested in being part of a coalition that we urge the secretariat to put together on the development of the Trans African Highway, for instance.
As we all know, the Trans African Highway is a 56,600km road network conceived about 50 years ago to develop infrastructure and connect major African cities from North to South and East to West across 9 highways.
Why don’t we for example partner with various governments and engage the Special Envoy for Infrastructure in Africa, H.E. Ralia Odinga and take the Mombasa – Lagos Highway into consideration. The Lagos-Mombasa Highway 8 is about 6,259kms or 3880miles and is contiguous with the Dakar – Lagos Route.
“I am personally ready to mobilise like-minded businesses across the continent with the resources required (steel, cement, etc.) to do these roads at a concession and guaranteed by sovereign African nations. This can be done with the private sector with support from governments and the DFIs.
“If those roads are actualized, imagine the number of jobs that will be created as well as the amount of trade that will be facilitated as a result.
“We are more than excited about the possibilities of the Free Trade Agreement for us, Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa – now more than ever. The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, if actualized and harnessed properly, will help spur development and trade within Africa like we have never witnessed before.
BUA is ready to partner with the secretariat… we are ready to pool our resources to see the continent succeed.
Oando joins other multinationals to pledge support for multilateralism as the UN turns 75
Oando Joins Microsoft, Unilever, Coca-Cola, HSBC, Total to Pledge Support for Multilateralism as the United Nations Turns 75.
Oando PLC, Nigeria’s leading indigenous energy solutions provider, endorsed and celebrated the United Nations’ (UN) 75th anniversary by joining over 1,250 business leaders from more than 100 countries, to pledge support for the UN and inclusive multilateralism Statement for Renewed Global Cooperation.
Oando who was the only indigenous Nigerian oil and gas company along with signatories to the Statement including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Nokia, PwC, L’Oréal amongst others, committed to further enhancing corporate governance, modeling ethical leadership, and tackling systemic inequalities as well as injustices in the world. The business leaders expressed a renewed global cooperation among public and private entities to strengthen institutions as well as laws and systems, nationally and internationally. They are also committed to demonstrating accountability and conducting business in an ethical, inclusive transparent manner.
The Statement of support was presented to UN Secretary-General, António Guterres by Sanda Ojiambo, the CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, at the opening of the Private Sector Forum on the sidelines of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly.
Commenting, Sanda Ojiambo said, “The Statement is a resounding endorsement of inclusive multilateralism. In no uncertain terms, it says that cooperation must cross borders, sectors and generations for us to adapt to changing circumstances. In the course of just one month after we issued the Statement, it has been signed by 1,294 CEOs from large, medium and small enterprises in virtually every industry and region. We deeply appreciate their commitment to global cooperation at a pivotal time for the UN and the world at large.”
The statement endorsed by CEOs states: “We, the business people, recognize that peace, justice and strong institutions are beneficial to the long-term viability of our organizations and are foundational for upholding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now is our opportunity to learn from our collective experiences to realign behind the mission of the UN and steer our world onto a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable path. We are in this together — and we are united in the business of a better world.”
Commenting, Ms. Jagun Ayotola Jagun, Chief Compliance Officer, Oando PLC, said; “Governments are under a lot of pressure financially to be able to deliver on the SDGs. The private sector also needs to take center stage and responsibility to support the realization of the SDGs. Businesses today must pivot; they can no longer be only about the bottom line. They must show compassion in how they conduct business to create a positive multiplier effect. At Oando, we are intentional about how we think and act as a business, our goal – ensuring that in everything we do we can positively impact people, the community, environment and planet.”
Oando was one of the 13 Nigerian companies to sign the Statement, testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to actualizing the SDGs and the company’s strong belief that the Government cannot do it alone. Oando’s commitment to the realization of the SDGs is rooted in its policies, practices and operations. Notable amongst these are SDG 4 & 5 on Education and gender equality respectively. Through Oando Foundation, the company’s independent charity, Oando is are focused on creating a sustainable and successful educational system in Nigeria via the holistic improvement of learning environments in primary schools.
This is done through the Foundation’s flagship and innovative programme – the Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI). Today, the Foundation has adopted 88 public primary schools across Nigeria, supporting over 200,000 students, enrolled over 60,000 Out of School Children, trained 5,000+ teachers, carried out infrastructure rehabilitation on 54 schools and established 39 digital learning centers. Oando Foundation prioritizes the girl child in its scholar selection and award process, to date 618 female beneficiaries representing 55% of total scholars on the scheme as well as a Code Club for Girls. The Foundation also supports safe spaces for the girl child in local communities as an active member of the Safe Spaces Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Girl Hub Nigeria (GHN) and the Population Council Commission.
Oando is also a big proponent of Goal 16 for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. The company is the only Nigerian participant, in the Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (“Action Platform”) alongside the likes of Anglo-American, APCO Worldwide, Enel, Leonardo, Linklaters, LRN Corporation, Baker McKenzie, L’Oreal, Nestle RELX, Safaricom, Sumitomo Chemical, Thomson Reuters and White & Case.
Aligned with the ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals – specifically, Goal 16 – the Action Platform provides a forum for policy dialogue between Governments, businesses, the UN and civil society that results in concrete action towards improving accountability, integrity and transparency within businesses and the countries where they operate.
In 2019, Oando partnered with Accountability Lab, an advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), focused on establishing change-makers to develop and implement positive ideas that promote integrity within their communities to champion an initiative called the SDG 16 Innovation Challenge Nigeria. The SDG 16 Innovation Challenge is an initiative in the form of a competition to find creative solutions for justice in Nigeria. The competition is targeted at young men and women between the ages of 15 – 35 years tasked with developing ideas, building skills and connecting with like-minded peers working towards a shared goal of strengthening accountability, the rule of law and access to justice for Nigerians.
The 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and CEOs Statement comes at a time of unprecedented disruption and global transformation, serving as a stark reminder that international cooperation must be mobilized across borders, sectors and generations to adapt to changing circumstances. In the spirit of renewed global cooperation, public and private institutions need to show they are accountable, ethical, inclusive and transparent.
EFG Hermes kicks off second Virtual Investor Conference
EFG Hermes has kicked off the second edition of its Virtual Investor Conference.
Sequel to the success recorded in the first virtual conference in June, 2020, the 2nd EFG Hermes Virtual Investor Conference has been inaugurated on September 23, 2020 and set to run through to October 1, 2020, with an even greater and more diverse turnout in view.
At least 157 companies from 25 countries around the world, with more than 650 institutional investors from 240 global institutions managing assets in excess of USD 17 trillion are expected. The information is contained in a press release and seen by Nairametrics was signed by Bola Adekoya-Olukuewu (EFG, Media Executive).
Recall that earlier in June 2020, EFG Hermes hosted its first Virtual Investor Conference. The highlight of the first meeting includes; recording more than 6,500 meetings, bringing together executives from 72 companies from 14 countries with 480 institutional investors representing 160 institutions managing assets in excess of USD 15 trillion.
Commenting on the expectations of the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer of EFG Hermes Holding, Karim Awad said, “This second iteration of our highly successful Virtual Investor Conference features an even larger and more diverse group of participants as FEM markets begin to open up after being roiled by the COVID-19 crisis. With access to some of the most attractive investment opportunities across vital sectors in FEM markets, institutional investors from around the world will participate in a platform where they’ll be gaining key macroeconomic and industry insights that will shape the way forward through the unprecedented circumstances global markets are facing.”
“Having ridden out the worst of the initial economic storm, investors are looking to us for insights on the way forward for FEMs. With equity and debt flows on their way to recovery, investor appetite for the markets remains. In saying this, stimulus measures that prevented financial meltdowns at the start of the crisis could set markets up to face debt-accumulation challenges. At the same time, they’re bracing for the ever-present threat of a second wave of a virus that saw governments and central banks up spending and slashes interest rates in the face of throttled consumer demand and investment. Our aim with the Virtual Investor Conference is to provide participants with pertinent and first-hand insights from the international players moving markets and direct investment into these compelling FEM economies,” said Mohamed Ebeid, co-CEO of the Investment Bank at EFG Hermes.
About EFG Hermes
EFG Hermes has a presence in twelve countries across four continents of the world with over 35 years of successful operation. The firm started in Egypt and has grown to become a leading financial services corporation with access to emerging and frontier markets. It provides a wide range of financial services that include investment banking, asset management, securities brokerage, research, and private equity to the entire MENA region.
In 2015, EFG Hermes launched the NBFI Platform. EFG Hermes Finance, overlooks activities in the non-banking finance field through leasing, microfinance, Fintech, factoring, mortgage, insurance and e-payments. This falls in line with the Firm’s strategy to focus on two main pillars: product diversification and geographic expansion into non-MENA markets, which has seen the Firm, establish a physical presence in Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and the United States.