Adopting a Restrictive Rule of Origin will not allow the Nigerian manufacturing industry enjoy the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This is according to Peter Lunenborg, the Senior Program Officer at South Centre.
According to him, most sectors in the industry still source the bulk of their raw materials and expertise from outside the continent.
Speaking at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) webinar themed “AfCFTA Rule Of Origin: Implication For Growth Of Manufacturing Sector,” Lunenborg noted that while restrictive rules of origin are the best for wealth creation, the African continent cannot afford to toe that path just yet.
“It needs to be flexible because so far, most of the things produced here still require some input from foreign countries, in form of raw material or technology or expertise. For instance, Nigeria imports half of the wheat used for its flour manufacturing from the United States, because Africa has a huge supply deficit,” he said.
Why this matters
One of the objectives of the AfCFTA is to promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, Agricultural Development, and Food Security. AfCFTA also aims to create a single market for goods, services, and movement of persons within the African continent.
One of the ways of achieving this is removing duties and taxes from goods produced within the continent.
However, with many of the manufacturing companies sourcing a bulk of their raw materials externally, a restrictive rule of origin will not let the local industries to fully reap the benefits of the Free Trade Area.
Lunenborg explained that this is the reason for adopting a flexible rule of origin so that local companies that source a minimum 40% of their raw materials locally can be qualified as originating and given the benefits.
Adopting a flexible RoO first is a trade-off where the country gives up some benefits so that local manufacturers can benefit from the arrangement at the level they are.
Reaping AfCFTA’s benefits
Aissata Koffi Yameogo, ECOWAS’ Programmes Officer in charge of implementing AfCFTA rules of origin in the continent, said in her address that the implementation will expand market for the manufacturing industry to 1.3 billion West African citizens, without additional duties and fees.
“It will build production capacity in the region and develop the value chain, and increased export to other African states” she added.
The benefits would also encourage member states to specialise in the production of a certain good where they have a comparative advantage, thus enhancing the quality and quantity of local production and creating more jobs.
She commended MAN for the webinar, noting that it was important for manufacturers to be sensitized and trained adequately so that they could reap maximum benefits of the AfCFTA.
MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, in his welcome address delivered by Paul Gbededo, noted that the MAN webinar series are geared towards sensitizing manufacturers in the country, and working together to create “a watertight Rule of Origin” within the next six months.
Why Nigeria is yet to ratify implementation of AfCFTA
Even though 30 countries have ratified the implementation of the agreement, AfCFTA is yet to get ratified by an Act of the Nigerian Assembly.
Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, stated in his presentation that some of the threats to Nigeria’s ratification of the agreement include; the rise in smuggling, illegal transshipment of goods from non-African countries, and import surge arising from trade liberalisation without corresponding growth in export of Nigerian products.
“Nigeria also has to combat with the influx of substandard products due to uneven quality standards in some African countries, and loss of revenue from import duties and levies, exacerbated by smuggling and Rule of Origin abuses. Putting these things in check will help speed the ratification of the AfCFTA” Anatogu stated.
He added that the National Action Committee on AfCFTA is working together with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on the issues, to hasten the ratification of the agreement.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in July 2019, after initially withdrawing assent, signed the AfCFTA agreement at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in the Niger Republic.
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the elimination of tariffs could boost trade in Africa by 15-25% in the medium term, and once fully implemented, is expected to cover all 55 African countries, with a combined GDP of about US$2.2 trillion.
Geely Auto to invest 54 million dollars in the development of healthy cars
Geely’s leading track record will be taken to a new level with the development of an all-round “healthier car.”
As Exclusive Partner of Geely Automotive in Nigeria, Mikano brings us great news of Geely Automotive innovative steps towards development of “healthy, intelligent vehicles” by earmarking 54 million Dollars of funding to it; as a furthering of the fight against Coronavirus.
The move not only adds a new dimension to Geely’s understanding of “passenger safety,” it also represents a new development direction for automobiles.
The development of a “healthier car” differs from specialized medical vehicles in that Geely’s products are made for ordinary consumers. Cars with comprehensive virus protection not only require the capability to isolate harmful substances in the air, it also needs to quickly and effectively purify cabin air for occupants.
Geely Auto’s global R&D and design networks based in Europe, USA and China will jointly move to develop and research new environmentally sustainable materials with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which can be used within air-conditioner systems and on frequently touched surfaces such as buttons and handles.
Geely Auto will make full use of its global R&D system and resources as well as cooperate with professional medical and scientific research institutions to set up special project teams to work on the new research.
An Conghui, President of Geely Holding Group and President and CEO of Geely Auto Group said “Epidemic prevention is a job that requires the long-term effort of wider society. As the most common mode of transportation, consumers spend a considerable amount time in their cars, akin to a “second home” Only by making healthier products can we meet consumer demand for better quality of life. Based on the automotive industry’s development direction built around electrified, connectivity, intelligence, and shared mobility, auto companies should commit to developing products that help protect the health of drivers and passengers. This will become one of Geely Auto key long-term development objectives.”
Earlier on January 28, Geely Holding Group joined hands with the Li Shufu Foundation to set up a special 30 million dollars fund in support of the new coronavirus prevention and control, with a focus on the mass purchasing of much needed medical supplies for China in the short term.
Geely’s leading track record will be taken to a new level with the development of an all-round “healthier car.” Geely’s move sets a new precedent in the development of safety technologies that goes beyond developing leading crash test results and moves into new dimensions of passenger safety.
Visit www.geely.ng to find out more about Geely Nigeria
Exchange rate falls again at NAFEX window as #EndSARS protests escalates
The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window closing at N386/$1.
Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window depreciated against the dollar to close at N386/$1 during intraday trading on Monday, October 19.
Also, the naira remained stable against the dollar, closing at N462/$1 at the parallel market on Monday, October 19, 2020, as the protest against the special anti-robbery unit (SARS) and police brutality by the Nigerian youth escalates with its impact on business activities across the country
Parallel market: According to information from Abokifx, a prominent FX tracking website, at the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira remained stable against the dollar to close at N462/$1 on Monday. This was the same rate that it exchanged for on Friday, October 16.
- The local currency had strengthened by about 7.8% within the one week in September at the black market, as the CBN introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers, in order to try to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market, and reduce the high demand for forex by traders. The measure
- The CBN has sold over $500 million to BDCs since they resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020. This was expected to inject more liquidity to the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.
- However, the exchange rate against the dollar has remained volatile after the initial gains made, following the CBN’s resumption of sales of dollars to the BDCs.
- The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Aminu Gwadebe, said he expects the impact of the extra liquidity in the market to be gradual.
- Despite the drop in speculative buying of foreign exchange, the huge demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.
NAFEX: The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Monday, closing at N386/$1.
- This represents a 17 kobo drop when compared with the N385.83/$1 that it exchanged for on Friday, October 16.
- The opening indicative rate was N386 to a dollar on Monday. This represents a 38 kobo gain when compared to the N386.38 that was recorded on Friday.
- The N392.30 to a dollar is the highest rate during intraday trading before closing at N386. It also sold for as low as N380/$1 during intraday trading.
Forex turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window declined by 3.6% on Monday, October 16, 2020.
- According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover dropped from $125.40 million on Friday, October 16, 2020, to $120.93 million on Monday, October 19, 2020.
- The CBN is still struggling to clear the backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate back their funds.
- The drop in forex supply after the huge increase 2 trading days ago reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.
- As part of the measure to check forex abuse and check illegal transactions, the CBN last month directed the freezing of accounts of about 38 companies.
- The average daily forex sale for last week was about $169.93 million, which represents a huge increase from the $34.5 million that was recorded the previous week.
- Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of August was about $857 million, compared to $937 million in July.
- The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
- According to Reuters, currency traders said that the naira is expected to be stable this week as banks limit foreign exchange transactions by both firms and individual buyers on the unofficial black market to curb speculation.Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research WebsiteDownload the Nairametrics News App
#EndSARS: FG expects increase in Covid-19 cases in the next 2 weeks
FG has warned that the ongoing #EndSARS protest may spark up a second wave of coronavirus.
The Federal Government has warned that Nigerians should expect an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country in the next 2 weeks.
This is due to the total disregard of the preventive measures against the virus during the ongoing nationwide #EndSARS protest which has been witnessing huge gatherings.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, October 20, 2020.
He said despite the appreciable success recorded so far in the fight against COVID-19, the ongoing protest may spark up a second wave of the virus.
Mustapha said, “I can say it authoritatively that with the ongoing protest across the country, in the next two weeks the cases of COVID-19 would have increased. Each and everyone that attended the protest and did not put up any form of protection is likely going to spread the virus. When people contract the virus during the protest gathering, they will go back home and spread it.
“This is one of the reasons why we must be extremely careful when we congregate because when you gather together in such an atmosphere where people don’t wear face masks or maintain the social distance you are creating a potential opportunity for carriers to spread the virus.
“So far we have done pretty well as a country but this protest is like a setback and we must avoid a situation where we will have a resurgence. Countries that thought they have overcome are dealing with the second wave. We are extremely lucky as a nation and we should be careful of any situation that can warrant the second wave.”
He said any mass gathering that does not adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been put in place, like wearing of face masks, social distancing, and keeping personal hygiene, becomes a super spreader event.
What it means: With the expected spike in the number of Covid-19 cases due to these protests across the country, Nigeria runs the risk of having a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak which had before now been on a decline. This could lead to the resumption of lockdown measures by the government, in order to contain the spread of the pandemic.