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AfCFTA: Improving guidance on standards can make Nigeria a beneficiary – Trade Minister

The Minister said that improving standards of MSMEs would benefit Nigeria’s position in the African Free Trade Agreement.



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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, says that improving guidance on quality and standards, leveraging technology, organization design, and optimization can make Nigeria a net beneficiary of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Minister disclosed this on Wednesday while giving his remarks at the virtual annual conference of the Institute of Directors (IOD), where he was the Guest of Honour.

What you should know

Nairametrics reported in September that Mr. Adebayo said Nigeria was in the process of securing approval to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement soon.

The Trade Minister also disclosed that Nigeria is actively working to attract more foreign direct investments into key industries to meet the demands of the AfCFTA.

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The Minister added that Nigeria’s investment priorities are:

  • Promoting digital economy, “considering its potential for growth, job creation, and mitigating the impact of COVID-19.”
  • Domesticating production through various sectoral backward integration plans.
  • Exploring opportunities to boost renewable energy financing across the country.

In Wednesday’s meeting with the Institute, the Minister disclosed that the pandemic has brought the need to ensure the survival of existing businesses and attracting more foreign investment.

He added that the Institute can help in improving standards of MSMEs which would benefit Nigeria’s position in the African Free Trade Agreement.

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“We understand that the institute can play a significant role in mentoring MSMEs, especially by providing guidance on quality and standards, leveraging technology, organization design, and optimization, and even financing options that will help them mature and become true drivers of economic growth.

“It is obvious that getting this right also positions Nigeria to be a net beneficiary when we fully commence the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement next year.

“We welcome suggestions and input on how best to make these programs work and we are fully committed to supporting the institute, where necessary,” he said.

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FG, organized labour meeting over petrol, electricity tariff increase postponed to Monday

The meeting between the FG and Labour unions over petrol and electricity tariff increase has been postponed to Monday.



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The meeting between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) which was slated for Thursday following the recent increase in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff has been postponed to Monday.

The change in date is to allow the federal government to consult properly on the pump price of petrol with organized labour insisting on the reversal of the price.

According to a report from Channels Television, this decision was reached after both parties had reconvened on Thursday evening, days after it was said the labour leaders walked out of an earlier meeting with the federal government on the same issue.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, while addressing the meeting in Abuja, said, what happened on Sunday was not a walkout but a recess and that both the government and the labour unions were working on making the country better.

While giving assurances that the government would make sure that resolutions reached would be for the benefit of the Nigerian people, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, thanked the labour leaders for their show of patriotism, stressing that what happened on Sunday was a recess and not a breakdown of discussions.

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Ajaero, who represented the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who was absent at the meeting, disagreed with the remarks of the labour minister and the SGF that the last meeting was a recess, insisting that it did not end peacefully.

Other government officials present at the meeting include the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouk.

What you should know: Nairametrics had reported that the organized labour had suspended their planned nationwide strike and protest in September following an agreement reached with the Federal Government in which the new petrol pump price should remain unchanged and a 2-week suspension of electricity tariff.

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They also agreed to set up a technical committee on electricity tariff reforms to look at the justification of the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.

However, following another increase in petrol price a few weeks ago, the NLC criticized the government’s action and said it was a breach of an agreement with the government during their previous negotiations.

While saying that the union will not accept such arbitrary increases in the petrol pump price, the NLC President asked the government to revert to the old price.

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No unregistered sim on our networks since September 2019 deactivation – Pantami

Pantami has disclosed that there is no improperly registered SIM on any network in the country since 26th of September 2019 deactivation.



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The Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has disclosed that there is no improperly registered subscriber identification module (SIM) on any network in the country since the 26th of September 2019 deactivation.

This statement was made by Dr. Isa Pantami, according to the information contained in the press statement issued by Dr. Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Minister.

READ: FG launches digitalizing of inmates registration and legal processing – Aregbesola

According to the information contained in the statement, the minister disclosed that based on the report submitted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there is currently no improperly registered SIM on any Nigerian network.

He added that in the event of evidence to the contrary, the Honourable Minister will sanction any individual or institution found wanting.

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READ: We are working to clear N124 billion backlog of export claims – NEPC

Furthermore, Dr. Pantami wrote to all security agencies on the 14th of October 2019 asking them to collaborate with the Ministry, and reach out whenever a crime has been aided and abetted through the use of telecommunication devices.

The minister added that no request by security agencies for assistance in the identification of owners of SIMs used for crime has gone untreated in his office.

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READ: NCC sets up portal for dissatisfied customers of MTN, Glo, others to lodge their complaints

What you should know

In a similar vein, the Honourable Minister has directed the NCC to ensure that they put modalities in place to tie the National Identify Number (NIN) to SIMs, as well as see to it that no unregistered SIMs are sold.

The Minister has also directed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to significantly scale up the number of monthly NIN registrations.

READ: Over 2.2 million unregistered telephone lines blocked

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However, Dr. Pantami recently presented a Draft National Policy on Digital Identity for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which took place on the 11th of November, 2020.

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The memo was approved and will support in the provision of Digital IDs for Nigerians, thus assisting in the implementation of the Policy to tie NINs to SIMs.

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100,000 tons of cocoa stranded at ports due to CBN documentation – Cocoa exporters

Cocoa exporters have lamented 100,000 tons of cocoa beans being trapped at Nigerian ports due to CBN documentation approval.



Nigeria’s cocoa exports to fall by $100m as prices rise in futures market.

The Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria has disclosed that 100,000 tons of cocoa beans are trapped at Nigerian ports due to a CBN documentation approval, which forces exporters to ensure that sales from export are repatriated to Nigeria.

This was disclosed by Pius Ayodele, President of the Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria, in a report by Bloomberg. He added that the approval process could take as much as 40 days from CBN.

READ: CRR Compliance: Banks suffer another N226 billion in CRR debits

What they are saying

A Cocoa industry stakeholder told Bloomberg that CBN paused exports for over 2 weeks to ensure exporters complied with the new rules, “We have five containers at the ports, some of which have left the factory for well over two months now.

READ: Floods destroy over 25% of Nigeria’s rice harvests

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According to Bamidele Ayemibo, the Lead Consultant at 3T Impex Trade Academy, “The central bank is just enforcing what has always been in the books, which is don’t export without a declaration. People are exporting without a declaration.”

(READ MORE: Central Bank says monetary policy not to blame for rising food cost)

However, exporters said they are not against the rule, but against the bureaucratic nature of the ruling, as shipping lines can’t enforce the law and are better operated through inspection agents.

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What you should know
Nairametrics reported in April that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council said “Agricultural exports, especially cocoa, are predicted to suffer. A fall in exports of over US$100 million in the cocoa sector in Nigeria is predicted, as a result of declining prices due to falling demand in Europe.”

In October, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) commenced the distribution of cash and inputs to cocoa farmers under the Anchors Borrowers Programme. Cash and inputs worth N770million were distributed to 221 cocoa farmers in 10 cocoa producing states in Nigeria.

Nigeria is the fourth largest exporter of cocoa beans globally, behind Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia, according to the National Export Promotion Council. Cocoa exports in Nigeria is projected to grow annually by 4% in the coming years.

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