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Nigerian Airforce acquires 2 WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 2 unmanned carriers which will significantly boost Nigeria’s operations in the war against terrorism.

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The Nigerian Air Force joined China and the UAE to announce the acquisition of 2 WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).

This was announced on Tuesday by the Director of Public Relations and Information Headquarters Nigerian Air, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola. The Nigerian Airforce expects 6 other UCAVs by early 2021.

Air Commodore Daramola announced that the acquisition of the 2 unmanned carriers will significantly boost Nigeria’s operations in the war against terrorism. He also disclosed that the WingLoong 3 has the capacity to remain in operations for over 24 hours.

Nigeria has joined China & UAE as the only countries operating the WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle.

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“The 2 x Nigerian Air Force WingLoong II, which can remain airborne for 31hrs in ISR mode & 26hrs in offensive role, will add significant value to COIN & anti-banditry Ops,” he said.

Developed by Chinese Arms manufacturer – Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG), the costs per unit is between $1 million to $2 million compared to the MQ-9 Reaper’s $30 million.

The NAF spokesman announced that the Air Force has trained nearly 200 pilots, engineers, and others to bridge gaps in capability and capacity that have made Nigeria vulnerable to asymmetrical threats.

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“Close to 200 NAF pilots, engineers, and technicians are undergoing training in nine different countries as part of efforts to bridge decades of gaps in capability and capacity that have made Nigeria vulnerable to asymmetrical threats.

“These additional new air assets and skills acquired by personnel will greatly enhance the Nigerian Air Force’s operational effectiveness, which will translate into security for Nigeria and Nigerians,” Daramola said.

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ASUU says union has not yet agreed to call off strike

ASUU has denied media reports that the union agreed to call off its 8-month old strike action.

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ASUU gives conditions to call off its nationwide strike action

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied media reports that the union agreed to call off its 8-month old strike action.

There was a bit of relief when news emerged that the strike action has been called off, after the latest meeting between ASUU top echelons and the Federal Government negotiation team, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Friday.

According to a report from Vanguard, the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said he is not aware of any agreement to call off the strike. However, he noted that it was agreed at the meeting that the union would convey government’s message to their various organs and then report back to the government.

Ogunyemi said, “I am not aware of that. All I know is that we had a meeting and we are going to report to our members. But, I don’t know about suspension of the strike.”

It was also reported that ASUU reached an agreement with the Federal Government after the latter increased its offer for Earned Allowances and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion.

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However, ASUU in a tweet insisted that the funding should be implemented before the union suspends its strike action.

What you should know

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Nairametrics earlier reported that ASUU had called off its 8-month-long strike. It said that the union took the decision after it agreed to accept government’s total payment of N70 billion and that the payment of their outstanding salaries must not be done through the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS).

ASUU embarked on strike in March 2020, following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities and implementation of the IPPIS, which according to the union, negates the autonomy policy for the universities.

ASUU, however, has its own developed and preferred payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which the government said it is looking into.

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Export of our products in West African sub-region now less competitive – MAN

President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has lamented the less competitive nature of made-in-Nigeria products.

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Dangote group, CBN unification of exchange rate a welcome development-MAN

The export of made-in-Nigeria products in the West African sub-region has become less competitive according to the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed. He made this remark in a statement seen by Nairametrics.

According to Ahmed, MAN members are losing market share daily to other African countries due to the closure of the border, as the sub-region has now become less competitive.

READ: Finance Bill: No plans to increase tax — FG

READ: AfCFTA: Nigeria’s borders to remain closed till we can trust our neighbours- Trade Negotiator

He said,

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Major manufacturers of beverages, polypropylene bags, tobacco, cement, toiletries, and cosmetics industries were losing markets they had worked very hard to secure in the West and Central African region.

“These manufacturers were hoping to leverage their market share to secure a strong position in the African Continental Free Trade Area, which kicks off in January 2021.

READ: Nigerians pay heavy price as laptop scarcity bites harder

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“Since the closure, the association has conducted a research with its members, the outcome is that some sectors had considerable increase in their productivity, while some sectors recorded sharp decline.”

He emphasized that the export group of the association clearly suffered huge losses due to logistics issues occasioned by the closure, as it takes an average of 8 weeks for the carriers to ship and truck goods within countries in the same region vis-à-vis trucking through the land border, which takes an average of 7 to 10 days.

READ: Afreximbank’s African commodity index dips by 1% q-o-q in Q3 2020

The increased traffic through our seaport as a result of the closure has increased the perennial congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, leading to greater challenges for exporters and increased demurrage cost, as well as other port levies,” he added.

READ: Coalition of African lawmakers seeks debt relief for African states

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What it means

Nigeria’s President Buhari recently signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement exposing local Nigerian manufacturers to the regional competition.

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  • Whilst border closures impact positively on local markets due to restrictions on imports, it is unhealthy for local businesses looking to export across borders to regional African countries.

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AfCFTA: African Customs Officials to draft free trade continental guidelines

Customs officials from around Africa gave a nod to the adoption of continental guidelines to facilitate the free flow of cross-border trade.

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

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) got closer to actualization on Saturday as Customs officials in the continent agreed to draft continental guidelines to enable the movement of goods, services and people for the agreement.

This was disclosed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa on Saturday evening.

“Liberalization of 90% of tariff lines will affect customs revenues. About 85% of import come from outside Africa, leaving about 15% from the continent, but the agreement is an opportunity for Nigeria to boost exports and production,”  the Customs Service disclosed at the AfCFTA Sensitization Seminar.

READ: Export of our products in West African sub-region now less competitive – MAN

The joint adoption of a continental customs guidelines comes a few weeks before the AfCFTA kicks off in January 2021.

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The meeting organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) virtually was attended by Customs Chiefs in Africa, who agreed to implement measures to facilitate cross-border trading challenges heightened by the covid-19 pandemic.

READ: African free trade will boost development of manufacturing in Nigeria – NEPC

The Director of Regional Integration and Trade, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Stephen Karingi, disclosed that the guidelines were drafted to boost coordination and implementations of a common customs guideline covering areas including transport and infrastructure and others.

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“The aim is to have the continental guidelines in place early next year to reinforce start of trading under the AfCFTA,” he said.

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

The guidelines cover a number of new sub-sections to respond to specific gaps in existing rules, including the regulation of small-scale cross-border trade and cross-border trade by fishermen, gender considerations, and treatment of essential workers, including transport and humanitarian workers.

“Once in force, the continental guidelines are expected to ensure a harmonized approach to support smooth and safe trade amid the pandemic, including transit trade between RECs,” said Hussein Hassan, AUC’s Acting Director for Trade and Industry.

READ: Covid-19: First world nations oppose waiving intellectual rights for vaccine development

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What you should know 

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The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the  biggest free-trade agreements in the world right now with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion

The Federal Government announced that it has ratified Nigeria’s membership to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), ahead of the December 5, 2020 deadline. The agreement goes into effect from the 1st of January 2021.

Nairametrics reported in September that the Nigerian Customs said the facilitation of trade requirements ranging from Pre-Arrival processes to Electronic Payments of duties would be important for the AfCFTA implementation for Nigeria.

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