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

Despite the ratification of the AfCFTA, Nigeria’s borders will remain closed until it can ensure neighbors don’t dump substandard goods into the market.

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AfCFTA: Nigeria's borders to remain closed to prevent dumping - Trade Negotiator

Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Victor Liman, announced that despite Nigeria agreeing to ratify the agreement, our land borders will remain closed until Nigeria can ensure West African neighbors don’t dump substandard goods into the market.

Mr. Liman disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV on Thursday that the AfCFTA is a large opportunity for Nigeria as it exposes Nigerian producers to a large market.

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

“Our major focus is AfCFTA, as we are looking at a market of 1.2 billion people, it’s a big big market. Our focus would be to boost intra African trade from 17% to 25% as forecasted for 2025, and in the next couple of years move up to 50%.

“If we are able to trade up to the extent of 50% or thereabout, you are looking at a market size that would accommodate Nigeria’s trading interest. We need to put in effort to ensure that the AfCFTA works.”

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He added that Nigeria needs to put in place structures to ensure Nigeria remains competitive in the agreement, especially securing the borders.

“We need to put in place rules to avoid countries or other forms of malfeasance affecting out trade interests, that means we need to be able to put our house in order in terms of our borders.

READ: Nigeria working to attract more foreign direct investments to prepare for AfCFTA – Trade Minister

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“We need to be more competitive, we need to be able to ramp up on our manufacturing, we need to have the right kinds of regulations. We have to be realistic, if border are not secure, we have a trade problem and national security problem. Every country needs to have a credible secure border, policy frameworks need to be put together that people can trace across borders without fear of violence.

“I believe and I know that Nigeria is running round the clock to make sure borders are secure from smuggling. Nigeria needs to sit with neighboring countries and say, if you do not secure your border, then we we would do A, B, C, put a sanction on you. Every stakeholder needs to take this on board to ensure that we need to have a secure border.”

READ: Biden should widen the AGOA for integration with the AfCFTA – Atiku

Liman also added that Nigeria’s borders will only open when the FG can ensure Nigeria is not used to dump goods, as protecting that credible Customs cooperation is needed in West Africa to ensure an open border.

The fact you are going into a free trade agreement does not mean you can’t secure your country, or can’t take steps to tackle trade malpractices, or take steps to address smuggling or national security issues.

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“These are credible sovereign issues that countries can take steps to address. We need to take our time and ensure our borders are working, and ensure we have effective Customs management and cooperative assistance across the ECOWAS region.

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“Borders will be open when we are sure and confident that we can trust our neighbors not to come in and dump on our market and bring in substandard products.”

READ: FG meets group to access AfCFTA’s $650 billion market

What you should know 

Nairametrics reported this week that 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.

Yewande Sadiku, CEO of Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), said in September that Nigeria was more ready for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) due to her domestic market manufacturing value addition capacity which is 7 times the average of the top 20 economies in Africa and other.

Tola Onayemi, Head, Trade Remedies Unit National Office for Trade Negotiations, disclosed in September that trade remedies to protect Nigerian producers from unfair and injurious trade practices from foreign companies that harm domestic industries were key factors for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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Nigeria’s University lectures union, ASUU, calls off 8-month strike

ASUU called off its eight-month long strike that has grounded academic activities in the public universities.

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called off its eight-month-long strike that has grounded academic activities in the public universities. The union took the decision after it agreed to accept government’s total payment of N70 billion.

The was disclosed by ASUU via its Twitter handle on Friday after its meeting with the Federal Government’s team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.

It tweeted, “The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has shifted ground on FG’s offer. The Union insisted that payment of outstanding salaries must not be done as through the IPPIS platform as promised, if strike would be suspended.”

This is a developing story….

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Terrorism: Nigeria records 39.1% reduction in deaths – GTI Report

Nigeria has recorded a 39.1% reduction in terror-related deaths, according to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report.

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The 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report, published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), based in the United States, indicates that terrorism incidents in Nigeria fell by 27% in 2019.

This represents the lowest level of terrorism in Nigeria since 2011, with terrorism deaths in Nigeria reduced to 1,245 last year – a 39.1% dip from the 2,043 deaths recorded in 2018.

Despite the overall decline in terrorism in Nigeria last year, the country is still ranked as the third most impacted country in the world by terrorism, a position it has maintained for five consecutive years since 2015.

According to the latest annual GTI report, Afghanistan and Iraq are respectively the first and second most affected countries by terrorism.

Highlights of the report

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  • The decline in both terrorism incidents and deaths in Nigeria is attributed to a significant reduction in violence by armed Fulani herdsmen.
  • The armed herdsmen are being held accountable for majority of terror-related deaths in 2018, with the latest GTI report showing a 72% decline in fatalities attributed to the herdsmen last year.
  • Terror-related deaths and incidents attributed to Boko Haram in Nigeria increased by 25% and 30% respectively from the prior year.
  • Over the past year, Boko Haram increased attacks on military targets, with deaths rising from 26 in 2018 to 148 in 2019.
  • Globally, deaths from terrorism fell in 2019 to 13,826. This represents a 15% dip from the previous year and the fifth consecutive year of decline since peaking in 2014.
  • Conflict remains the primary driver of terrorism, with over 96% of deaths from terrorism in 2019 occurring in countries that are already in conflict.

What you should know

  • GTI report is published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) based in the United States.
  • The GTI report, now in its eighth year, ranks 135 countries according to how they are impacted by terrorism. The indicators used by the GTI include the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage.
  • Boko Haram, the deadliest terrorist group in Nigeria ranks second in the world, behind the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • There are 63 countries in 2019 that recorded at least one death from a terrorist attack and 17 countries that recorded over 100 deaths from terrorism. However, only Afghanistan and Nigeria recorded over 1,000 deaths and both countries had significant reductions in the number of people killed in 2019.
  • Globally, the report estimates the economic impact of violence, including military, homicide, incarceration and terrorism to be $14.5 trillion in 2019. This is the equivalent of 10.6% of global GDP. The global economic impact of terrorism alone was estimated to be $26.4 billion last year.
  • There are emerging new threats of politically-induced terrorism in North America, Western Europe, and Oceania, though with minimal fatalities.

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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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ASUU, NSITF, FG moves to scrap hazard allowances earned by State Governors

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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