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Increase in electricity tariff and fuel price is counterproductive – ActionAid Nigeria

ActionAid Nigeria has condemned the sudden hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price in Nigeria.

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ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has faulted the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel price – citing that the hikes are not only ill-timed but also counterproductive.

The organisation submitted at its 42nd meeting held virtually to review the ‘State of the Nation’, that the privatization of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line, has not yielded the anticipated positive results.

“The privatization process in which the entire sector, including its important asset, was sold at about N400 billion and despite government’s injection of N1.5 trillion in the last four years, Nigerians are still being made to pay more.”

AAN also noted the lack of proper accountability mechanism on the part of the government, citing that the EndSARS protests were a product of lack of responsiveness of government over the years that metamorphosed into a force associated with harassment of innocent citizens, extortion at gunpoint, and extra-judicial killings of suspects, innocent Nigerians, and foreigners.

It added that the Federal government and ASUU’s prolonged failure to reach a mutual agreement invariably strengthens the decay in education to the disadvantage of the entire country; noting that “the unimplemented 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement remains a setback.”

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It also raised concerns about the country’s limited testing capacity for COVID-19 and the increase in the cases of rape and other forms of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) since the COVID-19 lockdown and the cases of attacks in the Northeast.

(READ MORE:Electricity tariff increase is suspended for 2 weeks)

Following these observations, the organization recommended that:

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  • Those who ordered the Lekki Tollgate shooting, and the officers who fired at peaceful protesters must be brought to book openly.
  • Those who sponsored hoodlums to disrupt the peaceful protests, attack their fellow citizens, and destroy properties, must be identified and made to face the wrath of the law, in order to pass a clear message that elites should desist from using young Nigerians for political gains.
  • The Federal Government should ask the Central Bank to unfreeze the accounts of #EndSARS promoters without delay.
  • The Federal Government should rethink its stand on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and pay the salaries of ASUU members and implement the FGN/ASUU agreement.
  • The reversal of the fuel price and electricity tariff and request that meters be provided for all electricity consumers.
  • The Federal government should engage with key international actors, including the United Nations, United States, and the United Kingdom in providing support for the Nigerian forces & Multi-national Joint Task Force (MJTF) in countering and ending insurgency in the Northeast.
  • Nigeria should consider looking inwards for its own solution to end the growing insecurity in the country.
  • Financial inclusiveness should be encouraged through increased access to low-interest credit by the small-scale farmers, especially smallholder women farmers who produce over 70% of food consumed in the country, to avert the looming food crisis.

(READ MORE: FG proposes additional tax exemption for small businesses)

What you should know

ActionAid Nigeria is an international not-for-profit organization, and a member of ActionAid Global Federation. It maintains a strong relationship of interdependence and mutual accountability within the international federation, ensuring a strong balance between self-rule and shared rule.

AAN started operations in Nigeria in 1999 as a Country Programme of ActionAid International and has since transformed into an autonomous national organization registered with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission.

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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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