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Business

AfCFTA: Pandemic poses risk, but leaders can explore opportunity for stronger collaboration – PwC

PwC says the pandemic poses a risk to the AfCFTA, but but leaders can turn it into an opportunity for stronger collaboration.

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Q1 2020, AfCFTA, African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa Free Trade Agreement, Business new, Nairametrics news, AfCFTA: Promoting Non -Oil revenue will maximize agreement for Nigeria - NESG

PriceWaterCoopers Nigeria says that the Covid-19 pandemic could pose a risk to African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. It also said that African nations and relevant stakeholders could also turn the agreement into an opportunity for stronger collaboration if certain policies are pursued quickly.

PWC Nigeria disclosed this in its report titled: “COVID-19 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement” released on Wednesday morning.

The report praised the FG’s visa policy where citizens of other African countries will now be issued visa upon arrival in Nigeria as against having to apply for Nigerian visa in their respective countries and said it’s a commendable step by the Nigerian Government in promoting trade within the African continent and ensuring the success of the CFTA agreement.

READ: AfCFTA delay: A bane to Africa’s $3.4 trillion economic bloc

On the implications of Covid-19 on the agreement 

The report said that the border closure and travel bans placed by key and emerging African economies such as Nigeria, South African, Ghana, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya and Ethiopia has impacted trade in the continent, citing weakened demand for essential commodities such as pharmaceutical and agricultural products due to reduced exports.

It added that reduced demand for Africa’s raw materials and commodities in Asia, Europe and North America has also affected African access to manufactured goods which may lead to further geopolitical uncertainty.

“The pandemic has disrupted the regional value chain. The CFTA seeks to improve industrial development that can benefit continental sustainability especially in the agricultural sector,” the report stated.

READ: FG outlines steps to be taken by businesses to export to AfCFTA countries

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Key considerations 

The report said that “The coronavirus could pose a risk for the continental project, but leaders could also turn it into an opportunity for stronger collaboration if certain policies are pursued quickly.” The considerations include:

  • Making the continent self-reliant in food security, education healthcare and logistical services to develop a framework and set realistic implementation plans to improve these key sectors irrespective of regional integration.
  • Rather than close borders that can send a negative signal to the progress of the Agreement, governments can reduce human flows while keeping borders open to key goods and services required for national development and economic sustainability.
  • It urged Nigeria to consider fiscal sustainability in terms of focusing efforts in key areas where the country has the biggest impact such as rails, ports in order to optimise the country’s resources through the implementation of public and private sector collaborative efforts.
  • The report stressed Nigeria’s digital economic strategy – National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy must sustain economic interactions and development in the face of a pandemic, citing that countries like Egypt with similar strategies would “have an edge over countries in the market with weak or no digital framework.
  • Going into the AfCFTA post-COVID-19 requires Nigeria as well as other African economies to build a digital economy to foster the production of higher quality goods and services at reduced costs.
  • Africa needs to reduce dependence on non-African partners through the AfCFTA by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers as much as possible and intensifying the economic regionalisation processes.
  • With the birth of AfCFTA, a strong commitment and joint action by the continent’s leaders would undoubtedly benefit the fight against the pandemic and its economic consequences for Africa post-COVID-19.

READ: FG seeking FDI to develop Special Economic Zones – Trade Minister

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the African Union is setting up a fund to find new ways of funding the construction of roads and railways and other utilities comes as Africa seeks to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc known as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
  • The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) stated that for the FG to maximize the AfCFTA agreement, it needs to direct its efforts into strengthening domestic value chains and also develop an efficient land border system for exports.
  • Meanwhile, Finance Ministers in the African Union announced that they will meet a virtual event from 17-23 March 2021, to discuss how industrialization can drive economic capacity in Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

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Business

Lagos Commissioner of Police dismantles road blocks on Lagos-Badagry expressway

The Commissioner warned the concerned Area Commanders to take action on full compliance as any defaulter will be sanctioned accordingly.

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The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the immediate dismantling of all illegal roadblocks by police teams from the command on the Lagos-Badagry expressway.

The directive is to checkmate the illegal activities of the police on that route which have been condemned by the government, some stakeholders and international bodies and also bring sanity and decency to their operations along that axis.

That disclosure is contained in a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Adejobi in the statement said that CP Odumosu gave the order on Friday while addressing Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers in the command on the general security situation in the state and reviewing the anti-crime strategies of the command in order to sustain its feats on crime control.

What the statement from the Lagos State Police Command is saying

The statement from the Lagos Police Command partly reads, “In his bid to restore sanity and decency to the operations of the police along the ever-busy international route, Lagos/Badargy Expressway, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered for the immediate dismantling of illegal roadblocks by the police teams from the Lagos State Police Command.

The police boss, while reacting to some complaints from the general public and some security reports on the police activities along the international route, ordered the Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers whose jurisdictions fall along the Badargy Expressway; Festac and Area K, Marogbo, to withdraw their men from the illegal roadblocks and embark on aggressive motorised patrol and surveillance to police their areas and the route.

The Commissioner of Police confirmed that the illegal police roadblocks along the route have been condemned by the government, international bodies and interest groups and they must be dismantled without delay,” he said.

The Commissioner, however, noted that other police operatives from other police formations, outside the supervision of the Lagos State Police Command who operate along the route, would be contacted to adjust and do the needful to restore sanity to their operations.

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The CP Odumosu then warned the concerned Area Commanders to desist and take necessary action on full compliance with his order as any defaulter will be sanctioned accordingly.

 

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Business

Burial date for late Prince Philips announced

The Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in a colourful but lowkey ceremony.

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Prince Philip, the late husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in a colourful but lowkey ceremony by royal standards.

The Buckingham palace in making the announcement stressed that the funeral service will be held according to the Covid-19 restrictions guideline with the number of mourners to be limited to 30. This means that members of the royal family including the Queen would be expected to put on face masks.

The College of Arms, which handles most of the ceremonial aspects of the royal family’s work, had earlier confirmed that the late Prince Philip would not lie in state anywhere accessible to the public, which could have seen thousands of people lining up to view his coffin.

The funeral service for Philip, who died aged 99 on Friday, will be held at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, and a national minute’s silence would be observed ahead of the ceremony. There will be no public access nor public procession beforehand with the royal family and UK government asking the public not to gather or leave flowers at the royal residences due to Covid-19 restrictions.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman also confirmed that Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who had moved to Los Angeles after giving up royal duties, was planning to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but his pregnant wife Meghan won’t be present as she had been advised not to travel by her physician.

In case you missed it

  • It can be recalled that the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and the longest-serving consort of any British monarch before retiring from his public duties in 2017, was announced on Friday, April 9, 2021.
  • He died peacefully in Windsor Castle on Friday morning and had been married to the Queen for 73 years.
  • Since his death, tributes have been flooding in from the UK and all around the world for the duke, who had recently spent a month in two London hospitals, undergoing heart surgery and treatment for an infection, before returning in mid-March to Windsor Castle.

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