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Gbajabiamila to Ghana: “Revisit $1M Business Law”

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…Seeks bilateral trade law between the two countries
…Advocates application of ECOWAS protocols
…At least for now, let Nigerian traders respect the law —Ghana Trade minister

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has made some far-reaching proposals that would bring an end to the attacks on Nigerian traders doing business in Ghana, asking his host to review the law on $1 million business capital.

Gbajabiamila, who spoke during a ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ bilateral meeting with Ghanaian lawmakers and some top government officials, as part of his on-going visit to Ghana to resolve the crisis, advocated an amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration and fair judicial processes.

But Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, said until the law was reviewed, Nigerian traders in his country must obey it as their Ghanaian counterparts.

The speaker called on Ghanaian authorities to revisit the component of the law that required a capital base of $1 million for businesses to start, saying as Africans, Ghana should encourage brotherliness.

He said: “First, amicable settlement of trade disputes through arbitration and fair judicial processes. In this context, we do believe that while it is the sovereign right of the government of Ghana to pass and implement the GIPC Act, we would implore you to explore alternative and less aggressive options of engaging, sanctioning and relating with our traders and business people who operate in your country, pay taxes and contribute to the development of both our nations.

‘Review N1m business capital’

“Second, we would encourage you to revisit the component of the law that requires a capital base of $1 million.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila leading his delegation in a meeting with their Ghanaian counterparts


‘’The prospect of our traders being able to raise a capital base of $1,000,000 before they can trade in goods that may be worth less than $1,000, clearly is a major challenge. Third, one of the things we are all proud about and the common surname that we all bear is ‘ECOWAS’.

‘’As you know, by virtue of being ECOWAS countries, our nations and our citizens should be able to live, work and thrive in any of our nations without any form of hindrance or discrimination. It is in this light we would encourage that we explore how the principles and the application of ECOWAS protocols – which we are both signatories to – may perhaps conflict with the application of the GIPC Act, especially vis-à-vis the recent adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, by African nations; and also the movement towards a single currency in the West African sub-region.

“Fourth, is the importance of strengthening legislative diplomacy and collaboration. Legislative diplomacy is a tool that has been used across the world – both in developing and developed nations – to negotiate, to arbitrate and to find peaceful resolution to disputes between nations.

‘Nigeria, Ghana are siblings’

“Fifth, like I said right from the beginning, Nigeria and Ghana are siblings from the same family. I, for one, would be willing to champion a law that helps to improve the bilateral trade relations and reciprocal legislation between our two countries and in this regard, we would like to explore the possibility of jointly passing what we could potentially call a Nigeria-Ghana Friendship Act – or something in that line, which will help to cement into law the good relations between our countries and also create a legal framework for further camaraderie that will enable us to ensure that, when it comes to Nigeria and Ghana, our laws will support efforts to improve relations, trade and positive and friendly interactions between our citizens, institutions and our governments.

Strengthening relations

“We do not have an exact title for such a law as at now, but agreeing on reciprocal legislation that cements the friendship between our nations; and ensures that it continues to thrive and benefit all our citizens – no matter where they live – would go a long way in strengthening our relations on all levels.’’

He said it was in a bid to improve the bilateral relationships among African countries that he had been championing the creation of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments, CoSAP, aimed at identifying, discussing and resolving issues and challenges that affect growth, stability and development within different regions and across the continent.

Breach of law

In his remarks, the Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, said there were many Ghanaians and Nigerians going about their lawful duties without difficulties.

“The incidence that has occurred where some shops were locked up must have risen out of situations where there were clear abuses of the application of the laws.

“I was happy that the Nigerian Speaker of the House of Representatives mentioned that if they are doing legitimate business, please allow them as brothers and sisters to continue to do so. I want to give you that assurance that that will be the case. Anybody engaged in business, trading, doing the rightful things, they must have no difficulties.

“Even in cases where we found that in some instances the laws were not being followed, I, in my capacity as the Minister of Trade, had ordered that they shut the office and those who are being seen as offending the law be given an opportunity to regularize their documentation.

“I say this, being the Minister of Trade and Industry, this is not something that is new, I have always, since the time I’ve been a minister, found a way of going along, so that those who needed to regularize their businesses would do so.

“As long as the laws remain on our statute books, I will like to request that you send a strong signal to our brothers and sisters, who are engaged in retail trading, that, at least for now, until further considerations are made on our statute books, they should just respect the law, because Ghanaian traders themselves are required to respect the laws of our country. ”

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Aviation

Nigeria will have national carrier before end of 2022 — Aviation Minister

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has given an assurance that Nigeria will have a national carrier before the end of 2022.

Sirika gave the assurance at a two-day Africa Public Private Partnership Network (AP3N) Investment programme held in Abuja on Tuesday

The programme was organised by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission with the theme, “Financing Africa’s Infrastructure through Public Private Partnership (PPP).”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Air is the nation’s proposed national carrier which was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in July 2018.

The minister, represented by Mr Akin Olateru, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), said the Air Transport License had been issued.

“We have a team in place, the Air Transport License has been issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and we are in the process of processing the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) which will lead to the start of the airline.

“When you are setting up an airline, there are five phases for the AOC process.

“You need to bring in airplanes when you are in phase three. So in phases one and two, you do not need to bring an airplane but you need to have identified them.

“But because people do not understand the process in aviation, they see it as another business. But aviation has its peculiarities and strict guidelines in everything we do.”

The panelist who discussed the topic “Transforming the Aviation Sector through Private Sector Participation” underscored the need for funding from private investment in the sector to ensure efficiency.

Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said funding was a critical function in the aviation sector for it to function optimally.

According to him, funding is the lifeblood, you can have all the technical skills but without funding, the sector cannot function.

“Equipment and facilities need to be replaced and maintained as and when due.

“If stakeholders do not have confidence in the sector, then we cannot function, and our workers will not work if they do not feel safe using the equipment.

“If you get the stakeholders’ confidence, you would get the right participation. PPP is the way to go not only in aviation but in all sectors,” he said.

Mr. Isaac Balami, an aviator and Chief Executive Officer, 7Star Global Hanger, said there was the need to set up an Aviation Development Bank, given the key role the aviation industry played in the Nigerian economy and the African continent.

According to him, in terms of strategy, we must look inwards and believe in ourselves, and we must also consider local content.

Mr Lai Are, the Managing Director, Catamaran Nigeria Ltd, said the foundation of any country was its infrastructure, adding that there was a need to bridge the infrastructure gap in Nigeria.

Are said without aviation, the country would not be able to attract the kind of finance needed in the transport sector.

“We are a country in need of investment, and most of this money cannot come from within but we need to look inward to see how we can present ourselves to the outside world.

“We need to see how we can look attractive to the outside world and attract investment for infrastructure development.”

He also said there must be the sanctity of agreements, saying that the government must honour agreements so that investors get returns on their investments at the agreed time.

“Yes, the private sector will come but they must ride on the back of the foundation the government has built,” he said.

Mr. Suileman Ibrahim, the director, Capital Projects and Infrastructure, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said that the government must see private investors as partners by creating policies that make investment possible.

Abrahim also said that dedicated funds should also be set up for the aviation industry such as having an aviation bank or a bank dedicated to the transport sector.

“Having the right policies which include tax incentives and waivers, providing guarantees and supporting the environment and repatriation of foreign exchange are critical to investment in this space.” (NAN)

 

 

 

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Aviation

FG TO PARTNER WITH HUNGARIAN COMPANY TO PRODUCE AIRPLANES IN NIGERIA

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In line with its desire to bequeath sustainable growth and development in the aviation sector, the Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with the Magnus aircraft Manufacturing industry in Hungary to establish an assembling plant and begin to manufacture in Nigeria from start to finish before the end of the Buhari administration.

The Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika expressed the interest when he paid an inspection visit to the Magnus Aircraft Industry in Pogany, Hungary.

He explained that “if we venture we them, we may start with assembling plant and later manufacturing”, adding that the Magnus aircraft is an aeroplane that is good for Military training, has an aerobatic manoeuvre and is made of fully composite materials high strength and very lightweight.

Sirika being briefed by officials of Magnus

A statement by the Director of Public Affairs Ministry of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu described Aerobatics as the practice of flying manoeuvres involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, recreation, entertainment, and sport.

The statement further quoted Sirika as saying he was very satisfied with the features and more than willing to facilitate the production of the aeroplanes in Nigeria, saying one of the significant features of the Magnus aircraft is that it uses normal car petrol and outperforms any training aircraft of its kind”

The Minister who was at the facility on the invitation of the Company, said the proposed partnership with the aircraft manufacturer will be subjected to further analysis to verify the market and government willingness to partner with a significant amount of money and logistics.

He emphasized that the local production of aircrafts in the country will facilitate the growth of Nigeria as a regional aviation super power as it will also come with maintenance and repair facilities that will attract patronage from neighbouring countries.

Sirika trying his hands on the Magnus aircraft

According to him, the present administration has created an attractive environment for international investors in Nigeria, especially in the aviation sector, with the ongoing implementation of the development roadmap which places emphasis on public private partnerships.

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