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Nigeria ready for AfCFTA as deal starts January

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As the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) gets set to take off in a week, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo has called on Nigerians, particularly industrialists, to take advantage of the inherent opportunities in the deal to promote made-in-Nigeria goods and boost exports.

Recall that AfCFTA, the world’s largest free trade area in terms of the number of participating countries, is expected to commence on January 1. The commencement will signal the implementation of the much-awaited Africa’s single market.

In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the Minister said Nigeria cannot afford to be left out of the emerging trade bloc. He said AfCTA is a $3.4 trillion opportunity Nigeria must play a leading role.

Adebayo added, “The journey started on July 7, 2019 when Nigeria became the 53rd African country to sign the AfCFTA treaty. Long before then, it had always been the dream of Nigeria and Africa’s founding fathers to unite the continent in one, shared prosperity. AfCFA will form a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, which Nigeria cannot afford to miss out on.

“We have worked tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria does not only partake as a signatory in name but also become a major trade and economic powerhouse even more than we have been within the ECOWAS region.”

Also speaking on measures taken by the government towards the effective implementation of the agreement, Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, said.

“We are effectively coordinating with all critical stakeholders to ensure a smooth playing field for Nigerian traders and businessmen to explore the vast market that will open come January 1. We are set to commence a major communication campaign and have tagged January 2021 as AfCFTA Awareness and Sensitization month, which would take place across the six geopolitical zones and would involve various stakeholder groups in public, private and civil society.”

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Port Harcourt Refinery to Resume Operations in December, Tinubu Assures Labour Leaders

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*We”Ll Take Decision On Suspension Of Strike At NEC Meeting Today-Ajaero

President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday night, assured the leaders of the organised labour that the Port Harcourt refinery will commence operations by December 2023.

The organised labour revealed this in a statement on Wednesday night.

The labour centers also noted that the president made a series of promises following which they agreed to return to the negotiations table.

The national presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero and Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo in the statement also hailed Nigerians for supporting the nationwide protest.

Tinubu with labour leaders


“It is pertinent to inform Nigerians that the extent of the success of the protest is underlined by the request of the President of the federal republic of Nigeria; Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu to meet with the leadership of the NLC and TUC in a closed-door session.

“The engagement was fruitful that immense mileage was obtained with regards to the issues that bogged down the work of the Presidential Committee on Subsidy removal and necessitated the protest viz; He committed to an immediate restructuring of the framework for engagement in line with the input of the Labour leaders.

“He let out a certainty that the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence production by December this year. He pledged to ensure that Agreement is reached on the Wage Award for Nigerian workers immediately.

“He promised to unveil a workable roadmap to the CNG alternative next week. On the strength of the president’s pledge and commitment, we have decided to return to a new and reinvigorated dialogue process to allow for full implementation.

“Once again, we thank Nigerians while we wait for the Government to fulfill its own part of the understanding as agreed with His Excellency; the President.”

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the brief meeting with the President, the President of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said they deepened their discussions with the President on palliatives for workers.

He disclosed that the President explained certain things hitherto not in his nationwide broadcast to them at the meeting.

On whether the President urged them to call off the strike, Ajaero said no one person could do that disclosing however that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NLC would meet today (Thursday) to decide on the next line.of action.

He said, “We met with him (President Tinubu). The issues we discussed are the same issues that led to the protest today.

“He has expressed his position, made some commitments, which were taken side-by-side with what the Senate said, and we’re taking it back to the office with our colleagues to review it and release a document on our next line of action.”

Asked whether the commitments were different from the one he did during the broadcast, Ajaero, flanked by the TUC President, Comrade Festus Osifo said, “We have gone deeper into them. The broadcast has broader issues, but there are one or two things that need immediate attention.”

Further asked whether the organised labour will call off the peaceful protest, he said, “No one person can call it off. That’s why I said we’ll have to go back to the office. So that they will look at it, the Exco looks at it before they come up. And by tomorrow, the NLC will equally have their NEC meeting, to look at the bigger picture.”

Asked whether the President told them to suspend the protest, he simply said, “The President is a pro-democracy activist. So he understands protests.”

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Aviation

Aviation Ministry, MOFI Agree on Collaboration for National Asset Register

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Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika has said a collaboration between the Aviation Ministry and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) was paramount in the Civil Aviation part of the Nigerian economy.

Sirika made this statement during a courtesy call to the Ministry by the MOFI management for collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the organisation on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Minister expressed his excitement that there was a structure for MOFI, and it has fallen into the right hand to get the mandate of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria delivered and effected appropriately.

A statement by Nawani Abdullahad, an
Assistant Director (Press) in the Ministry, said the Minister recalled that during the Nation’s Transition Committee period, there was an extensive discussion as to what contribution the aviation sector could make, and it was considered to add up to 5% to the GDP of Nigeria.

The Minister added that a road map was created for the Civil Aviation industry to create a robust sector that would be financially healthy and which would also make aviation the most preferred means of transportation.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, the CEO of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), Dr. Armstrong Takang congratulated the Minister on his recent appointment as a member of the MOFI Governing Council.

He said the appointment demonstrated Mr President’s trust in him given his vast experience in driving governance to achieve desirous outcomes, which would be valuable for MOFI in delivering significant value to its key stakeholders and its portfolio companies.
Dr Armstrong recalled that MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across the economic sector, focused on holdingfederall government investments, which it had been using to invest in commercial entities for over 60 years.

However, he added that MOFI was not structured to deliver on the mandate that was expected of it, noting that its peers established at the same time and restructured to reflect current realities, had gone on to make major social and economic impacts in their respective countries. Many of them, he said, had become global brands for investing beyond their home countries’ borders.

He said, in line with the approval of Mr.President to create a comprehensive National Asset Register (NAR) by aggregating, profiling and managing all national assets and investments, the NAR would be harnessed to strengthen the nation’s fiscal and economic realities and the optimization of our investments and assets, noting that the development and modernization of the country’s airports was crucial for socio economic development.

The MOFI Chief Executive further expressed their strong interest in supporting the growth and expansion of Nigerian airlines, adding that MOFI would like to explore ways in which it can provide financing and investment for airlines to expand their fleets, enhance their devices and compete on the global stage.

He noted that the investment and collaboration would bring about mutual benefits for both MOFI and the Ministry of Aviation.

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Aviation

Concession: Preferred, Reserved Bidders Emerge for Abuja, Lagos and Kano Airports

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… as No Bid Received for Port Harcourt Airport

The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced the preferred bidders for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, as the Concession programme enters its final phase.

The minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika unveiled the successful bidders at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase of the Nigeria Airports Concession Programme (NACP), which came to a close on the 19 of September 2022 has seen the emergence of preferred and reserve bidders for three (3) out of four (4) Airports and Cargo Terminals as approved for concession under the programme under the supervision of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

He announced that “the preferred bidder for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. ENL Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for NAIA. ”

“The preferred bidder for Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, is TAV/NAHCO/PROJECT PLANET LIMITED(PPL) Consortium. Sifax/Changi Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for MMIA” he said.

“The preferred bidder for Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. There are no reserve bidders for MAKIA as at the time of this announcement,” he said.

For the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Port Harcourt, Sirika said the ministry “did not receive any proposals as of the RFP deadline close and as such has not had preferred and reserve bidders attached to it.”

He said the next stage now it’s the negotiation stage adding that the organised labour has been a part of all the negotiations that has happened and will still be part of future negotiations.

He also said no Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) official will lose their jobs.

“The next stage of the programme is the negotiations and due diligence stage, during which the Federal Government will invite preferred bidders to enter detailed negotiations with its representatives, with a view to developing a Full Business Case (FBC) before onward transmission to ICRC for review and approval. Only after successful conclusion of the negotiation and due diligence stage will the FBC and all other approvals be presented before the Federal Executive Council for final approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria” he explained.

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