The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr
Olusegun Aganga, has called on the US to focus on trade and investment in the
non-oil sector for sustainable economic growth in Africa.
He made the call on Monday at the 7TH
U.S.-Nigeria Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting in
The minister said that the meeting
served as an avenue for both countries to address specific trade and investment
He described Nigeria as the largest
trading partner of the US mainly in oil and gas.
Aganga urged the council to take the
opportunity of the meeting to explore areas in the non-oil and gas sector for
“This meeting is far more significant
because we all have a unique opportunity to make that big change and come up
with policies and actions that will help transform our economies and the global
“Nigeria is the United States’ biggest
trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This is largely due to the high level
of trade in petroleum products which accounts for nearly 46 per cent of
Nigeria’s daily oil production.
“This ranks Nigeria as the 5th largest
exporter of oil to the United States of America,” he said.
According to Aganga, this indicates
clearly that Nigeria and the US bilateral trading activities for now revolve
around oil and gas.
He stressed the need for accelerated
growth in non-oil trade between the two countries to enhance inclusive economic
growth and development.
“It is important that we make concerted
efforts to exploit the strengths inherent in both economies; to create
employment to generate wealth and enhance economic growth.
“We must turn the nation’s resource
advantage and investment opportunities into economic fortune and the US-Nigeria
TIFA provides a good window for achieving this,” the minister said.
Aganga decried the trade imbalance that
existed between Africa and developed countries and called on the council to
review the policies to achieve a balance on both sides.
“The United States is the world’s number
one in manufacturing and that is where United States can assist Africa much
“Today, Africa contributes only three
per cent of the world’s trade; not because Africa is not exporting.
“It is because Africa for many years,
has remained at the bottom end of the value chain.
“It has been a continent that has
produced raw materials and sent into the world processed in the developed
economies and then sold back to Africa.
“We buy them at higher prices; that is
not a good trade, Aganga explained.
He observed that there was no country
that had successfully moved from being a poor nation to becoming rich by
relying only on exporting raw materials.
“Such nation must have a strong
industrial and service sector just like America has done.”
He called on western nations to
incorporate Nigeria into such collaborative efforts to enable it achieve growth
“That is one aim that the TIFA needs to
try and achieve.
The minister expressed Nigeria’s
readiness to take advantage of the opportunities to explore the non-oil sector
to boost economic development.
In her remarks, US Trade Representative
for Africa, Florizelle Liser, reiterated the importance of Africa to the US as
a valid trade partner.
Liser expressed optimism
that the US Policy toward sub-Saharan Africa would create opportunities “for
lifting countries out of poverty and giving people hope for a better way of
CAC Registers 245,000 SMEs Free Of Charge
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.
IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal
The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss, expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.
1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta
No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.
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