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Nigeria, US Trade Hits $5.21bn In Eight Months

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Nigeria and the United States recorded 5.21 billion dollars bilateral trade between January and August this year.
The Consul General, US Consulate in Lagos, Ms Claire Pierangelo, disclosed this during the 2019 International Investment Conference on Wednesday in Lagos.
The event, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), was themed; ‘Promoting Investment, Connecting Businesses.’
Represented by US Commercial Attache, Ms Christine Kelley, Pierangelo said that the US saw a lot of opportunities in Nigeria, adding that 8.3 billion dollars was recorded as trade in 2018.
She commended Nigeria for improving in its ranking on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index, saying it foresees more improvement in the economy.
According to her, to sustain flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Nigeria, government should maintain an open dialogue with international bodies, improve its regulatory environment, policies and infrastructure.
She urged the business community to hold government accountable on some of its policies, saying that many US companies were affected by some of government’s policies.
Pierangelo said that such policies sent a warning signal to many US investors, thus scaring them away from the country.
According to her, policies such as 43 items on the banned lists and the dairy sector, is a concern to many investors.
She urged the government to take logical steps and adopt roadmaps that would enable it boost sustainable economic growth.
Pierangelo likened investment to water flowing only along easy paths, saying that addressing the challenges of the business environment would unlock more investment opportunities for both countries.
Also, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics and Business Intelligence, Lagos Business School (LBS), Dr Bongo Adi, noted that Nigeria moving 39 place upward in the Ease of Doing Business ranking was impressive and its best since 2011.
He, however, said that attracting FDI had not matched the achievement, saying the country had about 9 billion dollars FDI inflow in 2011 which had dropped to less than 2 billion dollars in 2018.
Adi said that government should work on policies and initiatives that would allow its improved ease of doing business ranking translate to increased FDI inflow.
Earlier, President of LCCI, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, said that the country was in dire need of investment to advance and transform the economy.
“Investment helps to create jobs, diversify the economy, grow government revenue and improve the welfare of the people,” he said.
Ruwase said that Nigeria’s recovery from recession in 2017 had elicited calls for policies that would support sustainable growth and development.
“Steps have been taken and policies put in place to ensure the revamping of the Nigerian economy through the promotion of industrialisation and non-oil export for sustainable economic recovery,” Ruwase said.
According to him, to sustain the recovery, there must be added drive for domestic and foreign direct investment, promotion of non-oil exports and continued efforts at improving the ease of doing business in the country.

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Lawmakers Vow To Resolve Rivers Port, BUA Terminal Crisis

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Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon. Datti Garaba Muhammad, says the committee will intervene in the lingering court case between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex and the BUA terminal operators.
The chairman said the committee’s intervention would save the situation and improve business activities in the complex.
Hon. Muhammad spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt while on an oversight function to the NPA, Rivers Port Complex, last Tuesday.
Accompanied by other members, Muhammad said:“We are here to hear the challenges, we want them to furnish us with details of the agreement, we want to see the concession agreement between NPA and BUA terminal”.
He said the committee was ready to bring peace between both parties so as to improve on the revenue accrued to the government.
Muhammad disclosed that both parties had approached the Federal High Court and Court of Arbitration in London over the issue.
He said as a committee, it is their responsibility to oversee both the NPA and the terminal operators doing business in the port complex.
Speaking earlier, the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Engr. Yunusa Ibrahim Anji, had told the committee that NPA had decommissioned berth 8, which collapsed some months ago.
Berth 8 is being operated by BUA terminal operators.
The manager appealed  to the committee to intervene in the lingering issue as it is affecting its revenue.
He said the collapse of the berth and the legal tussle between NPA and the operator were greatly affecting maritime activities in the port.
The manager said Rivers Port Complex is one  of the ports with the highest numbers of private jetties, explaining that the port has over 36 private jetties across the state.

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AfCFTA: MAN Urges Stakeholders To Address Vital Issues

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on stakeholders of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to address vital issues during negotiations to ensure that the overall goal is achieved by the continent.
MAN President, Mr Mansur Ahmed made the call yesterday at the opening ceremony of a two-day African Continental Free Trade Area National Forum, in Lagos.
The event is themed, “Effective Implementation for Industrialisation and Inclusive Economic Development in Nigeria.’
Ahmed said the key issues included technical and political challenges that must be resolved.
According to him, it is important that Nigeria benefits and ensures  she meets the targeted seven per cent economic growth rate expected to take about 100 million people out of poverty.
“President Buhari is committed to lifting 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years; how can we ensure that the AfCFTA leads us towards that journey?,” he said.
Ahmed said the critical dimensions that must be addressed during conversations concerning the AfCFTA should include policies and regulations, rules and conduct of the players.
“The way we merge the processes, the agreements, regulations, institutions and how these work together to ensure that the game is being played in accordance with the rules and expectations.
“The issues need to be defined in a way that we see the complexities; technical and political, to ensure clarity.
“All these must be formulated in a way that all stakeholders understand their roles and obligations and therefore play according to the rules,’’the MAN president said.
Ahmed said that all negotiators were not of the same capacity and inclination, which would require harmonisation on a regional level to resolve issues such as market offer and collaboration.
He urged stakeholders to view the negotiations with a sense of collaboration and not allow any player deemed as too powerful to dominate.
“We must look at the interest of the group as a whole and the interest of the region, and what provides the best long term and sustainable interest of the region.
“There must be a strong commitment by our governments, various institutions and private sector groups to look beyond the norms and look at the goal for the region and continent,’’he said.

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Oil Firm Commissions Projects In Host Communities

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An indigenous oil company operating Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 in Rivers State, Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited, has put smiles on the faces of its host communities with projects estimated at hundreds of millions of Naira.
Projects commissioned recently in Minama, Ifoko, Sangama, Ido and Abonnema towns, include ultra-modern town halls, civic centres and an integrated agro-farm industry that have mopped up hundreds of youths from the unemployment market in the area.
Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Felix Odungweru, who was the Special Guest of Honour commended the communities for the peaceful disposition and cooperation during the execution of the projects and assured that the Government of Chief Nyesom Wike would ensure that multi-national companies operating in the state develop their host communities.
Speaking to newsmen at Sangama in Asari Toru Local Government Area – shortly after commissioning the ultra-modern civic centre, the Cluster Development Board Chairman, Deacon Chrstian Sekibo, thanked the communities for nominating upright members of their communities to the membership of the board who had worked relentlessly to ensure the success of the various projects commissioned.
He promised to provide toilets for Minama Community in Asari-Toru LGA, in response to the people’s demand for toilets in the community.
Deacon Sekibo debunked the insinuation that youth restiveness prevents multi-national companies from developing their host communities, pointing out that the board received the best of cooperation from the communities youth.
“We received the best cooperation from youth of these communities. Their cooperation is an indication these youth in our communities were hungry for development. We could see it in their eyes, actions and attitudes,” he said.
Also speaking to newsmen at Ifoko Town in Asari-Toru LGA, after the commissioning of an ultra-modern town hall, consultant to the board, Dr Godwin MInimah of Godifems Consults Limited, said the interest of the host communities was paramount to Eroton E & P.
The second day of the programme witnessed the commissioning of the integrated agro-farm in Ido Community in Asari-Toru LGA with offices and staff quarters for essential staff.
In his welcome address, Deacon Sekibo said, “upon payment of the 2015/2016 project funds by the joint ventures partners- NNPC/Eroton E&P, the DAA3 board agreed to invest it in an income yielding project and accordingly settled for an agro business. Hence, the integrated agro farm project.
“The farm has poultry with an installed capacity for 15,000 birds; fishery with capacity for 20,000 catfish fingerlings; snailery with capacity for 8,000 snails and piggery with capacity for 144 piglets and pigs.”
Commissioning of the Ido Integrated Agro Farm and the Abonnema civic centre were withnessed by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru, representatives of Eroton company, community chiefs and elders, among others.

 

By: Donatus Ebi

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