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WTO: FG Seeks Iran’s Vote For Okonjo-Iweala

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The Federal Government is seeking the vote of Iran for its candidate, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the race to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Director-General office.
The WTO is looking for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August.
Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala is among the five cleared for the elections.
The others are Kenyan minister, Amina Mohamed; South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee; Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri; and British ex-minister, Liam Fox.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo told the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohammed Alibak, that Okonjo-Iweala’s election victory would strengthen global trade and economies.
The minister stated that Nigeria would rely on Iran’s support for the election of Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela as the next DG for WTO, stressing that if elected it would be the first time an African will occupy the position since its establishment on January 1, 1995.
Adebayo further said the Bilateral Trade Agreements (BTA) earlier signed between the two countries in 2001, the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) in 2008, the establishment of the Nigeria-Iran Joint Commission in 2004, and the Iran Chamber, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture in 2016 should be sustained.
He assured the ambassador that Nigeria would work with Iran to improve on the current low trade volumes as both countries have great potential that can leverage on considering the fact that the two countries are oil-dependent economies.
He said, “We can also share knowledge and best practices on economic diversification and our national development goals as Buhari’s led administration is pushing to diversify the economy into the non-oil sector through various initiatives and a strategic partnership in the industrialization of key sectors that can boost efforts towards export of Iran and Nigeria.”

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PH Airport Seals Two Banks, Other Business Outfits

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The authorities of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, have sealed up the premises of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) at the airport, over non payment of rent.
Also sealed by the airport authorities are the Stanbic Bank and the Genesis fast food, among other business outfits.
The business concerns at the airport, otherwise known as concessionaires, were sealed last Monday.
The Tide, however, observed that some of the sealed business concerns, including the Stanbic Bank and Genesis fast food, have reopened to costumers as at the time of filing this report.
Speaking to The Tide on the issue last Tuesday in his office, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the airport, Mr Kunle  Akinbode, said the affected business outfits at the airport were owing the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
According to him, FAAN has not been proactive in the area of debt collection, adding that most of the concessionaires look at FAAN as a government business.
He said that there had been instances where some corporate bodies owed FAAN, including some airlines, only for them to liquidate and run away without payment.
“Now, FAAN has decided to wake up to its responsibilities, maybe because of the pressure from Covid-19.
“Genesis fast food was owing us like others, but immediately the issue came up, they paid part of their debt.
“Task force from the  headquarters had been going around all the airports owned by FAAN, and Genesis had paid, I think, about N5 million out of the N15 million they were owing.
“Even though the task force initially refused, saying such amount was small, but a term of payment was agreed on how to offset the debt instalmentally.
“Even the Stanbic Bank responded as the Genesis did, and they were later allowed to operate, and all these are yearly rent accumulation, as obtained in other airports around the world.
“The UBA is owing us so much and the commercial department has the record, and that was why the haste for sealing up their premises.
“If they had paid and FAAN sealed up their premises, the onus is on them to prove that they have paid and everyone pay based on the space they are occupying”, Akinbode said.
Meanwhile, one of the senior officers of the UBA, told The Tide at the airport under the condition of anonymity that they were working and consulting with FAAN towards settling the issue.
He said that UBA had paid up till 2019, but that the increase in the rent was responsible for the delay in payment.

 

By: Corlins Walter

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#EndSARS Protests: NESG Postpones Summit Indefinitely

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The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) has announced indefinite postponement of its 26th summit which was scheduled to hold next week between October 26 and 27.
A statement from the Board of Directors of NESG yesterday said that the postponement was necessitated by prevailing circumstances in the country.
According to the statement, the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit is a big conversation for action with the theme, ‘Building Partnerships for Resilience’ to focus on key national issues especially as we continue to manage the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on Nigeria’s economy.
In the past years, deliberations and outcomes of the summit drove a national discourse.
But holding this year’s Summit from October 26 to 27 without taking adequate cognizance of recent developments across the country that have accentuated the need to amplify the voices of our youth for the reform of our institutions and improve governance will be insensitive and inappropriate.
It is against this background that, after due consultation between the NESG and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as co-hosts of the Summit, the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit has been postponed.
While regretting the inconveniences to resource persons, participants, sponsors, the media, vendors, and the public, NESG said a new date would be announced in due course.
The group commiserated with the nation and victims of recent violence across the country and urged the federal government to kick start a comprehensive reform of security institutions, while pledging support to the authorities in resolving contending issues.
“The NESG will deploy its convening and engagement capabilities to serve as a platform for driving issues affecting the Nigerian youth and ensure improved collaboration between our stakeholders, the group said.

“Finally, the NESG wishes to state that strong and transparent institutions determine the resilience of our economy and the effectiveness of our social justice system,” the group said.
NESG noted that participation and effective engagement of our youth is crucial to the development and operation of the nation’s institutions, saying “this is the only way to achieve the Nigeria of our dreams.’’

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FG Calls For Cooperation Against Illegal Trans-Border Trade

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The Federal Government has called for collaboration of West African leaders in monitoring and halting illegal trans-border trade of solid minerals within the sub-region.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, made the call in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations Unit of the ministry, Mr Tine Iulun in Abuja, yesterday.
Ogah, speaking at the opening ceremony of Ouaga Dore, Gold West Africa event in Burkina Faso, said the collaboration became imperative to curb illegal exploitation and transaction of minerals in the sub-region.
“For the sub-region to properly harness the economic benefits of its abundant mineral resources, efforts must be made to curb illegal exploitation and transaction of minerals,” he said.
He emphasised the need for sustainable peace and security in the sub-region to enable it leverage and harness the gold value chain for industrialisation, wealth and job creation for the youths.
The minister commended the Burkinabe government for putting in place the right policies, which had increased its investment in the mining sector.
He said that the policy had also led to the development of the country’s artisanal and small-scale gold production, as attested by the event.
“The country has made a quantum leap in the development of its artisanal and small-scale gold production and today’s presentation of refined gold bar medallions speaks volume to the international investors.
“The Gold festival which featured the presentation of Gold bars, sourced mainly from artisanal operators in the country, has a significant bold step in developing the gold and mining value chain and deepening integration across West African economic corridor.”

The Minister appreciated the valuable contribution of Burkina Faso’s mining partners, like Messrs. Kian Smith, for their efforts leading to the remarkable milestone recorded by the country.
Earlier, the Minister of Mining and Quarries in Burkina Faso, Mr Oumarou Idani had said that his country is endowed with gold and manganese which were the chief sources of the country’s revenue generation.
According to Idani, Burkina Faso is working to attract investors as well as support and promote the production of gold jeweleries for export within and outside Africa.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Mr. Zachariah Ifu, said that the Nigerian Embassy was looking at areas of collaboration that would facilitate bilateral transactions between the two countries in the solid minerals sector.

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