Some countries under the aegis of the Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) Countries States have stressed the urgent need to remove trade barriers in the sub-region.
The stakeholders, who made the call at a one-day workshop in Lagos State, urged member countries to adhere to trade conventions to revamp fortunes of the region.
The workshop, organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and Borderless Alliance was tagged: “Trade and Transport Facilitation in Nigeria”.
Four papers were presented at the workshop, which dwelled mostly on trade barriers encountered by trans-regional traders along Nigerian land borders.
The Chairman of the Programme, Mr Taju Olanrewaju, a former Area Controller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said officials of government agencies were not helping matters.
“Implementation officials operating at our borders are doing things that inhibit free trade in the sub-region with so many of them making unreasonable demands on goods on transit.
“There is the need for the agencies to harmonise their `Standard Operation Formats’ to reduce numerous human contacts that encourage corruption,” Olanrewaju said.
Mr Justin Bayili, the Executive Secretary, Borderless Alliance presented the “Caravan Objectives”, a compilation of what the concept aimed to achieve.
He said the concept would spur Nigeria to open another vista of revenue window from inter country trade.
“There ought to be a better appraisal of Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers on Benin and Nigeria Corridors to avoid Nigeria losing transit cargoes of neigbouring land-lock countries to other countries,” Bayili said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Mr Hassan Bello, said as a regulatory agency, NSC had been on its toes to put-up templates to aid trade along the West African Corridor.
The secretary, who was represented by a Deputy Director in the agency, Mr Winners Anayo called for reduction of agencies operating at the borders.
“We are worried that a lot of officials are still operating along the border communities halting the Ease of Doing Business as directed by the Executive Order.
“The number of days it takes to transact business or shipment both in Nigeria ports and the Nigeria borders surpasses the number of days spent by shippers in other climes,” Bello said.
Mr Femi Odusanya, Vegetable Consultant, Mile 12 International Market, Lagos said almost all protocols of member states were being flawed by operatives.
“They are making trade within the sub-region a difficult thing.”
Odusanya said he ply the Ghana-Nigeria trade route on regular basis.
Oil Slumps To $88/Barrel, OPEC Considers 1mbpd Cut
The global benchmark for crude, Brent, appreciated in price on Monday, a situation the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies consider an oil output cut of more than a million barrels per day when they meet today (October 5, 2022).
Industry figures seen on Monday showed that the cost of Brent moved up by 3.7 per cent or $3.15 to close at $88.3/barrel as at 6.03pm Nigerian time.
Another oil grade, the WTI, also increased in price on Monday, gaining $3.36 or 4.23 per cent to close at $82.83/barrel around the same time.
However, oil grades in the OPEC Basket dipped in price, shedding $0.42 or 0.45 per cent to trade at $92.34/barrel around 6.06pm on Monday.
OPEC sources told Reuters that the oil cartel and its allies were considering an output cut of over one million barrels per day at their meeting coming up today (Wednesday).
The latest figure is slightly above estimates for a cut given last week, which ranged between 500,000 bpd and 1mbpd.
The meeting to consider a reduction in global oil supply is happening at a time when governments around the world are struggling to control runaway inflation.
A cut in supply leads to a rise in petroleum prices for consumers.
Today’s face-to-face meeting of the 13 OPEC members led by Saudi Arabia and its 10 allied members headed by Russia will be the first in the Austrian capital since the spring of 2020.
“It is a meeting that is taking place at a very interesting global time,” one of the sources told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, first flagged the possibility of cuts to correct the market in August.
The cartel had agreed to huge cuts in output in 2020 when the pandemic sent oil prices crashing but began to increase production last year as the market improved.
Now, the output cuts are being considered on the back of a slide in oil prices from multi-year highs reached in March and market volatility.
Oil prices soared to almost $140/barrel in March after the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but have since fallen to around $80/barrel amid recession fears.
‘Blue Economy Can Contribute $1.5trn To Economy’
Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority, Michael Lodge, has said the sustainable development of deep seabed resources located in Africa’s continental shelves, and in the international seabed area can be a key driver for the development of Africa’s Blue Economy.
He stated this, Monday, in Abuja, during a pre-event press briefing on the imperative of supporting Africa’s Blue Economy.
The event is jointly organised by the International Seabed Authority in collaboration with National Boundary Commission, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and aimed to support the strategy of Africa’s Blue economy.
Quoting the United Nations statisics, Lodge said Blue economy could also contribute up to $1.5tn to the global economy if effectively and sustainably managed.
“The sustainable development of deep seabed resources located in Africa’s continental shelves and in the international seabed area could be a key driver for the development of Africa’s Blue Economy.
“According to the United Nations, Blue Economy could contribute up to $1.5tn to the global economy if effectively and sustainably managed.
“This is a huge opportunity for Africa and each African state. The oceans and seas surrounding the African continent include a wealth of natural living and non-living marine resources. This inspired a growing interest in the sustainable development of the African Blue Economy”, he said.
FG, States, LGs Share N2.429trn In Three Months
The three tiers of government comprising Federal, State, and Local, have shared N2.429 trillion from the Federation Account from June to August, 2022.
The amount is made up of statutory distributions, Value Added Tax (VAT), and others that goes to collecting agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Data available to The Tide’s source stated that the Federal, State and Local governments got N673.137 billion in August, N954.085 billion in July and N802.407 billion in June.
Under statutory disbursements, which is derived after VAT and cost of collection are deducted from the total distributable revenue that accrues to the Federation Account at the end of every month, N1.823,369 trillion was shared among the Federal, State and Local Government councils.
In the three months, the Federal Government received N437.871 billion; State governments received N776.918 billion, while Local governments got N608.580 billion, thus bringing the total statutory disbursements between June and August to N1.823,369 trillion.
Under the proceeds from VAT, a total allocation of N586.26 billion was made to the benefiting governments in the three months reviewed. In August, the three governments got N215.266 billion, in July, N177.167 billion, and in June, N193.827 billion.
From June to August, the FIRS, Customs and other revenue-generating agencies that are entitled to the cost of collection received and shared N35.487 billion in August, N47.254 billion in July and N44.606 billion in June, 2022, bringing the total for the three months to N127.347billion.
After making all the deductions, the remainder known as the ‘total distributable’ was shared as follows: Federal Government in August received, N259.641 billion, in July N406.610 billion and in June, N321.859 billion. So, in the three months, the Federal Government got N988.11 billion.
Within the same months, the state governments received N222.949 billion in August; N281.342 billion in July and N245.418 billion in June – all amounting to N749.709 billion.
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