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New Wage: Association Cautions Members Against Commodity Prices Hike

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The President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTs),Mr Ken Ukaoha, has cautioned members of the group to refrain from unnecessary price increase in commodities in view of the minimum wage increase.
Ukaoha made the call in Abuja last Monday at a workshop organised for NANTs leadership on tracking the commitment of political actors to the Farmers’ Manifesto and Traders’ Charter of Demand.
“Thinking of increasing the price of goods is unnecessary, immoral, undependable, unjustifiable and perhaps wicked. Therefore, every trader must avoid the temptation of being hired into such selfish act as a means of enrichment.
“Every trader must realise that hiking prices on one commodity automatically raises prices of other ones and no trader deals on all items of need,” he said.
He said that once a trader raised the price of a commodity, sellers of other commodities would also jack up in the same manner.
According to him, such negative cycle will only have multiplier effect on the economy.
Ukaoha also called on the Federal Government to find solution to the worsening security situation in the country.
“Due to the security situation in the country, traders are refraining from travelling to most parts of the northern part of the country for fear of being kidnapped or killed.
“Life is speedily becoming worthless. The economy, especially in the north, is speedily losing grip, farmers are dislodged from their farms courtesy of insurgency and crises with herders, and productivity is grossly reducing,” Ukaoha said.
He said the traders were getting scared of moving the few goods available towards the required market destinations.
Ukaoha said that the workshop would be used to train members on tracking the commitment of political actors to the charter of demand.
“For the next four years, we shall be monitoring and tracking the performance of our elected representatives at the various levels of governance to ensure that the promises they made with the signature of endorsement to our document are kept.
“We will focus on access to credit and inputs for small scale farmers.
“Others are `traderMoni’ under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme and associated facilities meant to reposition and handhold our constituencies out of poverty,” he said.
Ukaoha said that before the 2019 elections, the association thought of productive ways of holding politicians accountable to their promises which had for long remained empty.
He said the association had always been short-changed by political parties and their members, who had always taken advantage of the low level of the consciousness.
Ukaoha said that the farmers’ document advocated that 60 per cent of agriculture investment in budgets be dedicated to small scale farmers to help tackle food security in the country.
He said that the document was articulated to ensure that agricultural policies were effectively targeted toward small scale farmers.
Ukaoha explained that different governments had talked about agriculture but not enough fund was allocated to the sector.
According to him, the document calls for revitalisation of the agriculture extension service in order for the extension workers to help farmers increase their yield.
He said that the traders’ charter demands for investigation on illegal seizure of traders’ goods and immediate design of the Nigerian Trade Policy
Other demands, he said, were: training and enlightenment for traders, harmonisation of taxes and charges in the markets, policy inclusion at all levels, transparency in the disbursement of Small and Medium Enterprises loans and other funds.
Ukaoha said that the document also demands for transparency in the allocation of shops in markets, among others.
He said that the association requested that its members to be integrated into the membership of the board of over 60 various trade and agriculture related agencies and parastatals.
Mr Innocent Azih from the Centre for Agriculture and Climate Change, Lagos, said during the presentation on tracking implementation of policy commitment to farmers’ manifesto that the tracking indicators would be on farm productivity.
Azih said that the expectation would be on the rise of farmers output, access to extension services and increase input use on farmers.

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Trade Modernisation: Customs’ CG Tours Huawei, Port In China

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The Comptroller-General  of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, recently led his team to the Headquarters of Huawei, a famous information and communications technology company in Shenzhen, China, where he discussed opportunities embedded in Nigeria Customs Service Trade Modernisation Project.
This was disclosed in a press release made available to our correspondent in Lagos by the National Public Relations Officer (NPRO) of the Service, CSC Maidawa yesterday.
According to the release, the CGC’s visit to Huawei Headquarters was part of his official visit to the People’s Republic of China for the 6th Global AEO Conference that took place in the city of Shenzhen between Wednesday, 8th May, Friday, 10 May, 2024.
Stating the purpose of his visit to the company’s office on behalf of his team, CGC Adeniyi said, “We are also delighted to associate with the Global Leader Technology Services through the Team of Trade Modernisation.”
It would be recalled that the Service had, during the Huawei Connect 2023 held in Shanghai in October, 2023, expressed readiness to deploy some of the company’s latest products for use in its trade modernisation project.
The CGC, who urged Huawei’s company leadership to sustain their digitalisation services to NCS, also sought their support to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service to maintain their transformative journey with the company.
On his part, Xujing Xu, the Huawei Company’s Vice President of Smart Transportation, welcomed the delegation of the NCS led by Adeniyi and the Management Team of the Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) Limited, led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.
He expressed confidence that their collaboration will benefit all parties involved, noting that “the foundational work for this transformation is already underway”.
The TMP Chairman, Saleh Ahmadu, during his address, said Huawei is living up to expectations to deliver its mandate under the auspices of Trade Modernisation Project Limited.
He appreciated the support accorded to him by the CGC and his management team towards the success of the NCS Trade Modernisation Project.
In his bid to upscale the level of NCS modernisation, the Comptroller-General of Customs, alongside members of the Trade Modernisation Project led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu, visited Lantan Port to witness the level of automation and technological solutions provided by Huawei and other tech partners.

In a related development, a training programme on Trends and Digital Solutions for Customs officials and the TMP team was organised by Huawei the same day, which focused on equipping officials with the necessary skills to navigate the digital landscape of modern trade.

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NERC Declares Most Discos Insolvent 

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Most of the lectricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria have been said to be technically insolvent and unable to not only pay for invoices sent to them from the electricity market, but also invest in network expansion projects.
Speaking at the 8th Africa Energy Market Place 2024 in Abuja, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. Sanusi Garba, said the poor financial state of the DisCos makes it difficult for them to raise the needed capital to invest.
Garba noted that the challenges facing the sector were a culmination of past inactions and missteps by those saddled with the responsibilities of managing the sector, both at policy and operational levels.
According to him, “Today when you look at distribution companies, they are clearly and technically insolvent, and you also want them to raise capital in terms of debt or equity. It’s a herculean task.
“I also want to mention that implementing the power sector reform requires powerful political will to implement decisions that impact the wider public”.
On his part, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said the government was working to get the distribution companies solvent and effective by unbundling their operations along state boundaries.
Adelabu insisted that the areas covered by the current DisCos are too large for them to deliver effective services to consumers.

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PH To Get Two CNG Refuelling Stations, Vehicle Conversion Parks

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Rivers State Capital, Port Harcourt, is set to have two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations as well as two Vehicle Conversion Parks.
The Chief Executive Officer, FEMADEC Energy Limited, Fola Akinola, revealed this at the South-South/South-East Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on Presidential Initiative on CNG held in Port Harcourt, Weekend
Akinola, who stated that modalities have been concluded on the project, stressed the need for investment by stakeholders as a way of driving home the initiative of the Federal Government to ease the gas plight of its citizens.
Akinola said, “CNG is an old technology. We want to tell you that you have the opportunity to convert your vehicle from fuel to CNG. The stations will be launched in Port Harcourt and we are launching a refueling unit alongside. Rivers State is going to have a micro refuelling unit at Stadium Road and in GRA.
“For those that want to invest in CNG refuelling units, it is available. Even those who have fuel station facilities can as well invest in this”.
Earlier, the Programme Director, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Michael Oluwagbemi, noted that Rivers State was the heart of oil and gas Region, insisting that the initiative was for the good of the nation as a whole.
“The initiative of the government is critical to our national development and to the well-being of the people. Rivers State is the heart of the oil and gas region”, he stated.
Oluwagbemi, however, expressed regret that over the last five to six decades, these resources have continued to waste.
“Nigeria is the second largest waste of oil and gas. We exploit it and waste it, then continue to suffer poverty. The President has set us on natural gas features and set up the nation on the path of growth. The use of gas ensures we have energy savings. Mind you, the price of Natural gas is controlled by the government.
“What the President is asking is to do more with the blessings God has given us. If we are able to move three million vehicles in the next three years, we are going to end the era of environmental degradation”, he said.
The Programme Director further said, “We will stop subsidising poverty, importing unemployment and exporting jobs.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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