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Border Re-Opening: ‘Good Step Toward Exiting Recession’

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The Badagry Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BACCIMA) says the  reopening of  four land  borders in parts of the country  will boost trade  between Nigeria and her neighbours and help  the economy to grow.
Director-General, BACCIMA, Mr Opeyemi Oke, said this  in an interview with The Tide source in Badagry, at the weekend.
He said  that the decision by the Federal  Government to re-open Seme, Ilela, Maitagari and Mfum borders would facilitate economic recovery and help the country exit recession by the projected  first quarter of 2021.
Oke added that the  decision would facilitate trade across ECOWAS sub-region, thereby creating jobs and providing opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“This will boost the operations of existing SMEs involved in the export of non-oil products across the borders to attain diversified, competitive and sustainable economy and make Nigeria’s products and services most preferred in Africa.
“Nigeria’s land borders have been closed officially since August  2019 to check indiscriminate smuggling of goods and illicit crossings into the country.
“The closures have been attributed, in part, to the economic recession and rising inflation, which recently hit a 30-month high amid the harsh socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Other member states across the sub-region looking to access the Nigerian market will benefit from the reopening of the borders and AFCFTA’s operations, which is to take effect from January 2021,” he said .
According to  him, Nigeria remains a major economic player in Africa, thus  the re-opening of  her borders will help protect the country’s  image and affirm its commitment to trade facilitation across the sub-region.
“This will also keep us as a major economic player,” he added.
Oke, however, called on  the security agencies to shun corruption and ensure full enforcement of ban on contraband  to stop the smuggling of goods  through the land borders.
He also appealed to government to  intensify efforts toward the completion of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
It would be recalled that the  Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had on December 16  announced the immediate re-opening of four land borders after the Federal Executive Council (FEC)  weekly meeting,which  held virtual in Abuja.
She said that Buhari had also directed that while the borders were being reopened, the ban on the importation of rice, poultry and other products still subsists and would be implemented by the border patrol team.

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Karu Market Inferno: Re-Allocate Shops To Original Owners, Senate Tells FCDA , AMAC

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The Senate yesterday expressed concern over recent spate of fire outbreak in markets while commiserating with traders in Karu Main Market over the huge losses.
Considering the plight of the traders, the Senate urged the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), to re – allocate shops affected by fire outbreak at Karu Main Market to original owners after reconstruction.
The upper chamber also urged the federal government through its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Social Development and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to urgently make emergency palliative and relief provisions to cushion the effect of fire disaster on the victims.
The Senate consequently mandated its committees on Environment and Legislative compliance, to ensure strict compliance with the resolutions and report back within four weeks.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator IretiKingibe( Labour Party FCT) .
Senator Kingibe in the motion titled : “ The Karu Fire Outbreak and the Need for Safer Public Places “ , informed the Senate that the fire outbreak that occurred at Karu Main Market on June 27, 2024, left scores of traders in tears after goods worth billions of Naira were destroyed .
She specifically lamented that as disclosed by eye witness accounts, the inferno razed almost all the shops and destroyed food stuff, electronics, cosmetics, clothes among other consumables and non-consumable items worth billions of Naira.
‘ These fire outbreaks have become one too many already; with attendant losses running to billions of Naira. In the last six months, there have been several incidents of this nature. From Idumota Market Area in Lagos; to the Police Shopping Complex, Mararaba, Nasarawa State; to the Yan Katako Market, Rijiyar Lemu Area of Fagge LGA, Kano State, just to mention a few.
“ These fire outbreaks all had the same causative factors which hinged on basic building safety regulations that were either inadequate or not adhered to or out rightly not in place.
“This state of unpreparedness in safety management cuts across private homes, government buildings, open parks and gardens, markets, shopping malls, warehouses, sawmills, fuel tankers, gas and fuel stations, educational establishments, shops, clubs, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants: thereby exposing ourselves to avoidable mishaps”, she said .

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Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms, Minister Urges UN

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Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, has called on the United Nations (UN) to show more deliberate support for Nigeria’s economic reforms.
He said such support would encourage other nations to make similar adjustments necessary for sustainable growth and development.
Bagudu made this appeal during a courtesy visit by the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Ms. Fatou Haidara, in Abuja.
Despite the substantial economic reforms introduced by President Bola Tinubu’s administration aimed at revitalising Nigeria’s economy, Bagudu expressed disappointment over the UN’s slow response in backing these initiatives.
“Over the past year, Nigeria has undertaken what we consider very bold and courageous reforms, almost at risk to our leadership. But we don’t think the system, particularly the United Nations system, has responded fast enough.
“We feel that we are missing maybe an element which will encourage other countries to embark on reforms if they don’t see the support”.
The Minister told Haidara that many developing countries believe the UN has not been meeting their expectations. She urged the UNIDO deputy director-general to relay this message to the UN system for corrective measures.
“This issue was discussed at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda. Many countries thought the United Nations system was deviating from the ideals of its founding fathers. We are telling you this, so you can find a way of communicating the challenge or doing something about it”, he stated.
Despite these concerns, Bagudu expressed gratitude for UNIDO’s support for Nigeria’s industrial sector over the past 40 years, particularly highlighting the establishment of one of its investment and technology promotion centres in the country.
In her response, Haidara acknowledged Nigeria as a significant founding partner of UNIDO and noted the rewarding cooperation between the two entities over the years.

Her visit is intended to provide a status report on the ongoing cooperation and seek further guidance to enhance their partnership.

“My colleagues told me that all the meetings to design the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) were held with your ministry and here.

“We are very honoured to be able to talk today about what we will be doing under this Programme for Country Partnership”, she said.

Haidara revealed that UNIDO had developed ‘Agenda 2063,’ a strategic framework aligning with the developmental priorities of African leaders, to support the continent’s growth and development.

The meeting underscored the importance of mutual support and collaboration in achieving sustainable economic growth, with Nigeria urging for more proactive engagement from the UN system to bolster its ambitious reform agenda.

Nneka Amaechi -Nnadi, Abuja

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FG Threatens To Revoke Sold Ikoyi Liaison Quarters

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The Minister of Interior, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has expressed the Ministry’s determination to recover its liaison residential quarters allegedly sold by an undisclosed Director of the Ministry.
He gave the hint in Lagos on Monday while on tour of some facilities in the Federal Marriage Registry, Immigration Service, and Ikoyi Correctional Centre, all in Lagos, to be abreast with their operations.
The Minister said the sales of the properties will be revoked, not minding who is involved, because “we can not mortgage our future”.
According to him, “the government of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda would not let go of those involved in the illegally acquired government properties”.
In the same vein, while addressing journalists after the facilities tour at the correctional center, Ikoyi, he stated that “President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda will continue to tackle and address all inherited jumble of problems of the past administration”.
He further explained that Mr. President as a patriot is braced up to address all inherited problems since assumption of office, adding that as a listener, he has showed concern about the inherited problems and never rested on his oars.
On Correctional Centre, Tunji-Ojo said, “I have always said, that urbanisation is real. So far, we have looked at some of these correctional centres across the country and we have been very keen on repositioning them.
“We want a real correctional centre in actual deed, not a place that will be psychologically damaging. We want offenders to come to correctional centres and be reformed.
“We think that the change of name from Prisons, which is a place of incarceration, to correction, simply means a place of transformation, and should take effect really.
“We want a change of ideology, a change in orientation, and change in our approach of methodology of formation so that people will see this place as a place of hope, and leave with the renewed hope”.
He further assured that the Ikoyi Correctional Centre will soon be relocated to a designated area properly deemed fit by the Federal Government.
Industry watchers commended the minister for making time to assess some of the dilapidated buildings and offices  warehousing his officials.
A senior officer of Immigration Service who did not want his name in print, said the Minister’s visit was not a witch hunting exercise but an assessment of performance of the ministries under his watch to enable him assess the problems inherited, adding that the Minister had an ample opportunity of critically observing activities on facilities visited and even said officialdom would not permit him to see.
The Minister was accompanied on the tours by the Director, Citizenship and Business, Mr. John Adinoron; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Aishatu Gogo Naayako; and the Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, amongst others.

Nkemenyie Mcdonminic, Lagos

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