The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said micro, small and medium enterprises in the country need to be empowered to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The Regional Coordinator, South-West, NEPC, Samuel Oyeyipo, said this at a workshop organised for MSMEs by the council’s legal unit in Lagos, in collaboration with the Export Expansion Facility Programme.
The workshop was focused on the role of AfCFTA in the growth and development of intra-African trade, laws and treaties.
Oyeyipo, who described the MSME sector as the largest in the economy in terms of trade, distribution and, to some extent, production, said, “There is a need to let them know what it takes to participate in the AfCFTA.”
He said, “So, we organised this workshop so they can know what they need to do in terms of product quality, packaging and certification.
“We have MSMEs in other African countries; so, we cannot be left behind, and we have to equip our MSMEs with the knowledge required for them to also upgrade their businesses and skills to be able to participate in the AfCFTA”.
The Head of Legal, NEPC, Julie Onmoke, said when the AfCFTA was introduced, the council had believed that “Nigerians would key into it more than what we are seeing”.
She said, “This workshop has been specially packaged to talk to our exporters on how to access the market in order to maximise the benefits and opportunities presented by the AfCFTA by increasing the volume and value of exports from Nigeria.
“Recently, the NEPC gave grants to deserving exporters for them to invest in their businesses in order to increase their production capacity. And when that is done, we expect that there should be more products, which would access more markets”.
A professor of International Economic Relations at the Covenant University, Ota, Jonathan Aremu, said in his presentation at the event that the liberalisation of trade, like the current AfCFTA, would definitely impact MSMEs differently because of their economic circumstances in the Nigerian economy.
He said, “Hence, AfCFTA will not achieve its intended goals if it is not designed and implemented with the adequate consideration of those MSMEs’ situations.
“Therefore, developing an MSMEs-sensitive approach into AfCFTA is necessary, so as to enhance the positive outcomes for them in the implementation of the continental economic integration.”
10 Ships With PMS, LNG, Others Arrive Eastern Ports, Today …Lagos Port Hosts 5 Ships With Frozen Fish
The Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA ) says a total of ten ships laden with different cargoes will arrive three Eastern Ports today.
The Ports are Onne, Calabar and Warri Ports, all located in South-South of Nigeria.
Vessels for Warri Port as Elizabeth A Spirit, Ozuchukwu, Akor, MT Picton and ST Walga, while those due for Calabar and Onne Ports are African Marvel, Asian Pride and Maersk Cubango.
Others are LNG Rivers and LNG Enugu for Onne port respectively.
This was contained in the Authority’s weekly Shipping Position, copy of which was made available to newsmen.
Names of the shipping Agents for Warri Port are Amco, Admiral, Pinapat, Blue seas and Kach, while that of Calabar is Allray Maritime Services.
Onne Port has Samcham, Maserk Nig Limited, West Atlantic Port services Nig Limited, and Comet Shipping Services as agents.
The statement added that the ten ships are laden with Premium Motor Spirits (PMS), Crude oil, LNG, Bulk Fertilizer, Containers, Inballast, and Float Glasses.
In the same vein, Lagos Ports will receive five ships laden with Frozen Fish, while sixteen ships would discharge their bulk cargoes.
NPA said out of 21 ships expected to arrive at the ports,16 are have bulk cargoes, while five are carrying Frozen Fish.
Other cargoes in the 16 ships include general cargo, bulk sugar, container, butane gas, petrol, bulk gypsum, jet fuel and automobile gasoline.
The NPA said the ships were expected to arrive at the ports from May 14 to May 26,2022
It stated further that 12 other ships had arrived at the ports and waiting to berth with bulk sugar, bulk salt, bulk wheat, bulk fertiliser, petrol and base oil, adding that 19 other ships were at the ports discharging bulk cargoes.
The bulk cargoes include, wheat, General cargo, frozen fish, bulk salt, ethanol, bulk sugar, container and petrol.
FG Urges IMO To Retrain Port State Control Officers
Worried by lack of training and re training of personnel in Ports State Control in Nigeria’s maritime industry, the Federal Government has charged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to remain committed to the training and retraining Ports State Control Officers.
This, the Government said, is in a bid to aid effective and efficient examination of substandard ships in West and Central Africa.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, stated this in Lagos during the regional workshop for Heads of maritime administrations in West and Central Africa.
She enjoined Port State Control Officers in the region to acquaint themselves with new trends, innovations, inventions, and topical issues in their field.
“One of the yardsticks for measuring an effective MoU is its ability to ensure a harmonised system of Port State Control, strengthen cooperation, as well as information exchange amongst members with the ultimate aim of preventing the operation of substandard ships within the MoU region.
“This workshop/training, which will keep participants abreast of current events, innovations, inventions, and topical issues in the industry, couldn’t have come at a better time than now when the Abuja MoU is striving to become the enviable MoU in terms of quality of service and performance amongst the nine regional MoUs. I commend the Secretary-General and secretariat of the Abuja MoU.
“The essence of port state control is to inspect foreign ships in national ports to verify the condition of the ship and its equipment and ascertain that she is manned/operated in compliance with the requirements of international conventions/regulations to ensure maritime safety and security and prevent pollution of the marine environment.
“To this end, regular training and retraining of port state control officers are key in ensuring that they display a high level of professionalism and skill in the conduct of inspections on board ships calling at their ports.
“I, therefore, wish to urge the heads of maritime administrations here present to ensure that similar training(s) as this is replicated for Port State Control Officers in your respective administrations.
“It should be noted that the Abuja MoU is not tied to one Member State alone. All Member States here present are critical stakeholders of the MoU.
“Therefore, we must all join forces and strive to ensure that we constantly uphold the ideals and objectives upon which the MoU was established. For this reason,
“I urge all member states to play their part in contributing to the growth of the Abuja MoU, so that we can constantly meet expectations and safeguard our marine domains.
“I wish to encourage every member state that has not ratified and domesticated the Abuja MoU relevant instruments, which include the IMO and ILO conventions/codes for PSC to do so promptly, so that we can move with the tide of the IMO,” Ajani noted.
Navy Boosts NDLEA Operations With Two Speed Boats
In a bid to check the ills of anti narcotics in Nigeria, the Nigerian Navy Service (NNS), Western Naval Command, Apapa, has donated two Epenal boats and other operational equipment to National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), said the ongoing synergy between the anti-narcotic agency and other stakeholders, especially the military, will further tighten the noose on drug cartels and spell doom for their activities in the country.
The NDLEA boss, who was represented by the Director of Seaports Operations, Omolade Faboyede at the event, described the gesture as symbolic and beginning of an era of stronger ties between both institutions.
“The agency is determined to cripple the activities of drug cartels on every front.
.”We do not doubt that the combination of naval and narcotics strategies will spell doom for drug barons in the coming days. NDLEA will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders as we tighten the noose on drug criminals.
“I am particularly pleased with the prompt response to my request for materiel that could help to strengthen the Marine Unit of NDLEA as part of a sweeping effort to protect Nigerian waters from the trafficking of illicit drug substances.
“The synergy between the Navy and NDLEA, as exemplified by this ceremony, is a testament that we are winning the drug war on the waterfront within the broad goal of preventing drug cartels from smuggling narcotics into our country through airports, land borders, and seaports”, he said.
He continued that “we have come to a point where security organisations can no longer afford to work in silos. Illicit drug trafficking, as a transnational organised crime, requires the deployment of intelligence and close-knit collaboration with key stakeholders like the Nigerian Navy and other security organisations.
“In our effort to stem the tide of narcotic drugs, we have gone the extra mile and that includes the pursuit of synergy with organisations in the security sector,” Marwa said.
Citing some gains of partnership with other stakeholders in 2021, he stated that “so far, our efforts in one year showed that the strategy is effective.
“In 2021, we recorded the arrest of more than 12,300 suspected drug offenders, including seven drug barons with 1,400 drug traffickers jailed.
“We were able to also counsel and rehabilitate 8,000 drug users and in the same period, we mopped up over 3.4 million kilograms of assorted drugs. Interestingly, drugs and illicit proceeds of drug crime worth N130 billion were successfully recovered.
“This year equally started on an excellent footing. We broke our first quarter operational record with the arrest of over 3,539 suspected drug traffickers (including rogue security personnel and a well-known billionaire baron), and the seizure of more than 65,916 kilograms of drugs”, Marwa said
While thanking the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, and other service chiefs for supporting the nation’s drug war, Marwa expressed confidence that the partnership with the navy would produce “more outstanding result’s in the fight against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.”
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