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Experts Seek Economic Development Plans Implementation

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Financial experts have stressed the need for the Federal Government to implement the National Development Plan 2021-2025 (NDP) to spur the country’s economic growth.
The experts, who stated this at a webinar over the weekend with the theme: “Resetting Nigeria’s Economic Growth Trajectory”, said practical measures should be adopted to implement the plans to enhance revenue generation and business growth.
The Tide’s source reports that the NDP, which succeeds the Vision 20:20:20, introduced in 2009, and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, is a bridge for the country’s long-term plan currently being developed, “Nigeria Agenda 2050”.
The vision of the plan is to unlock the country’s potential across all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic, and inclusive national development.
The Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, said the implementation of NDP would boost productivity, enterprises employment and the standards of living of the people.
Yuguda, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner of Operations, SEC, Mr Dayo Obisan,  said the successful execution of the NDP was critical to achieving economic growth since its objectives cut across all sectors of the economy.
“The NDP is one of Federal Government’s plans that the government can focus on, which is aimed at fostering economic growth and enhancing productivity.
“One of its broad objectives is on economic diversification to improve non-oil revenue and increase the dollar earning power of our non-oil export.
“It also focuses on investment in infrastructure; security and good governance; education and a healthy population; poverty alleviation; economic and social development across states,” he said.
The Managing Director, Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC), Mrs Chizor Malize, emphasised the need to transit from a consumer nation to production for increased export capacity.
Malize said that the best way to drive large-scale employment was by reviewing policies on education and curriculum to equip and stimulate youths to become employers of labour.

She called on the government and other relevant stakeholders to consistently create an enabling environment to foster micro, small and medium-scale enterprises.

“In China, we see a lot of strength and sophistication around technology but it will interest you to know that China started its reform through agriculture.

“China recognise the importance of food security and alleviating people from poverty, so they leveraged investment in agricultural policies to create change and catalyse growth and empowerment.

“One of the biggest things that drove Singapore’s success is visionary leadership because they deliberately tied political stability to economic growth.

“Singapore was deliberate about infrastructure in public health, transportation and housing as well as free market principles where businesses can thrive and attract foreign investors without the huge tax burden.

“Japan was crushed after World War 2 but now, manufacturing has elevated Japan and allowed them to command respect across the world,” she said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Ltd., Mr Johnson Chukwu, urged the government to do more in growing the manufacturing, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and trade sectors, as these were key drivers of economic growth.

Chukwu said growing the manufacturing sector involved addressing factors such as infrastructure, power supply, logistics, seaports for import and export of goods, transportation and availability of development finance initiatives.

On his part, the Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader, PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, called on the government to harmonise taxes and demonstrate value for it to citizens; to encourage tax morale, and boost government’s revenue.

Oyedele said that tax evasion in the public sector also posed a great challenge for the government as it was losing revenue.

“The biggest tax evasion in Nigeria is in the public sector, with Ministries Departments and Agencies not remitting taxes to the government.

“Government has to think about harmonising taxes because the number of taxes and number of agencies collecting it are too many.

“Therefore, to solve the revenue challenges, the government should address these leakages with automation, intelligence and data,” he added.
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Waterways Disaster: NIWA Institutes Insurance Cover For Goods, Barges 

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As a result of heavy losses of lives and properties by the operators of water transportation, the Nigeria Inlandways Authority has announced its readiness to roll out insurance cover plans to ensure that importers who patronize barge operators do not lose their investments.
Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu, who disclosed this to newsmen at a media parley in Lagos, said his agency has held discussions with the barge operators for a suitable insurance cover for all goods on board barges.
He noted that this was simply to protect investments of importers who use waterways to transport their goods to their final destination
The NIWA boss described movement of goods by barges as a prime project in order to decongest the nation’s ports and also reduce pressure on the roads.
The roads,  Moghalu said, were not designed to carry as much as they do currently, adding, “if so, there is no way our infrastructure will last.
“So, whatever we can do to reduce such pressure, we do it… in civilized societies, bulk cargoes go on waterways”, he said.
He further explained that having concessioned Onitsha Port, others will follow with time, adding that government will use the same template used in Onitsha concession as a guide to Baro, Lokoja, Oguta and any other river port.
Recall that the former Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, had said that Onitsha River Port has a lot of economic benefits to the country.
Saraki said the port will generate about N23billion to the Federal Government in 30 years as part of the concession agreement.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Bakers Plan Fresh Price Hike, Cite Cost Of Materials 

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Bakers, under the aegis of the Premium Bread-Makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN), have warned of another inrease in prices of bread due to the skyrocketing cost of baking materials.
President of the association, Emmanuel Onuorah, who disclosed this to The Tide’s source in an exclusive interview, said the recent developments in the global marketplace had not translated into a better operating environment for local bakers.
Accordiy to him, the planned hike follows a recent strike action by PBAN, and the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), which culminated in a 15 per cent hike in bread prices barely two weeks ago.
Onuorah said many members of PBAN had been forced to shut down business operations this year due to the skyrocketing cost of doing business.
“The price of bread is going up again. The millers just increased prices by N2000. Sugar refiners increased by N2000. We had a N10,000 increase between last week and this week. We are increasing prices again.
“Preservatives increased by N2000, and butter increased by N2000. So, we have to respond. For us as an industry, our own is garbage in, garbage out. If the price of wheat comes down today, and the price of fuel comes down, certainly we will look at the price of our products and act accordingly”, he said.
He also urged the Federal Government to open up a forex window for industry players, particularly the flour millers.
This, he said, would significantly address the indiscriminate increase in the prices of flour in the market.
“When we went on withdrawal of services, flour was N28,500. Today it is N30,500,” Onuorah said.
In July 22, 2022, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to free more than 20 million tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
The agreement, brokered with support from the United Nations and Turkey, was projected to have major implications on global food security and food prices.
The inability of Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports had severely reduced the supply of food to import-dependent African and Middle Eastern countries.
Before the war in Ukraine, Ukraine had been a bread basket, providing wheat, maize, and barley to countries throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
According to a recent publication by the World Bank, export prices of cereal indices were stable over the past 2 weeks, with the agricultural index closing at the same level as at two weeks ago.
The export index went up by two per cent, but the cereal index went down by one per cent.
The war in Ukraine is having extreme impacts on the world’s poorest countries. The countries at highest risk of a debt crisis are experiencing the additional threat of a food crisis.
A recent World Bank blog described the dire situation that many poor countries had been facing since the start of the war, with surging food import bills resulting from high grain prices caused by the war.
According to World Bank data, import bills for wheat, rice, and maize are expected to rise by more than one per cent for low-income countries at high risk of a debt crisis, more than double the increase from 2021 to 2022.

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Safety Compromise, Reason For Nigeria’s Depressed Economy 

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A retired diver, Engr. Tapenu Tobi, has blamed waterways operators for compromising safety in the waterways, which, he said, has resulted in Nigeria’s depressed economy.
He said the result is that  at the end of the day, it has forced many of them to  defer or skip maintenance, cut corners on mandatory training and operate wooden boats.
Engr. Tobi, who said this in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Lagos, noted that Nigerian Inlandways Authority lacked the resources needed to conduct a safe water operation in terms of funds, organisation and skilled personnel, a development which he said could make the operators to compromise safety.
He also stated that the regulatory mechanism required to enforce safety rules are non-existent in some States and simply  disintegrating and collapsing in others, as well as absolutely being ineffective in many.
Water transportation, according to the expert diver, is capital intensive as it involves a lot of expenses.
Such expenses, he explained, include ferry purchase/lease payment, high cost of acquisition of new boat, sea crew training (including simulator), and maintenance.
Others are “spare parts to support safe operation, jetties infrastructure facilities, provision of communications, navigational and landing aids and the provision of skilled and experienced manpower for the water safety regulatory body”, he said.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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