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Trade and Industry

Nigeria’s rice production hits 35m bags

By Tanko Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says, with over 34 integrated rice mills and clusters, Nigeria currently produces 150,000 bags of rice daily and about 35 million bags per annum.

The Minister disclosed this on Friday in Abuja  at a media briefing to mark the first anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term administration.

He said rice cultivation has increased from two to three times a year, while rice farmers are now venturing beyond rice cultivation to milling, packaging and marketing.

Mohammed said that the integrated rice mills and the rice clusters across the country had created millions of direct and indirect job and  conserved huge amount in foreign exchange, that hitherto went into rice importation.

He attributed the feat recorded in food sufficiency to the border drill declared by President Muhammadu Buhari that boosted production of  products especially local rice, tomatoes, pepper and poultry.

“Today, Nigeria is fast attaining self sufficiency in rice production, as the border drill has drastically reduced rice smuggling into the country and catalyzed rice production by farmers across the country.

The minister said that, besides putting Nigeria on the path to food sufficiency, the border drill stem the flow of illicit arms into the country and improve national

security.

He said the border drill has also led to significant seizures with estimated monetary value of close to N10 billion, reduced local fuel consumption by 30 per cent and reduced the importation of arms, munitions and drugs.

Mohammed explained that the drill had made it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to procure arms and ammunition while criminal elements no longer make their way into the country through the land borders.

“The implication is that we have witnessed a reduction in cases of insecurity – kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery or other violent crimes.

“Talking about security, you are all aware of the unprecedented successes being recorded every day by our gallant troops against the insurgents in the North-east.

“We must continue to support our troops as they clear the remnants of the insurgents,” he said.

It would be recalled that the border drill, code-named EXERCISE SWIFT RESPONSE,  is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

It involves the Nigerian Customs Service and Nigerian Immigration Service, working in collaboration with the armed forces, the Police  and other security and intelligence agencies.

5 vessels await anchorage at Delta ports

By Moses Uwagbale

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says five vessels laden with fuel and Wheat are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.

The NPA made this known in its daily report, Shipping Position, on Friday in Warri.

NPA said that the ships were awaiting anchorage at the Escravos, Koko anchorage and the Bennett Island.

It listed the vessels as Remi, MT St Ilhaam, MV Shark Island, Ocean Progress and Matrix Pride.

“MT St Ilhaam, MV Shark Island, Ocean Progress laden with PMS, Wheat and Gas oil respectively are to discharge inward.

“Matrix Pride conveying AGO is to discharge and Remi vessel is awaiting maintenance,” it stated.

It added that three ships laden with PMS and AGO were waiting at the Fair Bouy to discharge inward.

5 vessels await anchorage at Delta ports

By Moses Uwagbale

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says five vessels laden with fuel and Wheat are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.

The NPA made this known in its daily report, Shipping Position, on Friday in Warri.

NPA said that the ships were awaiting anchorage at the Escravos, Koko anchorage and the Bennett Island.

It listed the vessels as Remi, MT St Ilhaam, MV Shark Island, Ocean Progress and Matrix Pride.

“MT St Ilhaam, MV Shark Island, Ocean Progress laden with PMS, Wheat and Gas oil respectively are to discharge inward.

“Matrix Pride conveying AGO is to discharge and Remi vessel is awaiting maintenance,” it stated.

It added that three ships laden with PMS and AGO were waiting at the Fair Bouy to discharge inward.

It also said that 17 vessels laden with bitumen, AGO, Containers, Tiles/Float glass among others were being expected at the Delta ports between May 23 and June 6.

It also said that 17 vessels laden with bitumen, AGO, Containers, Tiles/Float glass among others were being expected at the Delta ports between May 23 and June 6.

AfCFTA’s secretariat awaits feedback on take-off

By Moses Uwagbale

Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat,  says a recommendation has been sent to African Heads of States on the feasibility of sticking to the July 1 take off date of trading among countries under the agreement.

He said that the feedback from the Heads of State was being awaited.

Mene spoke on Friday at a webinar on “AfCFTA Implementation Post COVID-19” organised by  the secretariat in collaboration with the American Business Council and US Africa Business Centre.

Nigeria is among the African countries that have endorsed  AfCFTA which aims to redefine trade relations within African states and beyond.

It proposed creating a single market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments across 54 countries.

The agreement also has a dispute settlement mechanism similar to the one set up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mene said a recommendation had been made to African leaders on the implementation of the agreement,  following the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic that had forced many countries to shut their borders.

He said: “Trading is supposed to begin on July 1 and 28 countries have already ratified the agreement to be bound with the legal obligations out of the 54 countries that signalled their intention.

” However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 42 countries in Africa are under border closure or partial lockdown.

“The governments are focused on saving lives and businesses, which makes a lot of sense.

” We have sent a recommendation to the Heads of States on the feasibility of sticking to the July 1 take off date and we are waiting for them to give us feedback.”

The secretary general maintained that proper implementation of AfCFTA would help Africa mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it would lead to mutually beneficial investments and job opportunities.

According to him, Africa has a market of 1.2 billion people; it has a combined Gross Domestic Product of $2.5 trillion, and about 400 continental companies that earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more.

He said: “Through the AfCFTA,  we have an opportunity to reconfigure our supply chains, to reduce reliance on others and to expedite the establishment of regional value chains that will boost intra-Africa trade.

“AfCFTA is an opportunity to confront the significant trade and economic development challenges of our time, including market fragmentation smallness of national economies; over-reliance on the export of primary commodities and narrow export base.

“This is caused by shallow manufacturing capacity; lack of export specialisation; under-developed industrial regional value chains; and high regulatory and tariff barriers to intra-Africa trade amongst others.

“The result of all of this, is a very low percentage of intra-Africa trade of 18 per cent,” he said.

Mene said AfCFTA had  the potential to be a catalyst for industrial development, placing Africa on a path to exporting value-added products, improving Africa’s competitiveness both in its own markets and globally.

He maintained that AfCFTA should not be perceived to be benefiting only a handful of relatively industrialised countries in Africa but all African businesses.

Baru, ex-GMD of NNPC dies, as Buhari re-constitutes Board

By Chris Ndibe

The immediate past Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, is dead.

Malam Mele Kari, the Group Managing Director of the Corporation disclosed this on his Twitter handle @MMkyari on Saturday in Abuja.

“My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night.

“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him,” he said .

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Corporation Dr Kennie Obateru in statement confirmed the death of the ex-GMD.

“The NNPC regrets to announce the demise of its former GMD, Dr Maikanti Kacalla Baru, Friday night.

“Dr. Baru, a consummate Mechanical Engineer, died after a brief illness.”

He said that  Kyari expressed shock over the sudden death of  Baru who was the 18th GMD of the Corporation.

Baru, 60, who was at the helm of the Corporation from July 4, 2016 to July 7, 2019, was  born in July 1959 in Misau, Bauchi State.

He attended Federal Government College, Jos for his secondary education where he graduated in 1978.

 He obtained his bachelor of engineering degree from Ahmadu Bello University in 1982. Baru has a doctorate in Computer Aided Engineering from the University of Sussex. retire  in July 2019.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstitution of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), after the expiration of the term of the board members appointed in 2016.

According to the Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), members of the new Board are Mohammed Lawal (North West), Tajudeen Umar (North East), Adamu Mahmood  Attah (North Central), Senator Magnus Abe (South South), Dr Stephen Dike (South East), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West).

The new board will be in place for three years.

Adesina, outgoing AfDB’s President garners support

By Tanko Mohammed

Aside Nigeria’s formal letter to the Board for Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s nomination for re-appointment as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) , many other African leaders have supported the icon who is going through turbulence in the bank.

Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and other African leaders have threw their support behind Adesina.

The African leaders rallied support for Adesina through a statement they jointly signed.

Some whistleblowers recently alleged that Adesina had violated the Bank’s Code of Ethics, but he had since firmly and consistently declared his innocence of the allegations.

The United States is insisting on a further probe in spite of the fact that Adesina had been exonerated by the Board of Directors of the Bank following an earlier probe.

The African leaders, however, insisted that the Bank had fully followed its rules, procedures and governing systems, which had served it well since it was established by African countries in 1964.

“The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, a legal oversight body of the Bank, made up of representatives of shareholders, cleared Dr. Adesina of all 16 allegations, declaring them as baseless and unsubstantiated and exonerated him completely.

” The Chairman of the Board of Governors, based on the report of the Ethics Committee, declared Dr. Adesina exonerated.

“Governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organisations.

In the case of the AfDB, while differences may exist among parties, the best way to address them is to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank.

“To do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard earned reputation, and that of its President,” they said.

The leaders cautioned that the continent should not allow itself to be distracted, particularly when it is battling with the coronavirus pandemic.

The ex-presidents, who took time to roll out the achievements of the AFDB noted that the bank had performed remarkably well under the leadership of Adesina.

“The Bank is a pride for all of Africa and its President, Dr. Adesina, has taken it to enviable heights.

“At this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the Bank and its President should not be distracted.

Signatories to the statement are:

H.E Olusegun Obasanjo (President of Nigeria; 1999-2007)

H.E Boni Yayi (President of Benin; 2006-2016)

H.E Hailemariam Desalegn (Prime Minister of Ethiopia; 2012 – 2018)

H.E John Kufour (President of Ghana; 2001 – 2009)

H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia; 2006 – 2018)

H.E Joyce Banda (President of Malawi; 2012 – 2014)

H.E Joaquim Chissano (President of Mozambique; 1986 – 2005)

H.E Tandja Mamadou (President of Niger; 1999 – 2010)

H.E Goodluck Jonathan (President of Nigeria; 2010-2015)

H.E Mohamed Marzouki (President of Tunisia; 2011 – 2014)

H.E Benjamin Mkapa (President of Tanzania; 1995 – 2005)

ENDORSED BY:

H.E Ameenah Gurib-Fakin (President of Mauritius; 2015 – 2018)

H.E Rupiah Banda (President of Zambia; 2008 – 2011)

H.E Kgalema Motlanthe (President of South Africa; 2008-2009)

H.E Jakaya Kikwete (President of Tanzania; 2005 – 2015)