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Guinea seeks stronger economic ties with Kano, holds business session

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The President of the Republic of Guinea, Prof. Alpha Conde, has solicited closer and stronger economic ties between Kano and Guinea.

Conde made the call in Kano during a special business session with Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje and the Kano business community at the Government House, Kano, on Wednesday.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Abba Anwar.

The president assured the business community that they would always be ready to welcome Kano businessmen for investment opportunities in his country.

“Being brothers coming from Africa, you would surely have no problem at all in harnessing the abundant investment opportunities in our dear country,” the statement said.

According to the statement, Conde who said that his country has effective ease of doing business environment, assured that since his assumption as President of the Republic in 2010, he has been doing his best to see that all odds against transparent, smoother and healthier economy were eliminated.

Earlier, Ganduje assured the Guinean president that Kano State Government was ready and determined to work closely with the Republic of Guinea to leverage each other’s strength to mutual benefits.

The statement quoted Ganduje as saying that the door of his government are always opened to the great country of Guinea.

“We welcome your new innovations and suggestions on how we can partner with Guinea in all facets of development especially investment opportunities in both countries.

“I am indeed particularly delighted by Your Excellency’s passion and expressed commitment to hold discussions between your delegation and members of our business community in Kano on various investment opportunities in the Republic of Guinea among other related issues.

“The strength and relevance of Kano business community in economic development, both within and outside Nigeria, today constitutes an important and unique force in Nigeria and the World in general.

“In the past couple of decades, it has grown into an energetic and confident community that has accorded Nigeria a good stand-in many parts of the World.

“It is our pride to state that today, the richest black man in the World is a native of Kano in the person of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON,” the statement read in part.

The Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, while appreciating the move for such economic ties between Kano and Guinea, encouraged the economic integration.

The first class traditional ruler noted that such collaboration could help in preventing Africans from migrating to other parts of the world, particularly Europe and other developed states in search of greener pasture.

“We must, as people try and see that this and similar initiatives see the light of the day. Emphasis should be more on Africa to Africa investment, than Africa to other places. Through this, we can make a significant impact on fighting poverty,” the statement quoted Sanusi saying.

Those who attended the forum were representative of Dangote Group of Companies, Mr Mansur Ahmed; Alhaji Tajuddeen Dantata represented Dantata Group of Companies, and Alhaji Nafi’u Isyaka Rabi’u represented BUA Group of Companies.

Also in attendance were the Chairman Azman Air, Alhaji Abdulmanafi Sarina; the Executive Chairman of Ultimate Gas, Alhaji Auwalu Ilu; Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta; and the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris.

Ministers designate from Kano state, retired Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi and Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, among other dignitaries, witnessed the event.  

MNT/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Economy

CBN to build 7 diagnostic centres in 6 geopolitical zones, Abuja

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it will build diagnostic centres in the six geopolitical zones of the country and Abuja.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed this while speaking with newsmen at the inauguration of a centre, named ‘CBN Centre of Excellence’ at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria on Thursday.

Emefiele explained that the centre that would be established in Abuja would have both heart and cancer diagnostic centres.

He however, said depending on available funding, the construction which would commence by 2020 or 2021 would be ready by 2024 or 2025.

According to him, such centres are important because what usually takes Nigerians outside the country is diagnosis.

“The importance cannot be quantified because once your illness is diagnosed, the assignment of the doctors will be made simple.

“The centres will be done in a way that a referral will come from teaching and private hospitals.

“Those coming to access care at the centres will be paying to generate revenue so the centres can manage themselves without CBN interference,’’ he said.

According to him, health and education are the bedrock of any nation’s development and there is need to invest in them.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

 

 

 

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Economy

Traders decry multiple taxation in Enugu market

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Traders in Ogbette Main Market, Enugu have expressed disaffection with the multiple taxation and levies in the market.

The traders also feared a possible outbreak of epidemic in the market due to the overflow of waste from a sewage in the nneigbouring premises of the Nigerian Correctional Service (former Nigerian Prisons Service)

They spoke at a sensitisation programme organised by a non-governmental organisation, called Strengthening Citizens Resistance against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) project.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the taxes and levies were introduced by the market leadership as well as state and local governments.

One of the traders, Mr Patrick Ezema, said that they were emburdened with different types of levies and taxes that were affecting their businesses.

Ezema listed some of the levies to include sanitation levy, annual levy, EEDC levy, packing late levy and special security levy.

He said that they were more worried with the introduction of three other levies, including wheel barrow permit, hawkers’ permit and eating permit.

He said that the eating permit was being paid by caterers in the market, adding that stall levies were rising in geometric progression annually.

He said, “Some of these levies are unacceptable to us because their impact was not being felt in the market.”

Ezema wondered why wheelbarrow pushers and sachet water hawkers, who were struggling to survive, would be made to pay levies in the market.

On the overflow of waste into the market, he said, “many of us have fallen sick as a result of the human waste that flows into the market from the neighbouring building.”

Ezema called for urgent measures to check the situation to avert a possible outbreak of epidemic in the market.

Also, Mr James Ukomadu, another trader, appealed to the state and local government to build a clinic in the market to handle minor health issues and emergencies in the market.

Ukomadu also charged the market leadership to build necessary infrastructure in the market to justify the huge levies paid by traders.

Mrs Chinyere Ukatu appealed to the government to sink a borehole in the market, saying that the lack of potable water was affecting them.

In a speech, the Executive Director of DEDSRI, Ms Ogechukwu Enwelum, said that the aim of the sensitisation was to get first hand information on the issue of multiple taxation in the market.

Enwelum said that the organisation discovered from their investigation that the traders were grappling with multiple taxation.

She said that the situation was inconsistent with the reputation of Enugu as a state with a conducive environment for business.

“We call for advocacy to enable us understand the situation. We want businesses to grow in the state,” Enwelum said.

She also said that the group needed to know if there was an accountability forum in the market.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the issue of multiple taxation had been a recurrent phenomenon in the state.

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had at different fora expressed willingness to harmonise the levies.

NAN reports that SCRAP-C project, which is funded by the UKaid, is designed to build the capacity of the citizenry in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

It was a brainchild of ActionAid Nigeria and being implemented in the state in partnership with Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiative.

The programme is currently being implemented in six pilot states of the federation.

 

 

 

 

 

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Economy

Building collapse: Stakeholders call for effective regulation, legislation

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The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has stressed the need for all levels of government to enforce building regulations and necessary legislations to mitigate issues of building collapse in the country.

The NSE president, Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, said this on Thursday in Lagos during the August Breakfast meeting of the Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC).

The meeting was themed: “Building Collapse and the need for re-certification.’’

Mokuolu said that the re-certification of buildings was necessary to ensure they conformed to the purposes they are being used for and the building plans suitable for the locality where the buildings are situated.

“This, no doubt, could be a proactive or preventative step in curbing incessant building collapse in the country,’’ he said.

Mokuolu said that government should also ensure that only structural drawings prepared and endorsed by registered structural engineers are approved for construction.

He urged the government to upscale the capacities of their staff and equip building approvals and control agencies with experienced professionals to enhance safety and sanity in the construction industry.

According to him, building collapse in Nigeria has become a regular occurrence, that results in casualties, material losses, financial wastages and severe property damage.

He stressed that the government should ensure that property owners and developers whose property werer not covered by valid building approval plans should regularise such property after ascertaining the structural stability of the buildings.

The expert said that such qualitative structural assessment would reveal inherent dangers and the havoc that was associated with existing defective buildings.

He stressed the need for state governments to implement an integrity audit of all old structures within locations where previous collapse had been recorded.

“The Process of Certification and re-certification of old and existing structures should not be a “righteousness fulfilling approach” anymore. We must put practical and feasible enforcement around it all,” he said.

He charged all professional bodies in the construction industry to  embark on sensitisation campaigns for the public to create awareness on the evils and risks of using unqualified persons for construction.

Mokuolu emphasised that stiffer penalties should be placed on owners of collapsed buildings and project handlers in the country, especially where loss of lives was involved.

He said this would serve as a deterrent to the practices of some carefree developers in the country.

Also, Chief Adetola EmmanuelKing, Chief Executive Officer, Adron Homes and Properties, said that the country needed to pay attention to its housing outlook.

He stressed that enforcement of law to achieve standardisation was key, adding that government agencies should make the processes less cumbersome.

Mr Sunday Wusu, Vice Chairman, Lagos State Chapter, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), stressed the need for more collaboration among professionals in the construction industry.

Earlier, Mr Ehi Braimah, Vice President, NACC, said the predominant rate of building collapse in Nigeria posed a grave concern and serious challenges to all stakeholders in the building construction industry.

“For every collapsed building, the footprints of destruction of lives and loss of properties in locations where they occur, mostly in the urban cities of Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos, are usually undesirable,” he said.

AIO/PIO

(Edited by Idonije Obakhedo)

 

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Economy

Economy: Capital market operators task new ministers on recession

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Some capital market operators on Thursday said there was the need for the new ministers to commence work without delay to revive the nation’s economy to avoid another round of recession.

They told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that the ministers must swing into action to revive the economy which was gradually descending into another round of recession.

Mr Sola Oni, a chartered stockbroker and Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, said the ministers needed to commence work without wasting time to revitalise the economy.

“We run an economy where about 65 per cent of our income is devoted to servicing debt which hovers at 70 billion dollars.

“This is a killer situation and the state of infrastructure is still a journey to be accomplished,” Oni said.

He noted that attractive rate of fixed income securities was fast crowding out investment in equities.

“Once investors continue to be apprehensive of macroeconomic stability, the issue of medium and long term investment horizon becomes unpopular.

“This is one of the major factors accounting for the continuous slide in prices of shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” Oni said.

He said the ministers of Finance and Trade and Investment, the Senate and House of Representatives Capital Market Committees and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) needed to collaborate with capital market stakeholders.

Oni said they should engage the capital market stakeholders to agree on specific policy issues that would ensure economic recovery so as to revive the capital market on the basis of short, medium and long-term.

“Morning shows the day. The engagement should not take a whole quarter in preparation,” he said.

Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd, called for more robust economic policies that would boost investor confidence in the capital market.

Kurfi said that there was the need for fiscal policy that would support monetary policy aimed at stabilising the foreign exchange and lowering inflation rate.

He also called for the privatisation of GENCOs and DISCOs by the Federal Government to make both companies more viable.

According to him, government should embrace the capital market as a source for infrastructure development.

Mr Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), said all the ministers should start work immediately because things were in bad shape.

“Those saddled with the management of the economy should work closely with the private sector to formulate policies that will help businesses in order to create jobs and wealth for Nigerians.

“Government must and should harness the potential of the capital market for economic growth and development.

“A private sector-driven economy is the best approach to a sustainable and prosperous economy anywhere in the world,” Igbrude said.

He that the new Federal Executive Council (FEC) should also pursue policies targeted at Ease of Doing Business, multiple foreign exchange market and multiple taxation.

Mr Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the new cabinet should embrace friendly-oriented policies.

Okezie said they should make Nigeria an investment destination by addressing insecurity, kidnapping and herdsmen clashes.

“Investors cannot come and invest in a place that is not safe for them to do their businesses whether foreigners or Nigerians,” he said.

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Economy

Former NERC boss wants strong regulations to boost power sector 

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 Mr Sam Amadi, former Executive Chairman of  the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has called for strong regulations to drive the power sector for effective service delivery.

The forum has as its theme “Rules Compliance for Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) Development and Sustainability”.¹

`We  need to strengthen the regulations in the sector, government is trying with some policies intervention but policies cannot drive a regulated market. It is policy plus regulation .

“What TCN is doing by  focusing on  smart rules that can force this entities to perform is in the right direction.

“We should not think that the investors  are coming to do the people good but they are coming to exploit the market .

“Our focus should be to create regulations that can put  incentive and reassess capacity of the investors by setting a bench mark,” he said.

Amadi said that  the critical issue in the market was funding, adding that  market participant know what to do to improve the sector

According to him, the assumption is that it will be easy for private investors to raise capital to finance short term recovery of capacity and long time improvement of that.

“The wrong assumption was that tariff will provide the finance but its not possible even if you increase tariff by 1000 per-cent.

“The people cannot pay enough and the DisCos do not have good revenue management procedure to recover their money

“Primarily, we need to have a sector that can finance in the long term and recover the long term .

“We need to go back to reassess the capacity of the investors, if they cannot do the job, you find a way to divide their franchise in a  way that it does not amount to risk.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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