Economy

Lagos govt. reiterates plans to fast-track industrialisation, development

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State says his administration remains committed to the holistic implementation of policies that would fast-track development of the state, making it desirable for investment.

Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, emphasised the commitment at the 2019 Africa Industrialisation Day/ Young African Industrialists Week, with the theme: Positioning African Industry to Supply Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The governor lauded key stakeholders for their contributions to the development of the industrial sector, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in spite of the harsh business environment.

“Considering the erratic and turbulent macro economic environment under which our industrialists operate, kudos should be given to stakeholders that have continued to remain in operation and contribute to the socio-economic development of the state.

“In the light of this, the provision of promotional tools that encourage the establishment and growth of businesses remains one of the major priorities of this administration.

“I assure you that we shall continue to formulate and implement policies and programmes that would consolidate the position of the State as the industrial and commercial hub of Nigeria,” he said.

The governor urged each state of the federation to initiate policies and programmes that would engender the development of the non-oil sectors as a panacea to the present economic downturn.

Also at the event, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives of the state, Dr Lola Akande, called for the evolution of internal policies to act as catalysts for local industries to benefit from the opportunities available in the AfCFTA.

Akande revealed that the event included the exhibition of locally fabricated machines, equipment and innovative projects from schools in Lagos to create the desired linkages between machine producers,  manufacturers of goods and end users.

She enjoined stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity and make efforts to create the necessary synergy that would lead to value addition on the path to industrialisation, economic recovery and growth.

“The state government is aware of the challenges of industrialisation and for this reason has continuously keyed into programmes that are capable of boosting the potential of the private sector and creating a conducive business environment.

“The state has consistently supported the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by devoting trade fairs to them.

“We have taken a step forward to at this forum include the exhibition of locally fabricated machine and innovative projects from schools in Lagos,” she said.

Mr Ibukunoluwa Akinrinde, Technical Anchor, Trade, Industry and Investment Policy Commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) urged Lagos to champion more public – private infrastructural partnerships.

This, he said, was necessary to address the various challenges affecting the manufacturing sector and properly position the country for the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Akinrinde also called for an export review within the context of a trade policy framework to help keep up with the dynamism of world trade activities.

Mr John Aluya, Vice President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the manufacturing sector would be faced with very stiff competition, should the AfCFTA be implemented at the moment due to the challenges facing the sector.

He called for trade facilitation infrastructure, trade research programmes, reviewed and harmonised trade policies and a strengthened business environment to unleash manufacturing sector potentials.

“Cost of production must be reduced and an increased capacity building exercise must be in place to understand trade origin mechanisms to enjoy this AfCFTA,” he said. 

Edited by Jane (NAN)-Frances Oraka/Oluwole Sogunle

Economy

Refund to bank customers stand at N76.7bn, $20.9m -CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the worth of money refund to bank customers as at Nov. 30 stood at N76.75 billion and 20.90 million dollars.

Mr Kofo-Abdulsalam Alada, the Director, Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of CBN, said this at a workshop for business editors and members of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), on Thursday in Yola.

Alada, represented by Mr Tyoden Nanfwang of the CPD, said the refund from several banks arose from various financial related complaints.

According to him, the refund is in line with the mandate of the department of the bank to promote consumer confidence in the financial system.

Highlighting some achievements of the department, the director said they had resolved no fewer than 16,263 complaints against banks from 2012 to Nov. 30.

Cumulative number of complaints against Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) that were resolved or closed from 2012 to the end of November 2019 is about 257.

We resolved over 13,000 complaints, obtained refunds of N76.75 billion, 20.90 million dollars, among others to bank customers as at Nov. 30.

The department has also developed a consumer protection framework and established a guide to charges by banks and OFIs,’’ he disclosed.

Alada noted that there was an extraordinary imbalance of power between the service providers and the consumers.

According to him, the goal of consumer protection is to mitigate this power imbalance.

The director said that one of the roles of the department in the bank was to entrench fair and responsible practices among financial service providers through regulations.

He, however, called on bank customers to report any financially related complaints to the CBN anytime they were dissatisfied with responses from their banks.

Edited by: Olawunmi Ashafa/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)
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Economy

Food System Vision 2050 Prize: UNILAG group engages stakeholders across value-chains

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The Food Systems Vision Group of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Wednesday engaged stakeholders across the agriculture value chain to articulate ways of addressing food safety challenges.

Lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Dr Vide Adedayo, at the Food System Vision 2050 Prize, UNILAG Group Engagement.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the university held an interactive session to spark connection and create awareness for the Food System Vision tagged: “Lagos Food System Vision 2050”, considering population, climate change and how they affect nutrition of the populace.

NAN reports that the Food Systems Vision 2050 Prize is a Rockefeller Foundation global initiative that invites organisations from around the world to create compelling and progressive visions of the world’s system by 2050.

A prize of $2 million will be distributed among the winners.

Dr Jide Adedayo, a Lecturer at the Department of Geography, UNILAG and the convener of the engagement, while delivering a paper on ‘Building Deeper Empathy to Develop Healthy Food’, touched on the quality of food in the state.

Adedayo said that there were opportunities in the challenges of food, especially from wastes generated, which were mostly organic and would help drive organic farming in the state because the organic wastes world be decomposed into organic fertilisers.

This programme is about the Rockefeller Foundation’s call for a prize and one of the requirements is for us to gather stakeholders in the food system to develop a vision for a community, and in respect of a community, Lagos State is in focus.

This is basically for food system players to come together to deliberate, look into the problems and challenges facing each player across the value chain as researchers, transporters, producers, processors and marketers to envision what we want it to be.

This is to also develop a strategy in the future as to how we can arrive in that vision. The call is a global call for each sector or community to gather thinker and decide on ways to solve malnutrition and food nutrition,” she said.

Adedayo said that there was currently low investment in agriculture as more land areas were converted into construction, highlighting that the food system was a case as the population continues to grow with a projection of over 200 million people in 2020.

She said that the food system in Nigeria was largely dependent on diet, culture, environment, technology, economy and policies.

A representative from the State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, General Manager of the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority commended the university for the engagement.

Olakulehin said that government could not do everything alone and in such engagements, issues raised by participants would help to chart policies that would shape the vision.

As a government, we cannot do it alone and that is why we are ready to support and collaborate in this effort. We have come to agree on certain issues which I believe will help in putting the vision aright in terms of production, transportation, market and other aspects of the value chain.

This goes to show that Lagos State is no longer in the era of quantity of what we produce but of what gets to the table of Lagosians in terms of quality.

This will help to chart a course for Lagos State and a good way of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of poverty reduction and zero hunger,” he said.

He expressed appreciation for the composition of the participants drawn from all sections of the value chain.

Welcoming participants at the event, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos expressed optimism that the discussions would further help in the quality of food produced and nutrition of Lagos residents.

Ogundipe was represented by the Dean of Management Sciences, Prof. Owolabi Kuye.

NAN reports that the participants suggested that it was about time organic farming took centre stage in food production especially as the sector faced adoption of Good Agricultural Practices during the production processes.

It was resolved that food security, food regulation, chemical use, technology, achieving SDG’s, government intervention among others should be given priority towards achieving the Food System Vision 2050 Prize.

Farmers, transporters, marketers, processors, researchers, policy makers, food vendors, representatives from the medicals, academia and others were at the event were it was discussed that antibiotics, salt intake, chemical use and others posed health challenges for consumers.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)
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Economy

Bauchi govt.to spend N12 bn to build 2,500 houses in 2020–Official

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Bauchi State Government said on Wednesday, that it would spend N12 billion to build 2,500 houses in 2020.

The Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Umar Adamu, said this in Bauchi while giving a breakdown of the 2020 budget.

Adamu said that the funds for the construction of the houses would be accessed from the Family Support funds.

He said that the houses would be developed in six local government areas in the state.

The fund would be accessed in instalments while the state government can award the contracts after accessing 12 per cent of the contract sum in line with the procurement Act.

The moment we start accessing the loan, the bank will give us 50 per cent of the total sum required.

The projects would be executed through direct labour with the supervision of the state government and officials of the Family Support Fund.

He said that most of the previous housing schemes in the state were abandoned as they were handled by private developers.

” Most of such houses were located at the outskirts of the towns and cities while the developers were eager to sell off the property at high profit margin.

In the present dispensation, the houses will be located closed to the towns and we want to assure the people that they would be completed.

Commenting on the 2010 Budget, the commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr Aminu Gamawa, said that it was a complete departure from the usual system of budgeting that gave preference to recurrent expenditures.

Gamawa said that the state government had increased capital expenditures to N94.6 billion while recurrent expenditures was allocated N72.61 billion.

He explained that the development followed the determination of the present administration to develop the state to compete with its neighbours.

Gamawa said that it was also aimed at cutting down the excesses in payment of salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities, following the recent verification to determine the exact number of civil servants in the state.

The commissioner said over N8b had been set aside for salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities and N800m for  payment of allowances of political officials.

The former government awarded a lot of contracts especially road projects, we will carefully review them, reach an agreement with the contractors and execute them.

“In the same vein, direct labour option will also be exploited to give our professionals opportunity to practice their discipline and improve their capacity and cut cost and give value for our money,” he asserted.

Edited by: Dada Ahmed
(NAN)
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Economy

NSE indices record first gain in December, up 0.19%

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The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday recorded the first gain in December with the crucial market indices appreciating by 0.19 per cent.

Specifically, the All-Share Index increased by 49.79 points or 0.19 per cent to close at 26,434.00 compared with 26,384.21posted on Tuesday.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N12.734 trillion rose by N24 billion or 0.19 per cent to close at N12.758 trillion.

Consequently, the Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date losses moderated to -2.10 per cent and to -15.90 per cent respectively.

Market analysts attributed the rebound to renewed bargain hunting activities in high capitalised equities.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria, CI Leasing, Flour Mills of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa and UACN.

Market breadth closed negative with 12 gainers and 14 decliners.

C & Leasing led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, with a gain of 9.26 per cent to close at N5.90 per share.

Courteville followed with a gain 8.70 per cent to close at 25k, while Oando grew by 4.17 per cent to close at N3.75 per share.

UBA went up by 3.85 per cent to close at N6.75, while UACN appreciated by 3.11 per cent to close at N8.30 per share.

Conversely, Chellarams led the losers’ chart by 9.74 per cent to close at N2.78 per share.

Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services followed with a decline of 8.33 per cent to close at 22k, while Chams went down by 8.11 per cent to close at 34k per share.

Linkage Assurance dipped 5.88 per cent to close at 48k, while Lasaco Assurance shed 3.85 per cent to close at 25k per share.

However, the total volume of shares traded closed lower as investors bought and sold 180.228 million shares worth N3.03 billion transacted in 2,951 deals.

This was in contrast with a turnover of 196.29 million shares valued at N3.55 billion achieved in 3,154 deals on Tuesday.

Transactions in the shares of UBA topped the activity chart with 29.33 million shares valued at N192.72 million.

Zenith Bank came second with 19.85 million shares worth N366.31 million, while Guinness Nigeria traded 15.64 million shares valued at N460.63 million.

Guaranty Trust Bank accounted for 13.32 million shares worth N373.01 million, while Access Bank transacted 12.98 million shares valued at N119.44 million.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)
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Economy

Electricity workers shutdown IE, EKEDC offices

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The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Wednesday shutdown the headquarters of Ikeja Electric (IE) and Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) in Ikeja and Marina, Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency gathered that the union members at the wee hours of the day locked staff of the distribution companies out and prevented them from gaining access to their offices.

Mr Joe Ajaero, President, NUEE, told NAN that the workers organised the action to draw the attention of the government to the challenges facing electricity workers in the country.

He said the union was impressed with the conduct of its members.

Compliance was 100 per cent and we are continuing tomorrow until government listens to our demands.

Mr Victor Idemudia, Communications Manager, EKEDC, told NAN that the union members prevented staff from accessing the offices early on Wednesday.

He said that power distribution in their areas of operations would be affected if the situation persists.

This is going to affect the economy of this country and we are appealing to the government and labour to urgently resolve the issue,” he said.

Also, Mr Olusola Ayeni, Corporate Communications Officer, IE, pleaded with NUEE and the government to find an amicable solution to the issue in order not to disrupt power supply nationwide.

NAN reports that the union had vowed to go on a nationwide strike after the 21-day ultimatum it issued to the Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman expired.

The union in a statement, signed by its President, Mr Joe Ajaero, had accused the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) of failing to address and pay up over 2,000 disengaged workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) since 2013.

It said alleged underpayment of severance of over 50,000 ex-PHCN staff and illegal transfer of schools built by the union to investors.

The union accused GENCOS of refusing to sign Condition of Service and rules of engagement, adding that some DISCOs were also denying the retirement benefits of some electricity workers.

It said the strike was the only option left for the union as the Federal Government had failed to dialogue with them to find lasting solutions to the lingering issues in the sector.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)
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