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NDE trains 600 unemployed youths on apprenticeship in Anambra

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The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under its apprenticeship scheme on varied skills for unemployed youths has trained 600 persons in Anambra.

Mrs Chika Ufelle, Coordinator of NDE in Anambra, disclosed this at the commencement of the programme in Awka on Tuesday.

Ufelle said the 600 were among the 22,000 selected for the training nationwide.

According to her, the training will last for a period of three months during which the beneficiaries were expected to acquire some marketable skills.

She said they would be assisted with monthly stipend within the period to cushion their transportation stress.

The themes of the training are “Basic National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS)” and “School on Wheel (SOW)” and were targeted to take significant steps toward creating decent jobs for the unemployed.

“Basic National Open Apprenticeship Scheme is a scheme through which the unemployed youths, both male and female comprising the illiterates and semi-literates, school leavers and school dropouts and vulnerable groups are trained.

“School on Wheel, on the other hand is a programme whereby training is taken to the rural areas where there are few or no available master trainers. In this case, all the equipment for the training is taken to the rural area in a caravan.”

The state coordinator also announced that 50 beneficiaries were currently undergoing SOW training at Aguleri in Anambra East and West Federal Constituencies.

“The training will last for a period of three months and they will be paid a monthly stipend during the period to assist them in transportation,” she said.

She encouraged the participants to put in their best by being punctual and dedicated to the training in order to be ambassadors of their respective families.

Contributing, the Director-General of NDE, Dr Nasiru Ladan-Mohammed, said the training was simultaneously going on in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Mohammed, who was represented by Mr Aye Charles reassured that federal government through the NDE was committed to tackling unemployment in Nigeria through various initiatives.

“In view of this, the Directorate has provided training opportunities for unemployed persons to develop different skills through which they can earn a living, provide job for others as well as contribute to the economy of the country by becoming productive,” he said.

Economy

Berger paints to unveil automated water-based plant in Lagos

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Berger Paints PLC said that it would soon unveil its automated water-based paint factory in Lagos.

Chairman of the company, Mr Abi Ayida made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja when he visited the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo.

A statement issued by the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr Julius Toba-Jegede quoted Ayida as saying the “plant is in its final stage of factory acceptance testing”.

Ayida also told the minister that the plant which represents a two billion naira investment would create jobs for Nigerians, strengthen the naira and sustain the local paint market.

According  to him, the project is expected to be formally commissioned in 2020 by Adebayo.

“The company is on the cusp of a major revolution in the paint industry as it commissions a fully automated water-based paint factory.

“The plant has adequate capacity for large volume production with derived benefits of increasing local capacity, thereby, reducing importation of finished products and consequently strengthening the naira.

“The fully automated factory is expected to activate the industrialisation era of the paint sector in Nigeria as this will be the trend going forward,’’ Ayida said.

He, however, called for improved access to Forex (FX) for raw materials.

“Government should consider including paint raw materials as part of items on priority list for FX access’’.

He equally called for the promotion of paint technology in the nation’s tertiary institutions by including it in school curriculum.

Ayida said that the move would deepen local expertise.

In his remarks, the minister appreciated the visit and pledged Federal Government’s support for investment drives.

“One of my mandates here following my appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari is to support private sector industrial growth.

“We are proud of what your management is doing and we are ready to support you.

“I am not unaware of some of the challenges facing the paint industry in Nigeria. But we are working round the clock to address them.

“To create jobs, eradicate and take 10 million Nigerians out of poverty, we are looking at industrialisation and agriculture,” he said.

The statement added that the company which has 100 per cent indigenous ownership commenced operations in Nigeria in January- 1959.

Edited by Ese E.  Ekama

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Economy

Access Bank Plc appoints Ajoritsedere Awosika Board Chairman

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The Board of Directors of Access Bank Plc have announced Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika as its new Chairman.

The bank’s Company Secretary, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, said in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos that Awosika would assume the position of the company’s Board Chairman on Jan. 8, 2020.

Ekwochi said that Awosika’s appointment was apt to lead the board in the next phase of the bank’s transformation into becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World.

According to the statement, Awosika will take over from Mrs Mosun Belo-Olusoga as chairman following the later’s retirement as her 12-year term will elapse in January 2020.

The retirement of Belo-Olusoga, who became the Board Chairman in 2015, was in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Code of Corporate Governance for bankers and Discount Houses.

Awosika joined the board in April 2013 as an Independent Non-Executive Director and has been the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board Credit and Finance Committee and the Board Audit Committee, respectively in addition to membership of other Board Committees.

She is an accomplished administrator with over three decades experience in public sector governance. She was at various times, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministries of Internal Affairs, Science & Technology and Power.

Awosika is a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacy.

She holds a Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom.

She is currently the Chairman of Chams Plc and Josephine Consulting Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Capital Express Assurance Ltd.

According to the statement, the board expresses its appreciation to Belo-Olusoga for her contributions to the bank’s transformational growth and wishes Dr (Mrs) Awosika success in her new appointment.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Economy

Ports : 25 ships with petrol, food items expected — NPA

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in its daily publication — ‘Shipping Position’ — said on Tuesday that it was expecting 25 ships to bring in petroleum products, food and other goods at Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports,

The document indicated that the vessels were scheduled to come in between Nov. 16 and Dec. 31.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that 17 of the vessels were expected with petroleum products.

Nine ships were bringing  in general cargo/vehicles, buckwheat, steel pipes bulk sugar and containers carrying different goods.

According to the NPA, 17 ships were at the ports waiting to berth with petrol, container, kerosine and general cargo.

NAN reports that 18 other ships were at the ports discharging buck wheat, general cargo, petroleum coke steel containers and bulk sugar.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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Economy

People, not oil, are the Nigeria’s greatest asset — Ex Finance Minister

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Dr Mansur Muhtar, Vice- President, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Former Minister of Finance, says the greatest potential Nigeria needs to explore is its people and not oil.

Muhtar said this while unveiling of the Book “Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa” at the 7th Anniversary Lecture and Investiture into the Realnews Hall of Fame in Lagos.

The former minister spoke on “Beyond Oil: Whither the Nigeria Economy”.

He noted that with about 196 million people and projected at 401 million by 2050, Nigeria was the most populous country on the African continent, making it the largest after India and China.

“Nigeria has large numbers of young people, presenting opportunity for deepening human capital base for a sizable domestic and home market – growing size and strength of consumer class,” Muhtar said.

The former minister said “beyond figures, trends from the Economic Intelligence Unit database of November 2019 shows that Nigeria oil production was below potential and could be optimised by increasing investment.”

He said the government must also address security issue which had created supply disruption.

“Meanwhile, Nigeria is still a big player in the international market, largest oil producer in Africa, ranked 12th in the world, second largest amount of proved crude oil reserve in Africa, largest natural reserves on the continent,” Muhtar said.

The former minister, however, made case for economic diversification through broadening of sources of growth with greater domestic linkages.

He said this would shield the economy from price and output volatility, reduce vulnerabilities and allow sustainability of growth against natural resources depletion.

Muhtar said this would also enhance employment prospect by providing expanded and wider job opportunities, thereby facilitating a more geographically-balanced equitable growth.

The former minister noted that the advantageous geographical location of the country in West Africa was also its key asset that would facilitate its trade relations with neighbouring countries as well as easy access to European, North and South African markets.

Muhtar urged the government to create an enabling environment in human capital through investment in health, education, enhanced security, law and order.

“Leadership is not one person’s endeavour, a strong team that shares common ideals is needed; a critical mass of credible leaders and tough decision which demand end to business as usual,” he said .

Mr Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra, in his goodwill message, said that oil would not serve Nigeria or any county in the world.

Obi said the world was moving out of oil and Nigeria must follow suit and diversify and also invest in education.

“Oil has not serve Venezuela which has three times the oil reserve of Nigeria and it will not serve Nigeria or any other country either,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that other dignitaries at the event included Mr John Mahama, Former President of Ghana, Mrs Margaret Olele, Chief Executive Officer, American Business Council, Mr Alex Okoh, Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Mr Dele Momodu, Publisher ,Ovation magazine, among others.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Wale Ojetimi

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Economy

Nigeria needs massive supply of private capital to develop infrastructure–ICRC

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Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), says Nigeria needs massive supply of private capital to be able to develop its infrastructure.

Izuwah said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a news conference on the forthcoming Joint Public Private Partnership (PPP) Consultative Forum and Nigeria PPP Network.

The PPP Consultative Forum and Nigeria PPP Network which will be sponsored by Afreximbank is scheduled to hold on Thursday.

He explained that the country currently had 69 active PPP projects but stressed that there was a need to have more because the deficit was still huge.

Izuwah said all Nigerian port terminals and Garki Hospital in Abuja were under PPP arrangement.

According to him, ICRC is doing its best to accelerate PPP projects to touch the critical sector of the economy.

He disclosed that Ibom Deep Seaport was on the last point of negotiation as the preferred bidder had been identified.

“Apart from Ibom Seaport, we also have Bakassi Seaport and Warri Deep Seaport which PPP arrangement was done through ICRC.

“Rail line that goes from Itakpe to Warri and then to Abuja is also a PPP project which has been approved by ICRC.

“University of Port-Harcourt has a world-class shopping complex built on PPP basis, if you see it, you won’t believe that you are in a campus, you will think you are in Dubai.

“There are a lot of massive projects that the Federal Government is doing with the PPP space,” he explained.

Izuwah emphasised the need to create unified factor and synergy between the states and the Federal Government  considering that most foreign investors who wanted to invest in the country only knew Nigeria.

The director-general disclosed that the upcoming event which would have some renowned foreign investors from South Africa,  would be jointly organised by ICRC, Nigerian Governors’’ Forum (NGF) and the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

The Executive Director of  NGF, Alhaji Abdulatif Shittu,  pledged that the forum would ensure all the states embrace  PPP arrangement.

Shittu said already 20 states had established PPP with offices created to enable them to work independently.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Chukwudi Ekezie

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Economy

ITC boss applauds Buhari for AfCFTA commitment

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The Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Ms Arancha Gonzalez, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Gonzales gave the commendation on Tuesday while speaking to the Nigeria News Agency on the sidelines of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2019.

The WEDF coincides with the ongoing 2019 Africa Industrialisation Week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She said that the Nigerian President and his team must have come to terms with the reality of the urgent desire to enhance economic competitiveness of Africa.

Gonzalez said that for a long time, there were big and lofty plans toward economic integration but proved to be mere aspirations.

The ITC boss also said that there was no real concrete plan to drive the economic integration.

“There were many big ideas and many declarations before but as far as I could see, the concrete step to lead Africa to a more integrated market started with AfCFTA.

“There are two things that distinguish it from previous exercises.

“One is the level of concreteness and two is that in the past, a lot of these declarations were signed by trade ministers and country negotiators,” she said.

The executive director noted that the AfCFTA would enhance global competitiveness of African goods.

According to her, if African countries do not integrate, they will remain 55 fragmented economies that could not compete globally.

“There is no shying away from the fact that AfCFTA is all about making African economy competitive.

“After enduring domestic misunderstanding about the agreement, it’s heart-warming that President Buhari signed up, she said.

NAN reports that on May 30, 2019, the agreement establishing the AfCFTA officially entered into force.

President Buhari committed Nigeria to the AfCFTA during July African Union Summit in Niamey, Niger.

With 54 out of the 55 member states of the AU signing the agreement, Africa brought into being the largest trading bloc since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

NAN also reports that following the ratification and entry into force of the AfCFTA, five supporting Operational Instruments were launched during the AU Summit in July.

These instruments are the key tools that will support the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA with start of trading scheduled for July 2020.

The instruments are the Rules of Origin; the Tariff concessions; the Continental Online Tool/Mechanism for monitoring, reporting and elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).

Others are, the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS); and the African Trade Observatory. NAN

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Adeleye Ajayi

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