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NOA, others harp on patronage of local goods



The Abia Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Ngozi Okechukwu, and other stakeholders have called on Nigerians to urgently reverse the negative trend of shunning patronage of locally produced goods.

Okechukwu said this on Monday in Aba during a sensitisation campaign on Made-in-Nigeria goods, organised by the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA).

She said lack of patronage had resulted in closure of industries, high unemployment rate, capital flight and dwindling gross domestic product, all which combined to cripple the national economy.

The NOA Director added that there was the need to sustain a national campaign for sensitisation and re-orientation of Nigerians to ensure attitudinal changes, toward locally made products.

She explained that such changes would improve the country’s economic status by improving productivity, creation of jobs and boosting of national pride.

Okechukwu, represented by the Deputy Director, Programmes, Mr Linus Chidiebere, said that the commencement of the campaign anew in Aba, was fit and proper as the city is Abia’s commercial hub.

She, therefore, called on all and sundry to support efforts at promoting Nigerian-made products and services as well as to confront the dwindling purshasing power of the naira.

In the same light, the Second Vice President, ACCIMA, Mr Jerry Kalu, said that chamber was glad to be hosting the Aba League of Associations and other partners.

He urged government to work hard to surmount major problems of industrialisation, including poor power generation, poor road networks and high interest rates.

He stated that such  intervention should happen if the nation must progress and patronage of locally made goods would be enhanced.

He said that the Google engagement in ‘Digital Skills for Africa’, through which the search engine platform intends to train 10 million persons in Africa, would enable traders and artisans to boost their businesses.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the launch would also come up on Thursday and would enable such stakeholders to use the web and internet in growing their businesses.

Chinagozi called on Aba entrepreneurs to avail themselves of the opportunity by taking part in the launch and training sessions which would improve knowledge and widen reach.


N5,000 cash transfer: Additional 62, 500 households to benefit in Plateau



An additional 62,500 households in Plateau have been captured for the N5, 000 Cash transfer Household Uplifting Programme (HUP), phase II of the Federal Government’s National Investment Social Programme.

Dr  Temitope Sinkaiye, National Coordinator of the programme, disclosed this on Tuesday in her address at a National Cash Transfer Stakeholders’ Meeting in Jos.

Sinkaiye said Plateau was among the most active states, which qualified it for the second phase with nine other states.

Plateau tops among the qualified 10 states across the nation because of her superb record and performance in the cash transfer programmme aimed at eradicating poverty among Nigerians.

“The additional N5,000 cash transfer is to achieve two critical areas: cushioning consumption and nutritional requirements of the poor and address the human capital needs of the vulnerable citizens.

“The federal government, especially the office of the Vice President, is so glad that the cash transfer Programmes have brought about a lot of reliefs and positive social changes in teeming households across the nation, “ she said.

The national coordinator said that the cash had enabled many women to engage in various life transforming businesses and activities such as tailoring, poultry and fish farming.

According to her, the programme has encouraged many of the beneficiaries to improve on their savings, nutritional values and take care of their children.

Dr Sumaye Hamza, Plateau Focal Person of the programme, said that the feat achieved by the State was due to the commitment injected into the programme by Gov. Simon Lalong.

“Our Governor is keen at seeing that the lives of Plateau citizens, especially the vulnerable poor, are uplifted and the the state attends the desired economic growth and development.

“This is why we did all we could to qualify for this Phase II of the cash transfer programme -Household Upliting Programmme.

“We are happy and satisfied that it is a reality today that an additional 62, 500 households are being captured in the 17 local governments areas of Plateau, aside the initial 11, 000 captured in only six local government areas,”Hamza said.

Dr Ado Buba, Chairman, Wase Local Government, also the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of  the state branch of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), assured of the commitment of council chairmen in the state toward the success of the programme.

“We as Local Government Chairmen, are not only ready to support this people-oriented programmes, but we are also ready to replicate same in our respective areas for the benefit of our people.

“We in Wase Local Government, have included this programmme in our 2019 Budget all in the effort to enable the vulnerable/poor, especially women and children to have a quality life and add to our development efforts of the area, “ Buba said.

In his goodwill messsage, Mr Daniel Nanbol-Listick, House Chairman, Health Committee, disclosed that a bill to domesticate the Social Investment Programme in the state was being sponsored by the House Speaker.

He said that the aim was to see how to bring the vulnerable  out of poverty and give them quality life as citizens of Plateau.

Edited by Yakubu Uba and Abdullahi Yusuf

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ITC seeks AfCFTA that works for women



The International Trade Centre (ITC) has called for economic and trade policies that specifically work for women under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

ITC Executive Director, Ms Arancha Gonzalez, made the call on Tuesday during a session, ‘SheTrades Global 2019’, at the ongoing World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She said that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement would not achieve its goals if it did not work for women.

The event was part of the activities marking the 2019 Africa Industrialisation Week, which opened on Monday, jointly sponsored by the ITC, the African Union, the government of Ethiopia and other development partners.

The theme of the 2019 Africa Industrialisation Week is: ‘Positioning African Industry to supply the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market.’

Ms Gonzalez harped on the central role of the women in achieving successful implementation of the AfCFTA protocols and objectives.

According to her, AfCFTA has the potential to change the trading landscape of Africa and boost intra-Africa trade by more than 50 per cent.

“However, if policies are going to work, they need to work for everyone — and that includes women.

“For this reason, in the past two days, ITC, the AU Commission and the UN Economic Commission for Africa have worked with more than 40 women business associations.

“These associations represent one million African women entrepreneurs and producers.

“We have been working with them to develop priorities to shape an AfCFTA that works for women.

“We will continue the discussion into 2020 by bringing together women and trade policymakers,” she said.

The News Agency reports that the ITC, on Monday, also met with ‘SheTrades’ partners; including those from the private sector and the funders community.

NAN also reports that the purpose of the meeting was to craft a vision and a plan of action for scaling stakeholders’ collective action across the entire spectrum of trade.

This includes agriculture, manufacturing, services and digital economy.

During her presentation, Gonzales said that there were more than 1,100 registered delegates from 95 countries.

She expressed satisfaction in the variety of committed stakeholders united around the goal of increasing women’s participation in trade and the economy.

“We are here to propose innovative solutions, take stock of progress, share experiences and best practices, and accelerate the greater inclusion of women in trade,” she said.

Part of the highlights of the session were presentations by the First Lady of Botswana, Neo Jane Masisi, and the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AU Commission, Mr Albert Muchanga.

Chair emeritus, East Africa women In Business, Ms Dorothy Tuma, amongst others, also had presentations.

The speakers, underlining what women wanted under the AfCFTA, urged for clear commitment to the agreements as well as special roles of the women; beyond mere mentions.

They also called for accountability, more specific gender affirmation, some sectors dominated by women and access to greater opportunities for women.

Other demands included special accommodation for women and adoption of universal best practices of free trade areas.

Meanwhile, through the ‘SheTrades’ Initiative, Gonzales said the ITC was building women’s skills sets and helping them to add value to their products and services.

She said the global body was also preparing women to meet and formalise deals with new investors and buyers.

Gonzales added that ITC also provided unique opportunities for networking, sharing of best practices and access to role models.

Gonzales listed examples of success stories to include women-owned businesses like Mafi Mafi in Ethiopia, Eclectic Chique in Nigeria, Botlab Software in Kenya and Travium Honey Supplies in Zambia.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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Proposed bank strike: stakeholders call for dialogue to avert plan



Some financial experts and stakeholders have appealed to bank unions’ to dialogue with their employers to forestall the proposed operation shut down of banks by Jan. 2.

The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (NUBIFI), on Nov. 17, issued a strike threat to bank employers.

The unions said that workers in the sector would embark on an indefinite strike over failure of their employers to review the Collective Bargaining Agreement in line with extant law.

Speaking to the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Emmanuel Atama, the Executive Secretary of the National Cooperative Financing Agency of Nigeria (CFAN), appealed for an amicable resolution.

He said the proposed shut-down of banks would be detrimental to the economy of the country if implemented.

“It is a notice that they have given and every employee has bargaining power and when an employee wants to hit an employer, he hits the employer from a very tight corner so, there is no cause for alarm.

“I strongly believe that issues like this can be resolved.

“My appeal is for both parties to come to the table and amicably resolve this because if that is not done, it will go a long way to affect banking.

“Some people will think that if they keep their money in the bank and the banks can put them under a tight corner, it is better for them to withdraw.

“The effect of it is that the public will embark on panic withdrawal  and the banks cannot withstand it.

“It will come to a point where employees will start begging that people should not withdraw their monies from their banks because people will resort to banking at home.

“They know that they are very important in the economic life of citizens so everybody must come to the table to get the issues resolved,’’ he advised.

Mrs Ijeawele Ndu, an Abuja based civil servant, called on the parties involved to resolve the issues peacefully and promptly before the festive season.

“I am not surprised to hear about this strike because of the way and manner that bankers are relieved of their duties.

“But I can’t even imagine what will happen by the time banks close operations and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) is not working.

“It will be disastrous to the economy and to us as individuals more so when it is during the festive season,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Lucky Abomi, a business man in Karu Local Government Area, FCT, said the proposed shut down of banks would negatively impact businesses across the country if implemented.

Abomi appealed to governments at all levels to intervene in the matter in the interest of peace and development of the country.

“The Federal Government closed the border and that is already affecting our businesses and now, we are hearing that banks might close down too.

“The government should come and mediate between the parties involved so that our businesses do not suffer setbacks,’’ he appealed.

Mrs Oyinkansola Olasanoye, the President of ASSBIFI at its 10th Triennial National Delegates Conference, regretted the deliberate disrespect of human rights by some bank employers contrary to the provision of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Maureen Atuonwu

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IPMAN urges FG to reopen petroleum products supplies to Enugu NNPC depot



The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to reopen petrol products supplies to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Depot in Emene, Enugu.

The new Caretaker Committee Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu NNPC Depot Community, Chief Chinedu Anyaso, made the call during the inauguration of the new leadership of the branch in Enugu on Tuesday.

Anyaso also decried deplorable roads in the South-East, adding that the current state of road facilities left untold hardships including insecurity and other challenges to the economy people of the South-East.

President Muhammadu Buhari administration has constantly reiterated its resolve to create jobs and lift several Nigerians out of poverty and hunger.

“One of the best ways to achieve that goal in the South-East and its environs is to revitalise the Enugu NNPC Depot because it has the potential to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

“Such move will also roll back crimes substantially in the zone and beyond,’’ he said.

The new IPMAN boss however, assured the public of the marketers’ commitment to even and steady supply of petroleum products in the zone and its environs throughout the yuletide at the official price.

Anyaso also hailed Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for his intervention during the recent leadership crisis that had rocked the union describing the governor as “a unique leader that is well-gifted in crisis management’’.

He maintained that the governor’s prompt intervention had prevented the situation from running out of hand, and promised that IPMAN, under his watch, would continue to build on the peace and decorum that had been planted by the governor.

He appealed to members and various governments of the seven states under the coverage of Enugu Depot Community to support the new committee to succeed.

“I thank you all for giving us this wonderful opportunity to serve you’’.

“I appreciate our IPMAN National President, Engr. Abdu Fari, and all entire national executives for finding us worthy to occupy these positions.,’’ he said.

Speaking, Chairman of the event and Senior Special Assistant to the National President of IPMAN, Chief Linus Mbakaogu, noted that the successful inauguration of the caretaker committee had sealed the peace that had been established through Gov. Ugwuanyi’s intervention.

Mbakaogu pointed out that all the organs and units of the Enugu NNPC depot community were in agreement with the national leadership of IPMAN on the setting up of the new committee, adding that they were all represented at the inauguration.

Also speaking, Chief Peter Nwosu, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Anambra State on Petroleum, NUPENG and Union Matters, congratulated the new IPMAN leadership and assured him of the full support of the people and government of Anambra State.

It was gathered that the new IPMAN Caretaker Committee came about following the expiration of the Ikechukwu Nwankwo-led executive committee, earlier in August, 2019, which had paved way for theNational President of IPMAN to set up an interim (committee) leadership.

A letter from IPMAN national headquarters, Abuja, which was read out before the inauguration, had directed the new committee to manage affairs of Enugu IPMAN pending the conduct of fresh election.

Among dignitaries that attended the event included the Attah Igala, and Chairman of Kogi State Traditional Rulers Council, Dr Idakwo Michael Ameh, represented by Chief Mau Ismaila Omat, the Oganyi Attah.

Edited by Yakubu Uba/Maureen Atuonwu

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Dollar steadies after 3 days of losses as trade deal hopes dim



London, Nov. 19, 2019  The dollar stabilised against a broad basket of other currencies on Tuesday after three consecutive days of losses.

Investors are awaiting the release of the minutes of the U.S. Central Bank meeting at end-October when policy makers had cut interest rates.

Global macro hedge funds had ramped up their dollar selling for a third week according to latest weekly positioning data and some market watchers say hawkish policy minutes could trigger a dollar rebound.

The greenback has hit a trough since late last week as hopes for a preliminary trade deal between the U.S. and China evaporated.

Expectations had grown that Washington and Beijing would sign a so-called “phase one” deal this month to scale back their 16-month-long trade war.

Those hopes received a setback on Monday after CNBC reported China was pessimistic about agreeing to a deal, which suggested a resolution to perhaps the biggest risk to the global economy remains elusive.

“Trade headlines are dominating sentiment but in terms of the key event risk, the release of the Fed minutes will be a big one for market participants,” Morten Lund, a Senior FX Strategist at Nordea said.

Against a basket of its rivals, the greenback was broadly steady at 97.84 after weakening more than 0.6 per cent in the last three sessions. It had hit a one-month high of 98.45 on Nov. 13.

Elsewhere in the currency market, the Australian dollar fell 0.16 per cent to 0.6799 dollar and declined 0.26 per cent to 73.82 yen.

Australia’s Central Bank “agreed a case could be made” for another cut in the 0.75 per cent cash rate at its November meeting given unwelcome weakness in wages growth and inflation, minutes published on Tuesday showed.

Sterling held firm around 1.2950 dollars with the Pound buoyed by polls, pointing to a victory by the ruling Conservatives in upcoming elections.

In the onshore market, the yuan fell to a two-week low of 7.0295 per dollar.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Adeleye Ajayi

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Liberia has untapped potential in agriculture, tourism – Weah



President George Weah of the Republic of Liberia says there are untapped potentials in various sectors, including agriculture and tourism, which are emerging as economically viable options for his country.

Weah spoke at the on-going 5th edition of the Global Business Forum on Africa, which began on Nov. 18 in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.

He said that recently a reputable organisation, which gauges tourist attractions around the world, named Liberia as one African country with a huge but virgin ecosystem and pristine beaches that tourists should find exciting.

“We have to leverage on that in order to make Liberia a tourist destination.

“It is a venture with mutual benefits.

“We are also looking for innovative ways to improve the private sector and the country’s derelict infrastructure as a means of rekindling the overall economy.

“Putting the young people to work is a vital component of our development drive too.

“We are looking to attract investors from the UAE and elsewhere to Liberia.

“My country has great untapped potential in various sectors, including agriculture and tourism, which are emerging as economically viable options for the country,’’ he told participant at the two-day forum on Tuesday.

On incentives that Liberia could provide to UAE investors, the Ace footballer said that in the past, investors have been offered tax breaks and waivers as a means of lowering the cost of starting a business.

“These options can be explored on a case-by-case basis.

“In collaboration with our legislature, we have enacted laws during the last few years, which have attracted foreign investors.

“We are, therefore, open to having UAE investors being offered similar incentives,’’ he added.

Speaking on recent statistics on investment and trade between Liberia and the UAE, Weah explained that the aggregate trade between the two countries was still significantly low.

He added that available data showed that it hovers under one per cent of Liberia GDP.

According to him, there is a vast opportunity now to grow that number.

“In addition, we are open for investment and trade in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector too, which is beginning to emerge,’’ he said.

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde 

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