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Economy

Onitsha Chamber tasks FG on urgent diversification to revive nation`s economy

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA), has identified massive investment in agriculture, manufacturing, export, ICT and Infrastructure development as key drivers of diversification to revive the nation’s economy.

The chamber’s President, Mr Chris Ukachukwu, gave the advice in a statement on Thursday in Awka, Anambra.

Ukachukwu said that diversification, as the only solution to the country’s current challenges had not been successfully implemented due to lack of commitment and political will by successive governments.

He said that the recent fall in oil price and the stagnancy caused by COVID-19 impact, might put the country’s economy on the edge or make it slip back into recession.

“The time to diversify the economy is now. All the position papers, communiques and polices reeled out after hugely funded workshops should be exhumed for implementation.

“It is now imperative for the Federal Government to channel all its energy and funding in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, export, ICT and massive Infrastructure development.

“States must be mandated to exploit commodities where they have comparative advantage. Import substitution should become a national policy and a deliberate strategy.

“All issues relating to power transmission; GENCOS and DISCOS must be resolved expeditiously to catalyse a new wave of industrial revolution.

“That is the only viable way to commence determined steps toward economic diversification in Nigeria,” he said.

Ukachukwu said since the recession of 2016, the country maintained an eleven-quarter steady GDP growth with the last announced status in the 4th quarter of 2019 being 2.55 per cent.

According to him, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stated that the achievement was as a result of stable oil price and production volume within those quarters.

“They posited that should the price of oil nosedive, the economy will be jolted.

“Even, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that our economy may contract to -3.4 per cent by the end of 2020 against the 2.93 per cent projection.

“Analysts already believe that Nigerian economy is in recession due to the stagnancy caused by COVID-19 impact.

“In fact, some insist that if the situation continues till the end of the year, we shall slide into depression.

“Although, it is a global issue;
the effect of lockdown and economic shutdown on third world economies and emerging markets like Nigeria will definitely have a negative multiplier impact on all aspects of life.

“Policies and Schools of Thought have always voiced the danger associated with the mono-product economy of our country; over dependence on oil as the main source of foreign exchange earnings.

“We are, however, advocating an urgent diversification of the economy for absorption capacity in the event of any external shock,” Ukachukwu said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/ (NAN)
Olagoke Olatoye

Environment

10 buildings collapse at erosion site in Onitsha North LGA

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No fewer than 10 buildings including a school and church have collapsed at Obeleagu St. and Nkissi Aroli axis of Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra following erosion caused by downpour.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Obeleagu community in Onitsha metropolis has been threatened by gully erosion which has turned into an unending nightmare for the people of the area.

NAN recalls that the Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor accompanied by the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Nkem Okeke had in October 2019, inspected the erosion site and promised that work would be carried out on the site.

However, member representing Onitsha North 2 State Constituency, Mr Edward Ibuzo described the situation as “an emergency that needs urgent attention”.

Ibuzo, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Environment, expressed sadness that the erosion had continued to worsen each time it rained.

“The issues have been discussed at the plenary of the state House of Assembly and we have informed the state governor, even the Federal Government had some time ago sent a delegation to inspect the damage.

“Things like this should be taken seriously because it involves lives and property which is the responsibility of government,” the lawmaker said.

While promising to draw the attention of NEWMAP to the erosion site, Ibuzo advised residents of the area to relocate pending when palliative work would be carried on the site.

A resident of the area, Mr Godwin Aniakor expressed sadness that several property had been destroyed due to the erosion.

Aniakor, who said the erosion had rendered many citizens homeless, noted that it started eight years ago.

He described the level of menace as “devastating and worrisome” and urged both the federal and state government to come to their rescue.

Another resident, Mr Christian Onwudinjo, who was seen dismantling the structure of his building said they were living in danger therefore had to make plans for relocation.

Onwudinjo also appealed to the government to intervene in the situation as the erosion might worsen and lead to unavoidable deaths as well as further loss of property.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

 

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General news

Onitsha traders cry out to Anambra Govt. to save thier shops from gully erosion 

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Traders at Glorious Market, Independent Market, Progress Market and Haruna Street Market in Onitsha have cried out to the Anambra Government to save their shops from being submerged by gully erosion.

The President General of the markets, Chief Eric Uwaoma, made the call while conducting newsmen round the portions of the markets in the commercial city on Wednesday.

According to Uwaoma, if urgent action is not taken, the shops of about 4000 traders in the markets will be submerged at the peak of this year’s rainy season.

“So far, over thirteen traders have lost their shops to the gully erosion. About 4000 traders in the markets may lose their shops if nothing is done to check the erosion,” he said.

The president general said that half of the shops in Haruna street market had been destroyed by erosion and a small portion of the street remained passable for only pedestrians.

He appealled to Gov. Willie Obiano, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Chief Uchenna Okafor and the President General of Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association, ASMATA, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu to come to the traders’ aid.

“We appeal to our able governor, Obiano, to, as a matter of urgency, save the roads and the shops from being submerged by the erosion now that the rainy season is not at its peak,” he pleaded.

Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Economy

Onitsha chamber urges FG to enforce compliance to new pump price

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA), has urged the Federal Government to urgently enforce complete compliance to the new pump price of petrol in filling stations nationwide.

The Chamber’s Vice President,  Finance,  Mr Sunny Nwachukwu, in a statement on Wednesday, expressed displeasure that most filling stations were still selling at N145.00.

According to him,  it is worrisome that the price review which is made to mitigate the pains of Nigerians at this time is being flouted

Nigeria News Agency recalls that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had on March 18, reduced the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), from N145.00 to N125.00.

The price adjustment was to begin immediately. However, two weeks on marketers in Onitsha and parts of Anambra refused to adjust.

On Tuesday, the agency announced further reduction of the pump price of  PMS also known as petrol from N125 to N123.50k per litre.

The reduction came against the backdrop of the crash in crude oil prices globally.

It noted that from April 1, it would start a new pricing modulation that would reflect the global market fundamental.

Nwachukwu said: “This reduction was an action taken by the Federal Government to reflect the current crash in the global price per barrel of crude oil.

“The irony of this lowered official pump price of petrol is on the compliance by the independent marketers in virtually all filling stations with the exception of the NNPC stations.

“The FG’s directives given on petrol official pump price reduction, along with other products (Diesel and Kerosene), to our National Oil Company, was targeted for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“This is yet to be effected by filling stations.

“Had this price review been the other way round, an upward review,  every filling station

would have happily rushed and quickly adjusted their dispensing meters instantly, even before the news filters out officially in the country.”

Nwachukwu described the non-compliance attitude of oil marketers as a clear corrupt practice being perpetrated against the vulnerable masses and petroleum products consumers nationwide

“We, in the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and ONICCIMA, call the attention of the federal government and the Petroleum Resources Ministry to this act.

“The monitoring team from the PPPRA, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) or the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR)  should please do something about this reluctance and lawlessness, exhibited by these products marketers all over

the nation.

“This must be enforced, “” he said.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)

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Economy

Covid-19: Onitsha chamber of commerce calls for more drastic measures

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has urged the Anambra State Government to mandate the immediate closure of markets where non essential goods are sold for a minimum of 14 days.

 

The Chamber’s Vice President, Mr Chinedu Nwonu, in a statement on Wednesday, commended the state government for the proactive measures taken to curtail contamination and spread of the COVID-19 in the state.

 

Nwonu, however, said that the state government should proceed a step further to mandate the closure of major markets such as Auto Spare Parts Markets, Onitsha Main Market, Electronics Markets, Electricals and Building Materials Markets.

 

“With Anambra State having a high density of an estimated 2,000 persons per square kilometre and Onitsha being the business hub of the South East, it calls for concern.

 

“Onitsha is where thousands of businessmen and women from Nigeria and beyond congregate daily for transactions. Contamination of this virus is highly probable and its spread shall be uncontrollable.

 

“We are not unmindful of the economic implications of such lockdown to the state but only the living transacts businesses,” he said.

 

Nwonu said that pharmacies, shopping malls, foods, beverages and drug-related markets in Ose, Nkpor, Ogbaru and Bridgehead should be allowed to do skeletal business, while they observe highest level of disease-prevention procedures.

 

He urged the state’s  Public Health Emergency Operation Center (PHEOC), to mobilise free masks, hand gloves, sanitisers and thermometers to parks and markets in the state.

 

Nwonu urged Gov. Willie Obiano to inaugurate an enforcement team of about 200 members from diverse backgrounds to ensure total compliance with all its directives so far.

 

According to him,  the  task force should be divided to work in key segments, towns and local government areas of the state with logistics provided by the state government.

 

“Secondly, beyond just presenting the manifest of travelers, travelling should be discouraged in the state for now. Transport companies must comply with the social distancing directives even in vehicles.

 

“Random checks should henceforth be conducted on all in-bound travelers. Intra-city transport means like Keke and buses who flout the social distancing order should be impounded.

 

“Factories with many employees must be mandated to ensure high safety and health standards.

 

“As citizens divert to exercise in the stadia, open fields and closed schools as their interpretation of self-isolation, all contact sports must be prohibited forthwith, “he said.

 

Nwonu urged residents to adhere strictly to high level of hygiene and other measures as prescribed by the state government and World Health Organization (WHO).

 

According to him,  prevention has always been far better than cure.

LCO /

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)

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Economy

COVID-19: Prices of hand sanitisers, face mask, chloroquine soar in Onitsha Drug Market

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COVID-19: Prices of hand sanitisers, face mask, chloroquine soar in Onitsha Drug Market: Demand for face masks, hand sanitizers and Chloroquine have skyrocketed at the Onitsha Drug Market in Anambra, following reported cases of COVID-19 in some parts of the country.

In March 22, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 30 cases, with two cases being discharged while no death recorded from COVID-19 in the country.

However, Nigeria News Agency reports that the surge in the demand for these commodities has led to a sudden hike in the prices of face masks, hand sanitizers and Chloroquine by over 110 per cent.

A survey conducted around the market on Monday, reveals that Chloroquine, which was previously used to mainly prevent and treat malaria and sells for N5, 000, now goes for N12, 000 per 1,000 tablets.

The price of face mask has increased from N10, 000 to N150, 000 per carton while hand sanitizers rose from N300 to N600 for foreign products and from N150 to N400 for local products.

Mr Chimezie Okpara, a dealer in the drug market said Chloroquine had hardly been sold in the market following its ban for treatment of malaria by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Nigerian Government.

“But with the coming of COVID-19 and the pronouncement that the drug could be used for clinical trials of patients who have contracted the disease, the price has gone so high in the market.

“The price went up from N5, 000 to N10, 000 for 1,000 tablets and we don’t know what the price may be later this week, especially when the product is not much in the market due to an earlier ban,” Okpara said.

He disclosed that face masks were earlier exported to China when the country closed down factories due to outbreak of the disease.

“However, the price later came down and later went up from N10,000 to N150, 000 when Nigeria started experiencing Coronavirus and the demand for it from all over the country suddenly increased,” he said.

Okpara added that the price of hand sanitizers rose because of the sensitization by government on its preventive efficacy.

“People are scrambling to get for their families now; although, local companies have began production.

“The foreign ones sell for N600 as against N300 while the local ones are now sold for N400 as against N150,” Okpara added.

Another drug trader, Okwudili Maduka, expressed worry over the panic buying of the products, even when it had not been proven that the drug could cure COVID-19.

Maduka ascribed the sudden surge for Chloroquine to a broadcast by President Donald Trump of the United States of America and Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye that it could be used for clinical trials of COVID-19.

“The broadcast by Trump took place on Thursday last week and by Friday morning; it was something else in the market.

“People rushed to buy the medicine from distributors. As I am talking to you now, it is above N10, 000,” he quipped.

Edited By: Zainab Garba/ Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

 

 

 

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Environment

Senate committee orders contractor back to site in Enugu/Onitsha Expressway or risk revocation

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The Senate Committee on Works has given Nigercat Construction Company one week to return to its project site on the Enugu -Onitsha Expressway or get the contract revoked.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Adamu Aliero disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu while inspecting ongoing rehabilitation work on the road.

Aliero said that it was wrong for the company to abandon the job several years after it won the bid to rehabilitate the road.

He said the committee was not satisfied with the pace of work by the company handling 22km of the road on the Enugu axis.

The senator rated the work as the most laid-back of the 18 projects they had inspected.

He said that if the contractor failed to return to site within one week, the committee would recommend the termination of the project.

“We are surprised that you have not done anything after collecting mobilisation fee. We find you to be technically incompetent.

`If you fail to return to site within one week, we shall recommend to the ministry to revoke the contract,” he said.

Aliero said it was wrong for the contractor to be asking for variation when they had not done anything.

Responding, the Managing Director of Nigercat Construction Company, Mr Ghamlan Ghorayeb, said the contract was given to them in 2009.

Ghorayeb however, said that they had requested for variation from the Federal Government to enable them do the job.

He said that the request for variation was submitted in 2018, adding that there had not been any response from the government.

Earlier, the Federal Controller of Works in Enugu, Mr Olufemi Oyekanmi, said that the Nigercat Construction Company workers were last seen on site in 2008.

Oyekanmi said that they abandoned the site only to be requesting for variation.

He said that the contractor had not shown enough commitment to do the job.

EOA/

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

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Economy

S/East chamber wants Federal Government to fast track completion of Onitsha seaport

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The South East Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (SECCIMA) has called on the Federal Government to fast track the completion of Onitsha Seaport in Anambra state.

The President of SECCIMA, Mr Humphrey Ngonadi, made the call in Enugu on Wednesday during the special day of the Chamber at the ongoing 31st Enugu International Trade Fair.

Ngonadi also solicited for the completion of Ntigha dry port in Abia as both ports would help economic activities and development in the region.

SECCIMA president said that the completion of both ports would help to boost economic activities in the south east as well as address policy imbalance that was affecting business communities in the region.

He urged the federal government to speedily do the needful in ensuring full completion of the Enugu International Trade fair complex as was done in Lagos and Kaduna.

“SECCIMA will continue to advocate and promote the concerns of the Enugu International trade fair and other fairs within the South East region as they strive to boost the economy of not just the Eastern region but Nigeria at large.

“We call on our South East Governors to intensify efforts as policy makers to give deeper considerations to the roles of chambers of commerce within the zone in the areas of policy advocacy, strategic partnership, platform for networking and certificate of origin.”

Ngonadi then encouraged every legitimate business owner in the region to join the chamber of commerce nearest to them, so as to enjoy benefits of the chamber.

In his address, the President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Mr Emeka Nwandu, said that the strategic importance of the region to the economic development of Nigeria could not be undermined.

Nwandu however, noted that there was need to harness the abundant potentials in the zone to make it stronger in the areas of business development.

Edited By: Nick Nicholas/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

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Politics

Senate threatens to revoke contract on Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway

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The Senate has threatened to revoke the contract for the rehabilitation of Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway awarded to Nigercat Construction Ltd., over slow pace of work.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Sen. Adamu Aliero, said this while inspecting the road on Wednesday.

Aliero, who expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work, said that the committee would advise the Ministry of Works to revoke the contract and re-award it to a competent contractor if the company failed to mobilise to site.

“We advise that you come back to site, otherwise, we are going to recommend an immediate revocation of this contract if you don’t come back within one week.

“We are dissatisfied with what you have done.

“You won this contract on competitive bidding. You were prequalified; you got your bids based on that.

“They found you technically and financially capable to undertake the contract, but we are surprised that nine years after, you didn’t do much and you are asking for variation.

“We inspected close to 18 projects, but of all the projects inspected, this is the worse.

“We find you to be technically incompetent to undertake this contract, because the excuse you are giving to us is unacceptable,” he said.

Speaking, Managing Director, Nigercat, Mr Ghamlan Ghorayeb, said attributed the problem to the company’s quest for a revised contract price for the project.

“The project was awarded to us in 2009 and we are in 2020, so we sent the revised of the price in 2018, but there was no answer.

“We are still awaiting the reply. We need to revise the prices in order to continue in the proper manner,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the committee also inspected rehabilitation work on outstanding section of Onitsha-Enugu expressway and rehabilitation of 9th Mile-Orokam road in Enugu.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

 

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Economy

Onitsha chambers applauds suspension of $22.7bn loan by FG

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has applauded Federal Government decision to suspend its planned borrowing of 22.7 billion dollars external loan for infrastructural projects.

The Chamber’s Vice President, Mr Chinedu Nwonu made the position of the group known in a statement issued in Onitsha on Tuesday.

Nwonu noted that the suspension was a better opportunity for the government to review the imperative of the loan as well as review how such facility would be used subsequently.

He said that the distribution of the listed infrastructural projects for the proposed loan lent credence to the alleged lopsidedness and the exclusion of South-Easterners since the advent of this administration.

“The exclusion of South-East in the mainstream projects outlined for execution leaves so much to be desired since about 35 projects listed to be executed cut across different sectors of the economy, with infrastructure given the top notch,” he said.

Nwonu recalled that the South-East zone was also excluded from the first Chinese loan for the railway corridor, which cost more than 5 billion dollars.

The vice president said it was no longer news that there were massive infrastructural deficit in the South-East which were enough to warrant that major projects should be listed for execution in the zone.

“While many infrastructural projects have been initiated, executed and commissioned in other parts of the country, the few insignificant projects in the South East are still under construction since the last five years.

“This calls for worry and overtly supports, if not validate, the ante of marginalisation that has upped in the South-East in recent years,” he stressed.

The vice president, therefore, urged the House of Representatives to stand down their assent to the loan and should ideally not entertain its debate on the floor of the house, in the interest of equity.

He said the economic funding policies and borrowings should reflect the provisions of the ‘Fiscal Responsibility Act’ as well as the Constitution to favour every section of the country.

Nwonu argued that since the resources (taxes and oil revenue) of the country would be used to repay the loan, excluding the South-East could best be described as “sacrilegious”.

“Since every part of the country must repay the loan, every part of the country must benefit from its proceeds,” he added.

Nigeria News Agency recalls that the Nigerian Senate had approved the 22.7 billion dollar loan request earlier presented by President Muhammad Buhari.

However, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on March 16 announced the suspension of the ex­ternal borrowing plans citing the current realities in the global economic landscape as the reason.

Edited By: Francis Onyeukwu/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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