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Economy

Osinbajo, Alibaba co-founder discuss opportunities in Nigeria’s digital economy

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Economy

Abuja, Nov. 14, 2019 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, received a delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs led by billionaire businessman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma.

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese multinational company with investments in e-commerce, retail, Internet, and technology.

Osinbajo and Ma, during their interaction, spoke on opportunities in Nigeria’s digital economy and huge population.

The vice president  thanked Ma for honouring the invitation he extended to him to visit Nigeria when they met at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

According to Osinbajo, Nigeria represents incredible opportunity and potential as it will, in another two decades, become the third largest in terms of population in the entire world.

Osinbajo said that the Alibaba group had achieved a lot in terms of broadening the scope of business and activities for people everywhere.

“If there is anything you have achieved, for the politician, we say you have democratised business.

“It is a great achievement and I think it is something we will like to learn from and benefit from ,especially as we open up government businesses and transactions and make them more efficient for the use of our people.

“This is an exciting time for us and we are very happy that you are here and a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs are looking forward to your interacting with them later today.

“I think you will find a very energetic, very creative group of young men and women and old men and women who are increasingly getting interested in entrepreneurship ,especially digital entrepreneurship and I am happy to see that you have a good group of businesses from China.

“ I hope it will create an opportunity to start investigating business opportunities in Nigeria and I really hope that we will be able to do something and create some opportunities here.’,he said.

The vice president said that Nigeria had a lot entrepreneurs and young people who were actively engaged in the digital economy.

He said that the Federal Government started a job programme for young people called N-Power ,where half a million young people were engaged.

He said that the government had to build the e-infrastructure to make the programme happen.

Osinbajo said that a system was developed in which N-Power beneficiaries were paid online and online materials were put  in open and accessible portals for them.

“They also have equipment which enables them to train as extension workers for farm; we train them to teach also using the open portal; and it has proved to tremendously successful.

“We have a programme called broadband connectivity for all by 2023; which basically is to see how we can deepen connectivity across the country by 2023 and we are looking just as you said about e-government.

“That is also crucial because government tend to be viewed with a great deal of suspicion; nobody is quite sure of what government is up to all the time.

“ I think that the government can benefit from the efficiency that digital economy provides,’’ he said.

Earlier in his remark, Ma said that Chinese entrepreneurs were bringing four `Es’ to Africa.

He said that the first `e’ was e-infrastructure; to support internet connection to all parts of Africa as it hoped that every young people, every small business should have a mobile phone  to run their businesses anywhere, anytime.

“We hope to support e-entrepreneurs; we want to make entrepreneurs the heroes of the African continent, it is the entrepreneurs that promote business development in China; government support entrepreneur with the infrastructure they need.

“If the government is on `e’, government will be very efficient, transparent and the people know what the government can do and the government know what the people want.

“The last and very important is e-education; in the next few days, we are going to have African e-entrepreneur prize; so all the African countries can apply for our awards.

“ So, I am very happy to hear that four Nigerian entrepreneurs are right among the top 10;  we will be in the final competition in two days and I think Nigerian entrepreneurs will have a great result.

“It is just the beginning for us; our job is to support  entrepreneurs because we are all entrepreneurs; we are all founders of our own businesses in China,’’ he said.

Edited by Buhari Bolaji/Sadiya Hamza

Economy

NIESV inducts 310, harps on professionalism

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The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) on Thursday inducted 310 new members into the associate cadre of the institution to practice as certified estate surveyors and valuers.

Mr Rowland Abonta, President of NIESV, said at the 2019 induction ceremony in Lagos that the exercise was in compliance with the mandates and Acts of the Institution.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the programme was: ‘International Best Practices for Professionals’.

Abonta said it was also a mechanism to grow the estate surveying profession in the country.

According to him, the induction signifies commitment on the part of the inductees to become ambassadors of the profession at all times.

He, therefore, urged the inductees to uphold the principles, ethics and integrity of the profession in their service to the society.

Abonta said the inductees should contribute their quota to the move toward ensuring effective management and development of infrastructure and facilities in the country.

The NIESV president said that infrastructure/estate surveying and valuation practice in Nigeria needed to be improved upon.

He assured commitment of the institution to providing the necessary support to ensure smooth operation of the newly inducted members.

“The induction programme provides the opportunity to formally certify estate surveying professionals who have met the requirements to practice as estate surveyors and valuers.

“As a certified estate professional, avail yourself with opportunities of seminars and workshops to constantly be updated with new developments and methodologies in the profession,” he said.

An estate surveyor, Mr Ebubechukwu Etudo, said that estate surveying practitioners should maintain professionalism in the course of discharging their mandates.

Etudo, also the Guest Speaker at the ceremony, said that an estate professional must display punctuality, honesty, humility and commitment when dealing with clients.

According to him, estate surveyors and valuers are bound to render services in accordance with law, regulations and code of conduct of the profession.

“I enjoin you to go out there and up the scale of estate surveying and valuation practice in Nigeria and globally.

“In your interaction with your clients it is advisable that you try as much as possible to keep the relationship official. Most of your clients are not on the same social circuit with you.

“An estate surveyor and valuer should operate his clients account distinct from his partnership account. All rents received on behalf of your client should be promptly remitted to the client account after agreed outgoings have been deducted.

“A professional must ensure that his work is carried out with competence, deligence and speed. Reports must be presented and proof read by a partner of a firm or any senior and competent person so delegated.

“In order to protect oneself from civil liability arising from tort and contract, adequate professional indemnity cover must be taken out and maintained at all times,” Etudo said.

Also speaking, the 6th President of the Institution, Mr Daudu Shote, urged the inductees to establish good collaborative relationship with others, particularly the older ones in the profession.

Shote said that a professional must always accept jobs within the scope of his/her knowledge, saying that the inductees should refer such jobs to those competent to handle them.

Edited & Vetted By: Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)

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Economy

Kaduna Govt. inaugurates local government revenue committees

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The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS) on Thursday inaugurated Local Government Revenue Committees of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state.

The Executive Chairman, KDIRS, Dr Zaid Abubakar, said during the inauguration in Kaduna, that the committees were made up of seven members drawn from KDIRS and each of the 23 local government areas.

Abubakar explained that the main responsibility of the committees was to carry out revenue assessment and issue demand notices.

He reminded the committee members of the barn on cash collection and urged them to work with the banks to collect revenues through their mobile agents.

He advised the committees to work with the chairmen and other staffs of the LGAs to ensure smooth revenue collection.

He urged the committee members to put in their best, adding that they would all be assessed based on their performance and anyone that failed to perform creditably, would be shown the way out.

“We will start assessing you after the first three months. Believe me, if any of you is not meeting up to expectation, even if you are my brother, I will show you the way out.

“Please, ensure that all revenue lines in local governments are efficiently collected, including land use charges.

“We have so far collected about 80 per cent of the N41 billion revenue target for 2019. We are doing our best to collect the remaining 20 per cent.

“With you on board, we are sure of meeting the N45 billion target set for 2020,” he said.

On his part, Malam Mohammed Aliyu, Chairman, Soba Local Government, commended the leadership of the revenue agency for reinvigorating the committees to boost revenue collection at local government level.

Aliyu, who is also the Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter, assured KDIRS of the council chairmen’s full support to enable the committees carry out their task efficiently.

Edited & Vetted By: Tayo Ikujuni/Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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Economy

SMEDAN identifies lack of access to market as major challenge to MSMEs

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The Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has identified lack of access to local, regional and global markets as one of major challenges militating against optimal performance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

The Director General, SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Radda, stated this at the match-making session between MSMEs and large enterprises under the MSMEs Market Linkage Initiative held in Kano on Thursday.

Radda, who was represented by Mr Monday Ewans, said that as part of effort to address the challenge in a holistic manner, the agency had developed a programme tagged ‘the MSMEs market linkage initiative’, aimed at facilitating market access for MSMEs by keying them into value chain of large organisations.

“This will bridge the gap and enable local content development and participation in various sectors of the economy.

“The initiative is designed such that by creating market access for active Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises operating in Nigeria, they are able to contribute to economic growth and development, through increased output and income,” he said.

According to him, the initiative would also bridge the gap between large enterprises and MSMEs, while fostering networking and partnership opportunities.

“Participating MSMEs will, therefore, need to compete for patronage from large enterprises through quality products and effective service delivery; thereby increasing efficiency of operations and cost competitiveness,” he said.

Radda said in order to facilitate the seamless implementation, the initiative targeted made-in-Nigeria goods produced by MSMEs by creating strong marketing and off-taker arrangements with large enterprises.

“The event today seeks to present a platform for the profiled MSMEs to have the opportunity to meet with targetted large enterprises for the purpose of creating off-taker arrangements between them,” he said.

The SMEDAN Director General said the agency would continue to support and work with MSMEs so as to achieve the MSMEs sub-sector in the country in the area of promoting job creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and sustained contribution to the economic growth and development.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Ms Yewande Sadiku, said the collaboration between the two organisations would encourage and promote producers of industrial inputs that could be used as industrial raw materials for large companies.

Sadiku, who was represented by Mr Manzo Ahmad, said the meeting would also create market access for credible MSMEs by keying them into the value chain of large organisations.

NAN reports that the meeting was attended by various stakeholders, including representatives of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) among others.

Edited & Vetted By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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Economy

58 ships arrive Lagos ports with petroleum products, other items

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Fifty-eight ships that arrived at the Lagos ports were waiting to berth with automobile gasoline, fuel, containers, bulk sugar used vehicles and general cargo on Thursday.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) made this known in its publication, `Shipping Position’, a copy of which was made available to the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

Also, the organisation said that 26 other ships were at the ports discharging general cargo, containers, butane, buckwheat, frozen fish, automobile gasoline and fuel.

The NPA said it was expecting 46 ships laden with petroleum products, food items and other goods from Dec. 5 to Dec. 24.

It said the ships were expected to arrive at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, Lagos.

According to the publication, the ships contain bulk malt, container, general cargo, used vehicles, crude palmolien, automobile gasoline and base oil, steel pipes, frozen fish, petrol and bulk fertiliser.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)

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Economy

Sustain border drill policy – Ganduje urges Buhari

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Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, of Kano State, on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to sustain the Border Drill Policy and assistance to rice farmers for Nigeria to attain food sufficiency.

Ganduje made the appeal on Thursday in Kano, when the ministers of Information, and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono, led stakeholders on rice production value chain, on courtesy visit to him.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the ministers were in Kano on an assessment tour of impact of the border drill on the entire rice production value chain.

The governor said that, though the partial border closure was inflicting some pains on the people, they were however, temporary inconveniences that must be endured for a better future for the country.

“We know that there is a kind of conspiracy on this issue from people calling on the President to re-open the border.

“I believe the policy must continue until we reach the next level,” he said.

The governor commended the president for his political will to take the decision that would positively transform the country and aid its food sufficiency.

“What we are witnessing now on the closure of the border is the kind of political will that we needed many years ago.

“Past administrations could not attain this success because of the influence from few individuals who were benefitting from rice importation.

“With the good will of President Muhammadu Buhari when he came in, he did not mince words when he said it will not be business as usual.

“If we want to feed ourselves, we must go back to the farms; we must produce what we eat.

“What is needed is the right policies and persistence to ensure that the policies are implemented to the latter.

“We congratulate the president and the rice farmers all over the country, and in particular here in Kano state,” he said.

Ganduje said that prior to the ban on rice importation and the border drill, rice farmers in the state could not produce at the rate imported rice was being sold.

He said as a result of that, many abandoned their rice farms and many rice mills became moribund.

The governor said that the border drill had impacted positively on the rice value chain in the state and his government had been offering assistance to the farmers.

“We provided the farmers with quality seeds and provided 100 million revolving loan which we later increased.

“We also provided 10,000 irrigation farms so that they could produce during the rice season.

“The farmers are fully mobilised and we are all convinced that Nigerians are ready to feed themselves,” he said.

The governor said the state also took advantage of the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Morocco on fertiliser production to bring the fertiliser blending plant, which had been abandoned for more than over 30 years, to life.

“We have brought the fertiliser blending plant into use and today, it is the biggest in the Northern part of the country and it is producing to optimum capacity,” he said.

Earlier, Mohammed who led the delegation said the team chose Kano to assess the impact of the border drill on the entire rice production value chain because the state had the highest number of integrated mills in the country.

He said out of the 34 integrated mills in Nigeria, kano State alone had 11, in addition to 20 rice clusters.

“An estimated 5000 metric tonnes of finished rice are turned out daily by the 11 integrated mills and 20 clusters in kano.

“The ratio is 40 per cent from the integrated mills and 60 per cent from the clusters, while the mills combined, employ about 10,000 people,” he said.

NAN reports that the ministers and the stakeholders, including rice farmers, millers and sellers, as well as a team of journalists, visited integrated rice mills and clusters of cottage rice mills in the state before the courtesy call to the governor.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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Economy

About 20, 000 micro-enterprises benefit from FG’s grant – Minister

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The Federal Government has disclosed that 19, 550 micro-enterprises have benefited from its Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS), from across 10 states in two years.

Mr Richard Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, made this known on Thursday in Uyo, at its ongoing 11th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment.

The scheme is expected to lift the sub-sector and make it more efficient and financially viable.

Adebayo said the ministry was vigorously pursuing many initiatives to improve the capacity of MSMEs in the country.

According to him, implementation of nationwide MSMEs clinics is ongoing to refurbish and further aid the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria.

He noted that the National Industrial Skill Development Programme (NISDP), was being implemented by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), and has trained 17,176 males and 12,636 females in 59 trade areas, in 36 states including FCT.

“It is also implementing Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), which has empowered 438 women in various trades across the nation,” he said.

He said Growth Employment Project (GEM), was also designed to support MSMEs operating in five high potential sectors in the economy including ICT, entertainment, hospitality among others.

Adebayo said that another notable intervention by the government was the creation of a National Council on MSMEs to enhance efficient coordination of the sub-sector.

“The council coordinates the achievements of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors and guides the formulation of policies and strategies to drive the holistic development of the MSMEs.

“Already, it has initiated and implemented the One-Local Government, One Product (OLOP) programme, which is expected to generate over 4, 900 new jobs,” he said.

He said that the council had established three common facilities to help revamp MSMEs in Nigeria.

The minister listed the facilities as the leather cluster in Sokoto State, shoe making cluster in Abia State, and Shea butter processing cluster in Minna, Niger state.

He commended the outcome of the 10TH meeting of the council, hosted by Abia State Government, with the theme “Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria: The Role of States and Local Governments “.

He expressed gladness that implementation of the key resolutions at the meeting by stakeholders had impacted positively on the sector.

The minister reaffirmed the council’s commitment to strengthening the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in view of its immense capacity to create jobs.

Amb. Marian Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, urged the National Council to come up with innovative resolutions, which would serve as catalysts for the promotion of the sector.

Katagum noted that the participation of the states was very crucial since they played a pivotal role in the implementation of the council’s resolutions.

She urged the participants to leverage on the new insights gained from the meeting to support the growth of industry, trade and investment in Nigeria.

The state minister commended the stakeholders, Akwa Ibom State Government and ministry officials, for the impressive turnout; and called for harmonisation of efforts by all interested parties for efficient delivery on their collective mandates.

The meeting which is holding from Dec. 2 to Dec. 6, has its theme “The Role of Small and Medium Businesses in Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria: The Way Forward”.

Edited & Vetted By: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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