There was palpable joy on Saturday as the first international, non-essential passenger flight landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for the first time in over three months.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was coming after five months of closure of the Nigerian airspace due to the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Middle East Airline (MEA), which took off from Beirut, Lebanon, made history as the first international flight to land anywhere in the country as it touched down at the MMIA at exactly 2.30p.m.
The aircraft was ceremonially welcomed with a water cannon demonstration by the officials of the Aerodrome and Rescue Fire Fighters, a Department in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
NAN also reports that officials of FAAN, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Port Health Services (PHS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other relevant agencies were on ground to attend to the passengers brought in by the airline.
On arrival at the terminal, passengers presented their documents, including COVID-19 PCR test results for screening by the Port Health Services officials, while their travelling papers, passports and visas were handled by the immigration officials at the airport.
At the arrival and departure halls of the airport, the arriving and departing passengers observed the social distancing protocols, just as it was being currently observed on the domestic routes.
Speaking on the procedures, Abdullahi Usman, Comptroller, NIS, MMIA, said the process was seamless and passengers were cooperative while travelling documents were requested from them by the officials.
Some international airlines were yesterday denied entry into Nigeria when international flights finally resume on Saturday, September 5th.
The list of the airlines denied entry and those given approval to operate into the country was released yesterday in Abuja by the Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika
According to Sirika, some of the international airlines denied flight approval include, Air France, KLM, Etihad, Rwandair, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines and others.
He, however, said some airlines were denied approval because international flights were yet to resume in their countries. The two affected airlines are Cape Verde and South African airlines.
The airlines gave licence to operate include: ” British Airways, Delta Airline, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egyptair, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky, Africa World Airways (AWA), Air Cote-d’Ivoire, Kenya Airways, Emirate, and Turkish airlines”.
The Minister also warned that the approved airlines are expected to operate within COVID-19 protocols. Sirika also issued further guidelines for arriving and departing international passengers. Recall the country’s international airports had been closed to international flights since March due to the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus. The resumption of international flights had once been postponed before the September date was agreed upon
- Vanguard News
Processing agricultural products – adding value by transforming them from basic commodities – increases their worth, appeal and market value. In the case of rice, processing is an important and distinct feature in its production. It involves changing harvested paddy into edible rice.
Nigeria’s rice processing techniques are inefficient. This has resulted in processed rice that’s too expensive and of a lower quality than rice from other countries like China, Vietnam and India.
Rice, one of the major staple foods in Nigeria, is consumed across all Nigerian socioeconomic classes. Still, only about 57% of the 6.7 million metric tonnes of rice consumed in Nigeria annually is locally produced. This leads to a supply deficit of about 3 million metric tonnes, which is imported.
Over 80% of locally produced rice comes from small scale processors with a processing capacity of less than 100 tonnes. And these small scale processors are faced with financial challenges that inform their choice of equipment. Large scale processors, on the other hand, constitute less than 20% of processors. They face the challenge of inconsistency in grain quality and insufficient paddy. Both small scale or cottage rice processors and large scale processors depend on paddy from farm lands or purchase from neighbouring villages or towns.
The processing procedure entails parboiling raw rice to soften the husk, drying and milling it before selling to distributors or retailers. After milling, small stones must be removed using a de-stoner. De-stoning rice makes locally processed rice more appealing. But the majority of the small scale processors cannot afford this equipment unless they form themselves into co-operatives to purchase one.
We conducted research to establish why Nigeria’s processed rice was of low quality. We wanted to establish what drove the decisions of Nigerian rice processors, specifically their choice of the techniques for the processing of rice.
We found out that, in many instances, Nigerian rice processors, especially the small scale or cottage processors, do not have adequate processing capacity. We discovered that the choice of techniques and equipment used during processing was a major determinant of output and quality. The choices rice processors made were driven by a host of factors. These included budgetary constraints, social and economic factors as well as processing constraints.
Factors affecting processing decisions
In a bid to identify the factors affecting rice processors’ decisions, we administered structured questionnaires to 410 rice processors selected from four states – Ebonyi, Ekiti, Ogun and Nasarawa – from three geo-political zones in Nigeria – Southeast, Southwest and North-Central. We asked them about processing. We wanted to know about their experiences, where they sourced their raw rice, their processing activities and techniques, if they had available credit to enhance their processing activities and the distance covered from farm to processing centre and from processing centre to the market.
The responses to the questions showed that choices were dependent on each processor’s finances and a number of social and processing characteristics. These included the age (youth or elderly), sex, education, marital status and household size of processors. Economic factors also played a role, including access to a loan to buy modern equipment, and the size of the processing operation. Even if they could afford new equipment, most didn’t have the capacity to service it.
Consequently, there were instances where processors formed themselves into co-operatives in a bid to access loans and other financial aid from the government with the aim of purchasing processing equipment. But the time lag for loan applications delayed productive activities. The outcome was many processors became discouraged, and abandoned trying to use new processing techniques and equipment. There were also instances where processors couldn’t get spare parts and de-stoning machines required to sift raw rice.
Organised markets in the country present obstacles too. They opted for parboiled imported rice from countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India instead of locally processed rice. This is because to process a 50 kilogram bag of rice locally is more expensive and not economical.
Rice processors also encountered challenges with getting consistent quality and quantity of rice from local farmers all year round. They had to deal with fragmentation of the processing enterprise that makes it difficult to create quality brands and standards due to exorbitant cost of processing equipment.
What needs to be done
In 2019 the Nigerian government restricted the importation of rice into the country. But the directive failed to address the fact that locally processed rice is too expensive. In the case of low priced rice, the quality is poor.
There is therefore a need for the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to focus on how to get modern rice processing techniques to more processors. This would enable processors to take advantage of the openings and opportunities made available by the federal government.
This should include providing machines and equipment to rice processors in a bid to ensure Nigeria can produce high quality rice.
In addition, rice processors’ associations should be supported with input supply and credit. Female processors should be empowered with input supply, access to credit and proper monitoring. The research has shown that they are more likely to use traditional techniques than their male counterparts.
Finally, stakeholders such as the federal and state agriculture ministries, local governments and the private sector, should invest in modern rice processing equipment. This equipment should be situated close to rice processors with good access roads. This will ensure that processors aren’t burdened by the extra cost of transport and rice processing fees which most rice processors are not willing to pay.
Refineries in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil exporter, processed almost no crude oil in the 13 months to end June, according to the latest data published by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday.
In the same period, operating costs for the country’s three main oil refineries, which the NNPC has shuttered pending revamps, totalled $367 million.
“No white product (Premium Motor Spirit and Dual Purpose Kerosene) was produced in June 2020 and apparently for the past 12 consecutive months. The lack of production is due to ongoing rehabilitation works at the refineries,” the report said.
The NNPC announced in April that it had closed all its oil refineries as it works to secure funding and a model to upgrade them, adding that when the Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri refineries are revived they would no longer be managed by the company.
For years the facilities have only worked sporadically due to underinvestment and the country faces an uphill battle to sell its oil abroad due to hollowed out demand from the coronavirus pandemic and abundant oil in global markets.
The NNPC report said that all but a tiny fraction of the country’s domestic fuel had come via an agreement between Nigeria and a large handful of companies to swap the nation’s crude oil for fuels, dubbed direct sale, direct-purchase (DSDP).
Just under 40,000 megatons of crude was the only oil processed by the country in the reporting period, the report added, only 2 percent of the country’s refining capacity.
“The declining operational performance is attributable to ongoing revamping of the refineries which is expected to further enhance capacity utilization once completed,” the NNPC added.
On a peninsula east of Lagos, 30,000 workers are employed on a project that holds out the promise of transforming Nigeria’s economic fortunes.
It’s here that Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, plans to spend more than his net worth of $13.5 billion building one of the world’s biggest oil refineries. If he succeeds, he could end the irony of Africa’s biggest oil producer importing $7 billion of fuel a year, and instead see it meeting its own needs and supplying neighboring nations.
The collapse in the oil price and Nigeria’s woeful track record on industrial projects are significant risk factors. Yet Dangote’s bet has the potential to revolutionize Nigeria’s economy, with its operations adding $13 billion, or 2.3% to gross domestic product, according to a 2018 estimate by Renaissance Capital. Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has said that the project could employ more than 70,000 people when operational.
“Yes, the risks are high, the challenges are high,” said Devakumar Edwin, chief executive officer of the refinery complex, who’s worked with the billionaire for about three decades. “But the rewards are also high.”
The site is stacked with superlatives. Nigeria’s largest-ever industrial project, it boasts a distillation column for separating crude into various fuels at different temperatures that is the largest of its kind in the world. The 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery is just part of a $15 billion petrochemical complex that will also house a gas processor and the world’s biggest plant for ammonia and urea, which is used in making plastics and fertilizer.
Still, Nigeria’s previous attempts at motor fuel self-sufficiency have come to nothing. Its four state-owned refineries, opened in the 1970s, ran at a fraction of capacity before they were closed in January for a revamp.
An initial attempt by Dangote to enter the refining business foundered. In 2007 he bought one of the state plants only to see that privatization swiftly reversed by a new government.
Earlier efforts to use industrial development as a way of cutting the country’s dependence on oil have mostly fallen short. Nigeria has sunk at least $5 billion into the Ajaokuta steel mill project on the banks of the Niger River since 1979, and it still isn’t in production.
“As a symbol of Nigerian progress it’s quite important,” Charles Robertson, chief economist at Renaissance in London, said of the Dangote refinery.
Nigeria needs all the help it can get. The nation is reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the record plunge in oil, which accounts for more than 90% of its foreign exchange earnings. It has been forced to devalue its currency, the naira, twice since March, and take its first-ever loan from the International Monetary Fund, which forecasts a 5.4% economic contraction this year.
Even for Dangote, who has built a business empire that includes cement factories around Africa and owns assets ranging from sugar mills to salt refining facilities, the petrochemical complex is ambitious.
“Nigeria will soon become the biggest and only urea exporter in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time,” Dangote said in March. “And we are not only exporting, we are exporting big time.” Fertilizer exports alone will generate about $2.5 billion in revenue annually, he said.
Roads and jetties had to be built to carry heavy cargoes, while a quarry with the capacity to store 10 million tons of granite was dug solely for the project.
The company has opened talks with oil producers for the supply of crude to the refinery, although it hopes that within two years of beginning operations as much as 100,000 barrels a day will come from two oilfields it bought from Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Edwin said.
It’s “a game-changing development for regional supply,” said Jeremy Parker, an analyst at Citac, a London-based consultancy on the oil refining and distribution business in Africa.
It also benefits from government backing. “We are encouraging every participant to establish refineries in this country,” Mele Kyari, group managing director of the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corp, said on Tuesday. The aim is that in two-to-three years “you will see a country that will become a hub of producing petroleum products,” he said.
Still, the project has been hit by delays with the initial opening date having been projected to be 2016, then 2019. Edwin said in a webinar on Thursday that the start of operations will now be pushed back to late 2021 due to the coronavirus. Citac says the facility is unlikely to start before 2023.
It’s also entering a very competitive market at a time when refining margins are being squeezed by the collapse in oil prices. In July, profit margins for refineries were at their lowest since 2010 and Patrick Pouyanne, the chairman of Total SA, described them as “absolutely catastrophic.”
To be successful, the refinery will also need to displace the cartels that have dominated Nigeria’s fuel-import business for more than two decades, a source of wealth for the politically connected and motivation for the continuing dysfunction of domestic refineries.
Yet once up and running, it could be a strong symbol of industrial progress in a country that has had many false dawns in its quest to lessen its dependence on crude oil.
“It tips the balance in a country that is at heart very entrepreneurial,” said Antony Goldman, founder and chief executive officer of Promedia Consulting, a political risk consultancy firm. It says to Nigerians “we can make money from making things work.”
Nigerian Government has impounded a Boeing 777 jumbo plane belonging to the Angolan government at the Lagos airport for flying illegally into Nigeria.
The government grounded the passengers-laden plane and subsequently impounded it, shortly after touching down in the country on Wednesday afternoon.
The jumbo jet belongs to Angola Airlines, a state-owned airline and flag carrier of the Angolan government.
It was learnt that the plane flew into the country without the requisite and mandatory approvals from the Nigerian authorities. Aviation sources said the jet which was flown into the country purportedly to evacuate stranded Angolan citizens in Nigeria was found to be carrying fee-paying passenger.
However, the number of passengers on board the over 300-seater plane could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report on Thursday night.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has commenced further investigation into the matter, it was learnt.
In the past few days, the public space has been awash with comments and outrage on the hearings at the Federal House of Representatives concerning the Chinese loan agreements Nigeria entered into to the tune of $500 million for the part-financing of its rail projects said to be valued at about $849 million.
This is borne out of the fact that the House of Representatives Committee raised the alarm over the alleged waiver of Nigeria’s sovereignty. These hearings in which the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi was invited, laid bare some perceived inconsistencies in public debt procurement process in Nigeria with noticeable gaps. For the rail project loan in question, issues have arisen concerning the drafting of the agreement, the processing of the documents as well as the involvement of the Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General of the Federation respectively.
These gaping questions become very disturbing when the lender in question here is China, which has been associated with opaqueness in granting loans to countries in global context.
In investigating the processing of the $500 million Chinese loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, the Federal House of Representatives, as part of its oversight function, discovered that the loan agreement contained a clause in which Nigeria’s sovereignty was supposedly traded off. According to reports, this discovery was made because the agreement entered into, was written in Mandarin, the official form of the Chinese language with the Nigerian officials signing without understanding the full content of the loan document. If that is the case, it strengthens the narrative of the reported opaqueness of typical Chinese loan agreements.
The controversial clause in this loan case, states that, “the borrower hereby irrevocably waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its property in connection with any arbitration proceeding pursuant to Article 8(5), thereof with the enforcement of any arbitral award pursuant thereto, except for the military assets and diplomatic assets.” The question that arises here is whether there is no law that requires that the terms and conditions of loan agreements be submitted to the National Assembly for approval. In response to this raging controversies, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denied that China had any clause in the contract ceding Nigeria’s sovereignty and that it followed its “five-no” approach in loan agreements one of which is “no imposition of our will on African countries” and that it gives full consideration to debt sustainability.
The response of China on this issue notwithstanding, the history of China’s relations with different countries on loan agreements largely leaves a sour taste in the mouth. China has been severally accused of undertaking a global colonisation policy with its debt-trap diplomacy. For most of the countries that China has extended loan facilities to, there has been tales of woe and lamentations. Chinese loans to Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Maldives, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mongolia and Republic of Kazakhstan, among others have been followed with cases of default and takeover of these countries’ assets by China.
These loans are usually given out with very attractive conditions and without thorough due diligence for which these countries find it difficult to resist. What follows is a loan default and then the taking over of major assets in the borrowing countries with these takeovers not limited to the projects for which the loan is procured. By its “Belt and Road” Initiative, China targets countries that have some form of natural resources or something to offer which may not necessarily be cash. One commonality in these assets is that all the infrastructure of roads, ports, highways and airports, among others, financed with these loans all connect to China in what has been aptly described as the “new silk road.” Opaqueness has been one clear characteristic of Chinese loans across many jurisdictions globally. In Africa, the story is not different.
China appears to have taken a strategic position on the continent by willingly donating a mighty Secretariat to the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, probably as a good launching pad to gain easy access to virtually all African countries in pursuit of its global expansionist policy. China has extended irresistible loans to many African countries with Angola, an oil rich nation, having the largest Chinese loan exposure on the continent with a portfolio of about $25 billion. This is followed in that order by Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Zambia, Cameroun, Nigeria, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC).
Most of these loan transactions have run into some trouble with Zambia representing the worst case in Africa where China has taken over their National Power Corporation and the Broadcasting Corporation due to loan default. It is little wonder why these countries wouldn’t default given that the loans are largely concessionary with lots of suspected undercover dealings and perks in favour of African government officials in form of huge kickbacks, which largely do not go through the banking system. Many have dubbed this as China’s new colonial strategy, which it executes by first encouraging indebtedness on very concessionary terms; taking over strategic assets or the commanding heights of the economy on default. The focus is largely on very corrupt countries with very weak governance structures. Given these antecedents, there is a great need for these issues to be addressed in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meetings.
The Debt Management Office (DMO)’s response on this raging issue has also left much to be desired. It addressed the pedestrian issue of how little China’s $3.121 billion loan exposure to Nigeria is, that it represents only 11.28% of the total external debt stock of $27.67 billion or 3.94% of overall total public debt burden of $79.303 billion. By this submission, the DMO stated that China is not a major source of funding for the Nigerian government. The DMO highlighted the fact that the loan is a concession of 20-year tenor with a seven-year moratorium. The DMO prided itself that its law, the Debt Management Office Establishment (ETC) Act 2003 as well as Section 41 (1a) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 were duly followed in the loan agreements in question.
However, the issue is really not in the quantum of these Chinese loans but on the commitments made by our government officials. The DMO response did not guarantee whether transparency was followed in the negotiating process –particularly with reported incidences of corruption in other jurisdictions. It also did not clearly state whether the unpalatable experiences of other countries in dealing with China on borrowing were factored in nor did it address the issue of sovereignty or whether the agreement was written in Mandarin or not nor how the repayment will be made from proceeds from the projects over the 20-year loan period. How come the National Assembly, which should have approved the loan in the first place is just getting to know about this sovereignty clause after the fact? The DMO needs to provide further explanations on these issues.
On the sovereignty issue, it needs to be noted that, the controversial clause would only come into effect when there is a case of default. It needs to be put in proper perspective that for an economic or commercial transaction, Nigeria would find it difficult to plead its sovereignty in the event of default and would thus need to go for arbitration. Hence the hue and cry on loss of sovereignty for a purely commercial transaction may have been misplaced. This, however, differs in the case of political relations where the ceding of sovereignty is not tolerable. It is proper to understand that for an economic or commercial transaction such as this, the key issue is to avoid a loan default else the case of arbitration cannot be avoided.
Twenty years ago, local resistance arose in the Niger Delta because of the way oil revenue was being shared and how oil pollution was undermining local livelihoods.
Young people helped bring development agencies to the region through their activism for social justice. The government eventually created the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to bring development closer to the region in response to local demands. Local people welcomed it with a renewed sense of belonging within the national community. But now, 20 years later, they have been left behind in regional developmentand young people’s lives, in particular, have not improved.
Local elites have hijacked the Commission, and the agency is seriously under-performing. But these elites claim that’s the fault of national-level politicians who take a larger slice of the NDDC contracts. Since inception, the commission has received $40 billion to invest in development projects. These include road construction, health care, education and job creation. But there is very little on the ground to account for this money.
Contracts are often inflated. Projects get abandoned. And shoddiness is normal. Young people will have to live with the fallout. They are already suffering the impact of political corruption, because the money that should have been used to improve their lives has simply disappeared.
Unlike many young people, local leaders live a life of luxury.
Similarly the Amnesty Programme, implemented more recently to end violence in the Niger Delta and benefit young people, has been hijacked by elites and local politicians. Funds meant for youth development projects are often embezzled. Inflated contracts are awarded to the elite youths, and while the youths who enrolled as ‘ex-militants’ get monthly cash payments, their non-violent counterparts have nothing.
But this is not the whole story, as my research reveals. I wanted to understand young people’s perspectives of violence in the Niger delta, and to compare their perspectives with the explanations of institutional leaders. This comparison helped me to produce an analysis of youth violence that locates young people’s experiences within the institutional structures that contours their lives.
My research found that while the local leaders undermine young people’s well-being through political corruption, they conceal their complicity, and maintain this inequality, through the way they explain youth violence. In sociological terms, these explanations are called doxa – meaning assumptions about people and explanations about reality which are popular, but not always true, and which reproduce exclusion. While direct violence in the form of deaths and bodily harm has declined in the Niger Delta because of the Amnesty programme, indirect violence in the form of exclusion has continued.
Local leaders explained that young people embrace violence because they are lazy and unwilling to work. ‘These youths are lazy, they think they have oil so if you give them job they don’t want it, just militancy’ an official from the Niger Delta Development Commission told me. This presents local leaders as hardworking people deserving of their wealth, while portraying young people as the lazy, undeserving poor. Attributing youth violence to laziness ignores the high unemployment rate in the Niger Delta. It also absolves the local leaders from failing to create jobs.
Local leaders also said youth violence occurs because young people are deviants and always ready to fight. ‘After taking Igbo (weed) and alcohol they want to fight everybody.’ ‘They are yahoo-yahoo (cyber fraud) boys, always clubbing.’ These are some of the common portrayals of young people by institutional leaders.
I visited many clubs for my research in the Niger Delta and saw young people laughing, dancing, sharing liquor and discussing plans on how ‘to leave this nonsense country’, as one of my respondents put it. Clubs serve as a space of solidarity for young people in a world where they feel left behind, and social drinking is their way of escaping boredom and the many frustrations of their daily life.
A director at the Commission said young people are incapable of good leadership while older people are wiser, and therefore better leaders. He was responding to my question about what he thinks of young people’s complaints that old people dominate leadership positions within development agencies, and this was a typical response. The idea that older people are better leaders legitimises the political domination of the older generation.
By portraying young people as lazy, unwise and deviant, local leaders preserve their political, economic and social power and maintain their domination over young people.
It is not accidental that young people are the main perpetrators of violence in the Niger Delta, because many of them feel that Nigeria does not work for them. Hence, they use violence to get by in life. Yet by using violence, young people also undermine the very development they yearn to have. Violence leads to the loss of lives and destruction of valuable assets, which slows down development.
To address youth violence in the Niger Delta, it’s necessary to demand accountability from institutions and to challenge the common ideas used to exclude young people from the development process.
Adopting a Restrictive Rule of Origin will not allow the Nigerian manufacturing industry enjoy the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This is according to Peter Lunenborg, the Senior Program Officer at South Centre.
According to him, most sectors in the industry still source the bulk of their raw materials and expertise from outside the continent.
Speaking at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) webinar themed “AfCFTA Rule Of Origin: Implication For Growth Of Manufacturing Sector,” Lunenborg noted that while restrictive rules of origin are the best for wealth creation, the African continent cannot afford to toe that path just yet.
“It needs to be flexible because so far, most of the things produced here still require some input from foreign countries, in form of raw material or technology or expertise. For instance, Nigeria imports half of the wheat used for its flour manufacturing from the United States, because Africa has a huge supply deficit,” he said.
Why this matters
One of the objectives of the AfCFTA is to promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, Agricultural Development, and Food Security. AfCFTA also aims to create a single market for goods, services, and movement of persons within the African continent.
One of the ways of achieving this is removing duties and taxes from goods produced within the continent.
However, with many of the manufacturing companies sourcing a bulk of their raw materials externally, a restrictive rule of origin will not let the local industries to fully reap the benefits of the Free Trade Area.
Lunenborg explained that this is the reason for adopting a flexible rule of origin so that local companies that source a minimum 40% of their raw materials locally can be qualified as originating and given the benefits.
Adopting a flexible RoO first is a trade-off where the country gives up some benefits so that local manufacturers can benefit from the arrangement at the level they are.
Reaping AfCFTA’s benefits
Aissata Koffi Yameogo, ECOWAS’ Programmes Officer in charge of implementing AfCFTA rules of origin in the continent, said in her address that the implementation will expand market for the manufacturing industry to 1.3 billion West African citizens, without additional duties and fees.
“It will build production capacity in the region and develop the value chain, and increased export to other African states” she added.
The benefits would also encourage member states to specialise in the production of a certain good where they have a comparative advantage, thus enhancing the quality and quantity of local production and creating more jobs.
She commended MAN for the webinar, noting that it was important for manufacturers to be sensitized and trained adequately so that they could reap maximum benefits of the AfCFTA.
MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, in his welcome address delivered by Paul Gbededo, noted that the MAN webinar series are geared towards sensitizing manufacturers in the country, and working together to create “a watertight Rule of Origin” within the next six months.
Why Nigeria is yet to ratify implementation of AfCFTA
Even though 30 countries have ratified the implementation of the agreement, AfCFTA is yet to get ratified by an Act of the Nigerian Assembly.
Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, stated in his presentation that some of the threats to Nigeria’s ratification of the agreement include; the rise in smuggling, illegal transshipment of goods from non-African countries, and import surge arising from trade liberalisation without corresponding growth in export of Nigerian products.
“Nigeria also has to combat with the influx of substandard products due to uneven quality standards in some African countries, and loss of revenue from import duties and levies, exacerbated by smuggling and Rule of Origin abuses. Putting these things in check will help speed the ratification of the AfCFTA” Anatogu stated.
He added that the National Action Committee on AfCFTA is working together with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on the issues, to hasten the ratification of the agreement.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in July 2019, after initially withdrawing assent, signed the AfCFTA agreement at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in the Niger Republic.
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the elimination of tariffs could boost trade in Africa by 15-25% in the medium term, and once fully implemented, is expected to cover all 55 African countries, with a combined GDP of about US$2.2 trillion.