Competition and Consumer Protection Commission meets stakeholders in Lagos



The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Thursday held an engagement forum with stakeholders in Lagos on the implementation of the Federal Competition and Consumer Act.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Federal Competition and Consumer Act was enacted on Jan. 30, 2019 to eradicate monopolised market hindering economic growth.

The Act affords consumers variety of options available in the enforcement of these rights, while consumers have the liberty to choose the most suitable option to enforce their rights, among other points.

Speaking at the forum, Director-General of FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera, said that a robust competition consumer legislation would deepen fairness among consumers and service providers.

“What this Act does is to regulate the marketplace for fairness among all players both between small and small, big and big, as well as small and big businesses,” he said.

Irukera said that the stakeholders forum was to create a stronger bond between all players so as to develop standards and codes of conduct for associations that would be beneficial to government, economy and all others involved.

“There are clear and statutory roles for collaborating with professional associations on how to regulate the entire market from consumer protection stand point.

“The partnership with the associations will certainly provide an important platform for educating their members about their responsibility, their policy direction and the focus of the commission and it will provide the context to the commission making regulations and adopting policies.

“We need to work together to develop standards and code of conducts for the association that will benefit consumers, associations, providers, producers, government and as well as the economy,” he said.

The D-G suggested that associations should have policies within their associations that would be helpful in the regulations.

He urged the public to contact the commission via telephone as well as its various social media platforms whenever a customer felt cheated or shortchanged.

Mr Wale Smart, Deputy Director, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), said that the association would continue to explore ways to partner with FCCPC to improve consumer satisfaction in order to improve the market.

Mr Adediji Ajayi, Registrar, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, said that similar regulatory bodies were needed in all sections of the stock market.

Other sectors represented at the forum were the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), Amnesty International, among others.

NAN reports that other stakeholders present at the interactive session also suggested that FCCPC should organise quarterly engagements for partnership opportunities, robust education and awareness of the activities of FCCPC.

Edited by: Wale Ojetimi



SUNREF launches $81m fund for renewable energy projects in Nigeria



The Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) has launched 81 million dollars technical assistance facility for the development of green energy projects in Nigeria, an official said on Thursday.

SUNREF is a green financing line for businesses developed by the French Development Agency (AFD) and instituted with a €70 million grant funded by the AFD and the European Union Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-ITF).

MS Ogechi Adiukwu, SUNREF Nigeria Programme Officer, who made the disclosure on Thursday in Abuja, said the project had an investment grant for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

According to her, SUNREF Nigeria programme which is composed of a 70 million dollars low-cost debt financing and an 11 million dollars grant facility, seeks to improve access to energy through improved access to affordable finance for renewable energy technologies.

“It seeks to ensure energy efficient initiatives that will improve lives, increase economic opportunities and support various sectors such as industry and agriculture.

“Through this grant, SUNREF Nigeria programme will provide technical assistance and support to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN),” she said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria .

“It partners with banks like Access Bank and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and companies in Nigeria toward the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

“In Nigeria, where access to energy is far from universal, limited energy security and rising energy prices will likely continue to challenge the growth of Nigerian businesses in the near future.

“As a result, increasing the development of green energy is a key condition to a sustainable economic growth by ensuring reliable access to energy as well as enabling businesses and households to seize opportunities of the ecological transition.”

She quoted Ms Inga-Elisabeth Hawley, the Senior Director, Environment and Energy at WINROCK International, as saying that they were  delighted to be appointed to implement the technical component of the SUNREF programme.

Adiukwu also quoted the Team Leader, SUNREF Nigeria Programme, Javier Betancour, as saying that SUNREF Nigeria programme brought the global SUNREF experience of providing financing and technical assistance for renewable energy, and energy efficiency projects to assist businesses become more efficient and transit to green energy.

She noted that Dr Mansur Ahmed, President of MAN, had said the programme would be critical in increasing the competitiveness of Nigerian manufacturers, as they transit to renewable energy sources and implement energy efficiency measures in their operations.

Adiukwu also disclosed that the SUNREF initiative had been deployed in over 30 countries and successfully supported over 42 projects in partnership with about 70 banks to the tune of about 2.5 billion euros from the AFD of which 1.2 billion euros had been paid.

According to her, the benefits of SUNREF programme targets entrepreneurs AFD cannot finance directly such as Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and individuals, using financial intermediaries as channels for disseminating projects through reliable local counterparts with technical skills.

She added that it would disseminate technical know-how and good practices through the technical assistance.

Mr Faruk Yabo, Director of Renewable Energy and Rural Access, Federal Ministry of Power, said that the  SUNREF programme would help Nigeria toward achieving its 30:30:30 goal of generating 30 per cent of 30 Giga Watts (GW) from renewable energy by 2030.

For Dr Gregory Jobome, Chief Risk Officer, Access Bank, the bank had been on this journey of financing green energy projects for a long time.

“We hope that through this programme shall be a stimulus for other banks to start financing such projects that will benefit many generations to come,” he said.

Mrs Ayodele Adeniyi of UBA said they believed renewable energy would go a long way to reducing the power deficit in Nigeria and that the bank was willing to go all the way to support it. 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Manufacturers donate N8bn cash, N300million palliatives 



The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says its members made donations worth N8 billion in cash and N300million worth of palliative materials to both Federal and States Governments during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Mansur Ahmed, President of MAN, made this known at the 48th Annual General Meeting of the association on Thursday in Lagos.

Ahmed told newsmen that indicators revealed that the nation was not immune to the challenges as world manufacturing also experienced inconsistency in production growth, indicating an overall economic slowdown.

This, he explained, resulted in job losses, decline in consumer demand and a general deterioration in living standard.

“On our part, we donated about N8 billion in cash and are sincerely grateful to our frontline health workers and other service providers for their commitments, sacrifice and service to humanity.

“To this end, I sincerely appreciate members of MAN for their support to government when it was most needed to provide palliative as a way to cushion hardship experienced by Nigerians and to contain the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Ahmed said that the association remained resolute at continuously supporting its members to explore business expansion opportunities to navigate the current challenging times confronting the industry due to COVID-19.

This, he said, were in the areas of intra-trade facilitation, renewable energy and local raw material sourcing amongst others.

On the current state of the Nigerian economy and the manufacturing sector, Ahmed said that the performance of the economy was fragile and slowly sliding into recession.

According to him, the association’s outlook for the first quarter of 2020 found maximum expression in the actual performance of economic indicators.

Economic activity in the year was disrupted by the spiral effects of the pandemic, he said.

Ahmed said that the consequence of this development was that sectoral groups ran short of supplies of raw materials due to disruptions in the global value chain, with many still unable to access forex.

“The manufacturing sector performance that was expected to be strong, having recorded an impressive performance in the 4th quarter of 2019 on account of border closure, suffered a huge setback.

“For Nigeria, the outcomes include lockdown, near shut down of the operations of eight manufacturing sectoral groups, disruption in supply chain, inventory of unsold items and loss of jobs.

“Arising from the scenario, the expectation is that inflation, interest and exchange rates, will jointly trend upward from their current states in differing magnitude of between 15 per cent and 18 per cent.

“Also expected is that the rate of unemployment will double, reaching the 50 per cent mark for the first time in our history,” he said.

Ahmed commended government for the initiative toward unifying foreign exchange windows in the country.

He urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure a properly managed transition regime to reduce the effect on the manufacturing sector.

“The burden of foreign currency denominated loans and offsetting of existing credit commitments to foreign suppliers of raw materials should be given priority consideration.

“It is our conviction that the foreign exchange unification initiative will engender a regime of a balanced participation for forex users and promote a transparent, as well as efficient allocation of forex required for sustained economic growth,” he said.

Ahmed also said that data and research by the association revealed that the sector still needed a comprehensive and integrated support system from the government.

He advocated for a reduction in the financial pressure on companies occasioned by COVID-19.

Ahmed called for the support of manufacturers concern with existing loan facilities, by reviewing the terms and reducing interest rates to 5 per cent with two years moratorium.

“Manufacturers that are investing in order to scale up production, should be granted loans at 5 per cent interest rate for a period of five to seven years.

“These will no doubt improve liquidity and ramp up productivity in the manufacturing sector in a manner that will cover up for obvious losses due to COVID-19,” he said.

Ahmed also urged government to direct all regulatory agencies to reduce their respective administrative charges (Pre-COVID-19 rates) payable by manufacturing concerns by 50 per cent.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN
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Peak Season: CMA CGM suspends shipping surcharge – NSC



The French Container Transportation and Shipping Company, CMA CGM, has announced  suspension of the application of  peak season surcharge on ships calling in Nigeria from Oct. 1.

Mrs Rakiya Zubairu, Head, Public Relations, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday,  said that they followed in the footsteps of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

Recall that Mediterranean Shipping Company had earlier suspended application of the surcharge from Sept. 1 as a result of protests by Shippers’ Council and stakeholders.

She noted that the suspension of the peak season surcharge was contained in a letter sent to the Executive Secretary/CEO of the council,  Mr Hassan Bello, on Tuesday from the Head Office of CMA CGM in Marseilles France.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that  Bello had on Aug. 19, described as ‘unreasonable and unacceptable’ the indiscriminate high surcharges by multinational shipping firms on Nigerian-bound cargoes.

Bello, said this during a meeting with stakeholders to discuss current increase in peak season surcharges on Nigerian trade route.

Those who attended the meeting were,  the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Nigerian shipping community.

The 2020 peak period charges, put at between $1000 and $1,500 per twenty-foot equivalent unit(TEU) by shipping firms, was said to be over 400 per cent increment from the previous $200 freight charge per TEU during peak period.

The six companies allegedly involved in the act were Cosco, Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag Lloyd and Evergreen shipping.

Bello had expressed worry that the surcharge was introduced at a wrong time, and would lead to spiral inflation rate on the economy as cargoes would be abandoned at the ports.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Source: NAN
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NlPR urges FG to rescind decision on new pump price, electricity tariff



The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Kwara chapter,  has urged  the Federal Government to rescind its decision on  new prices of petrol and  electricity tariff.

The NlPR made the plea in llorin on Thursday in a statement jointly signed by its state  Chairman, Dr Saudat AbdulBaki, and Secretary, Alh. AbdulRahman Sanni

According to it, the plea  becomes imperative in view of the hardship currently bedeviling most Nigerians.

The NlPR said the need to revert to the old rates became imperative to demonstrate to Nigerians that the federal government is responsive to their yearnings.

It observed that most Nigerians had been finding it increasingly difficult to survive due to inflation and effects of the COVID– 19 pandemic ravaging the entire world.

The institute urged the federal government to overhaul the nation’s oil and power sectors by disposing of the country’s four Refineries which it observed, were bleeding the nation’s treasury.

The NlPR  noted that liberalisation of the oil sector like Brazil, would attract investors who would  build small and medium refineries to provide healthy competition to the 650,000 barrel per day currently being produced.

It also advised the federal government to revisit the privatisation of the power sector  rather than  new tariffs.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), on Sept. 2, announced a new Ex-depot price of N151.56 for petrol.

Ex-depot price is the price marketers buy products from depot owners and an increase or reduction in ex-depot price determines the pump price of petrol by marketers.

Going by the prevailing market fundamentals, the pump price of petrol is now between N158 and N162 per litre in the country.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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