Kenya plans to develop a construction policy to boost the safety of buildings in the country, the industry regulator said on Tuesday.
National Construction Agency (NCA) CEO, Daniel Manduku, told a media briefing in Nairobi that rapid urbanisation created huge demand for houses which made some building contractors not to adhere to strict safety standards.
Manduku said “the construction policy will better streamline the construction sector by creating a systematic framework for all players to boost the safety and quality of construction works in the country.”
The announcement came barely one month after the Nairobi county government announced plans to demolish at least 200 buildings because government safety experts considered them unsafe.
Government data indicates that approximately 100 people die due to collapsed buildings in 2017.
Manduku noted that in the past decade, the construction industry posted remarkable expansion and contribution to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
He said the new construction policy would help to harness the current gains and to further promote the expansion of the industry for maximum sustainable socio-economic contribution.
He added that the lack of construction industry policy was a hindrance to effective co-ordination efforts for the overall safety of the construction industry.
The CEO said achievement of Kenya’s national Economic Blue Print Vision 2030, heavily hinges on a dependable, robust, sanitised and competitive construction sector that adapts well to the ever-changing market and technology influx in the regional and global economy.
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Nigeria has paid its regular UN dues for 2018, making it the 74th out of the 193 Member States of the global international organisation to fulfill its financial obligations.
Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said in New York that Nigeria paid its annual dues in full.
Dujarric said: “Nigeria has paid its regular budget dues in full, bringing the Honour Roll to 74”.
Checks by the Correspondent of the Nigeria News Agency in New York showed that Nigeria paid 5,080,178 dollars on April 5.
One hundred and nineteen members are yet to pay their regular budgets.
The records also reports that Nigeria became the 10th country in Africa to pay its UN regular budgets in full.
In 2016, Nigeria had asked the UN to review its assessed contributions to the organisation in view of the economic recession in the country at the time.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, made the call at the UN Headquarters in New York when she visited the Chairman of the UN Fifth Committee, Mr Kingston Rhodes.
The Fifth Committee is the committee of the General Assembly with responsibilities for administrative and budgetary matters.
Nigeria was expected to pay outstanding contributions of 10. 2 million dollars as at December 2016.
Oyo-Ita said: “Due to recession, we want something done to review our dues and we want the UN to reconsider our assessment due to the realities of the time.
“What Nigeria is being asked to pay now is on the high side. Nigeria is committed to paying its contributions but we want some considerations.
“We want something to be done to re-adjust our scale.”
NAN reports that Nigeria’s scale of assessment for 2013 to 2015 was 0.119 before the re-basing of the country’s economy in 2014.
However, with the re-basing of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 500 million dollars, the scale of assessment of Nigeria increased to 0.209 for the period 2016 to 2018.
Nigeria has been pursuing the re-adjustment of the scale due to the economic reality of the country.
However, Rhodes had told Oyo-Ita that the UN was aware of the economic situation in the country but that the effort was hindered by the General Assembly Resolution that cancelled annual review of scale of assessment.
The Fifth Committee Chairman explained that the Resolution now established three years minimum period of scale of assessment.
According to him, therefore, Nigeria’s scale would be due for review in 2018, being the next scale year.
Nigeria is the biggest loser of the 50 billion dollars illicit financial flows out of Africa annually, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has said.
Adeosun stated this while speaking on the issue of taxation and revenue leakages at a tax conference organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The Correspondent of the Nigeria News Agency reports that Adeosun was on a panel that discussed ‘Revenue Leakages: Illicit Financial Flows’.
She said Nigeria had one of the lowest tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in the world at just six per cent.
The minister explained that when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, it met an empty treasury, adding the situation was compounded by the collapse of the oil price.
She regretted that Nigeria also suffered from tax avoidance and evasion, saying Nigeria has no tax laws as the tax laws are poor and weak.Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun with participants at a panel discussion on ‘Revenue Leakages: Illicit Financial Flows’ at UN Headquarters, New York.
To address the challenges, Adeosun said the Federal Government constituted a committee to review entered into several international treaties and also embarked on updating its tax laws.
He said the government also constituted a committee to review and update the tax laws in the country to make them efficient.
The minister said the nine months of amnesty given to tax defaulters through the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme to regularise their tax information would lapsed in March 2018.
She said Nigerians who had sought haven abroad were in for a tough time as the Federal Government had commenced the sharing of information on Nigerians who owned property and bank accounts overseas.
According to her, some foreign countries, including the UK, have commenced with Nigeria the Automatic Exchange of Tax Information.
She, however, lamented over the frustrations the Nigerian Government encountered in getting illicit funds stashed abroad repatriated to the country.Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun was on a panel of discussants on ‘Revenue Leakages: Illicit Financial Flows’ at UN Headquarters, New York.
Adeosun regretted that the amount of money Africa lost through illicit financial flows was more than the aid coming into the continent, citing the Thabo Mbeki’s Committee Report.
“On the part of the destination countries, the simple that we have from the developing nations perspective is: ‘why do they not ask questions when the money is coming in?’
“And yet when we turn up and say this money was stolen, then they give you an entire questionnaire. We’ve battling with the Swiss on Abacha.
“Abacha loot sat in the Swiss Bank account, 320 million dollars, for 22 years. We’ve been battling through the courts and we still have more recent cases.Mr Tunde Fowler (3rd left), Kemi Adeosun (3rd right), Bolaji Akinyemi, Spokesperson, Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the UN (2nd left) at the UN after Adeosun’s participated on a panel that discussed ‘Revenue Leakages: Illicit Financial Flows’.
The minister also held a private meeting with the Head of OECD Global Forum on Exchange of Information, Ms Monica Bhatia, on the sideline of the Platform for Collaboration on Tax Conference.
Alongside the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, the meeting focused on Nigeria’s efforts for developing international networks and collaboration with other countries to secure tax payer information.Kemi Adeosun (left) and Monica Bhatia, Head of OECD Global Forum on Exchange of Information (right) on the sideline of the Platform for Collaboration on Tax Conference at UN Headquarters, New York
The inaugural conference, which had as theme “Taxation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, focused on the opportunities and challenges for taxation and its role in supporting the SDGs.
It covered practical aspects of tax policy and administration, as well as encourages an open change of experience and views on how to ensure taxation policy and practices can improve SDGs outcomes.
Edited by: Sadiya Hamza
The Federal Government is committed to doubling Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio from its current six per cent to 12 per cent by year 2020.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in New York that Nigeria was among the lowest tax-paying country in the world.
The minister had earlier participated on a panel that discussed ‘Revenue Leakages: Illicit Financial Flows’ at the Platform for Collaboration on Tax Conference at the UN Headquarters, New York.
Adeosun said: “We’ve made it the focus to improve our tax to GDP ratio from six per cent where it currently is to move it up into a spare for other African countries.
“Ghana has 15 per cent, South Africa has 24 per cent. Most developed countries have 30 per cent. So Nigeria’s six per cent is very low.
“So we need to correct that and we’ve driven a number of initiatives to do this. We shared that with the panel.
“We shared some of our challenges with the panel and we got some very good advice and support which would be taken back to Nigeria to implement”.L-R: Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande; Spokesman, Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the UN Bolaji Akinremi; and Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun in a discussion at the UN Headquarters, New York after Adeosun participated at a tax conference.
She said, however, that there was still a long way to go adding, “we are not satisfied yet until that figure is significantly moved from where we are in today”.
“As I said, we’ve set ourselves a target, we want to pursue that aggressively and all the revenue generating agencies especially FIRS – Federal Inland Revenue Service.
“States Internal Revenue Service are being equipped to really take on that task and we expect that to yield result,” she said.
The minister had also held a private meeting with the Head of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Global Forum on Exchange of Information, Ms Monica Bhatia.
The meeting focused on Nigeria’s efforts for developing international networks and collaboration with other countries to secure tax payer information.
Edited by: Sadiya Hamza
Kenya’s manufacturers on Wednesday launched the Manufacturing Priority Agenda (MAP)-2018 aims at boosting the country’s industrial growth, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chairpersony Flora Mutahi said at a media briefing in Nairobi.
She said the agenda outlines the immediate actions that will yield tangible results in the short term.
She said it is working towards goal of achieving 15 per cent contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020 from the sector, up from the current 9.2 per cent.
“It will map out the priority areas with a clear framework to engage the government and other stakeholders to find practical solutions for the industry,” Mutahi said.
The MAP-2018 themed, “Sparking Kenya’s industrial transformation for job creation”, contains priority areas that will be driven under five key pillars.
“The agenda, if strengthened, will lead to a more competitive environment and impactful economic gains for Kenya’s industrial sector,’’ Mutahi said.
She said the priority areas include, a competitive and level playing field, export driven manufacturing, pro-industry policy and institutional framework, government-driven small and medium-sized enterprise development as well as securing the future of manufacturing industry.
She said the MAP is the industry’s contribution in shaping policies and regulatory frameworks that enable local businesses and trade partnerships thrive.
Mutahi said that the agenda seeks to catalyze the competitiveness of local industry in order to enable local manufacturers to compete on an international platform.
KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga said that in terms of contribution to employment, only 11.8 per cent or 300,900 of total formal workforce were employed in the manufacturing sector in 2016.
“This is a clear indication that the manufacturing sector in Kenya requires to be reinvigorated,” she said.
Edited by: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Felix Ajide
Wuhan, Capital of Central China’s Hubei Province, plans to put 40,000 new energy vehicles (NEVs) on its roads by 2022.
More than 150 charging stations and more than 70,000 charging facilities would be installed.
Wuhan hopes to have carbon emission below 173 million tones by 2022 through low-carbon development of industry, energy, lifestyles and the environment.
A 400-kilometre rail transit network would be built by 2022, serving more than 50 per cent of passengers on public transportation, according to the city plan.
Wuhan is an automobile industry hub and home to Dongfeng Motor Corporation, one of China’s Big Four car-makers.
Industrial transformation would be given priority to improve the production pattern of the region, according to the plan.
New high-polluting industries such as cement, non-ferrous metals, plate glass and steel would be completely prohibited by 2022.
Subsequently, the added value of service industries would exceed around 185 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for more than 56 per cent of the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Felix Ajide
Abuja, Dec. 15, 2017 Nigerian Communication Satellite Ltd. (NigComSat), says it is partnering with the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) to increase broadband penetration in the country.
Mr Samson Osagie, the Executive Director, Marketing and Business Development of NigComSat made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.
Osagie said that the NigComSat/NIPOST partnership was in a bid to increase broadband penetration in the country.
Broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.
This includes satellite Internet access, cable modem, DSL, fibre-to-the-home/building and other fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions.
“We are partnering with NIPOST to deploy broadband services using the NIPOST infrastructure in order to provide unswerving service to the un-served and underserved areas.
“Our continuous partnership with China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) has remained beneficial to both parties,’’ he said.
Osagie said that NigComSat was bringing onto its business platform a number of public service institutions with a view to providing a wide range of services which would necessarily involve its partners and resellers.
He said that satellite communications business had the potential of generating huge revenue for government in an era when diversification had become more imperative.
According to him, the global trend in the satellite industry shows an upward growth in the industry’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“NigComSat will focus intently on providing the best services and most comprehensive satellite solutions in the market.
“We will manage costs, re-build our brand, break new frontiers and unavoidably increase revenue generation by an appreciable margin.
“So we in Nigeria must leverage on the countless opportunities this company can offer the Nigerian government and its people,’’ the NigComSat official said.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Grace Yussuf
Mr Kingsley Okafor, National president of Artwalk says Nigeria’s creative industry has the potentials of boosting the economy development of the country.
Okafor spoke at the “Abuja Art walk for Peace” organised by ‘Art walk Exhibition and Event’ on Tuesday night in Abuja.
“We cannot be in recession when we have artistes that could contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our country.
“Nollywood is the third best movie industry in the world but piracy has negatively sap away the financial benefits of the sector, leaving the actors broke and begging.
“10 per cent of jobs in the United Kingdom is provided by the creative sector; According to statistics, 6,000 people visit the British Museum monthly and they pay 20 dollars each, imagine such in Nigeria.
“There is the absolute need for patronage of artworks by Nigerian artistes to enhance their living condition and indirectly contribute to the GDP of the country,” he said.
He also appealed to Nigerians to patronised artworks produced by local artistes adding that most artistes were talented and they regularly put out beautiful artworks but “with low patronage.”
“Artwalk is new in our orientation. There are so many young, creative artistes whose works end up in their homes.
“We are therefore appealing on Nigerians to patronise artworks of these artistes.
Okafor said that the objective of the event was to create a hub for artistes to showcase their works.
Also speaking Mr Emeka Ogwuju, the Chief Executive Officer of ‘Nigerian Entrepreneurship and Honours’ said creativity and entrepreneurship should be of importance to artistes.
“Promoting and celebrating entrepreneurship in Nigeria is of great importance to us. And the reason we come here is to ensure that entrepreneurs will be encourage to patronise artworks.
“If we get the likes of Dangote, Mike Adenuga and others to patronise artworks by Nigerian artistes, it will go a long way to make them live fine.
“Also we can get corporation organisations like Access Bank, GTBank and others to patronise artworks.
“That is why we are partnering with Artwalk so that artistes will have the platform to earn a living,” he said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that some of the artworks were displayed at the venue of the event and other locations in Gana Street.
Highlight of the event include dance from the Gbegele group and spoken words from Okechuckwu Iwella and others.
Guests were also conducted round the various artworks in three locations at Gana Street of the Federal Capital Territory to have a glimpse.
Edited by: Ekemini Ladejobi
Lagos, Nov. 15, 2017 Government must help artists to grow their sector by instituting endowment funds for them and encouraging investors to invest their funds in the sector.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 11th Finga Art, Olamide Balogun, said this on Wednesday saying this would propel the sector to thrive.
Balogun told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that the sector needed a revolutionary change for its operators to earn good money from their artistic works.
“We need to develop the arts sector fast; I think we are wasting time; we are not pushing arts the way we suppose to.
“Art works sell outside the country will earn foreign exchange for the country.
“The sector will also contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this country,’’ he said.
The artist said that government should be in the forefront in attracting local and foreign investors and sponsorship into the art sector.
He said that this would give would-be investors the confidence to invest their funds in it.
Balogun also advised the government to put in place structures that would encourage professionals to man the vital areas of the sector.
This would help to create meaningful development there, he said.
“If structures are in place, we the practitioners will be able to up our game and help create employment; a lot of youths are interested in the arts.
“Arts sector is the major employer of labour in many countries of the world,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Balogun was a graduate of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, where he studied Estate Management.
He ventured into arts in 2005 and had since be using graphite, charcoal and colours fot its art works.
Edited By: Peter Dada
Aviation experts on Tuesday expressed concern about the poor intra-African air connectivity that has hampered the growth and development of Africa.
They spoke at the closing of the 49th Annual General Assembly and summit for African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in Kigali.
Rwanda hosted the Nov. 12 toNov.14 continental meeting under the theme; “Rethinking Strategies for Airline Profitability in Africa.’’
“Aviation has the potential to make a great contribution to economic growth and development within Africa, but poor air transport connectivity has hampered this growth.
“Most intra-African aviation markets remain largely closed, due to restrictive bilateral agreements which limit the growth and development of air services,’’ said Raphael Kuchi, vice president for Africa region of International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Kuchi called for strong collaboration between African governments and airline companies to facilitate intra-African air connectivity to boost trade and enable African traders to tap global supply chains.
He said many African countries adopted the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision, which committed the 44 signatory countries to deregulating air services and promoting regional air markets, but the implementation of the agreement has been slow and limited.
The three-day meeting discussed the development of air transport in Africa in general and development opportunities for African airlines in particular.
Vladimir Zubkov, secretary-general of the International Air Cargo Association, said air transport connectivity across Africa still needs overhaul because the potential benefits of liberalising intra-African air markets remain largely unrealised.
“If you have a healthy competition at the airports, the quality is higher and the cost is lower. Intra-African air connectivity will lead to increased air service levels and lower fares, which in turn stimulate traffic volumes and facilitate tourism, trade and investment,’’ he noted.
According to IATA, Africa will be a market of 350 million airline passengers by 2035, if challenges affecting the sector are urgently addressed.
IATA said in October that African aviation presently supports 6.8 million jobs and contributes 72.5 billion dollars in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Over the next 20 years, passenger demand is set to expand by an average of 5.7 per cent annually, which opens up incredible economic opportunities for the continent’s 54 nations.’’
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Ese E. Ekama