The Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) says when Ajaokuta Steel Company begins production, it will save the country billions of dollars being expended on steel importation.
Mr Ishaya Idi, Chairman Commerce Trade Group of KADCCIMA stated this in Abuja on Wednesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on the constitution of a committee for the revival of the steel company.
Recall that the Federal Government had on Monday constituted a committee on revamping of Ajaokuta steel company following bilateral discussions that had been held in Sochi, Russia, between the Nigerian and Russian governments.
The committee, Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT), is aimed at economic diversification agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The Ajaokuta Steel Project is to be resuscitated on the basis of a Government-to-Government agreement with funding from the Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre.
Reacting on the development, Idi said there was no doubt that when the plant finally got on stream, it would rejuvenate the economy and save a lot of money being spent on the importation of steel.
“This is a welcome development, this move is laudable and I commend the government for the initiative.
“I urge the committee to devote all its energy in order to deliver the project in no distant future. My concern about the membership of the committee is the non inclusion of the organised private sector.
“This is in order to have all inclusive approach to the realisation of this life-giving economic development scheme of our dear nation,” he said.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called for concerted efforts by government, businesses and workers to address the effects of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic on employments and remunerations.
Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, Director-General of NACCIMA, gave the advice in a statement to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos to celebrate Worker’s Day.
Olukanni said that the advice became necessary because the chamber, in recognising the role and importance of workers, devoted attention to their welfare.
He, however, noted that the celebration of 2020 May Day was shrouded in very unusual environment and circumstances, unprecedented in the history of industrialisation.
He stressed that the issue of job losses and inability of government and private sector to pay salaries had naturally dominated headlines and was of major concern to the Chamber, workers and business operators.
As a result, Olukanni advised that all efforts be made not to sack workers and steps be taken by business establishments to negotiate payment of salaries to workers.
“NACCIMA joins the rest of the nation to salute Nigerian workers on occasion of this year’s May Day which is internationally recognised and celebrated across the world.
NACCIMA chambers and corporate members recognise the role and importance of their workers hence, they devote a lot of attention to their welfare.
“We are aware some of our members have agreed to pay their workers part of their salaries or 50 per cent of their salaries for the month of April when there was almost complete lockdown and many of the workers were at home and not working.
“This is a strategic way by our members and other various employers to manage their liquidity at this difficult times; as they look forward to when life will be back to normal.
“For now we are still in unusual times and it’s a time for what we can describe as “Shared Sacrifices” between workers, business owners and management.
“We are also in support of the call for tax deferment, moratorium on loan payments, among others, to help keep private sector from going under completely.
“But to prevent and discourage sacking of workers, consideration should also be given to what has been described as Pay-Chek Protection Programme; and Job Security Programme for the private sector.
“This will certainly involve support of government to the private sector in this regard, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“And we hope governments both at the federal and state levels will look into this.
With the ongoing preparations for gradual return to work on May 4, the NACCIMA director-director advised a gradual and staggered return.
He urged business operators to ensure safety and security of the work environment to prevent a resurgence.
“The work environment should be properly cleaned up and workers on their part must adhere to all safety and health protocols,” he said.
Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) says it has become necessary to review the near one-month old lockdown order and replace it with a more strategic approach favourable to the Nigerian economy.
Its Director-General, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni gave the advice in a statement to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos.
Olukanni, lauding the efforts of the various levels of government at curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus and providing palliatives for the less privileged, said the continued lockdown was taking its toll on businesses across the country.
“First, we commend the Federal and State Governments for their determined efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the nation, using various strategies such as campaigns on social distancing, and adherence to health prescriptions such as sanitising and washing of hands.
“We also note that lockdowns which has been in use, was also designed to stop the spread, especially in a place like Lagos which was one of the epicenters of the virus.
“We also commend the efforts of various organisations to provide palliatives to the less privileged.
“Members of NACCIMA across the country have indeed been making donations in kind and cash across the country to relevant groups and institutions.
“This is a reflection of commitment of NACCIMA and its members to play its role in the fight against the deadly virus and its various negative economic and social impacts.
“While we understand the reasons for the lockdown which has been on for almost a month; it has become necessary to review the lockdown order and replace it with a more strategic approach for various reasons.
“The continued lockdown is taking a serious toll on businesses across the country and ripple effects on security is becoming alarming; especially as miscreants seized the opportunity to rob citizens and break into business premises.
“Consideration should be given to gradual opening of some businesses and other commercial operations,” he said.
According to him, steps should be taken to allow some categories of workers to resume work and business operations while keeping to safety.
“Protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing ban on large gatherings and increased use of testing to identify those who may have been affected and requiring isolation and treatment.
“Certainly a lockdown order ad-infinitum is not sustainable and many of our members are of the view that this should be reviewed to ease the lockdown,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
The Federal Government has said it is working assiduously to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 lockdown through sustainable production, transportation and distribution of essential products.
A statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Ibrahim Haruna, Deputy Director, Press, quoted the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, as saying this at his weekly update on the performance of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adebayo is the Chairman of EOC of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities during COVID-19 in Abuja.
The minister, who listed the essential products as food, medical, pharmaceutical and agro-allied products, said production and distribution would continue unhindered throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
He said that despite the initial challenges faced as a result of inter-state border closure by some governors, the ministry was constantly engaging stakeholders to ensure free-flow of essential cargoes within the country and at the ports of arrival.
“I am happy to announce that we have also set up a Post-COVID-19 Industry, Trade and Investment Sustainability Committee that will review the FMITI goals and propose strategic adjustments after applying lessons learnt and recommendations from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“As directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his national broadcast and to ensure that our economy adapts to this new reality, my ministry will be collaborating with other ministries.
“We will collaborate with the Ministries of Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation and Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Education, Labour and Employment to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for an economy functioning with COVID-19.
“This committee, as directed by Mr President, will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and the Economic Sustainability Committee in executing its mandate,” he said.
The minister applauded the prompt response of EOC members in resolving incidences that could hinder the free flow of essential commodities.
“They have not only done very well in representing the ministry, they have also been proactive in projecting the ministry as well as representing it at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“Now, we are a force to reckon with; it is a fact that a special committee has been set up, which is headed by the ministry,” he added.
Also speaking, the Minister of State in the ministry, Amb. Mariam Katagum, said that as an offshoot of the Committee on Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities (SPEC), the ministry had established the EOC to monitor the supply of essential commodities nationwide.
Katagum added that the centre, located within the ministry, was saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the live status of transportation and delivery of essential goods to reduce the difficulties being faced by manufacturers, transporters and distributors of commodities nationwide.
“The committee has received a total number of 55 requests for intervention across the country, 54 of which have been resolved at the level of the committee.
“Sixty-eight percent of these interventions are logistics-related, while about 20 percent are market intelligence issues where we have been able to pair supply and demand to keep production afloat.
“Other requests have to do with direct manufacturing operations and some others retail-related,” she added.
She implored Nigerians to be resilient and remain calm and positive as the nation tackled the pandemic.
According to her, the ministry, in collaboration with all the critical stakeholders, will continue to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic on the economy and households across the country were significantly reduced.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, appreciated the leadership qualities of the two ministers.
He appreciated the support of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and Commerce and Industry Correspondents’ Association of Nigeria (CICAN), among others.
The permanent secretary disclosed that NACCIMA, as part of its corporate social responsibility, donated a 22.5 KVA generator to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) isolation centre through the ministry.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has urged Nigerians to adhere to the safety measures advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Nigerian health authorities.
NACCIMA President, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, made the appeal in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.
Aliyu stated that the appeal for precautionary and safety measures was necessary to stay alive during this period of global and national health crisis.
“Only then can we be there when the crisis is over to rebuild our lives and businesses,” she said.
Aliyu commended the federal and state authorities on their efforts to control and reduce the spread of the virus across the country as well as their cooperation with the rest of the international community to end the pandemic.
She also lauded the recent stimulus package by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its setting up of the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19.
The NACCIMA President, however, stressed on the need to make the coalition more inclusive, embracing the entire Organised Private Sector of Nigeria.
“We must also continue to work at the state level, through our city and state chambers, to deal with the crisis and make our own contribution to the fight against the spread of the disease, no matter how little,” she said. NAN
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to take advantage of the Bank of Industry (BoI) single-digital loans to access loans below N10 million.
Mrs Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for the ministry made the call in Enugu on Friday at the opening of the 31stEnugu International Trade Fair.
Katagum said this had become necessary because the loans were accessed without collateral.
“Our SMEs should take advantage of the soft and single-digit loan being offered by the BoI to grow and expand their businesses since the SMEs is the engine of growth of any successful economy,’’ she said.
The minister pledged to assist the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) to create more awareness and bring more Federal ministries, departments and agencies to exhibit and participate in subsequent fairs.
On the development of the fair permanent site, Katagum said the Federal Government would use Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in the development of the complex.
Katagum explained that it was only PPP model that would assure the facilitation as well as future development and maintenance of the complex.
The minister said that the federal government took its cue from the abandoned Lagos Trade Fair Complex which had fallen into disuse.
“Given the Lagos Trade Fair Complex experience, where the complex is unkempt and unwanted shops rising in the complex and the people abandoning it and having trade fairs at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos Island.
“Again, given government scarce resources and a lot of competing demands on it; the PPP becomes the best option for now.
“The ministry needs to meet and discuss with ECCIMA to see how to use PPP model to push the intended work here.
“From the experiences so far, PPP will help to sustain, maintain and see to the functionality of the complex for a very long time,’’ she said.
Earlier, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, the President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), commended ECCIMA and the Enugu State government for putting up a successful fair.
Aliyu, who was represented by Mr Ide Udeagbala, first Deputy National President of NACCIMA, called on South-East governors to continue to partner with the Federal Government to ensure even development of the rural areas.
She also urged companies and SMEs to take precautionary stance against the corona virus pandemic by joining the government at all levels to protect their workers and ensure continuous production.
“I enjoin you to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the fair to create national and international linkages and sales for your products and services,’’ she advised.
In a welcome address, President of ECCIMA, Chief Emeka Nwandu, said the fair remained a veritable tool for the advancement of individual, corporate and national business ingenuity.
“I wish all stakeholders particularly exhibitors and participants huge success and realisation of set targets in this fair,’’ Nwandu said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that ECCIMA had scheduled the 31stEnugu International Trade Fair to start from March 13 to March 23 at the Trade-Far Complex, Golf Estate, GRA Enugu.
This year’s fair theme is; “Advancing the Growth of SMEs through Corporate Governance for Rapid Economic Development”’.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Maureen Atuonwu
National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, has called on the federal government to take steps through a clear Plan of Action to mitigate the negative economic impact of COVID 19.
Ms Iya Aliyu, in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Lagos, said NACCIMA had taken note that stringent efforts were being made to contain the spread of the deadly virus in Nigeria and across the world.
She, however, said that the association was of the strong view that government must equally pay attention to the potentially devastating negative economic dimension of the global pandemic.
According to her, this has been revealed in the drastic fall in prices of crude oil to around $32, well below the 2020 budget benchmark of $57 per barrel.
She also noted absence of market for about 50 cargo of Nigerian crude that has not found buyers, as recently revealed.
“All these developments, according to the Minister of Finance, is compelling government to undertake a review of the 2020 Budget.
“NACCIMA strongly supports a stimulus package to support the SMEs, in particular ,who will be most hard hit by the economic impact of Covid 19.
“Among other steps, government should consider including lowering of interest rate; and enlisting the banks to be part of the stimulus package through favourable interest rates.
“The government should also consider drastic reduction in the cost of governance to make the required savings,” Iya Aliyu said.
She said that the government must also consider more effective and widespread use of the National Collateral Registry for easier access to finance by the SMEs.
“We strongly recommend immediate steps for implementation of these recommendations and inclusion in action to be taken by government.
“State governments are equally advised to take necessary action at their own end as appropriate and against the backdrop of these recommendations,” she said. NAN
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle
The South East Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (SECCIMA) has advocated greater synergy among the South-East governors to develop the seaports and enhance the economy of the zone.
Mr John Udeagbala, former President of SECCIMA, made the call at the investiture of Mr Humphrey Ngonadi as the new President of the chamber in Nnewi, Anambra.
Udeagbala said that the development of seaports would not only boost the economy of the area but would attract foreign investors.
“The ports in the region, if developed, would be utilised to import and export goods at affordable rates, rather than going through the stress of Lagos seaport,” he said.
Udeagbala further urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment to promote business growth and economic development across the country.
“We appeal to the federal government to provide Independent Power Project to power the business clusters in the region as it has done in Ariaria Market in Aba.
“We want similar gesture to be extended to other main markets and business clusters in other states of the region.
“We also appeal to the federal government to ensure that South-East benefited from the on-going rail projects from Port Harcourt to the Northern region.
“And we also urge the federal government to develop the Enugu International Trade Fair Complex like it did in Lagos and Kaduna, ” he said.
Udeagbala congratulated Ngonadi on his election as the new president of the chamber and advised him to work with the southeast governors to fashion out viable economic policies that would accelerate development in the region.
He also urged the new leadership of the chamber to be the voice of the business community in the region.
Responding, Ngonadi promised to sustain the good legacies of the association by bringing the city chambers in the zone together to establish a stronger organised private sector.
He promised to work with NACCIMA, other bilateral chambers of commerce in the country and global business associations for the advancement of the activities of the chamber.
Nigeria News Agency reports that Ngonadi is the third president of the association.
Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Sam Oditah)
The Kwara Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA) says it will establish Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Academy.The KWACCIMA President, Dr Adeoye Raji, disclosed this on Wednesday in Ilorin at the close of a two-day Women Dialogue Session.According to Raji, NACCIMA academy will train women and youths in business development management, skill acquisition and proficiency in international languages.He said that the academy would be established in partnership with NACCIMA and the state government.Raji explained that most women and youths in business community were only recognised in trade, commerce and rent-letting investment rather than going into production.“Majority of women and youths are known in the area of trade and commerce and rent-letting investment rather than going into production.“Women and youths have to push beyond these limits; they need to explore other vital areas of the economy. That is what can make the state economy grow faster,” he said.The KWACCIMA boss said that they needed to explore other vital areas to stimulate the economy and enable it grow faster.He said that women and the youth would also require latest methodology in business and the benefits accruable from the government, regulatory bodies and financial institutions.“They must catch on with newer methodology in business and derivable benefits from the government, regulatory bodies and financial institutions,’’ Raji said.He also identified SME funding and other credit facilities as available facilities that could launch participants into manufacturing and become industrialists.“There are initiatives and schemes such as the SME funding, credit facilities that can be accessed to launch them into manufacturing and become industrialists.“Gone are the days when Kwara is being described as a civil service state because economic activities and spending use to be at peak at month-end when salaries get paid.“We have outgrown that status quo. The state is fast becoming the industrial hub of the North Central region,’’ the KWACCIMA president said.He called on the government to drive industrialisation and investment provision in the state instead of dependence on tax for governance.Ms Saratu Aliyu, the NACCIMA National President, said the inclusion of women in the chambers movement was in line with the new narrative of gender mainstreaming to national development.Aliyu described the initiative as a reflection of commitment to the growth and quest for gender equality and economic empowerment of women in accordance with the global trend.Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Tuesday called for proper optimisation of the Lilypond Park to reduce congestion on the Apapa port access roads.
Mr Hassan Bello, NSC Executive Secretary, made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos on traffic situation along port access roads (Mile 2-Apapa and Ijora-Wharf Road).
Bello represented by Mr Akintunde Makinde, NSC Head of Inland Transportation, said that Apapa gridlock was the concern of all stakeholders.
“It is a shame we are discussing about traffic on our port access roads.
“Lilypond park must be put to use to help decongest these trucks on the access roads,” he said.
The executive secretary said that the council would liaise with the Lagos State Government to provide a mobile court to punish corrupt personnel on the road.
He also called for compliance, urging truck owners to ensure that they have call-up letters before embarking on trips.
He advised terminal operators to be efficient and know the number of trucks to be attended to in a day.
According to him, non-performing terminals will be sanctioned.
Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), decried the number of armed men on the bridges passing trucks and warned against illegal collection of money.
Bala-Usman represented by Mrs Olufunmilayo Olotu, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), urged truck drivers to ensure they had a call-up system to help resolve the gridlock.
“There is gridlock in Apapa because many illegalities happen on the roads. Security officials drive or escort trucks while some are collecting illegal toll.
“The introduction of the use of barges is a good thing. The APMT terminal should give a barge space.
“They should also allow shipping companies to use APMT cranes to compliment theirs,’’ she said.
Ms Saratu Aliyu, National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), said that corruption played major role in the Apapa gridlock.
Aliyu represented by Mrs Margret Orakwusi, a former Chairman, Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA), urged stakeholders to think more about the economy of the country.
Also, Mr Kayode Opeifa, Executive Vice Chairman, Presidential Task Team on Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa Port Area, said that Apapa gridlock was driven by corruption which must be tackled.
Opeifa said that stakeholders in Apapa should desist from unhealthy rivalry and collaborate to tackle the gridlock.
“Government is not looking for new ideas. It has consulted with everyone and they know what is happening,” he said.
Opeifa said that the system and everyone involved in port business should do the needful to stop the gridlock.
He added that the issue of Lilypond should be solved because it was a critical part to reduce congestion.
“If terminals don’t work, congestion will prevail.
“Someone is bringing illegal trucks into Lilypond park. There is the need for transparent call-up system.
“To station trucks on the bridge is not the standard. They should be removed to avoid extortions.
“Terminal operators should have towing trucks to help remove broken down trucks,” he said.
Opeifa said that issues to be tackled include: transit parks for trucks, road worthiness of trucks, stakeholders’ engagement, call-up system that was operational, extortion and free port access process.
Edited by: Chinyere Bassey/Adeleye Ajayi