British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) on Friday announce that it would begin urgent legal proceedings to challenge the government’s continued ban on tobacco sales during the coronavirus lockdown.
South Africa has started easing its lockdown measures, allowing sales of alcohol from Monday. However, a ban on sales of tobacco will remain in place.
The government has cited health reasons for the ban, but human rights groups and business leaders say it has dire consequences for addicts and the already flailing economy.
BATSA’s head of external affairs, Johnny Moloto, said that the continued ban was threatening the survival of the legal tobacco sector as well as livelihoods of those it employs.
“The ban has only succeeded in significantly growing a massive and nationwide illegal industry at the direct expense of law-abiding businesses, citizens and taxpayers,” Moloto said in a statement.
He added that the treasury was losing about 2 million dollars in excise taxes every day the ban continued.
South African Revenue Service Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter estimated that more than 80 million dollars had been lost due to illicit trade in alcohol and cigarettes during the lockdown.
South Africa has earned praise for its rapid response to the pandemic, but also criticism of its strict regulations and brutal enforcement by the police and army.
President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted the government had received numerous legal challenges from individuals, religious bodies, political parties, NGOs and business organisations since March.
South Africa had 27,403 confirmed cases by Thursday, of which 14,370 have recovered and 577 have died.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)https://nnn.ng/tobacco-giant-to-take-legal-action-against-south-african-sales-ban/
African tourism leaders recommend MICE for sectoral recovery
These tourism leaders cutting across countries such as: South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya, gave the advice at the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market’s conference held online.
The roundtable was organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “Is MICE a Viable Pathway for Tourism Recovery in Africa?’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions is a type of tourism in which large groups usually plan well in advance and are brought together.
Rick Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Business Tourism Company, said that MICE in Africa was pretty new but started in the United States since 1714.
Taylor said that enormous opportunities would be available if MICE was properly developed in Africa.
“We need to work on returning to embrace our meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions because it was observed that an hour of physical meeting is only as effective as 5 zoom meetings, 10 phone calls and 20 emails.
“Some 14 new ideas were likely to be generated during physical meetings but only 7 ideas would be gotten from online meetings,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Alain St.Ange, former Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, said that the MICE market was an important one in the tourism industry, adding that there was need to discover more Africans who would be dedicated to work in grooming tourism.
He advised Africans to work together to achieve common goals of revamping the tourism industry and create global competitiveness.
“Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy and with a population of 100,000 people, we are able to sustain the country through the returns on tourism.
“MICE is an important market in tourism, it needs to be developed rightly,’’ he said.
Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau, also attested to the fact that MICE was one of the innovative ways for revenue creation which Africans must leverage upon.
According to her, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous events were postponed and the country recorded losses to the tune of $8m.
“Rwanda is open to MICE, domestic tourism and travels now, the government has set up platforms to ensure tourists’ safety, who either come for leisure or business opportunities.
“The Rwandan government has established economic recovery funds, created home grown events that align with our investment priorities; Rwanda is a unique destination for events and MICE is guaranteed,’’ she said.
Jacinta Nzioka, National Coordinator, Kenya National Convention Bureau, said that the business of MICE had sustained the country as a tourist destination, adding that the Kenyan government was working with the private sector to further grow MICE.
Nzioka said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 97 tourism events were cancelled and over 42,000 jobs were lost.
She said when International travels began, 16 per cent arrivals were recorded to be on purpose of business, which she described as encouraging.
“Currently, we have stimulus packages for the hospitality sector, and recovery funds to restart the industry all put together by the Kenyan government; we see a bright future for MICE in Kenya,’’ she said.
Nzioka advised Africans to work unanimously to complement one another’s efforts in the development of MICE and not for competitive purposes.
Mr Bradford Ochieng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board, said that the board had prioritised the promotion and development of business tourism to diversify the country’s tourism offerings and encompass more than leisure.
Ochieng said this was expected to increase the number of tourist arrivals, receipt and earnings from business travellers.
He said currently, the board was trying to partner with the private sector to develop affordable travel packages to revamp the industry.
“The MICE industry is an emerging one in the Ugandan economy, the Ugandan tourism board will continue to prioritise both leisure and business travels.
“We want to tell everyone that we are ready for MICE and planning to invest more in hotels, convention centres and all,’’ he said.
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
Rohr calls up 21 old faces, 4 new faces for Super Eagles’ 2 friendlies
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has called up 25 players ahead of October’s friendly matches against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire and the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, scheduled for Austria.
Ademola Olajire, the Director of Communications, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), disclosed in a statement on Monday in Abuja that five other players have been put on standby.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the friendlies are the three-times African champions’ first games this year, as a result of the prolonged global coronavirus pandemic.
Rohr has listed the team’s top names such as Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo, William Ekong and Wilfred Ndidi, as well as new brooms Frank Onyeka and Chidera Ejuke.
Former FIFA Under-17 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Dele Alampasu returns to the group, as well as midfielder Mikel Agu.
Captain of the most recent Nigeria under-17 squad, Samson Tijani, will join up with the elite, as well as Portugal-based exciting wing-back Zaidu Sanusi.
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, now in The Netherlands, is heading to Austria for the games, just as England-based forward Kelechi Iheanacho also returns.
Victor Osimhen, now in Italy with Napoli, and another former U17 World Cup winner Samuel Chukwueze are also called up.
The Super Eagles, now ranked 29th in the world and third in Africa, will take on the Elephants on Oct. 9.
They will four days later engage the Carthage Eagles, who are second in Africa in the rankings.
Goalkeepers: Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils, Latvia); Matthew Yakubu (SKF Sered, Slovakia); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal)
Midfielders: Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasary SK, Turkey); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (KRC Genk, Belgium)
Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Standby: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands)
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
FG urges states to provide infrastructure for film industry devt.
The Federal Government on Monday called on states to provide necessary infrastructure for the growth of the film industry to create wealth and employment for youths.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja while inaugurating the Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government is partially commercialising the NFC to effectively discharge its mandate to plan, promote, organise and co-ordinate the development of the motion picture industry in the country.
Inaugurating the committee, the minister underscored the need for states to invest in infrastructure to boost the film industry because of its potentials to create jobs and boost the economy
Relying on International Monetary Fund data, Mohammed said the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, is the second largest employer of labour and contributed N893 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.
The minister also noted that Nollywood could perform better if the needed infrastructure such as film houses and enabling environment were provided.
In a comparative analysis, the minister disclosed that Nigeria has only 142 cinema houses compared to South Africa with 782 cinema houses.
According to him, the US has 40,393 cinema houses while India and China have 11,209 and 50,976 cinema houses respectively.
“You cannot have a successful film industry without adequate cinema houses because the major revenue source of the industry is exhibition .
“The most successful film in Nigeria today is “Wedding Party 1 and 2” that grossed about two million dollars within a week through the cinema houses.
“You can imagine a gross of 2 million dollars using only 142 cinema houses, and how much the film would have grossed if we have about 1000 cinema houses for exhibition,” he said.
“That is why it is important to appeal to our state governments to invest in infrastructure in the industry.
“I do not think it will be too much for the state government to ensure they build one cinema house in each local government area of their states to give us an additional 774 cinema houses in the country.
“In India, 14 million people attend cinema daily and I can imagine the impact it will have on the economy,” he said.
The minister also underscored the need for states to look into building purpose-built arenas for concerts and shows to encourage creative artists.
“I will advise state governments to look into having arenas in each senatorial district or one in the state capital.
“I do not know of any place where we have purpose-built arena today because most places where we have concerts are not purpose-built.
“We have artists in Nigeria that can sell out anywhere in the world; Burna boy, Wiz Kid and Davido sold out in Arena 02 in London and in other big arenas over the world.
“The biggest arena in Nigeria which is not even purpose-built can only accommodate about 7000 people whereas the Arena 02 in London accommodates up to 20,000 people,” he said.
The minister also canvassed for easy acquisition of land and tax waivers for artistes and investors who would like to build cinema houses or invest generally in the industry.
He noted that apart from wealth and employment creation, promoting the film industry would help to build inclusion and reduce social tension.
The minister noted that the intention of the administration is to make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa,
He said though the film industry had been largely driven by the private sector, the Federal Government had been supporting the industry by providing enabling environment and funding.
“In 2013, there was “Project Nollywood” in which the government made available to the sector about 17 million USD for the growth and promotion of the industry.
“I am also aware of the various multilateral injection of funds to this industry and we have also embarked on revolutionary reforms to reposition the industry,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said with the tremendous potentials of the film industry to reposition the nation’s economy, the government needed to play a prominent role.
Okoh said that the government was reforming the NFC to take the leading role in harnessing the potentials in the sector.
He, however, clarified that the reform process “is not a privatisation of the corporation but the commercialisation of this important enterprise and agency of government.”
“The clarification is that in this reform process, there is no transfer of ownership, no sale of shares and no privatisation of the entity.
“It is basically to ensure the resident value of the enterprise and its commercial viability,” he said.
He said the steering committee being chaired by the minister would consider and approve the recommendations submitted by the project delivery team for the commercialisation of the corporation.
Other members of the steering committee inaugurated by the minister were Okoh, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Grace Gekpe and the Managing Director of NFC, Chidia Maduekwe.
The Director Information and Communication of BPE, Dikko Mohammed, will serve as the Secretary of the committee.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
UN at 75: Guterres urges sustenance of world peace
The United Nations officially marked its 75th anniversary on Monday with Secretary-General António Guterres appealing for preservation of the longest period in modern history without a military confrontation.
Addressing the mainly virtual event, Guterres urged the world’s most powerful nations to resist the temptation for unilateral actions and embrace dialogue in dispute resolution.
“The ideals of the United Nations: peace, justice, equality and dignity, are beacons to a better world.
“But the orgainsation we celebrate today emerged only after immense suffering.
“It took two world wars, millions of deaths and the horrors of the Holocaust for world leaders to commit to international cooperation and the rule of law.
“That commitment produced results. A Third World War, which so many had feared — has been avoided.
“Never in modern history have we gone so many years without a military confrontation between the major powers.
“This is a great achievement of which Member States can be proud, and which we must all strive to preserve,” he said.
Looking back over the last 75 years, the Secretary-General outlined other achievements of the UN to include peace treaties and peacekeeping, decolonisation, and setting human rights standards and the mechanisms to uphold them.
Others, according to him, are “triumph over apartheid” in South Africa, life-saving humanitarian aid for millions of victims of conflict and disaster, eradication of diseases and development of international law.
However, UN Chief reminded the world of existing global challenges, noting that there is still so much to be done.
“Climate calamity looms, biodiversity is collapsing, poverty is again rising and hatred is spreading, geopolitical tensions are escalating, nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert.
“Transformative technologies have opened up new opportunities but also exposed new threats.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities,” he added.
Emphasising that the problems could only be well tackled through multilateralism and cooperation, Guterres said there was “surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions”.
“No one wants a world government, but we must work together to improve world governance,” he added.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi