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African Union chief calls for friendlier business climate, foster investment

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The African Union Chairperson, Moussa Mahamat, has called for a business-friendly climate to promote private sector investment.

Mr Mahamat, speaking at the formal unveiling of the Ecobank Pan-African Centre in Lagos, said the project is a testament to what can be done if the government provides an enabling climate for companies to grow.

“Ecobank was born out of the idea among West African businesspeople who are determined to provide the African continent with a homegrown financial institution,” said Mr Mahamat. “It has shown exactly what can be achieved by the African private sector when they come together in genuine collaborative and joint efforts.”

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“Again, it has also shown that it is possible when government creates enabling environment for the private sector to thrive,” he continued.

Mr Mahamat also stressed the need for active engagement between the public and business sectors in Africa for economic equality.

Speaking at the event, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the state would continue to foster an atmosphere that promotes business efficiency and encourages foreign direct investment.

He also added that the facility has a strong link that would help the state’s Smart City initiative and modernise infrastructure.

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“This Pan-African Centre is, indeed, an intelligent building designed with energy efficiency and is one of the things we need in Nigeria. … It is a state-of-the-art building focused on environmental sustainability and I am sure that from what I have seen around, it is redefining building and infrastructural development,” said the governor.

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Economy

‘Single digit interest rate vital for non-oil export businesses’

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‘Single digit interest rate vital for non-oil export businesses’.

An exporter Mrs Adaku Chidume-Okoro, has appealed to the Federal Government to initiate policies aimed at promoting single digit interest rate for non-oil export businesses.

Chidume-Okoro, who is the Group Managing Director of Gum Arabic Company Nigeria (GACON), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was imperative to boost export and successfully diversify Nigeria’s economy.

The exporter listed access to funding, high interest rate, infrastructural challenges, timing, climatic conditions as major challenges affecting export.

“So, all these put together, we look at funding or financing for export business at single digit interest rate.

“Funds at 20 or 30 per cent interest rate can’t definitely support or help non-oil export business.

“This is why a lot of bankers shy away from financing non-oil export business because they see it as a very high risky venture,” she said.

Chidume-Okoro further urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give grants to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) without collaterals and de-emphasise finished products for non-oil export.

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According to her, the CBN should correctly categorise the products in its RT 200 to ensure that SMEs are not cut off in the process.

CBN RT200 is an incentive grant the apex bank recently rolled out to support non-oil exporters and encouraging them to repatriate their money into the country and get a certain percentage paid to them as an incentive.

“But in doing that, they have technically cut off the SMEs by focusing on those that are exporting finished products.

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“Those that are exporting the finished products is just 20 per cent of the non-oil exporters. Most of the non-oil exporters are the SMEs.

“So, CBN should correctly categorise the products,” she said.

According to her, farmers harvest their produce, wash them using the traditional method, slice and sun dry and bag and sell to exporters through a middle man.

“So, at each point of this processing it involves value addition and they are spending money and labour before it is exported.

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“And then somebody decides to call it a raw product, it is not; that thing is a minus to the non-oil export sector.

“So unless it is properly addressed, SMEs are going to get disenfranchised and most of them are going to drop off from the non-oil export sector,” she said.

While seeking grants that would upscale SMEs to mechanisation, Chidume-Okoro said that Nigeria should avoid a process that should put people out of job.

“Yes mechanisation is good but already we are having huge unemployment, so we can’t allow the little jobs that are being provided to get lost.

“If we allow that, it will cause women and youths to go out again into the job market and be stranded.

“The Federal Government should deemphasise finished products for non-oil export.

“Most of what is being exported out of Nigeria are semi -finished products and they are creating job opportunities,” she said.

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Economy

Vetifly lifts businesses with innovation series

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Vetifly lifts businesses with innovation series.

Vetifly, arguably Nigeria’s foremost on-demand helicopter-booking company is set to boost business growth with the commencement of its innovation series.

The series tagged: “2022 and Beyond: The Future of Commuting and its Impact on Business Agility,” is aimed at using technological advancements to redefine the operations of the entire Nigerian-mobility sector.

The Vetifly Innovation Series, scheduled to commence this Thursday, is a platform designed to help Nigerian companies to develop sustainable models that will guarantee business agility which will enable them to easily embrace technological innovations to upscale their business operations.

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Speakers expected at the event include Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, the Chairman of Fasmicro Group, and Abiodun Olawale-Cole, the Country Manager, Vetifly Nigeria.

Justifying the need for the series, Modupe Ogundare, the Marketing Manager, Vetifly Nigeria, noted that the Vetifly Innovation Series is a programme designed to introduce Nigerian businesses to global-best practices that will enhance both their productivity and overall business operations.

“Over the years, we, as an organisation, have come to realise that businesses operating within the Nigerian socioeconomic ecosystem need to be empowered to be fully aligned with the global best practices on building sustainability. It is on this understanding that we have designed the Vetifly Innovation Series which seeks to expose Nigerian companies to disruptive business ideas that would position them to maximise the potential of the industry they are operating in. We are, therefore, confident that this will contribute to the overall economic growth and development of the Nigerian economy,” she stated.

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Economy

Jamoh gets award

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Jamoh gets award.

The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has been named winner of the Vanguard Public Sector Icon Maritime Award.

The Editor of Vanguard, Mr. Eze Anaba, who announced this, while presenting a letter to Jamoh in Lagos, said other awardees are President, African Development Bank ( ADB), Akinwunmi Adesina, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, among others

Anaba noted that the screening committee reviewed Jamoh’s nomination and all indices in good corporate governance pointed at the NIMASA chief as an outstanding public sector official in 2021.

He noted the consistency of the Jamoh-led management in growing capacity for the maritime industry, adding that despite not being a revenue generating agency, NIMASA management blocked leakages and increased contributions to the consolidated revenue fund, reaching an all-time high of over N37 billion.

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Last month, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) announced the removal of Nigeria from the global Piracy list as a result of sustained decline in piracy in the nation’s maritime domain.

The Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, during the Marine Protection Committee meeting last week, recognised Nigeria for the steady progress in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and commended collaboration, among regional bodies in the quest to achieve improved safety and security of commercial shipping.

Jamoh appreciated the organisers for the recognition. “This recognition, coming from a reputable organisation, such as Vanguard is a call to serve more. Since March 3, when Nigeria was delisted from the global piracy list by the IMB, our new challenge is that of sustenance. We will continue in our collaboration with relevant stakeholders locally and internationally to ensure a sustainable development of the maritime industry,” he said.

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