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LCCI: How Nigeria can be Competitive in AfCFTA

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The Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, has said that for the country to be relevant in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, it needs to be competitive.

He disclosed this in Lagos on Thursday.

While underscoring the importance of competitiveness in AfCFTA, Yusuf stressed that this is the very foundation of any conversation about trade because those engaging in it, whether within or outside the country, have no sentiment about it.

He argued that if what one is providing is not competitive in price, it is of no relevance because the consumer is not interested in whether it is made-in-Nigeria or not.

“What one is interested in, is how he or she can maximise what we call ‘utility’ in economics, how he can maximise or benefit from the little money he wants to spend. So, that is why the emphasis has to be on how we can make ourselves competitive,” he said.

The LCCI boss recalled that the manufacturing sector kicked against AfCFTA, hence Nigeria was one of the last to ratify the agreement. 

“They have looked at all the things around them and said as far as production is concerned, there is no way they can compete. And you can’t blame them because you are the investor, you have committed capital, you have imported machines, have a lot of assets, many of them immovable and you put all these investments in place based on specific competitiveness assumptions.”

Yusuf, however, added that the parameters for the competitiveness have begun to change.

His words, “You have looked at the market, you have done some competitive analysis and said yes, this investment will fly. Now the assumptions have changed, the competition parameter is now changing; you are now facing new competitors.

Meanwhile, the domestic environment has not changed, your tax environment has not changed, the port environment has not changed, the cost of funds, the regulations, the lending and all of that. The infrastructure issues are still there. So, it is a dangerous challenge.

“We have already ratified and so, hopefully and prayerfully, there will be no going back so that we don’t have the kind of thing we have in Brexit, after UK joined and said it is pulling out. I pray we are not going to get there because a whole lot of countries are much better prepared.

MUDA YUSUF, DG LCCI

“It was because of this preparedness issue in 2018, that the President set up a Readiness and Impact Assessment Committee when the manufacturers  complained to know what exactly was needed to ensure that we are better prepared; to ensure that our stakeholders and investors can be part of this system and also benefit from the continental market.”

Yusuf said although the committee had done its investigations and submitted its report, nothing had changed.

“The committee was set up to look at the readiness issues, the committee submitted its report on readiness issues around the ports, around the aviation, road, power and around all the problems that investors are facing. The report has been submitted, the situation has not changed, nothing is even happening, the situation is even getting worse,” he stressed.

Maritime

Nigeria’s First Deep Seaport, First Full Automated Port Set For Completion

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Nigeria's First Deep Seaport, First Full Automated Port Set For Completion

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Following the successful delivery of the first set of Super Post Panamax State-of-the-art Ship to Shore (STS) Cranes and ten (10) Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTGs) on the 1st of July, 2022 and the delivery of the second batch shipment critical to the commencement of operations comprising of two (2) STS Cranes with 115 packages of accessories and five (5) RTGs with 270 packages of accessories on 5th of August, 2022, the Lekki Deep Seaport is set to be completed on the schedule ahead commencement of operations before the end of the year 2022.

Speaking during his first official visit to the Lekki Deep Seaport on Saturday, 13th August 2022, the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Muazu Jaji Sambo, expressed delight at the pace and quality of work at the Port site. Sambo commended the Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority for the tremendous support provided to Lekki Port in meeting the project timelines.

Nigeria's First Deep Seaport, First Full Automated Port Set For Completion
Left-Right: Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Alhaji Mohammed Bello-Koko; the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lekki Port, Mr. Du Ruogang; the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mallam Muazu Sambo and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani during the first official visit of the Honourable Minister to Lekki Deep Sea Port in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.

Sambo tasked Nigerian Railway Corporation, NPA, and Lekki Port to take urgent steps toward ensuring the Deep Seaport is linked by rail.

In his remarks, Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello Koko said, “the very fact the letter of intent between Lekki Deep Seaport and its financial partners was signed in April 2019, and by 2022 we are close to operationalization; this project symbolizes the possibilities that tenacity of purpose can actualize”. He added that NPA remains unwavering in providing every support and facilitation necessary to ensure that the timelines for take-off are met.

The Managing Director of Lekki Deep Seaport, Mr. Du Ruogang, while making a presentation to the Minister and his entourage, disclosed that the construction works for phase 1 are nearing completion and are currently at about 96% complete. The Lekki Port team, together with the Lekki Freeport Terminal (LFT), are working hard to ensure that construction is completed in September 2022, and thereafter, port operations will start before the end of this year 2022.

He commended the Lagos State Government for their immense support, especially in resolving the road infrastructure situation, which is critical for the success of a port of this magnitude. He acknowledged that work has commenced on the road but urged the government to help expedite the construction works so the evacuation of cargo from the Port will be efficient.

Nigeria's First Deep Seaport, First Full Automated Port Set For Completion
Left-Right: Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Emmanuel Jime; the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh; the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mallam Muazu Sambo; the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lekki Port, Mr. Du Ruogang; the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani and the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Alhaji Mohammed Bello-Koko during the first official visit of the Honourable Minister to Lekki Deep Sea Port in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.

Highlighting the game-changing features, Ruogang stated that the port, upon completion, will have three (3) container berths, three (3) liquid berths, and a storage yard with over 15,000 ground slots terminal designed to support a throughput of 2.7 million TEUs annually, a Dry Bulk Terminal with an available quay length of about 300m amongst other distinctive attributes.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had in the first week of August secured through the Federal Ministry of Transportation an expedited presidential approval for the gazette of Lekki Deep Seaport as a Customs Port and an Approved Wharf in line with the requirements of the law. This development is another important step forward for the start of operations at the Port.

The Lekki Deep Seaport places Nigeria on the global list of nations with Deep Seaports and positions the country to maximize the comparative advantages that its maritime endowments and littoral assets confer.

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Maritime

NIMASA: Board Appoints 3 New Directors, Promotes 469 Others

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… Jamoh emphasizes rededication, to Agency Core Values

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has approved the appointment of three new Directors, namely, Mr. Otonye Obom, Captain Umoren Sunday Michael, and Mr. Kazir Abubakar Musa, alongside the promotion of 469 others.

The Directors were promoted along with 18 Deputy Directors and 20 Assistant Directors; in a list which also contains 431 other staff elevated to their next grade levels.

The promotions were ratified at a meeting of the Governing Board of the Agency held at the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos.

Congratulating the beneficiaries, the Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, charged them to remain committed to the Agency’s vision of making Nigeria great through the sustainable harnessing of its huge maritime potential.

“Congratulations to the 472 staff of the Agency whose promotions have been ratified by the NIMASA Governing Board.

It is my expectation that this development will serve as a morale booster as you collectively rededicate yourselves to the delivery of our core mandates”, Dr. Jamoh stated.

“We remain dedicated to ensuring staff welfare is at the forefront in order to encourage the hard work and dedication that our staff is known for to is maintained and built upon going forward.

Suffice to say that the promotional exercise was rigorous to ensure our high standards are maintained.

“On our part as Executive Management, we will continue to ensure that staff promotions are conducted as and when due as part of our commitment to human capacity development in the Agency thereby ensuring positive contributions to the nation’s economic diversification drive”.

The Governing Board enjoined the newly promoted staff to be more dedicated to their duties, saying that promotions come with responsibilities”.

The Agency Head of Public Relations, Osagie Edward noted that the promotion exercise is the third, under the Dr. Jamoh-led management since he assumed office in March 2020.

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Maritime

NIMS To Hold 2022 Summit In July

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Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS)

The Governing Board of the Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS) has announced that the 2022 edition of the summit will hold from 5th to 6th July 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to the secretariat, the 2022 summit will sustain the massive acclaim achieved by the first edition held in 2021, and to further consolidate on the event’s foothold as the go-to location for maritime business in Nigeria.

A statement from the secretariat described the Nigeria International Maritime Summit as a whole-of-value-chain event aimed at leveraging the Nigerian maritime industry’s diverse strengths to unlock economic potential through collaboration.

“NIMS aims at setting an agenda and offering solutions for maritime business, policy, and operations in Nigeria. It also promotes a strategic and practical approach to policy implementation and decision-maker accountability,” the secretariat stated.

The secretariat further stated that the 2022 event will incorporate all the highlights that elevated the inaugural event as a key maritime industry fixture.

“Apart from the high-level sessions that will touch on the most important issues affecting operations and policy, NIMS 2022 will feature a maritime industry exhibition dedicated to the promotion of Nigerian and international maritime and related businesses. Networking events will also feature strongly to boost business-to-business and business-to-government interactions and deals,” the secretariat added.

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