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AfCFTA: AU holds Special Summit ahead of launch



AfCFTA: AU holds Special Summit ahead of launch

…As China offers comprehensive support to kick-start African Free Trade***

African leaders on Saturday gathered virtually for an extra-ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) to discuss the pending entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Summit opened with a plea for a new treaty to aid women and small-scale enterprises to trade across borders ahead of the treaty’s entry into force in January 2021.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the AU Chairman, said the entry into force of the AfCFTA marked the successful fulfillment of an African dream of a more united, prosperous, and an integrated continent, trading with itself and harnessing its economic prowess.

“The treaty would improve Africa as an investment destination and a market of more than one billion people. This treaty (AfCFTA) is more critical than ever. It will expand the productive capacity of countries. To support this treaty, we must strengthen the place of women in the economy. We should consider an African Union protocol on women. This kind of protocol would be a catalyst to private enterprise in Africa,” President Ramaphosa said in his opening remarks.

Trading under the new terms across the 55 African Union member-states is expected to start in January 2021 following the move by some 34 African countries to notify the AU Commission of their passing of national laws recognizing the AfCFTA treaty, which allows cross-border trading.

“At its core is a developmental approach,” President Ramaphosa said in reference to the AfCFTA.

“It goes to the building of infrastructure and a value chain for Africa. The AfCFTA brings the promise of a new beginning. We reaffirm our optimism. The AfCFTA would help realize these opportunities by attracting more trade and more investment into Africa,” he stated.

Also Read: AfCFTA: Stakeholders harp on overhauling Nigeria’s transport sector

At least 41 out of the 55 countries or customs territories have submitted their tariff offers, which include the common taxation arrangement covering incoming goods, raw materials, semi-processed and finished or industrial products.

The tariff offers have been submitted to the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat, according to Wamkelle Mene, secretary-general of the Accra-based AfCFTA Secretariat.

Mene said the tariff offers allowing trading under the AfCFTA treaty had been received from members of the East African Community (EAC) and the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS).

Previously, it was impossible for different countries in different corners of Africa to trade with one another because of the inability to harmonize the various external taxation arrangements.

In East Africa, the Common External Tariff (CET) remains at zero, 10 and 25 percent, which means raw materials required for processing of goods are allowed to move tax-free, but semi-processed goods are charged at 10 percent while finished industrial products such as auto-spares are charged at 25 percent.

“The treaty holds our collective aspirations for an integrated Africa. The countries of Africa laboured and toiled to lay the cornerstone. There is no doubt this will endure because it is built upon a foundation of unity of all nations,” President Ramaphosa said.

However, China has indicated its preparedness to assist African countries launch a continental free trade and investment platform, drawing on its international trade experience, a senior Chinese official said in Nairobi on Sunday.

Chang Hao, deputy director-general at the International Cooperation Centre of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (ICC-NDRC), said that China will enhance trade in Africa through its implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to connect 70 countries through infrastructure.

“We are prepared to assist African countries through the promotion of trade facilities, building Africa’s industrial capacity to develop its value chain and building complete proposals for China and African countries to implement the various partnerships which exist between them,” Chang said.

Addressing a virtual meeting of top economic policy think tanks during the seventh Africa Think Tanks Summit, Chang said building the trade relationship between China and Africa is currently focused on how China can facilitate the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

China has signed agreements with 39 countries in Africa to establish cooperation in building industrial capacity to promote the local manufacturing of goods in Africa, Chang said.

He said the cooperation with African countries is focused on how to make the BRI beneficial to the African continental trader under the AfCFTA and how the Chinese experience in trade could be shared with African countries to facilitate trade at all levels.

China is working with African countries at three levels to implement broader goals aiming to fight poverty.

They include working with African countries under the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) frameworks and cooperation under the AU Agenda 2063.

Agenda 2063 prioritises the launching of the AfCFTA to accelerate trade among African countries to improve Africa’s economic well-being, Chang said.

He said his think-tank will help to support African countries to implement their national strategic goals, including increasing industrial production, agriculture, and infrastructure development.

He said ICC-NDRC is among the major backers of the Harare-based African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the African Union Specialised technical agency tasked with managing the capacity constraints.

The Think Tank Summit is an annual event that aims to propose strategies and actionable recommendations for think tanks to enable them to contribute meaningfully to tackling policy implementation challenges facing Africa within the context of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

The ACBF is currently working with other nations to accelerate efforts to ensure that countries are ready to trade continent-wide.

“We can further explore cooperation and the connectivity between trade and investment which is very important. China is one of the biggest trading partners to Africa and Africa is China’s biggest trading partner. This AfCFTA will form a big trading partnership between China and Africa,” Chang said.

Upon entry into force and with the deposit of 22 instruments of ratification and membership, AfCFTA will become the largest Free Trade Area (FTA) in the global economy, covering a market of 1.2 billion Africans with a combined wealth of 2.5 trillion US dollars, expected to reach 29 trillion dollars by 2050, according to Professor Kevin Urama, Senior Director at the African Development Institute at the African Development Bank (AfDB).

According to Urama, the AfCFTA could deepen and expand intra-Africa trade from its very low base of 15 to 52 percent. At the national level, the estimated welfare gains of around 2.64 percent of continental GDP will be shared among all participating countries.

On an individual level, the AfCTA will increase real wages for both skilled and unskilled workers in diverse sectors as employment shifts from agricultural to non-agricultural sectors like manufacturing and services.

It is estimated that implementing the AfCFTA could boost Africa’s income by 450 billion dollars, bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty, and raise the incomes of 68 million others.





Over $23bn revenue generated by oil and gas in 2021- NEITI



FAAC disburses N2.054trn in Q3 2020 – NEITI

 The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said the oil and gas industry generated over $23billion in 2021.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji said this while presenting highlights on the 2021 Oil and Gas report unveiled on Monday in Abuja.

According to Ogbonnaya Orji, the revenue sources included sales of federation crude oil and gas, taxes, royalties, concession rental, gas flare penalty, bonus and license fees, and transportation fees.

He said that the total revenue was also generated through dividends from NLNG, NDDC levy, NCDMB levy, Ness fee, and miscellaneous income.

According to the NEITI boss, a total of $13.2 billion dollars was remitted from the sum to the federation account.

He said that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, before its transition failed to remit about $2 billion to the federation account and a total of $6.9 billion was deducted at FAAC.

Ogbonnaya-Orji said that while oil production for the year under review stood at about 566,129 million barrels per day, gas production came at over 2,743,700 million standard cubic feet per day.

He said that the sector contributed a total of 7.2 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021 with the export contribution of 76.2 percent

The executive secretary said that the Federal Government paid about $3.087 billion in cash calls as equity contributions while the outstanding cash-call liabilities payable by the federation stood at about N330.007 billion.

On data of Beneficial Owners (BO) of Assets, Ogbonnaya-Orji said that about 69 companies were covered in the production of the report and have disclosed some BO information through NEITI or CAC portal except four companies.

FAAC disburses N2.054trn in Q3 2020 – NEITI

On subsidy, the NEITI boss said about $1,159 trillion was paid by the government as subsidy between March to December 2021.

“NEITI audits revealed that between 2006 and 2021, a total of N8.149 trillion has been so far expended on petroleum subsidy, now referred to as under-recovery,’ he said.

On recommendations, he said that based on the outstanding liabilities payable to FIRS and NUPRC, the NNPC and NPCD should be investigated while other companies should promptly pay their liabilities.

Ogbonnaya-Orji said the report also recommended that a special investigation be instituted to establish the status of our non-operational refineries and value for money assessment on the refineries should be carried out.

He further reiterated the need to strengthen remediation mechanisms and involve independent third parties to conduct detailed investigations when necessary among other recommendations.

Earlier, stakeholders in the oil and gas sector commended NEITI on efforts towards ensuring transparency and accountability in the industry.

Representing the Secretary to Government of the Federation, George Akume, his Permanent Secretary on Political and Economic Affairs, Esuabana Nko-Asanye, reiterated the importance of the report to economic development.

Akume reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to support and deepen the implementation of the EITI in Nigeria.

He then restated the need for security issues especially in the Niger/Delta to be tackled to reduce losses in the sector.

The Group Managing Director of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, represented by his Chief Compliant Officer, Nasir Usman, pledged the unreserved support of NNPCL to NEITI to enable it to achieve its mandate.

Representing the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, his Permanent Secretary, Nebolisa Anako, stated the importance of data for economic planning.

He then reiterated the commitment of the government to the mandate of NEITI as the oil and gas sector was one of the major sources of foreign exchange for the nation.

The Chairman of, House Committee on Petroleum, Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere, called for the need to amend the NEITI Act and urged for more government allocation to the initiative to enable it better carry out its mandate.

Ugochinyere also pledged the commitment of the House to work towards the implementation of the report that was unveiled today.

Similarly, the Chairmen Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Etang Williams, and the Senate Committee on Oil and Gas Host Communities, Benson Agadaga also expressed commitment to stand by NEITI in implementing the recommendations of the report.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the unveiling of the 2021 report, was attended by various stakeholders and partners in the oil and gas sector in the country

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Freight train haulage to carry 90 containers daily – Transportation Minister



…Says Lagos-Kano Narrow Gauge Freight Operations Begins December***

The Minister of Transportation, Sen. Saidu Alkali, has said that the inauguration of the wagon freight train from Apapa Ports to Ibadan would move 90 container cargoes on a daily basis.

Alkali made the disclosure during the inauguration of the wagon freight train haulage at APM Terminal, Apapa, in Lagos on Tuesday.

He said that the freight train for moving cargo would decongest the ports and would also save shippers from the accumulation of demurrages.

Alkali said that the wagon would pass through one track, adding that the remaining two tracks would start to function after completion.

“The ministry is going to liaise with the Minister of Finance and the Customs, concerning the demolition of the scanning centre which is affecting the completion of the remaining tracks into the ports.


The Director of Operations of China Civil Engineering Construction Company, Mr Yakub Adogie, the Minister of Transportation, Sen. Saidu Alkali, and the Managing Director of Railway, Mr Fidet Okhiria during the minister’s first visit to railway facilities in Lagos and Ibadan.

“After laying the two remaining tracks, the cargoes will leave the ports respectively and the two remaining lines will enter the ports,” Alkali said.

The Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, said the wagon would carry 30 freights of containerised cargo on a trip from Lagos to Ibadan.

Okhiria said that the Minister of Transportation had inaugurated the freight movement of cargoes to Papalanto and Ibadan.

“We have facilities to move four trips daily but we are starting with three trips, making 90 of the 40ft containers to move out of the ports per day.

“What we are using now is a temporary transitional line, We are making headway to ensure the building gives way to make us have the three lines that are slated for this terminal.

“We are ensuring that the operation starts, so that we don’t give room for vandalisation, when the tracks are not in use then it is vulnerable to attack,” Okhiria said.

He said that if the tracks were used frequently people would see the value and respect the tracks.

The Managing Director of Bueno Logistics, Mr. Jetson Nwankwo, said that he had been working to ensure that the railway was optimally utilised and to decongest the roads.

“Currently we are partnering with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the terminal operators to help Lagos to decongest its roads from container trucks.

“The new standard gauge line that has entered APM Terminal is a big deal, It will be able to carry at least 60 containers at a go out of Apapa complex, and if we do that every day, you will not see containers on the bridges.

“The deal is to move the containers from the Apapa Port complex to Moniya in Ibadan, where we have a very big freight terminal.

”Any truck coming to pick the truck will go to Moniya that will really decongest Lagos,”

In a related development, the Minister of Transportation, Sen. Sa’idu Alkali, has said that the freight wagon haulage on the narrow gauge from Lagos to Kano will begin in the next three months.

Alkali made the disclosure during his visit to the Kajola Wagon Assembly Plant in Ogun, on Tuesday.

He said the railway corporation was using standard gauge to carry cargo from Lagos to Ibadan. but will begin the operation from Apapa to Kano in three months’ time.

Alkali said that the Federal Government had already fixed the narrow gauge from Lagos to Kano, and will now get some locomotives and wagons to take containers from Apapa and move them to Kano

“Once we evacuate containers from Lagos, we will use the narrow gauge to move them to Kano,” Alkali said.

After visiting some of the railway facilities, the Minister directed the  Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, to look into the cleanliness of the coaches, to enhance patronage on railways.

Okhiria, on his part, said that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, being the port regulator, and the former Minister of Transportation set up a ministerial committee headed by the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation to look into freight charges.

He said that the purpose of the committee was to ensure the smooth operation of freight rail.

“The impact on NRC is that the terminals are charging 60, 000 per container for moving the container to the wagon freight, which is still higher than the movement on trucks, and the Shippers’ Council is working on that.

” The terminal charges are high because of the double handling; presently, moving cargo by rail is more expensive than road but is faster.

“We are looking to see how we can do it, we have minimum operational cost, and we don’t need to go and borrow money to buy diesel, that is why we are starting the freight rail movement of cargo handling now,” Okhiria said.

He said that NRC had begun the freight rail movement from the port pending when they received the order from the Minister to reduce charges.

Okhiria said that NRC was operating the rail freight with the narrow gauge before now, but stopped due to security issues.

He said the corporation would use a month to repair all the vandalised tracks on the narrow gauge, adding that the management would assemble all the wagons and service them before putting them on track.

Okhira said that NRC had about 120 narrow gauge wagons, as the Federal Government had been proactive and the corporation had placed an order through the China Civil Engineering Construction Company.

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Naira Falls, Exchanges N747.87 At Investors, Exporters Window 



Naira further Depreciates Against Dollar by 0.09%

The Naira depreciated against the dollar on Monday as it exchanged at N747.87 at the Investors and Exporters window.

The Naira dropped by 1.01 percent compared to the N740.38 it exchanged for the dollar after the close of business on Sept. 1.

The open indicative rate closed at N772.06 to the dollar on Monday.

A spot exchange rate of N799.90 to the dollar was the highest rate recorded within the day’s trading before it settled at N747.87.

The Naira sold for as low as N730 to the dollar within the day’s trading.

A total of 74.64 million dollars was traded at the investors and exporters window on Monday

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