Connect with us


BoI, LASG Move To Improve Manufacturers’ Financial Prospects Under AfCFTA



Lagos State Government and Bank of Industry (BoI) have urged manufacturers to embrace the various available financing options, aimed at driving the sector’s competitiveness under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

They gave the charge at the 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Apapa Branch, Lagos on Tuesday.

The AGM has the theme: “Financing Nigeria’s Manufacturing Sector for Economic Growth”.

Mr. Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, BoI, said that seamless access to finance was imperative to sustain the manufacturing sector, considering its contribution to the economic diversification drive of the nation.

Pitan, represented by Dr. Isa Omagu, General Manager, Large Enterprises, BoI, said the bank was poised to support manufacturers and committed to providing financing solutions to sustainable businesses.

He urged manufacturers to improve their ability to have access to finance for competitive advantage by keeping their businesses in order, adopting digital solutions to improve processes and avoiding fraudulent business ideas.

He listed some of the lingering problems affecting productivity in the manufacturing sector including the inability to access finance, infrastructural deficiencies, high energy costs, and high lending rates, among others.

Pitan noted that accessing finance remained a major challenge facing manufacturers due to poor stock-keeping practices, lack of credit history, structure, and collateral.

He said the best financing options for Nigeria manufacturers to compete effectively under AfCFTA remained through Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) interventions such as BoI, African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) among others.

He added that the bank had developed products to provide equipment financing and working capital for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in target sectors at less than 10 percent interest rate per annum.

“Financing is a key consideration for Nigerian manufacturers to ensure business survival and profitability as the sector can play a key role in enabling the country’s industrialisation and economic development drive.

“Our business model reflects our goal to drive development through financial and advisory support to all customer levels with dedicated teams for micro, small and medium enterprises, youth and women-led businesses.

“Key issues considered are relatively low-interest rate, MSME focus, innovative financial solutions, job and value creation, sustainability and societal impact,” he said.

Governor of Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said it was imperative for manufacturers to explore various avenues of financing to bolster competitiveness, and sustainability and harness the full potentials of the AfCFTA.

Sanwo-Olu was represented by Mrs. Adetutu Ososanya, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.

He said that grants such as export program grants, market exploitation grants, and business attraction grants among others were available for manufacturers to explore.

He said to attain and maintain competitiveness under AfCFTA, the state would continue to foster an environment that facilitates seamless access to financing options tailored to the unique needs of Nigerian manufacturers.

“Manufacturers can also take advantage of traditional sources such as venture capital, private equity, and export financing to support and facilitate international trade and exports.

“There is a need to collaborate with the finance sector, manufacturers, private sector, and government establishments,” he said.

Otunba Francis Meshioye, President, MAN, said the recent economic developments brought about government policies such as floating of the naira, removal of fuel subsidy, and increase in interest rate, made the theme of the meeting apt and timely.

He said the association would continue to give priority to issues affecting the sector while striving to ensure that government provides the needed environment for our investments to thrive.

Mr Frank Onyebu, Chairman, the MAN Apapa branch, appealed to the state and federal governments to come to the aid of the sector, especially with the AfCFTA at the full implementation stage.

Onyebu said that manufacturers were faced with numerous challenges in 2022, which were direct fallouts of the harsh operating environment and economic trends in Nigeria.

The challenges, he said, included deteriorated infrastructure, high energy costs, high inflation, multiple taxation, foreign exchange illiquidity, insecurity, and poor road infrastructure among others.

He urged the Lagos State Governor to prioritise manufacturing in the state and provide a more conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

He, specifically, called for the rehabilitation of road networks and drainages within industrial areas, especially the Kirikiri and Amuwo-Odofin industrial areas.

He also called for lasting solutions to the Apapa and Tin Can Ports Road gridlock by liaising with the federal government.

“We urge the government to create policies that would encourage willing manufacturers to improve on public infrastructure around their areas of operation in exchange for tax rebates like the Federal Government Executive Order 003.

“There is a need for the state government to attend to the issue of multiple taxation to reduce the burden on manufacturers.

“We appeal to the governor to prevail on agencies to embrace the harmonisation inspection agreement reached between MAN and Lagos State Government,” he said.


NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

Continue Reading


2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

Continue Reading


SOLID MINERALS: Alake Revokes 1,633 Mining Titles, Warns Illegal Miners



The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, on Tuesday, announced the revocation of 1,633 mining titles for defaulting on payment of annual service fees.

Alake made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, saying his decision was in compliance with the law, the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on Oct.  4, began the process of revoking 2,213 titles.

“These included 795 exploration titles, 956 small-scale mining licences, 364 quarry licences and 98 mining leases.

“These were published in the Federal Government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of Oct. 10 with the notice of revocation for defaulting in the payment of annual service fee.

“The mandatory 30 days expired on Nov. 10. Only 580 title holders responded by settling their indebtedness.

“With this development, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1, 633 mineral titles as follows: Exploration Licence, 536; Quarry Licence, 279; Small Scale Mining Licence, 787 and Mining Lease, 31.

“In line with the powers conferred on me by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), I have approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles,” the minister said.

*Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals

He said that the titles would be reallocated to more serious investors.

He warned the previous holders of the titles to leave the relevant cadaster with immediate effect.

He said that security agencies would work with the mines inspectorate of the ministry to apprehend any defaulter found in any of the areas where titles had been revoked.

“We have no doubt in our mind that the noble goals of President Bola Tinubu to sanitise the solid minerals sector and position the industry for international competitiveness are alive and active.

“We appeal to all stakeholders for their co-operation in achieving these patriotic objectives and encourage those who have done business in this sector the wrong way to turn a new leaf.

“Ultimately, the Nigerian people shall be the winners,” he said.

According to Alake, It is indeed very unconscionable for corporate bodies making huge profits from mining to refuse to give the government its due by failing to pay their annual service fee.

“It is indeed a reasonable conjecture that such a company will even be more unwilling to pay royalties and honour its tax obligations to the government.

“The amount the companies are being asked to pay is peanut compared to their own revenue projections.

” For example, the holder of an exploration title pays only N1,500 per cadastral unit not exceeding 200 units. Those holding titles covering more than 200 units pay N2,000 per unit, In short, the larger the area your title covers, the more you pay.

“This principle was applied to ensure that applicants do not hold more than they require to explore.

“With a cadastral unit captured as a square of 500 metres by 500 metres, any law-abiding title holder should not hesitate to perform its obligations,” he said.

The minister said that every sector required a governance system that regulated the conduct of its participants, the procedures for entry and exit, the obligations of the government to participants and the penalties for non-compliance.

He said that the philosophy of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007 was to establish a rational system of administering titles transparently and comprehensively to ensure a seamless transition from reconnaissance to exploration and from exploration to mineral extraction.

“The principal agency for the administration of titles is the MCO, which receives applications, evaluates them, and issues titles with the approval of the office of the minister of solid minerals development.

“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new application administration technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of title holders,” he said.“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new application administration technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of title holders,” he said.

He warned illegal miners to desist from their illegal activities as their “days were numbered”. 

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick