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Nigeria’s largest economy in Africa – UAE

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Nigeria's largest economy in Africa – UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday, said Nigeria remained the largest economy in Africa.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Embassy of UAE in Abuja and made available to the newsmen.

It stated that the Embassy had commenced a series of trade and investment promotion activities aimed at bolstering the bilateral trade and investment volume between Nigeria and the UAE.

It was reported that the trade promotion initiative, was coordinated in collaboration with the UAE International Investment Council (UAEIIC), the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria.

According to the embassy, the initiative focuses on attracting key industry stakeholders and investors across all sectors in Nigeria and the UAE in a bid to develop and explore future trade opportunities.

“Nigeria has been chosen among the 34 selected countries globally participating in the initiative because of its pivotal position as a top investment market in the West African region and its overall economic influence in Africa,” said the statement.

The UAE Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), Sheikh Shakhboot Al Nahyan, expressed satisfaction with the level of trade, political and cultural partnership that existed  between both countries.

“UAE is the ninth-largest exporter to Nigeria globally, the UAE continues to see Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa and also an important, trusted partner.

“For decades, both countries have continued to nurture strong bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.

“To date, we remain Nigeria’s largest trade partner in the Middle East region, accounting for 35 per cent of Nigeria’s total trade with the region,” he said.

He added that over the past few years, there had been high-level political exchanges amid continuing mutual trust between both countries, which led to the signing of several key agreements aimed at solidifying overall bilateral relations.

Also read:  Technology, Innovation Expo 2021 starts March 15 – Minister

“It is my desire that the existing relationship continues to grow as the global economy gradually recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Valued at 1.4 billion dollars in 2019, I will  like to see this increase and look forward to working toward this in a mutual beneficial manner, ” he said.

In his remarks, The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, was confident that the UAE/Nigeria ties would continue to grow in areas of trade and investment.

“UAE and Nigeria relationship is witnessing a positive development dominated by cooperation, respect and mutual interests.

“The two countries are enjoying growth rates of bilateral trade, while the volume of non-oil trade exchange reached 1.45 billion dollars by the end of 2019.

“Our goal is to increase non-oil bilateral trade based on huge trade and investment potential and promising opportunities in the two countries’ markets and vital sectors,” he said.

He also added that the Embassy actively partnered with several Nigerian government ministries, parastatals and the private sector in the UAE and Nigeria in the execution of media campaign of the trade and Investment promotion.

The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to make UAE a top destination for exports because of its strategic position in the middle east region.

He said: “Moving forward, we hope to further strengthen our economic ties for economic development with common interest for both countries.

“We reaffirm Nigeria’s readiness to make UAE our preferred leading export markets because of her positioning as a strategic global and regional trade and investment hub.”

The Nigerian Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch Olamilekan Adegbite, said, “Trade between Nigeria and UAE had been on for a long time, albeit informally.

“I look forward to this collaboration to enhance what has been and to open up new vistas.”

The UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Fahad Altaffaq, underscored the need for both countries to jointly expand the spectrum of trade activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While approaching the 40th anniversary of UAE-Nigeria relations, which began in 1982, we plan to continue providing platforms where UAE and Nigerian businesses can connect to identify ventures and opportunities particularly in emerging sectors.

“This includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) FinTech and Space Exploration. The UAE is a top global investment hub and I encourage Nigerian investors to take advantage of the wide trade and investment opportunities,” he said.

 

Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Economy

Cement Price Can Be Lower Than FG, Manufacturers’ Projection — Association 

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…Warns that high price could lead to corner-cutting and building collapse

The National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) says the agreement between the Federal Government and three major cement manufacturers that a 50kg bag of cement, for now, is not supposed to sell for more than N7,000 to N8,000 is faulty.

The National President, Mr Adesegun Banjoko, said this on Tuesday in Lagos.

Recall that the parties, at a meeting on Monday, said that the ideal price of  a 50kg bag of cement for now should be between ₦7,000.00 and ₦8,000.00 depending on location.

They agreed that the current higher prices of cement in parts of the country were abnormal.

The main manufacturers of cement in the country are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc.

According to Banjoko, there is no reason for the price of cement to be sold even at the projected prices, since limestone, which is a key ingredient, is readily available in Nigeria.

He expressed fears that the high price would lead to corner-cutting and building collapse.

The NABMON president expressed the belief that the government and manufacturers could do better and offer lower prices.

Bags of cements

He suggested a reduction or elimination of customs duties on other imported materials used in cement production, adding that this would incentivise manufacturers to lower their prices.

He, therefore, proposed a target price of ₦3,500 to ₦5,000 per bag.

Banjoko said, “There are three issues that make me disagree with the government and the main manufacturers.

“First, limestone is sourced in Nigeria; agreed they have some few other materials they bring in from abroad.

“But if the government is really concerned about life and property lost to building collapse, they should either remove custom duties on such items or reduce them by half to encourage the manufacturers to come down to between N3, 500 and N5, 000.”

He also advised the government to temporarily halt road construction projects that use cement.

Banjoko said that this would free up available cement for vital projects and potentially reduce demand, leading to lower prices.

The NABMON president warned that the high price of cement had added to the existing tensions in the country.

He urged the government to act cautiously with essential commodities like cement, emphasising its impact on public well-being.

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Economy

NGX: Bullish Sentiment Persists, Investors Gain N329bn

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Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

…Unilever Nigeria Plc, Julius Berger lead Losers’ table 

Bullish sentiment persisted on Thursday at the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) equity market, as the market indices rose by 0.58 percent.

Specifically, investors gained N329 billion or 0.58 percent, as the market capitalisation closed at N56.961 trillion, as against N56.632 trillion recorded on Wednesday.

The All-Share Index also appreciated by 0.58 percent or 601.72 points to settle at 104,100, compared to 103,498.28 posted in the previous session.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 39.22 percent.

Continuous buy interests in the shares of BUA Cement, BUAFoods, and Geregu kept the market in the positive terrain.

A total of 284.49 million shares valued at N6.91 billion were exchanged in 8,168 deals, as against 426.86 million shares valued at N12.11 billion exchanged in 8,654 deals.

However, analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions down by 42.89 percent.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) led the activity table in volume and value with the trade of 56.61 million shares worth N2.22 billion.

Transcorp followed with 33.17 million shares valued at N418.31 million, while United Bank of Africa(UBA) traded 18.38 million shares worth N442.96 million.

Also, Mutual Benefits Assurance sold 16.76 shares valued at N11.48 million and AXA Mansard traded 12.51 million shares worth N75.57 million.

On the gainers’ table, University Press Ltd.(UPL) led in percentage terms of 9.96 percent to close at N2.87, followed by Juli Plc by 9.84 percent to close at N1.34 per share.

Mutual Benefits gained 9.38 percent to close at 70k, Daar Communications rose by 8.82 percent to close at 74k, while Honeywell Flour garnered 7.50 percent to close at N4.30 per share.

Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

Conversely, Unilever Nigeria Plc led the losers’ table by 9.80 percent to close at N16.10, Julius Berger lost 9.64 percent to close at N50.60, while Morison Industries Plc shed 9.60 percent to close at N2.23 per share.

May & Baker Nigeria Plc depreciated by 6.52 percent to close at N6.45 and National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON) dropped 5.37 percent to close at N59.04 per share.

Market breadth closed negative with 26 declining stocks outnumbering 23 advancing ones.

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