Sylvia Udegbunam Enugu
The Enugu Chambers of commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture Enugu (ECCIMA) said that the chamber will hold its 34th international trade Fair in March this year.
The President of ECCIMA Jasper Nduagwuike disclosed this recently during its 49th Annual General Meeting at Sir Emeka Okwuosa hall ECCIMA house Secretariat building old trade Fair complex Abakiliki road in Enugu.
In his opening speech, Jasper expressed gratitude to ECCIMA members for electing him as president despite divided opinion; he assured them that his leadership would commit to excellence, relevance, and visibility even though it is his first time in office.
Nduagwuike while speaking with Journalists on the forthcoming 34th edition of the Enugu International Trade Fair, said it would commence on the 24th of March 2023 and end on the 3rd of April 2023.
He also said the trade fair venue would be at the international trade fair center, Enugu. And would be tagged: “Harnessing Nigeria’s human capital Resources for Global Economic Advancement.”
Nduagwuike expressed optimism that despite the attendant challenges in the economic environment and the upcoming election for democratic transition in the country the trade fair shall be remarkable, as members of ECCIMA had made appreciable progress to ensure that it turns out successful.
“The 34th international trade Fair would therefore provide the cleavages to gauge the economic outlook of our nation, the available human capital market or opportunities that would be inclined to industrial development to make informed business and investment decisions,” he said.
“Indeed a number of strategies have been put in place by the chamber towards ensuring that all stakeholders realize meaningful outcomes from participation in this fair including a number of side attractions that would interest the public. We are happy that we have been receiving streams of inquiries and interest from corporate organizations and institutions declaring interest to participate in the fair,” he added.
The President further highlighted the Chamber’s focal point for this year’s fair which includes, identification and bringing to bare Nigerian human capital resources that will attract the global economic market for the growth of our national economy.
“Boosting technological advancement by encouraging the participation of researchers, innovators, and creative thinkers as a Nexus towards commercialization of research findings including robust indulgence in the digital space.
“A more robust and flexible online platform for registration for participation in the fair. Deepening the use of social media as a marketing mix to reinforce our conventional media publicity and outreach in promoting the fair. Concrete agreement with EEDC to ensure 24/7 electricity at the fair complex within the period of the fair.
“Boosting the agricultural sector and particularly commercial farming for the much-needed job creation and food security with the attendant linkages and value chain benefits through the processing of raw materials/agro-allied industries. This is to further propel the development of small and medium enterprises which is key to our national development.
“Provision of more air-conditioned tents to provide space for a number of foreign companies and embassies that have already indicated interest to participate and also attraction of the highest level of sponsorship in recent times as companies like Dangote, Nigerian Brewery plc and globacom have shown serious interest in partnering with the chamber to sponsor the 34th fair.
“Providing an amenable environment for the hosting of this fair as we have continued to update facilities in the trade Fair complex within our limited resources, praying that the federal government would rise to its responsibilities to fully develop the fair, he said.
NANTA Records $500m Revenue Loss in 2022
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) on Friday said it recorded a loss of 500 million as revenue in 2022, due to drop in ticket sales.
Mrs Susan Akporiaye, NANTA’s National President, disclosed this during a media briefing held in Lagos on Friday.
Akporiaye said that there had been an appreciable decrease in ticket sales among its members as Nigerian travellers groan over exorbitant ticket fares.
She said foreign airlines operating in Nigeria had blocked all low ticket inventories on their websites and had continued to sell the highest inventories as passengers find it difficult to buy affordable tickets.
According to her, airfares has risen to over 400 per cent to all international destinations and this is as a result of the $550million trapped funds.
“The situation at hand has made Nigerian travellers to patronise agents in other African countries.
“Only less than 30 per cent tickets sold in Nigeria were done by local agents, with this, the Nigerian government is losing a lot of tax.
“To reduce the amount of money that would be trapped in Nigeria, the foreign airlines have also stopped local travel agents from issuing tickets emanating from other countries into Nigeria,” she said.
Akporiaye noted that the association was pained, anxious, and worried, considering the consequences of the job losses recorded.
She said the security risks to Nigerians travelling across borders to connect cheaper flghts was also worrisome.
“Also, the shame of a parallel dollar monetary policy in the travel sector
against established national naira monetary policy.
” We are also worried that none of our poitical parties have deemed it necessary to look at aviation economics, particularly, its homogeneous socio-economic and security opportunities.
“We advise the new government to followup keenly on Bilateral Air services Agreement (BASA) and other extant aviation laws which will open our economy to serious local and foreign investors, we are also remain available for consultation,” she said.
Earlier, Mr Yinka Olapade, NANTA’s National Auditor said that developments in the travel sector had gone so bad that over 720,000 job losses had also been recorded due to the irregularities in the system.
He said that the travel sector contributed over 3.6 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation in 2021 but this dropped drastically in 2022.
He however, urged the federal government to look into the problems in the industry to guide against monumental effect.
“This industry should be taken seriously, it is a goldmine that is capable of repositioning the nation in different capacities,” he said. (NAN)
Progressives Govs Meet Buhari Seek Another Extension for Naira Swap
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the Progressives Governors Forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as they pleaded for the review of the redesigned currency notes to run concurrently with the old notes and gradually phased out due to the scarcity of cash in the country.
The President also urged citizens to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country from the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to change high value Naira notes with new ones.
Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said the currency re-design will give a boost to the economy and provide long-term benefits while expressing doubts about the commitment of banks in particular to the success of the policy.
According to the Progressive Governors, the cash crunch was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.
The President also indicted some bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) on the scarcity of the naira notes in circulation, accusing them of selfishness and inefficiency.
“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves. Even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away,” the President said.
He said he had seen television reports about cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension will be used to crackdown on whatever stood in the way of successful implementation.
“I will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company. There will be a decision one way or the other in the remaining seven days of the 10-day extension,” Buhari assured.
The Governors told the President that, while they agreed that his decision on the renewal of currency was good and they are fully in support, its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.
They told the President that, as leaders of the government and party in their different states, they were becoming anxious about a slump in the economy and the series of elections that are coming. They requested the President to use his powers to direct the concurrent flourish of the new and old notes till the end of the year.
The President said when he considered giving the approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes will be printed in a foreign country and they in turn gave him assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower, and equipment to print the currency for local needs. He said he needed to go back to find out what was happening.
President Buhari told the Governors that, being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and will act in a way that there will be a solution.
An unconfirmed report has it that some bank CEOs had taken a huge chunk of the new naira notes to the house of some politicians.
It was gathered that the APC Governors had expected to get a direct response from the President to allow both the old and new naira notes to circulate concurrently to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
The Governors met with President Buhari over the hardship Nigerians are facing as a result of the naira swap introduced by the CBN.
Briefing some journalists in the Hausa language, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna State, alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, mopped up over N2 trillion of the old note but printed only N300 billion, which he said was not enough and has contributed to the hardship the masses are facing.
el-Rufai, flanked by his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, said even if the CBN had wanted to implement the cashless policy, they should have printed at least half of what they mopped up, which is N1 trillion.
The governor said the Progressive governors had informed President Buhari that the masses are suffering and traders are losing their goods due to lack of patronage.
He gave the example of a tomato seller that travelled to Lagos with their goods but all got wasted because people have no money to buy, so they appealed to the president to reconsider his stance.
He said, “We the governors of the All Progressives Congress under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum have met with the President and informed him about the issue that is bothering us and the problems the people are going through because of the currency redesign policy.
“The President explained to us what they have told him and we have seen that the Central Bank Governor (CBN) and the Minting and Printing did not tell Mr. President the truth about the things that are happening in the country.
“What’s the truth? Firstly, we are told that they have mopped up over N2 trillion of the old notes and printed only N300 billion of the new notes. Why will you retrieve such an amount of money and then print only N300 billion? That is why there are problems, the money is not enough.
“If you also look at some state and local governments that don’t have banks and the problems they are facing from POS. People don’t have money to buy things in the market, but they can’t go shopping, tomatoes sellers took their products to Lagos and could not sale till they spoiled.
“We have narrated all these issues to Mr. President and he said he will meet with CBN, other stakeholders, and even the deposit money banks. He will see what they will tell him before he takes a decision. But he didn’t indicate to us that this issue has ended, there will be no extension and he did not tell us that he will extend it.
“He only told us that until he gets certain about what is going on. We have told him about things that are happening in our states and the trouble people are encountering.
“Our fear is that, if there is no solution to this, it may cause a crisis and affect the general elections and the election may not even hold completely. The President said he will look into it.”
Asked what precisely the APC governors want the president to do, he said, “What we the governors want is to give an extension on this policy so that everyone can exchange his money. Because of N300 billion, there is no how it will be equal to N2 trillion. N1 trillion should be printed not N300 billion. The money is not enough that is the problem.
“Our advice is that both the old and new notes should be used until the old notes are gradually faced out. They should print new notes that will be enough, for now, they are not enough for circulation. Those who say the printed new notes are enough are telling lies to the President.”
Further asked on what he will tell those accusing him of looking for a godfather that is why he is criticizing the President, he said, “I don’t criticize President Buhari. I have never criticized President Buhari, it’s only those working with him who are telling him lies, they don’t tell him the truth, and they don’t tell him what the people are going through on these policies or decisions that are taken.
“What President Buhari brought, we support it. We know the reason he wants to do something but this thing they are not doing it right and they don’t tell him the right thing. We the true followers of Buhari are not using him to get money for shopping, we are mandated to tell him the truth, and that’s what we’ve done.
“President Buhari himself knows me, he knows how we have been together. All these allegations I’m used to hearing them. Which godfather am I looking for?
“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is our Presidential Candidate we want him to win the election. I have told Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ten times I don’t want government work, I don’t want to work with him. He is the one saying he wants to work with them at all costs. I swear, I’m bigger than saying he is my godfather, I’m not seeking work, I’m not seeking shopping money, what I am seeking is from God and not man.”
el-Rufai said the president did not tell them yes or no, adding that the chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, and governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, had gone back to meet the President privately with the hope to convince him.
However, the Kebbi state governor did not brief members of the State House Press Corps that had waited for him on the outcome of his meeting with the President.
NPA Expects Ship Carrying Petrol at Lagos Ports
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Friday said that out of the 22 ships expected to arrive at the Lagos Port Complex, one was carrying petrol.
It said that the remaining 21 ships expected to arrive at the port were carrying soya bean meal, bulk sugar, bulk gypsum bulk urea, bulk salt, butane gas, general cargo, diplomatic, bulk wheat, container, frozen fish and bulk fertiliser.
The NPA said that the ships were expected to arrive at the Lagos Port Complex as from Feb. 3 to Feb. 14.
NPA reports that another three ships had arrived the ports waiting to berth with general cargo, container, truck and petrol.
Also, the organisation said that 18 other ships were at the ports discharging bulk wheat, general cargo, frozen fish, container, base oil, soya bean oil, bulk gypsum, soya bean meal, bulk urea and petrol. (NAN
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