FG Orders Establishment of Action Committee as AfCFTA takes effect
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a National Action Committee (NAC) for implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which he signed on behalf of Nigeria at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State on 7th July 2019, in Niamey, Republic of Niger.
The National Action Committee would comprised representatives of Ministries and Agencies with competent and relevant jurisdiction, and selected stakeholder groups from the private sector and the civil society to coordinate the implementation of all the AfCFTA readiness interventions.
Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu stated this on Sunday explaining that the NAC would upon inauguration, undertake a process of engagement with stakeholders to sensitize them on the opportunities and challenges of the AfCFTA, with preparedness plans for Nigerian economy.
The presidency added that upon ratification, Nigeria will domesticate the Agreement by incorporating it into existing laws or enacting new laws, as appropriate.
“Engagement shall shortly start with the Ninth National Assembly,” the Presidency said.
Daily Asset recalls that Buhari had approved recommendations of the Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. The Committee, which was inaugurated by the President in October 2018, submitted its report on 27 June 2019.
The Report of the Presidential Committee was comprehensive, analytic with the full engagement of Stakeholders in the Nigerian economy.
The work of the AfCFTA Presidential Committee was preceded by a nation-wide sensitization process directed by Mr. President.
The Report and consultative process raised the bar in engagement by Government with Stakeholders and set a standard for building support for strategic areas of public policy with clarity on concrete parameters for implementation action.
The AfCFTA Agreement, which creates a single market for goods and services and movement of persons to increase intra-African trade and deepen African economic integration, has Phase I and Phase II negotiations.
The Phase I negotiations culminated in the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA, the Protocol on Trade in Goods; Protocol on Trade in Services; and, the Protocol on the Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes.
These were adopted by the African Union Heads of State in Kigali on 21st March 2018.
The Phase II negotiations are expected to commence in January 2020 and will cover competition, investment and intellectual property rights.
The recommendations approved by President Buhari include: signature and ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement; engaging in the ongoing negotiations of the annexures of the Agreement to incorporate safeguards for the economy, such as: a longer period to achieve AfCFTA’s trade liberalization ambition; common exclusive and sensitive lists for ECOWAS; import quotas for exclusive and sensitive products; security and customs cooperation and other measures to tackle smuggling, non-tariff barriers to trade and predatory trade practices.
The President approved sustaining the trade reforms at ECOWAS including the establishment of a common trade policy, improving the operation and welfare gains from the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and establishment of an ECOWAS peer review and audit mechanism; and establishing and championing programmes at AU/AfCFTA to resolve the critical continental level challenges to the success of the AfCFTA including smuggling, abuse of rules of origin, low production and service capacities, poor infrastructure and revenue loss.
On the list of the President’s approval are: fast-tracking domestic work, for the implementation of AfCFTA readiness interventions to enhance productivity, competitiveness and facilitate trade which include policies to grow local capacity to produce and export goods and services; infrastructure projects, trade facilitation, ease of doing business and trade rules enforcement initiatives. And support, actively, Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises.
Following the signing of the Agreement, Nigeria plans to participate in the ongoing negotiations on the annexures of Phase I agreement and protocols to incorporate the above safeguards approved by the President.
For Trade-in-Goods Protocol, the annexures will include schedule of tariff concessions; rules of origin; customs cooperation and mutual administrative assistance; trade facilitation; transit trade and transit facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, non-tariff barriers and trade remedies, for the protocol on trade in goods.
For Trade-in-Services Protocol, the annexures will include schedules of specific commitments, Most Favoured Nation (MFN) exemption and the annex on air transport.
Overall, the implementation of the AfCFTA is going to be a long journey.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to ensuring that Africa achieves a free and fair-trade environment governed by rules that are predictable, enforceable, and in line with the intent and objectives of our continent which are growth, through increased intra-African trade, job creation and improved terms of trade in a rapidly changing global economy.
FAAC Shares N722.677bn February Revenue to FG, States, LGCs
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N722.677 billion February 2023 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for on Wednesday and made available in a statement signed by Mr Bawa Mokwa, Director of Press & Public Relations, Office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
The N722.677 billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N366.800 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N224. 232 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) of N11.645 billion and N120.000 billion Augmentation from Forex Equalisation Account.
In February 2023,, the total deductions for cost of collection was N27.449 billion and total deductions for transfers, savings, recoveries and refunds was N109.909 billion.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $473,754.57
The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N722.677 billion; the Federal Government received N269.063 billion, the State Governments received N236.464 billion and the Local Government Councils received N173.936 billion. A total sum of N43.214 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue.
Gross statutory revenue of N487.106 billion was received for the month of February 2023. This was lower than the sum of N653.704 billion received in the previous month by N166.598 billion.
From the N366.800 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N178.683 billion, the State Governments received N90.630 billion and the Local Government Councils received N69.872 billion. The sum of N27.614 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue.
For the month of February 2023,, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N240.799 billion This was lower than the N250.009 billion available in the month of January 2023 by N9.210 billion.
The Federal Government received N33.635 billion, the State Governments received N112.116 billion and the Local Government Councils received N78.481 billion from the N224.232 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.
The N11.645 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was distributed as follows: the Federal Government received N1.747 billion, the State Governments received N5.822 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N4.076 billion.
From the N120.000 billion Augmentation, the Federal Government received N54.998 billion, the State Governments received N27.896 billion, the Local Government Councils received N21.506 billion and a total sum of N15.600 billion was shared to the relevant Sates as 13% mineral revenue.
According to the communiqué, in the month of February 2023, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Companies Income Tax (CIT), Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duties all decreased significantly while Value Added Tax (VAT) and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) decreased marginally.
Afreximbank Supports Fidelity Bank With $180m Credit To Finance Trade, Others
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the enhancement of the financing facility provided to Fidelity Bank plc, Nigeria under the Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme (AFTRAF).
The decision to increase Afreximbank’s support is consistent with the economic and commercial success of the financing facility, the first $125 million of which has been fully utilised by Fidelity Bank.
The expansion to $180 million was also bolstered by the continued strong financial performance of Fidelity Bank, Nigeria’s largest Tier 2 bank.
The augmented financing facility will allow Fidelity Bank to scale up and accelerate its activities and programmes in trade and related activities.
Commenting on the development, Prof Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, commented said Afreximbank is keen to support a leading African bank that supports African businesses and entrepreneurs.
He said, “Fidelity Bank has proven its ability to make smart use of this type of financing, with consequent benefits for the Nigerian economy. Afreximbank is keen to support a leading African bank that supports African businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa.
A staunch supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The bank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA.
Nigeria’s Currency in Circulation Drops to N982bn
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The currency in circulation in the country dropped by a 235.03 per cent to N982.09bn at the end of February from N3.29tn recorded at the end of October 2022.
According to figures obtained from the CBN, this followed the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which revealed that N2.3tn was mopped up from circulation during the period under review.
According to the CBN, the currency in circulation moved from N3.16tn to N3.29tn and N1.38tn in November 2022, December 2022 and January 2023 respectively.
The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Emefiele also announced deadlines for Nigerians to swap their old notes with the new notes.
The governor decried the challenges associated with currency management, including the hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of currency-in-circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks.
Other challenges, according to him, included a shortage of clean and fit banknotes with an attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability and increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting evidenced by several security reports.
At the expiration of the deadline for the old notes, due to the scarcity of the new naira notes, President, Muhammadu Buhari had approved the continued use of the old N200 as legal tender till April 10.
However, the Supreme Court on Friday, 3 March 2023, ruled that the old Naira notes should remain legal tender till 31 December 2023, thereby setting aside the deadline of the CBN.
However, in its new ruling, the Supreme Court said that all the old notes would remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, while nullifying the Naira redesign policy.
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