By Martin Paul, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has formally signed the agreement for Nigeria to join the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Niamey at the opening of the African Union (AU) Summit.
President Buhari appended his signature to the treaty at exactly 10: 47 am.
A statement by President Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesibn, said Buhari in his remarks, declared that Nigeria’s commitment to trade and African integration had never been in doubt nor was it ever under threat.
He told the Summit that Nigeria will build on the event by proceeding expeditiously with the ratification of the AfCFTA.
‘‘Nigeria wishes to emphasize that free trade must also be fair trade.
‘‘As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hardworking population.
‘‘I wish to assure you, that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership
role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want.
‘‘I have just had the honour of signing the agreement establishing the
African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), on behalf of my country, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
‘‘This is coming over a year since the AfCFTA Agreement was opened for signature in Kigali, Rwanda, at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the
African Union, on 21st March 2018.
‘‘In fact, you will recall that the treaty establishing the African
Economic Community was signed in Abuja in 1991.
‘‘We fully understand the potential of the AfCFTA to transform trade in
Africa and contribute towards solving some of the continent’s challenges, whether security, economic or corruption.
‘‘But it is also clear to us that for AfCFTA to succeed, we need the full
support and buy-in of our private sector and civil society stakeholders and the public in general.
‘‘It is against this background that we embarked on an extensive nationwide
consultation and sensitization programme of our domestic stakeholders on the AfCFTA.
‘‘Our consultations and assessments reaffirmed that the AfCFTA can be a
platform for African manufacturers of goods and providers of service to
construct regional value chains for made in Africa goods and services.
‘‘It was also obvious that we have a lot of work to do to prepare our
nation to achieve our vision for intra-African trade which is the free
movement of ‘made in Africa goods’ ”.
‘‘Some of the critical challenges that we identified will require our
collective action as a Union and we will be presenting them for
consideration at the appropriate AfCFTA fora.
‘‘Examples are tackling injurious trade practices by third parties and attracting the investment we need to grow local manufacturing and service capacities’’, ,’’ President Buhari said.
He noted that Nigeria’s signing of the AfCFTA and its Operational Launch at the 12th Extraordinary Summit was an additional major step forward on the AU’s Agenda 2063.
Meanwhile, with Nigeria and Benin Republic signing the Agreement at the Summit, 54 out of 55 African countries have signed the world’s largest free trade area deal, encompassing 55 countries and 1.2 billion people.
Eritrea is the only African country yet to sign the agreement.
A total of 26 African countries have deposited instruments of ratification, with Gabon being the latest after depositing her instrument of ratification during the Extraordinary Summit.
The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019 thirty days after having received the twenty-second instrument of ratification on 29 April, 2019 in conformity with legal provision.
Umahi congratulates Mbah, urges opposition parties to stop distraction in Enugu
…..Umahi congratulates Mbah
Minister of Works, Chief Dave Umahi, has congratulated Gov. Peter Mbah on his victory at the Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, even as he called on opposition parties to stop distracting the governor.
Umahi, who is an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, said it was not about party affiliation but about the quality of the individual chosen by the people of the state to lead them.
The minister, who said this when he inspected the collapsed bridge at the Enugu end of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, advised the opposition in the state not to waste their time contesting Mbah’s ‘divine and people’s mandate’.
He also said that Mbah’s initiative to commence the reconstruction and dualisation of Enugu-Abakaliki road up to the Ebonyi boundary was another display of people-driven leadership by a private sector person in governance.
“I am happy that you came from the private sector. There is a high hope, especially with the steps you have taken so far.
“They are in tandem with President Bola Tinubu’s steps and I pledge to support you. There must be a change; we must reset the country.
“I want to publicly say, while congratulating you on the tribunal victory, that whoever is taking you to court must stop wasting his time as you are clearly the people’s choice and for good reasons.
“So we will continue to support and pray for you and I urge whoever is distracting you that they should understand the steps of God and know that your emergence is divine and we are very proud of you.
“I know Gov. Mbah as a very successful private person and he is going to bring it to bear in the governance of this state.
“I also believe that what he is bringing to the table will rub off positively on Enugu State, the entire South-East states,” he said.
The minister also commended Mbah for ending sit-at-home in the state, describing it a major step forward for the Igbo nation.
“Let me also thank you for being able to courageously stop sit-at-home in Enugu State.
“It is a major thing you have done for the Igbo people and for the country,” he said. (NAN)
…..Umahi congratulates Mbah
FG Plans Full Production Capacity Revamp for DICON – Matawalle
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Minister of State for Defence, Dr Bello Muhammed Matawalle, has charged the staff and engineers of the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to improve on their performances as Federal Government plans to revamp and scale up the industry to a full production capacity.
In a statement by the Acting Director of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Attari Hope in Abuja on Saturday, Matawalle stated this during his maiden visit to DICON facilities in Kaduna State.
In an address to staff of the industry, he said “as the technical personnel of this promising industry, your professionalism and dedication to work is paramount in sustaining the vision and growth of this industry.We will ensure you get adequate funding to achieve this.”
The Director General of DICON, Maj Gen AE Edet, lauded the Minister of State for his words of encouragement and assured hm of DICON’s unwavering commitment to its vision and objective which it was set up.
As part of his maiden tour of DICON, the Minister of State visited the DICON’s Special Equipment Factory, Ballistic Helmet Production Unit, Tailoring Unit, amongst others.
Kwara EXCO Okays N239bn 2023 Revised Budget
Kwara State Executive Council has given approval to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to present to the state House of Assembly, a draft revised 2023 budget of N239,084,199,757.00, with capital expenditure taking some 50.2% of the chunk, while recurrent tanked to 49.8%.
The revised budget is 27% larger (N50,238,596,196.
The approval followed a submission from the Commissioner for Planning and Economic Development, Hon.Lafia Aliyu Kora Sabi, who said that a service-wide and bottom-up process for the revised budget started since June 2023 — followed by thorough deliberations and reviews of submissions from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government by the Central Budget Committee (CBC).
“The pertinent factor governing the selection of projects for execution in the remaining part of the year is the emphasis placed on capital projects that are critical to stimulate the economic activities in the state for inclusive growth and development,” Sabi told the council, adding that special considerations have been made to boost economic activities and improve the living standard of the people.
The cabinet, among other government processes, also approved for Star Sewing Machine Limited, an International firm, to manage the state’s Garment Factory following a long-drawn bidding process involving open tendering in line with relevant laws.
Held Friday evening, the council meeting was chaired by Governor AbdulRazaq, attended by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji AbdulKadir Mahe; and all the commissioners.
Chevron continues to partner Nigeria for socio-economic development—MD
Chevron Nigeria says it has continued to make significant investments in Nigeria including generating socio-economic development in several communities across the country in its six decades of operation.
Its Chairman and Managing Director (MD), Mr Rick Kennedy, made this known in a statement on Sunday in commemoration of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day.
Kennedy said that the company strove to build lasting relationships to help enable human progress now and into the future.
According to him, Chevron Nigeria has been successful in leading and investing in some major initiatives in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“These include the development of the Deep Water Agbami project which has produced over one billion barrels of oil.
“The development of the Escravos Gas Processing facility to enable the reduction of flares and be the largest supplier of on-spec domestic gas in Nigeria.
“Also, the development of the Escravos Gas-to-Liquids facility to reduce gas flaring and produce high quality diesel,” he said.
The MD said also, that Chevron companies in Nigeria had developed and imbibed the Local Nigerian Content development philosophy well before the enactment of the Nigeran Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (“NOGICD Act”) in April 2010.
He said that Chevron had helped in building the capacities of several Nigerian businesses by providing training, contracts and procurement opportunities to Nigerians on all projects in our operations.
“For the last 10 years, one of the Chevron Nigeria companies, Chevron Nigeria Limited has spent an estimated annual average of $1 billion on Nigerian suppliers and service providers.
“Chevron does all these, not because it is compelled to, but because it is the right thing to do,” Kennedy said.
Also, Chevron Nigeria’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr Esimaje Brikinn, said that Chevron Nigeria’s focused on helping to engender the development of communities in the Niger Delta.
According to him, this is through the erstwhile Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) a community-driven, participatory partnership model for community engagement pioneered by Chevron Nigeria in 2005.
“Through the GMoU, we provided funds to execute hundreds of projects in the communities where we operate in the Niger Delta region.
“This has led to social investment projects benefitting over 600 communities in the Niger Delta area.
“We will be leveraging our experience with the GMoU in the implementation of the Host Community Development Trust provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act,” Brikinn said. (NAN)
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