By Dipo Olowookere
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has explained that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which 44 countries have subscribed into, will lead to a massive job loss in Nigeria.
Two Africa’s biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, have refused to sign the trade deals.
At a press conference on Wednesday, President of MAN, Mr Frank Jacobs, commended the Federal Government for refusing to sign the agreement establishing AfCFTA.
According to him, signing the documents will lead to gross unemployment in the country as most manufacturing companies in the country will be made to die a quicker death.
He said the association will not support Federal Government’s adoption and ratification of the agreement establishing AfCFTA until issues of market access and enforcement of rules of origin were addressed.
MAN noted that the agitation from the private sector was a result of lack of consultation and inclusion of inputs of key stakeholders before Nigeria’s position was presented at the meetings of the African Union-Technical Working Group on CFTA in the build-up to AfCFTA negotiation by Nigeria.
The AfCTA is expected to create a trade bloc of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion. The agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90% of goods and to liberalize services.
Mr Jacobs explained that the issues of market access that allows only 10 percent of products to be protected as well as government’s enforcement mechanism in the area of enforcement of rules of origin need to be clearly defined before local producers can support the agreement.
Noting that MAN is not oblivious of the benefits inherent in installing a continental trade agreement like AfCFTA that could improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development, Mr Jacobs said that Nigeria’s national interest should however be the primary consideration in the decision to sign-on to such an arrangement.
In his recommendations, the MAN boss urged the government to set in motion a process that will enable all stakeholders on the international trade value chain in Nigeria to quickly review the text of the draft AfCFTA agreement and come up with comments on areas that are not in the best interest of the Nigerian economy and sectors.
“Government should, as matter of urgency, convene a special meeting of the relevant stakeholders, including experts on trade policy to consider tariff lines rates along the line of efficiency, sectoral and sub-sectoral preferences that would be most beneficial to Nigerian businesses under the AfCFTA dispensation as well as reconsider the national position on EPA vis-a-vis the AfCFTA especially on tariff lines of products on the sensitive/exclusion list, with a view to ensuring that the EU-EPA is not reintroduced through the AfCFTA’s back door.
“Review presentations and prepare a detailed submission for the Government on ways and means of participating in the AfCFTA in a manner that our national interest and that of the budding manufacturing sector are effectively protected,” he declared.
Climate Disclosure Guidelines for Nigerian Stock Market Underway
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange Regulation (NGX RegCo) is working closely with its sister organisation, the NGX Limited, to design a dedicated set of Climate Disclosure Guidelines that will address climate change-related issues and serve as a complementary set of procedures to the NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines.
The chief executive of NGX RegCo, Ms Tinuade Awe, dropped this hint recently at the 16th Annual International Business Law Conference hosted by the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in Abuja.
At the event themed Recent Developments in the Business Law Environment, she said the rules, which will be developed in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, are currently in their formative stage, adding that the zero drafts would be published in a few months and public consultations for feedback to follow afterwards.
The capital market expert, who was speaking on ESG and the Nigerian Business Environment during a panel discussion, used the occasion to appeal to the public and private stakeholders to urgently prioritise the implementation of key national and global Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) related regulations.
According to her, prioritising the implementation of key national and global ESG-related regulations will improve Nigeria’s ESG performance and reputation on the global stage and guarantee its contribution to the global development agenda such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.
“The rapidly evolving global ESG landscape requires a deliberate partnership between all Nigerian public and private sector stakeholders who must embrace their responsibility to help create a sustainable future by being transparent in their approach to addressing ESG-related risks and opportunities, and their contribution towards sustainable development,” she added.
Ms Awe charged the Nigerian government to adopt initiatives that accelerate progress toward mandatory reporting on key ESG-related issues as well as climate-related reporting.
“These initiatives would ensure private and public sector companies become cognizant of global trends on climate-related reporting in line with leading guidance frameworks such as the TCFD recommendations as well as the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) which has recently developed a comprehensive set of guidelines on general sustainability and climate-related disclosures to improve the availability of standardized, decision-useful non-financial data for the investment decision-making process,” she stated.
Concerning NGX RegCo’s contribution to the development and implementation of ESG regulation in Nigeria, she cited the 2019 NGX Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines which provide issuers with a step-by-step approach to integrating sustainability in their organisational activities and operations.
“These guidelines also provide guidance on best practice sustainability reporting that comply with global standards including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),” Ms Awe said, noting that “NGX RegCo also played a leading role in developing the regulation for the development of Nigeria’s green bond market and other sustainable financial products that address environmental and social challenges affecting Nigeria along with the Federal Ministry of Environment, NGX Limited and other industry stakeholders.
“This was done in recognition of the climate finance needs particularly in Nigeria, and the urgent action required to combat climate change as enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the efforts culminated in the issuance of the maiden N10.69 billion ($25.8 million) 13.48% 5-year green bond in 2017.”
How to Keep Your Business Running After Working Hours
By Otori Emmanuel
Most offices operate their days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, which only lasts during the daytime and because the cost of running a shift by servicing the office at night with an equal number of staff, if need be, might be cost-intensive, most organizations suffice to the normal routine of running an office by the daytime.
The concern is that our customers don’t sleep, when they want a solution, it can be urgent and important and the earlier they speak to someone, the more relief they get that their solution is on the way and that they can beat the deadline.
Knowing that most offices are closed after 5:00 pm and on weekends makes customers want to explore other options of reaching out to the service providers. With a business whose focus is centred on customer satisfaction and an amazing experience, there are options to keep your office running after working hours.
- Take advantage of social media pages
To run a business effectively, our online presence helps the most and involves our presence on social media channels by creating pages.
Facebook pages, for example, can be automated to reply to messages the moment a user sends an enquiry. It is made to generate a predetermined customized message. Facebook also lets the person know the possible time range within which to expect feedback and this is made possible based on the time it took the business to reply to a message, which provides a summary of the possible time of reply to the customer. This keeps the expectation of the customer that they would be replied and when the reply eventually comes, it proves the assertion that they are dealing with an organization that is customer-centric regardless of whether they are at work or not. In fact, the message can be crafted in such a way to contain a number that can be used for emergency contact.
Typically replies in a few minutes
Hi, Thanks for messaging us.
We’ll get back to you soon first name, last name (of the sender)
An auto-responder is a system that organizations use to respond to a user that sends a message via email whether they are out of the office, on leave, on a special assignment or outside the country of operation, with a message informing the person of the possibility of when they are likely to read and reply their message or an option of reaching another individual in the organization that could help process their enquiry. The line below is an example of the use of an automated message using an auto-responder
Thank you for your message.
I will be out of the office until Monday, August 20, 2022.
If this is an emergency, please contact first name, last name on
email@example.com, otherwise, I will reply you on my return.
First name, last name
- A 24-hour office phone
I once read in an online forum where a customer needed a product for use first thing on a Monday morning and tried to establish contact with the supplier that they researched online, they found the office lines and called and it kept ringing without anyone picking at them the other end. They kept on researching and found another supplier who they called and got an immediate response and delivery of the raw materials to start the production at the agreed time. What is the point of having an office phone that lies in the office without anyone to engage callers? I think today’s definition of an office defies the limitation to place and gives us a meaning that refers to the person and processes which can be operated from any place and at whatever time of the day. I am of the opinion that every phone that an office use should be a mobile phone with a person that handles it and returns enquiries at any time of the day, even if it means the company would provide the handler with the opportunity of benefiting from the usage of the phone from the provision of airtime and data services, it is worth all the effort to keep the business running all day. Although the telephone etiquette still applies.
- Online Support Services
With the goal of maximizing the online platforms of an organization, all platforms must be considered. Websites should be integrated with an online support system that can be installed on a PC (Personal Computer) and on a mobile phone, which can be accessed with internet services at any time of the day.
These chat boxes are also automated to reply to messages and the user gets a notification when there is an enquiry to be answered.
- Integration of Chatbots
Chatbots function with the integration of artificial intelligence to answer questions based on the similarity, pattern or keywords consistently used by customers. This integration works as a temporary alternative to provide basic information before a human eventually connects with the customer when the chatbot has exhausted its ability with no respite to the demands of the customer. A full technologically integrated team is needed to execute this across platforms.
A sustainable business is built around the speed of attending to customers’ needs within a reasonable timeframe, the communication that helps to flatten the gap, concise information needed to make an offer and meeting with the expected date or time of delivery of the customer. When all these are in cohesion, a business can definitely become a household name.
Market Rebounds by 1.47% on Buying Interest in Dangote Cement, Others
By Dipo Olowookere
Buying interest in Dangote Cement and 19 others suppressed the losses reported by Lafarge Africa and nine others on Wednesday, leaving the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited closing higher by 1.47 per cent at the close of business.
The demand for equities rose yesterday, leading to an increase in the volume of trades by 98.58 per cent to 279.2 million shares from 140.6 million shares as the value of transactions increased by 30.14 per cent to N2.1 billion from N1.6 billion, while the number of deals carried out depreciated by 8.19 per cent to 3,576 deals from the previous day’s 3,895 deals.
Jaiz Bank was the most traded stock during the session, selling 115.1 million units valued at N100.1 million and was followed by 40.0 million units worth N431.5 million. UBA exchanged 14.7 million shares for N104.3 million, AIICO Insurance sold 13.9 million equities worth N7.7 million, while Japaul transacted 13.3 million stocks for N4.9 million.
Dangote Cement ended the session as the best-performing stock as it gained 9.96 per cent to trade at N265.00, followed by NEM Insurance, which grew by 9.89 per cent to trade at N4.11. Ellah Lakes appreciated by 9.41 per cent to N4.30, Japaul improved by 8.82 per cent to 37 Kobo, while May and Baker increased by 8.68 per cent to N3.88.
Conversely, Lafarge Africa finished the trading day as the worst-performing equity after its value went down by 8.84 per cent to N23.20. NAHCO lost 8.62 per cent to sell at N5.30, Honeywell Flour depreciated by 6.41 per cent to N2.63, UAC Nigeria declined by 5.36 per cent to N10.60, while AIICO Insurance fell by 5.26 per cent to 54 Kobo.
At the close of business, the industrial goods sector appreciated by 4.35 per cent, the insurance counter grew by 1.91 per cent, the banking index rose by 0.42 per cent, the consumer goods space went up by 0.33 per cent, while the energy sector chalked up 0.06 per cent.
Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) climbed higher by 724.76 points to 50,075.47 points from 49,350.71 points, while the market capitalisation increased by N391 billion to N27.009 trillion from N26.618 trillion.
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