By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have been assured of better access to foreign exchange (forex) for importation of raw materials and machines that are not available locally.
This assurance was given by President Muhammadu Buhari when he held a meeting with the group on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Buhari said he would look into the issue of the supply of forex raised by the group, noting that, “Our strategic plan to boost manufacturing activities in the country is on course.”
“We will continue to improve the patronage of locally made goods, bridge the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our tertiary institutions and ensure seamless access to long term finance for our Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
“We recognize that MAN remains a key stakeholder in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you,” a statement issued by Mr Femi Adesina, spokesman to the President, disclosed.
Mr Buhari, when he met with the team led by the leader of MAN, Mr Mansur Ahmed, stated that the relevant Ministry would revisit their concerns about the increase in excise duties on the identified products and other tariff-related matters.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the President said Nigeria would fast track the process of setting up the Designated Competent Authority that will superintend the administration of Rules of Origin and Commission as well as the automation for issuance of electronic Certificate of Origin.
He added that the federal government would also ensure that relevant structured platforms are established for monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the Ease of Doing Business and improved Government patronage of made in Nigeria products.
Affirming his belief that a private sector led economy is the way to create jobs in the country, President Buhari urged the leadership of MAN to continue to encourage manufacturers that government recognizes the resilience of their members and other private sector organisations in promoting a virile manufacturing sector in Nigeria.
“I beseech you to continue to support the government in our quest to provide the appropriate environment that will attract the necessary investment both domestic and foreign for the upliftment of the nation’s economy,” he said.
On the impact of COVID-19 on world economies, the President noted that while the pandemic had an adverse impact on the Nigerian economy with the attendant fluctuations in the price of oil, his administration has effectively contained the spread of the pandemic and other diseases.
He added that the federal government would continue to consistently deploy prudent means of judiciously utilising the limited revenue to sustain the economy and stimulate growth.
Mr Buhari also used the occasion to reemphasize that in spite of limited resources, his government has made appreciable progress in road and rail infrastructure development; provision of stimulus packages for the manufacturing sector; improvement in energy management and support for exporters with a view to improving the operating environment for businesses in Nigeria.
“These projects are there for all to see.
“Furthermore, we are vigorously pursuing reforms on ease of doing business and currently putting in place other necessary policy measures and incentives that will guarantee full recovery from the consequences of COVID-19, sustain economic development and further shield the economy from the potential impact of fluctuations in the price of crude oil in the global market.
“I have listened carefully to all the challenges enumerated by the President of MAN and would like to assure you that, like we have done in the recent past, we will give consideration to some of the constraints that are yet to be fully addressed, especially those that align with our policies and programmes for economic recovery and sustainable development.
“Let me assure you that this Administration is fully aware that the survival of Nigeria lies in Agriculture and having a viable domestic manufacturing sector.
“I must emphasise here that when I say Agriculture, I also refer to agro-allied business which is the value-added component in the value chain.
“A strong manufacturing sector creates more jobs and wealth for our people.
“It will usher in sustainable economic prosperity because we will produce what we consume as a nation and generate foreign exchange by exporting surpluses and by import substitution,” he said.
In her remarks, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ms Mariam Katagum, pledged that the Ministry would continue to work with MAN in the areas of policy, trade and creating an environment to facilitate the growth of businesses in Nigeria.
“MAN is in business to create a climate of opinion in this country so that manufacturers can operate efficiently and profitably for the benefit of all,” she said.
Speaking at the event, the MAN president said the advocacy visit was largely motivated by two things: namely, to thank the President for all the support extended to the manufacturing sector since his assumption of office in 2015, and seek the urgent support of the federal government for the manufacturing sector to overcome the binding constraints to competitive manufacturing in Nigeria.
On the challenges facing the sector, the MAN president said the association has articulated remedial measures for these challenges in the Blueprint for Accelerated Development of Manufacturing in Nigeria, which will be formally presented to the President within the first quarter of 2022.
The MAN leadership, however, highlighted a few challenges that could be addressed in the immediate term in order to improve the manufacturing environment.
They include: inadequate supply of foreign exchange, inadequate electricity supply, poor access to long term fund, patronage of Made-in-Nigeria Goods and local content development, looming increases in tax rate, among others.
Mr Ahmed also used the occasion to formally present the new logo and annual report of the association to President Buhari.
Dollar Shortages Strike Again…Nigeria Indexes in Crosshairs
By Lukman Otunuga
Despite oil prices surging to multi-year highs, Nigeria has failed to cash in.
The destructive combination of sub-optimal oil production, poor infrastructure, and fuel subsidies have drained oil revenues that account for roughly 90% of foreign exchange earnings.
Lower oil revenues and falling foreign exchange reserves are forcing Nigeria to ration dollars. The negative impacts continue to be reflected across the economy and local currency. But now the dollar shortages have attracted the attention of MSCI Inc. which is considering downgrading the MSCI Nigeria indexes to the status of a standalone market from frontier markets.
It is worth keeping in mind that a developed market is the highest ranking, followed by emerging markets, frontier markets, and then finally standalone markets at the bottom.
Given the difficulty in repatriating funds from Nigeria, this has placed the MSCI Nigeria Indexes in the crosshairs. Such a negative development may hit sentiment toward the county’s assets at a crucial period where economic growth remains fragile.
To add insult to injury, the NGX All Share Index has gained roughly 20% this year in local currency terms. A blockbuster performance when compared to the MSCI Emerging market Index which is down roughly -19%.
In other news, the Naira was trading around N419 versus the dollar on the official spot rate and has weakened only 1.3% year-to-date. However, on the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the FX, the Naira ended Thursday at N620 versus the dollar and N602 on the black market. Nigeria still faces the issue of multiple exchanges but this will be a discussion for another time.
Lukman Otunuga is a Senior Research Analyst at FXTM
Binance, Cristiano Ronaldo to Release Exclusive NFTs
By Adedapo Adesanya
Binance, the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, has announced the signing of an exclusive and multi-year NFT partnership with football icon, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Through this partnership, Binance will launch a global campaign aiming to give Ronaldo’s fans an introduction to Web3 with a compelling entry point into the world of NFTs.
The company disclosed that over the course of the agreement, Cristiano Ronaldo and Binance will create a series of collections for sale exclusively on the Binance NFT platform.
The first collection of the exclusive NFTs will be released later this year and will feature designs created in collaboration with Ronaldo.
Speaking on the deal, Binance founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said, “Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s best footballers, and has transcended sport to become an icon in multiple industries.
“He has amassed one of the world’s most dedicated fan bases through his authenticity, talent, and charity work.”
“We are thrilled to provide his fans with exclusive engagement opportunities to connect with Ronaldo and own a piece of iconic sports history,” he added.
“My relationship with the fans is very important to me, so the idea of bringing unprecedented experiences and access through this NFT platform is something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Ronaldo.
“I know the fans are going to enjoy the collection as much as I do.”
The Cristiano Ronaldo NFT collections will be available exclusively on Binance NFT at www.Binance.com/en/nft/home.
Binance is the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider with a financial product suite that includes the largest digital asset exchange by volume.
The Binance platform is dedicated to increasing the freedom of money for users, and features an unmatched portfolio of crypto products and offerings, including trading and finance, education, data and research, social good, investment and incubation, decentralization and infrastructure solutions, and more.
Cellulant Wins Payment Platform Solutions Provider of the Year
By Adedapo Adesanya
Cellulant, Africa’s leading payments company, has been awarded the Payment Platform Solutions Provider of the Year in Nigeria at the 13th Beacon of ICT Awards 2022.
This award is a recognition of Cellulant’s work in providing a payments platform that focuses on driving merchant business and digital payments for local, regional and global merchants in the continent.
It was also lauded for digitising both online and offline payments.
The award was presented to Cellulant Nigeria by Communication Week Media Limited, the publishers of Nigeria Communications Week.
The annual event, which recognises leading players in the ICT sector in Nigeria whose outstanding achievements contribute to the industry’s growth, was themed Impact of Blockchain Technology in a Digitalized Nigeria.
Renowned businesses such as Emirates, GIG logistics, Coldstone, Bolt, Dominos and Ethiopian Airlines to name a few, have partnered with Cellulant to use their Tingg digital payments solution as a single collection gateway in Nigeria.
Cellulant simplified their product, unifying their offering into Tingg — a digital payments platform that addresses the complex needs of managing different payment channels for a business.
This has made it easy for businesses to conveniently and affordably accept payments from a single integration.
Customers can make payments for goods and services using locally relevant payment options.
Founded in 2003, Cellulant has more than 18 years of experience providing locally-relevant payment solutions for businesses and their consumers. Its evolution over the years, from a digital content business to mobile banking and now to payments, has allowed the company to build an expansive network, strong relationships and partnerships.
Cellulant provides a unified, single-contract, and single API payments platform – named Tingg- that makes it easy for businesses to receive and make payments; while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank.
Today, Cellulant has an office presence in 18 countries, including Nigeria, with a payments platform connecting thousands of businesses with 257 payment options across 35 countries. The platform powers payments for 200 million consumers on a single inclusive network for interoperability across Africa.
Speaking on the recognition, Mr Opeyemi Fowler, Cellulant’s Head of Enterprise Sales stated “the digital payments landscape in Nigeria and Africa is evolving rapidly with differing payment channels such as card, mobile money, bank transfer and cash – with volatile currency fluctuations and no single settlement framework.
“This is creating a highly fragmented landscape for businesses whose customers increasingly request to pay for their purchases using digital payment options. Every day, our job at Cellulant is to work with our customers and partners to solve this fragmentation in payments.”
“This award is a testament to our work in providing a payments platform that is transforming the way people do business in Nigeria and beyond; and a reflection of the hard work done by our people.”
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