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Buhari Inaugurates Committee On AFCTA

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Buhari Inaugurates Committee On AFCTA

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday inaugurated the Presidential Committee for Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA).

At the event at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari said that Nigeria would not sign any treaty without assessing its impact on the lives of its citizens.

The president said Nigeria would henceforth take its time to break away from the past practice, where treaties were signed without making the needed positive gains for the country.

The Presidential Committee has the Minister of Industry as its Chairman, with the Chief of Staff to the President as Co-Chairman.

Buhari said: “We are determined to break away from the past practice of committing Nigeria to treaties without a definite implementation plan to actualise the expected benefit while mitigating the risks.

“We cannot go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions and our country being the worst for it.

“Few months ago I directed a nationwide stakeholders’ engagement on the Africa Free Trade Continental Area Agreement to understand the true impact of this agreement on Nigeria and Nigerians, considering the existing domestic and regional policies as it relates to trade.’’

The president observed that from the consultation, the key issues raised by stakeholders were abuse of rules of origin, smuggling arising from difficulties in border controls and unqualified impact of legacy preferential trade agreements.

According to him, other issues raised include low capacity and capability of local businesses to conduct international trade, costly finance, and insufficient energy and transport logistics infrastructure.

He, however, revealed that the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan would address these issues.

Buhari, therefore, charged the committee to concentrate on the issues raised during the nationwide consultations in order to find lasting solutions to them.

“Your task as members of the Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area Committee is to address the issues raised during the stakeholders’ consultations on the Africa Continental free trade Agreement.

“You are expected to develop short, medium and long-term measures that will address any challenges arising therefrom,’’ he added.

The President further stated that Nigeria’s vision for intra-African trade was for a free movement of made in Africa goods, noting that Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa.

He regretted that for too long, the country’s domestic production capabilities were neglected in favour of imports.

According to him, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan introduced by the current administration will help revive key job creating and import substitution sectors like agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

Speaking earlier, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah gave the terms of reference of the committee.

He said these included assessing the potential cost and impact of the AFCTA for Nigeria in relation to the benefits, identify the short, medium and long-term measure to prepare Nigerian businesses for the take-off of AFCTA trading group.

He said the terms of reference also included “a backup plan that covers selected scenarios and view the trade remedy options to safeguard the Nigerian economy from predatory and failed trade practices.”

According to the minister, an updated trade policy is being prepared for Nigeria and the draft will be ready for review by the end of the year.

Other members of the committee include Ministers of Budget and National Planning, Foreign Affairs, Finance and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

The Economic Adviser to the President, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, President Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and President, Nigeria Labour Congress among others, are also members of the committee.

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Business News

US Ambassador Advises Nigeria To Diversify Economy

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US Ambassador Advises Nigeria To Diversify Economy

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has advised Nigeria to diversify its economy to experience deeper growth and development.

The ambassador gave the advice at the annual dinner of the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in Lagos on Sunday.

In a statement delivered by Ebuka Igochukwu, the chamber’s communication manager, Symington said Nigeria should reduce its dependence on crude oil.

Another speaker at the event, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, a former Nestle Foods Chairman, said Nigeria has to unearth the golden opportunities for economic growth and development. To do that, he recommended Agriculture and ICT which he said are viable alternatives to crude oil.

Honeywell chairman, Oba Otudeko, expressed concern bout the low performance of non-oil nigerian businesses in taking advantage of African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA.

NACC president, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, said the Chamber was committed to improving trade relations between Nigeria and the U.S.

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Entertainment News

Tunde Kelani Resigns As National Film And Video Censors Board Boss

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Tunde Kelani Resigns As National Film And Video Censors Board Boss

Iconic filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, hs resigned as boss of the National Film and Video Censors Board. Kelani blamed his resignation on the make-up of the board, and what he described as contradictions in the mentality of board members.

He said in a statement that his life and career do not fit into the set up of the board. The film icon said the structure is not aware of its functions, or what it is supposed to accomplish. Kelani said this has made it difficult for him to even try to fulfill those functions.

The filmmaker said he has decided to resign because he needed to spend his time and energy on productive, developmental, cultural, social and meaningful projects.

He said the change expected was not possible within such a large group of 52 members.

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Nigerian News

Drunk FRSC Official Causes Car Accident In Lagos

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Drunk FRSC Official Causes Car Accident In Lagos

It is a grave situation when an official, charged with guarding the law, himself is found breaking it.

That is the case of a federal road safety corps official who was allegedly drunk and who caused a car accident as a result in Lagos over the weekend.

The officer, Deputy Route Commander B. Ojeaamiren was reported to have been unable to react quickly to angry motorists whose vehicle he had bashed because of his alleged intoxication. His movement was said to be slow, and his speech slurred. The video of the incident has gone viral on social media.

Meanwhile, federal road safety corps marshal, dr. Boboye Oyeyemi has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, says the corps marshal has condemned the officer’s alleged behavior in its totality.  She also said the marshal has vowed to institute necessary disciplinary actions against the officer. He is quoted as sayng, if found guilty, the offending officer will face the law.

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