Buhari seeks duty-free market access for least developed countries
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on developed and developing nations to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from the world’s 46 least-developed countries to ensure their integration in regional and global value chains.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman in a statement, said Buhari, who made the call in Doha, Qatar, at the UN Conference of Least Developed Countries, maintained that this had become imperative to ensure their integration in regional and global value chains.
The president strongly criticized the current structure of the global financial system which places an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.
He warned that such debt burdens would make it extremely difficult for LDCs to meet the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
‘‘In 2015, the world came together to endorse the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.
”There was no doubt that it was highly ambitious and would require leaders around the world to be fully committed for the SDGs to be achieved within the projected timeframe.
‘‘Eight years on, the possibility of achieving the SDGs remains bleak for many countries, particularly, the Least Developed Countries.
”The difficulties in achieving the SDGs are numerous and were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued threat of Climate Change, and recently the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
‘‘The Least Developed Countries are often faced with developmental vulnerabilities and challenges that are not always of their making.
”These pose huge obstacles to their development efforts, hence the need for urgent and robust assistance to help unlock their potentials and build socio-economic resilience.”
According to him, this assistance can be provided within the framework of the Doha Programme of Action which is designed to help LDCs exit their current classification.
The Nigerian leader challenged developed countries, civil society actors, the private sector, and the business community, to partner with the LDCs in order to provide necessary resources and capacity to deliver development outcomes in the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the 2030 Agenda.
He listed some measures that would help LDCs recover from COVID-19, achieve SDGs, develop and prosper over the long term.
‘‘As a matter of urgency, there are a number of priorities we have to focus on to help achieve the SDGs in these countries and ensure their prosperity.
”First, COVID-19 has taught us that we must all work together, to ensure that diseases do not thrive in the LDCs, due to their overall negative impact on productivity and economic growth and development.
‘‘Accordingly, policy and budgetary provisions must be made to ensure equal access to medicare and vaccines, for both the poor and the rich alike.
”We must also work with manufacturers of medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate equipment, test-kits, vaccines and treatments for diseases.’’ he said.
While expounding on the issue of rising debt burden, Buhari underscored the need for reforms of the international financial architecture that prioritizes the need of Least Developed Countries.
He aligned with the United Nations Secretary-General’s description on the global financial system as an “unfair debt architecture that not only charges poor countries much more money to borrow on the market than advanced economies, but downgrades them when they even think of restructuring their debt or applying for debt relief.”
On trade issues, the president said: ”It is important to put in place modalities to facilitate transit cooperation, transfer of technologies, and access to global e-commerce platforms, as they are critical for the integration of LDCs into the regional and global value chains and communications technology services.
‘‘The adoption of a global coordination mechanism to systematically monitor illicit financial flows and engender support for a United Nations International convention on tax matters to eliminate base erosion and profit shifting, tax evasion, capital gains tax and other tax abuses is essential to achieving the SDGs and promoting security and economic prosperity,’’ he stressed.
On Nigeria’s expectation for the Conference, Buhari expressed optimism that the Doha Programme of Action would lead to the acceleration of exports from LDCs by 2031, through the facilitation of their access to foreign markets in line with World Trade Organization Facilitation Agreement.
On climate change, according to Buhari, LDCs continue to suffer disproportionately despite contributing least to its causes.
He added that countries must prioritize cutting global emissions and work with determination to hold warming to 1.5 degrees, thereby securing the children’s future.
‘‘We must also commit to helping build resilience in developing countries, while also providing the needed technical as well as financial support for a just transition to renewable energy,’’ he said.
According to him, climate change remains one of the biggest existential threats facing humanity today, posing challenges to lives and livelihoods, and manifesting in different negative forms, including increase in temperature, rise in sea levels, flooding, drought, and desertification.
‘‘It has also led to significant loss of biodiversity. Worst still, climate change has exacerbated conflicts and led to unplanned migration, causing untold hardship in places like the Lake Chad Basin region.
‘‘The Least Developed Countries therefore continue to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, despite contributing the least to its causes.
”Deaths from climate related crises are higher in the most vulnerable countries, with projections that there will continue to be an upward trend.
‘‘We must continue to focus on how best to ensure the provision of security, education, health and other basic services to our people, in order to guarantee a prosperous future for all,’’ he said.
Buhari commended the State of Qatar for hosting the Conference and thanked Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir, for inviting him.
He also expressed appreciation to the UN for its excellent organisation of the conference and its continued support for the LDCs.
The president also explained his presence at the conference despite the fact that Nigeria is not categorised as one of the Least Developed Countries.
‘‘Nigeria is here to show solidarity and support to the LDCs in the quest to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in this decade of action, where no one should be left behind,’’ he said. (
Coy income tax for Q4 2022 stood at N753.88bn — NBS
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says aggregate Company Income Tax (CIT) stood at N753.88 billion in Q4 2022.
This is according to the NBS Company Income Tax (CIT) Q4 2022 Report released in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to the report, it showed a growth rate of -6.95 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis from N810.19 billion in Q3 2022.
The report said local payments received were N353.90 billion, while foreign CIT payments contributed N399.98 billion in Q4 2022.
It said on a quarter-on-quarter basis, the water supply, sewage, waste management and remediation activities recorded the highest growth rate at 57.40 per cent.
“This was followed by activities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods- and services-producing activities of households for own use at 45.19 per cent.
“On the other hand, information and communication activities had the lowest growth rate with – 65.75 per cent, followed by arts, entertainment and recreation activities at -64.09 per cent.”
In terms of sectoral contributions, the report showed that the top three largest shares in Q4 2022 were manufacturing at 31.20 per cent, financial and insurance activities at 12.96 per cent and Information and communication activities at 12.77 per cent.
“On the other hand, activities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods- and services producing activities of households for own use recorded the least share at 0.01 per cent.
“This was followed by water supply, sewage, waste management, and remediation activities at 0.12 per cent, and activities of extra-territorial organisations and bodies at 0.14 per cent.”
The report, however, said, on a year-on-year basis, CIT collections in Q4 2022 increased by 116.75 per cent from Q4 2021.
CPPE sets economic agenda for incoming administration
The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprises (CPPE) has set an economic agenda for the incoming administration aimed at signalling investors’ confidence and repositioning the Nigerian economy.
CPPE Founder, Dr Muda Yusuf, in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, said Nigeria’s current political transition offered a great opportunity to chart a new course and redirect the country’s economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sen. Bola Tinubu emerged as President-elect of the country at the Presidential election on Feb. 25.
According to Yusuf, Nigeria’s economy is in a stumbling and fragile state and in dire need of a new direction.
He suggested that the incoming administration should establish quality economic governance consistent with tested economic principles and empirical evidence, contextualised within socio-economic peculiarities.
This, he stressed, was critical from the onset of the administration to signal investors’ confidence.
Yusuf added that good economic governance framework should entail the setting up of a technically sound transition committee on the economy to provide policy direction and urgent reforms within one month.
He emphasized the need for a competitive economic environment with level playing field and minimum monopoly dominance.
“They should expand the role of markets for value delivery, boost private enterprise, carry out robust review of economic framework and engage in regular stakeholder engagement to ensure proper alignment of policies with investors sentiments.
“Government institutions that play technical roles should be headed by tested technocrats,” he said.
Yusuf advocated the need for the incoming administration to prioritise macroeconomic stability with emphasis on moderating inflationary pressures, stabilising the exchange rate and boosting economic growth.
He added that tax reforms, fuel and foreign exchange subsidy elimination to save N7 trillion and N3 trillion respectively were pertinent.
“Nigeria must unlock more income from revenue generating agencies through enhanced efficiency of their operations and initiate budget reforms to ensure fiscal discipline, curb budget padding among others.
“The administration must also ensure value for money in government expenditure and procurement and commit to reduction in the cost of governance,” he said.
He tasked the incoming administration to demonstrate unmistakable commitment to the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to attract more investment into the oil and gas sector.
He added that the current impressive momentum to tackle oil theft should be sustained and the practice of the President assuming the role of Minister of Petroleum should be discontinued.
Yusuf said that trade and tariff reforms should include a tariff regime that adequately protected local industries, to facilitate industrialisation.
He added that import duty on intermediate products and critical industrial inputs should be reviewed to reduce production costs adding that tariff review processes should be more inclusive and transparent.
He called for the removal of all customs checkpoints within the country, saying that the practice of intercepting cargoes that have been duly cleared at any of our ports should be discontinued.
The CPPE boss said that policies on agriculture must be holistic, focusing on the entire value chain.
He stressed that due attention should be given to cost and availability of inputs, production and productivity, application of technology, logistics and marketing, processing and storage.
Yusuf noted the urgent need to transit from subsistence farming to mechanised and commercial agriculture, driven by technology.
“There is need to attract the youth into agriculture as the farming population is rapidly ageing and this would only happen if sector is technology driven.
“Nigeria must strengthen the linkage between agriculture and industry within a sustainable backward integration framework,” he said.
Tincan Port fencing will enforce automated access control gate usage – Bello-Koko
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Friday said that the concrete fencing of Tincan Port would help enforce the usage of the automated access control gate.
Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, NPA, said this during a tour of the Tincan Port in Lagos, to ascertain the level of execution of contract awarded.
Bello-Koko noted that the tour was to look at operations at the port to see what had been achieved so far, especially in terms of improving sanity and ensuring that only people that should be in the port have access.
“We can see that Tincan has now been fenced, using concrete walls from the outside. The essence is to secure the port, not just because of safety, but also to restrict entrance.
“There are individuals that just wake up in the morning and want to come into the port with no business in the port.
“By reducing the number of persons, by restricting entry into the port, we are ensuring that we reduce pilfering and theft, reduce thugs and miscreants into the port.
“Then, it will create an enabling business environment within the port location as referred by the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code,” he said.
He noted that fencing of Tincan Port would ensure individuals who had no business in the ports are kept out, adding that the use of automated access control gate would be enforced.
Bello-Koko said he was impressed to see fewer people at the port unlike how it was in the past.
The managing director said, “we will keep enforcing and restricting entry into the port to only those that have businesses in the port”.
The NPA boss noted that as regards safeguarding the waterside, what they had done was to increase patrol.
He said that NPA had purchased security patrol boat for the waterside and working with the Nigerian Navy, within the ports in Lagos, to increase their own patrol.
“We are working with the Nigerian Navy Ship(NNS), Beecroft and there are parts of the port along the waterway that we felt should also be fenced, but we are looking at the best option due to the soft nature of the ground.
“So, if we can’t fence the waterfront what we should do is patrol it, restrict access into the port from the waterside using the patrol boats and surveillance.
“Our security men are up to the task and we will keep giving them all the tools that they need to improve their communication. We will keep improving it and we will buy more patrol boats to ensure the waterfront is also secured,” he said.
As regards residence in little island across the channel around Ogogoro, Tomato island and others on security, Bello-Koko said that the authority was engaging the communities on the efforts in cleaning up the area.
“We are engaging them through community and stakeholders interactions. We are also working with the Lagos State Government, we once had the 360 degree operation, which first of all went round to remove all shanties along the port corridor.
“We went to those islands to ensure residents that do not need to be there, were removed,” he said.
He added that the authority was waiting for the elections to be over and at the right time working with the Lagos State Government and the communities to ensure that the operations takes place, again.
He added that the rehabilitation of internal roads in the nation’s ports was ongoing and was aimed at reducing the complaints of users of the ports.
“People are complaining of the roads leading to the port, which is the responsibilities of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Works.
“We felt we should ensure that the roads within the port are in good state and thus, the ongoing rehabilitation.
“It has started raining in Lagos and we came to look at the level of execution of the contract we awarded,” he said.
He said that the contractor, Avalon Intercontinental Nigerian Ltd., assured him that the section of the contract of the roads would be concluded in two-weeks time.
He noted that the authority would ensure that it was done as the location had issue of flooding.
“They have created drainage outlets into the main creek, the portnovo creek, to ensure evacuation of water.
“We are doing it at other port locations in the country. We are doing that in Onne, Calabar and also Rivers Port, just to ensure that roads within the ports are in a very good state,” he said.
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