Nigerian Senate President Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Kwara Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA), to take advantage of the state's competitive edge in rice production by setting up processing mills.
Saraki, who stated this when the leadership of the KWACCIMA visited him in Abuja, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, however commended the Chamber for improving the economy of Kwara State through their individual and collective effort.
He noted that there is need for close collaboration between the private sector and government to grow the economy by capitalizing on the policies of government aimed at diversifying the economy through agricultural production, especially rice farming and processing.
Saraki said: "This is an area that government has done a lot through the Central Bank by providing funding for both the farmers and industrialists that want to set up rice processing mills and industries.
"I think we are well positioned for rice production particularly in Kwara North. Let us look at this area through your Chamber to see how we can facilitate the setting up of rice processing mills.
"Definitely, my office will be ready to work with you to see that Kwara State gets its own fair share in the support that the Federal Government and the Central Bank are doing in providing funding in this area," he said.
He stated that a major focus of the 8th National Assembly has been in how to reduce the bottlenecks in the economy by improving laws to bring about the ease of doing business.
He said that the passage of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Bill by the Senate during the week will help a lot of Nigerian companies going forward.
The National Assembly comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved and passed the 2018 budget, raising it by N500 billion.
Penpushing recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 7, 2017 presented the budget to a joint session of the National Assembly, while both houses of the National Assembly on Tuesday received the budget report of their appropriation committees
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on appropriation, Danjuma Goje, at the Senate said the increase of N500 billion was done in consultation with the executive, adding the increment was informed by a decision to increase oil benchmark from the proposed N45 to N51.
The exchange rate of N305 to a dollar and production of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day was adopted as proposed by the executive.
Goje said the funds accrued from the increment will be spent on some projects already earmarked by the committee, stating that the surplus fund was spread on some ‘critical sectors’ in consultation with the executive. He gave a breakdown of how much more will be spent on different sectors.
According to the report, N42.72billion will be spent on security, N57. 15 billion on the 1 per cent vote for health as mandated by the National Health Act, N106.50b billion for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Ogun State Area Command said it has reduced the numbers of checkpoints manned by personnel of the service, explaining that the step was geared towards achieving one of the core functions of the service and to passionately key into the federal government executive order on ease of doing business.
The Comptroller of the Command, Michael Ojobo Agbara, made this known to journalists while parading the seizures made by the Command in the last two weeks of his resumption into office in Idiroko border town of the state.
The Customs boss also disclosed that the officers and men earlier manning the removed checkpoints have been redeployed to the hinterlands in order to reinforce the might of other officers. He said the command intercepted 3, 041 bags of bags of foreign rice suspected to have been smuggled, and 99 packs of Indian hemp within two weeks.
Agbara said he has visited and held critical meeting with stakeholders including colleagues in Benin Republic, traditional rulers and other sister security agencies towards promoting synergy geared at effective and efficient service delivery.
He also said within the period under review, 295 kegs of smuggled vegetable oil, 221 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), 24 smuggled secondhand vehicles and 28 bags of sugar were also seized, adding that three bales of secondhand clothes were also intercepted.
The Customs boss said four suspects were arrested in connection with the smuggling of various prohibited items, noting that one of them has been charged to court. He explained that the seizures were made in its areas of coverage in Abeokuta and Idiroko axis.
Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry (NACCIMA) has lauded the recent visit of President Muhammed to his US counterpart, Donald Trump stating that the meeting was certainly a reflection of the cordial bilateral ties between Nigeria and the United States.
The National President of NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson stated this in a press statement made available to Penpushing, pointing out that the visit can also be viewed as a reflection of the geo strategic importance of Nigeria within the framework of larger US foreign policy interest in Africa
‘NACCIMA have taken note of reports on the recent three days visit of President Muhammed Buhari to the United States which reportedly yielded some gains particularly in key areas such as security, economic and trade cooperation, refund of looted funds as well as support for infrastructure’,she said.
‘The invitation by President Trump to President Buhari to visit the U.S was certainly a reflection of the cordial bilateral ties between Nigeria and the United States. The visit can also be viewed as a reflection of the geo strategic importance of Nigeria within the framework of larger US foreign policy interest in Africa’.
The US-Nigeria Trade Council USA has described the recent visit of President Muhammed Buhari to the United States as a major milestone to strengthen US-Nigeria relations, deepen economic and military cooperation between both countries.
The Council in a statement signed by the Titus Olowokere (President / CEO) and Sennami Goziem Director, Marketing and Communications made available to Penpushing, emphasized that US-Nigeria Trade Council USA believes that the translation of the benefits of the visit, to the growth of small, medium and large businesses in the trade and education ecosystem is even more significant, and should be aggressively pursued.
‘The United States and Nigeria should focus less on the politics of the visit but rather drive explicit policies to lower the barriers of trade and promote economic inclusion on both sides’, the council stressed.
The Council stated that, the following sectors in the trade relations between United States and Nigeria are of immediate concern and must be essentialized: Immigration; E1 and E2 Treaty Visa: The US-Nigeria Trade Council calls on Nigerian government to sign a trade treaty with the United States to take bilateral advantage of the E1 (Nonimmigrant, Treaty Traders) and E2 (Nonimmigrant Treaty Investors) visa program. With the E1 / E2, treaty visa category.
The Council pointed out that the U.S. welcomes those who perform a great deal of trade or investment in the United States and create value for the American economy through job creation and business growth.
‘This is less complicated than the more known EB5 immigrant investor (green card) program. An E1 Treaty Trader Visa holder can remain indefinitely within the USA for as long as he or she fulfils the conditions required by this visa. Several Nigerians, by their investment and trade in the United States qualify for this simple visa category’.
‘However, applicants must be a national of a treaty country and a requisite treaty for commerce and friendship must exist between the two countries to promote business and stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, no such trade treaty exists between Nigerian and the United States’.
‘Countries that have trade benefits from this visa category include Argentina, Togo, Liberia, Ethiopia, Congo, Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, Jamaica and Cameroon. It is vital that Nigeria and the United States sign such trade treaty’, the council pointed out.
‘Tourism Visa validity: As with other non-immigrant U.S. visas, a B-1/B-2 visa has a maximum validity period of 2 years and allows for one or multiple entries into the United States from Nigeria. This unfortunately has led to long wait times for US visa and sometimes business opportunities are lost’.
‘We call upon the Foreign Affairs Ministry as well as the US Secretary of States to expand this to 10 years. Currently US visas issued from Australia has validity period of 5 years; France 10 years, Kenya 5 years and little-known Kyrgyzstan-5 years’.
‘We commend both the Presidents of the United States and President Buhari of Nigeria for giving priority to infrastructure development particularly in Nigeria where there is currently an infrastructure deficit’.
‘The allocation of 30% to capital expenditure in the three Nigerian budgets of 2016, 2017 and 2018 is a step in the right direction. With their understanding of the value of infrastructure, President Buhari should use his visit to White House to make a case for attracting more FDI /partnerships with the U.S on infrastructure’
‘Nigeria is one of America’s largest trading partners. However, most of US imports are made up mainly of crude oil. Stripping out the oil, the U.S. would have a huge trade surplus. To revitalize the Nigerian economy and create jobs, the US-Nigeria Trade Council emphasizes the need to export more non-oil products to the U.S. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) must be retained and strengthened to facilitate the access of African exporters to the U.S. market. The AGOA Act’.
‘Also, Nigeria must be recognized as a valuable trade partner and preferred source of agricultural and solid mineral raw materials and semi-finished materials to help support United states processing plants 2nd US-Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Summit & Expo’
Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS), Ogun State Area Command on Wednesday disclosed that it has generated N1.413bn revenue between 1st January and April 18, 2018, and also seized 118 vehicles which included smuggled 'Tokunbo' cars and others used as means of conveyance of smuggled goods.
The immediate past Area Controller, Sani Madugu made the disclosure at handover ceremony to his successor, Michael Agbara at the Idiroko border office, explaining that the seized vehicles were seized across the state.
Madugu said the command within time under review made 110 seizures with duty payable value of over1 N731m,stating that 16 motorcycles, 5,512 bags of smuggled foreign rice, 907 kegs of vegetable oil, 406 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit and sacks of Indian Hemp among others were also intercepted from smugglers around Idiroko axis.