Importers of processed vegetable and poultry products, tooth pick, eggs and other items restricted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from its foreign exchange window have actually been indirectly creating jobs for foreign countries in the past. The restriction was introduced in 2015 to support the naira after it was hammered by a fall in oil prices. The policy has, however, led to the closure of plants in various sectors, as some manufacturers are unable to import raw materials or spare parts needed to stay in production. It was gathered that 95 of the affected items are raw materials not locally available.
Last week, the apex bank, having maintained its position on the restriction, however, noted that only importers of items classified as “ineligible for forex” with transactions value of $20,000 and below per quarter only qualified for allocation, subject to completion of form Q.
The 41 items
Some of the items restricted by the apex bank include rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel/palm oil products/ vegetables oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and processed vegetable products and poultry chicken. Also included are eggs, turkey, private airplanes/jets, Indian incense tinned fish in sauce, cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets, roofing sheets, among others.
Statistics by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) revealed that over 200 factories had been short down within the space of two years due to inability to secure foreign exchange to import the necessary raw materials for production. The association noted that the restriction had been harmful, stressing that there were 95 raw materials which could not be found in the country
According to the Director General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, “there are 680 tariff lines in the 41 items restricted by the CBN from receiving forex at the official window.” He said: “Our members are unable to source raw materials at exchange rate that will allow them to produce for profit. He noted that it was wrong to deny any manufacturing industry the materials required to produce its goods. Ajayi-Kadir argued that if the CBN had consulted widely, importers of raw materials would have been able to avoid a situation where raw materials were probably inadvertently included in that list. He stressed that MAN would have given CBN many more products. that would have been on the list of items which the manufacturers would not need to buy forex to obtain.
The director general said that one of the ways out of recession was to remove some items from tariff line listed on the 41 items. Ajayi-Kadir said that the items should be taken out from the list in order to protect the ailing manufacturing sector from total collapse. He noted that MAN had been trying to engage the Federal Government and the CBN on the issue, saying that the restriction has had more negative impact on the industry.Ajayi-Kadri explained that if forex was not locally available or not in the right quantity, the impact would be detrimental to manufacturers and workers.
The director general stressed the need for the government to provide a conducive and friendly operating environment for manufacturers to operate. “An environment that is not conducive is like taking the fish out of water,” he said. Also, Mr John Aluya, Chairman, Corporate Affairs and Logistics/ Strategic Planning Committee of MAN, noted that maritime sector was important to manufacturing because most raw materials were imported. He said:
“The ease of getting our raw materials is important to us. There is a slow pace of cargo clearance, which is affecting the cost of doing business and Nigeria is not alone in this league.” There is need for manufacturers and the CBN to address the challenges identified in the items restricted from the forex policy.
NPA export plans suffer setback
Plans by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to move export containers by water from Ikorodu Lighter Terminal (ILT) to Lagos Port has suffered a setback, 12 days after it was flagged off.
It was gathered that a barge ferrying the first batch of manganese from the terminal to Lagos Port was programmed to spend six hours on the water but the barge is yet to arrive the port since it began its voyage.
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala- Usman, had on February 7, 2018, launched the exportation of the solid mineral from Ikorodu to APM Terminal, Apapa, through badges.
However, it was learnt that the terminal is still awaiting the arrival of the vessel 12 days after the badge left Ikorodu.
A source at the terminal explained that the service provider, Connect Rail Services Limited (CRSL), had not given any reason why the consignment had not reached the port.
When contacted, the Chief Executive Officer of CRSL, Edeme Kelikume, could not offer explanation why the barge ferrying the consignments was yet to get to Apapa port.
The managing director asked for time to respond but as at the time of this report, he was yet to get back to our correspondent. It would be recalled that Usman, at the event, said the movement of the solid minerals was of huge economic advantage to the country. She noted that using barges to ferry containers of solid mineral across the waters to the AP Moller Terminal within Apapa Ports would help to elongate the life of port roads.
She called on stakeholders to key into the window of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and restated NPA management efforts at complying with the Federal Government’s directives on the ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports while the rehabilitation of the ports access roads are on-going.
Govt’s policies hinder blue economy’s development
Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa considered to be sea-blind because of its low level of awareness of the resources, which abound underneath the sea. Also, the country is currently facing challenges of insecurity and bad government policy to tap some ocean resources estimated at $24 trillion.
Other challenges are criminal activities at sea, climate vulnerability, poor infrastructure, environmental degradation, illegal mining, marine pollution and unauthorised fishing.
In Nigeria, there is no fusion of policies that can bridge shipping and fisheries under a maritime economic regime.
While Nigeria’s shipping policy, which is considered obsolete, stands alone, national fisheries policy, superintended by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, operates in isolation.
For instance, Nigeria’s Sea Fisheries Act 1992 does not have provision for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF). This, to some extent, has hindered blue economy’s development.
Blue economy deals with all economic activities associated with the oceans and seas.
The resources include fish, oil and gas, deep sea mining of refractory clays, iron and heavy minerals like garnet, rutite, spatile, tourmaline, hydrocarbon, gold and zircon
Others are aquaculture, biomedicine, boats and shipbuilding, cables and pipelines, coastal zone management, defence and security, water treatment, marine recreation, ocean energy and minerals, ocean science and observation, port operations, robotics and submarines, shoreline development, telecommunications, marine tourism, very large floating platforms, harbours, ports, and coastal zones, weather and climate.
For the country to create a blue economy regime, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has, therefore, stressed the need to amend its obsolete legislations to conform to the present day ocean sustainability realities.
It also noted that the maritime economic growth should be given proper attention by government to enable Nigeria take advantage of the vast resources in the seabed. Its Director General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, at a media parley in Lagos recently, said that the seas and oceans were central to the concept of blue economy and important tools to achieving sustainable development in Africa.
According to Peterside, the country’s seas and oceans are overlooked when it comes to th issue of sustainable development in Africa.
He noted that the country could benefit from the deep sea wealth by working with the International Seabed Authority (ISBA) in the area of seabed resources exploration. Peterside called for desirable blue sea economy framework, participatory engagement, agenda setting, participatory policy design and multi-sector partnership.
Already, the director general explained that the agency had sought the assistance of ISBA in the area of capacity building to survey deep sea and establish the database of mineral resources available for the benefit of all mankind. According to Peterside, “NIMASA is working with Nigerian Navy to effectively enforce the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other relevant international maritime instruments to which we are a party around our continental shelf.
Also, he said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation was developing a country blue economy policy and strategy, which will incorporate the sustainable development of the country’s deep seabed resources. In addition, he said that the agency had equally recognised the need for increased partnership and collaboration with the judiciary in the actualisation of the country’s collective vision for the sustainability of its shipping and maritime transport sector in a blue economy
Also at the media parley, Sam Omatseye, Chairman, Editorial oard, The Nation, urged maritime journalists to report the potential of the blue economy to enable Nigerians to key into the platform. According to him, studies had revealed that ocean resources could sustain an economy.
Omatseye said that journalists should be able to understand the blue economy and its relevance before they can enlighten the public on its potential. He said: “There are about $24 trillion of wealth in blue economy, which is open for humanity to tap.”
Echoing him, the Managing Director, ThisDay Newspapers, Mr Eniola Bello, also said that blue economy could assist Nigeria to improve on tourism and create jobs within the West Africa region. Bello called for the establishment of good government policies to help the blue economy initiative to flourish.
Peterside said that if government was able to tackle the maritime challenges, the country would be able to sustain the concept of the blue economy. He noted: “We need to put suitable policy in place to enable us achieve all the potential in the blue economy.”
For the blue economy to flourish, the director general said that government must maintain peace and security as well as technological innovations.
Peterside stressed the need to create an institutional framework or structure for coordinating the inter-ministerial commission for seabed resources to achieve the potentials of blue economy.
According to him, protection, conservation, preservation and sustainable use of aquatic biodiversity must be at the centre stage of the blue economy.
Government must invest in infrastructure to boost and block all loopholes in order to exploit blue economy
NPA moves against poor container stacking
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that shipping companies that litter the port roads with empty containers under the guise of holding bay will be sanctioned.
It said that severe sanction would be meted out to erring organisations, which refuses to obey rules guiding the directives after a one week window.
In a statement, the authority’s General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Abdullahi Goje, quoted the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, as saying during a quarterly stakeholders meeting in Lagos, that the management had set up a committee to liaise with representatives of terminal operators to review existing concession agreement within the shortest possible time.
She urged the stakeholders to remit outstanding payments and dues meant for NPA as quickly as possible.
Usman said that NPA would provide an enabling environment for efficient port services in view of the vital role the maritime sub sector plays.
The managing director said that machinery had been put in place to ensure a level playing field for operators doing business in the sector.
National news10 hours ago
Publish all properties recovered by EFCC, owners before selling them, Fayose tells FG
News22 hours ago
Poll sequence: Senate moves to punish pro-Buhari senators
Metro and Crime24 hours ago
We snatch Nigerian cars, sell them in Benin as Tokunbo
Metro and Crime24 hours ago
17 herdsmen held over Benue massacre
Sports23 hours ago
World Cup: Rohr shuts door on Enyeama
Politics24 hours ago
Concession: Reps talk tough on Ajaokuta Steel Company
Politics24 hours ago
POLITRICKS: Curing Amosun’s favour ahead of 2019
Politics24 hours ago
Piecemeal restructuring won’t guarantee true federalism –Sowunmi