Items filtered by date: Saturday, 15 June 2019
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele has disclosed a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari ordering the blacklisting of companies importing restricted items into the country.
 
Emefiele gave the information on Friday during a meeting with oil palm producers in Abuja.
 
According to Emefiele, the directive also mandated the apex bank to expand and provide support to firms and individuals that want to expand the production of ten different commodities in Nigeria.
 
The ten different products are rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cotton, oil palm, poultry, fish, livestock dairy and cocoa.
 
Published in Business
The African Diplomatic Group (ADG) in Nigeria has pledged to give financial and other supports to Nigeria government to stem the forced displacement in the country.
 
The Dean of ADG in Nigeria, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cameroon, Amb. Salaheddine Ibrahim said this at a dinner to mark the 56th Anniversary of Africa Day in Abuja.
 
ADG comprises of all African Diplomatic Missions accredited to Nigeria.
 
Africa Day is observed annually by member states of African Union to commemorate the founding of the organisation of African Unity on May 25 1963.
 
The AU had declared 2019 as the Year of Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement.
 
Ibrahim who noted with concern that over two million people were displaced due to different crisis which include insurgence and inter community dispute in Nigeria.
 
He therefore announced donation of N1.5 million by the community to Nigeria through the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Person to assist in alleviation of the displaced persons in Nigeria.
 
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mustapha Sulaiman, represented by a director in the Ministry, Mr Lot Egopija, commended the community for their donation.
 
Sulaiman pledged that the fund would be used to assist the displaced persons through the Commission.
 
The President of Egypt and AU Chair of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Abdul Fatal Al-Sisi in a message called for additional joint efforts in resolving conflicts and problems on the continent.
 
The president who was represented by the country ambassador to Nigeria Mr Assem Hanafi Elseify noted that joint efforts were bearing fruits in resolving conflicts and problems that had long crippled respective countries in their quest for stability.
 
He expressed delight on commendable strides made by the continent towards
sustainable development as enshrined in the adoption of Agenda 2063.
 
Al-Sisi lauded the steps taken to launch the African Continental Free Trade Area which he said was expected to boost intra-African trade.
 
The Chairperson noted the importance of tapping into the amazing potentials of the continent human capital.
 
“In this respect the role of Africa’s dynamic youths and also the dividends of empowering women as pillars of our vision for a better Africa can not be overlooked,” he said.
 
Published in Business
Traders in Ilorin have called on Nigerians to patronise locally made goods as a means of growing the nation’s economy.
 
Some of the traders, who spoke in Ilorin on Saturday, expressed worry over Nigerians sentiment against home made products and their preference for foreign products.
 
A clothes seller at Unity area, Ilorin, Mr Philip Ibenjo said most customers demand for foreign products when they came to his shop.
 
“Many customers prefer to buy made in Italy products than made in Nigeria. They reject everything made in Nigeria as they perceive it as inferior,” he said.
 
Another businessman, Mr Clement Adams said many customers prefered buying foreign shoes from him and usually rejected locally made shoes.
 
“I hardly sell most of my Made in Nigeria wears as many customer will always ask for foreign ones, no matter the effort I made to convince them that the local wears are also good,” he said.
 
The owner of Classic Boutique, Mrs Tayo Ogundeji advised Nigerians to patronise locally made goods, adding that such products could compete favourably with the foreign ones.
 
“Allowing importation of foreign goods and influx of foreign materials into the Nigerian market is detrimental to the growth of the local industries.
 
“Nigerians’ minds have been polluted because 90 per cent prefer foreign products to Nigerian products due to their mentality and mindset that foreign products are better,” she said.
 
Another business man, Mr Idowu Babatunde said Nigerians had been mentally brainwashed towards foreign goods, adding that Nigerians need to revive their confidence in locally made products.
 
According to him, too much preference for imported goods over the local ones will kill Nigerian local industries.
 
Babatunde, however, called on the Federal Government to ban importation of such goods to allow companies producing locally to grow.
 
Another trader who sells provisions, Mrs Dupe Kareem said that customers prefer to buy foreign biscuits and drinks than those made in Nigeria.
 
“Most customers are foreign freaks and see nothing good in our locally made products. Many of my made in Nigeria products are becoming outdated because they are not patronised.”
 
Kareem called on National Orientation Agency (NOA) to embark on awareness campaign to sensitise Nigerians on the need to patronise local goods as it would create jobs for the youths.
 
“Starting from our various homes, schools, churches, mosques and work place, Nigerian products should be sang as a National Anthem,” she said.
 
Published in Business
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said it lost a total of 11,000 barrels per day to oil theft in 2018.
 
Disclosing this on Thursday at a Media Workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism, Shell’s General Manager, External Relations Mr. Igo Weli, said this is an increase of about 20 per cent over previous year.
 
The number of sabotage-related spills increased during the same period to 111 compared to 62 in 2017 and, since 2012, SPDC has removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points.
 
He said: “Shell is concerned that the repeated sabotage of recently repaired pipelines exposes the environment and people to renewed and worsening pollution. Oil theft is focused on short term fiscal benefits, ignoring the long-term effects of environmental degradation.”
 
Also speaking at the workshop, Shell’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said SPDC implemented work programmes to appraise condition of, maintain and replace key sections of pipelines and flowlines.
 
He added that In 2018, the company installed 70 kilometres of pipelines and 188 kilometres of flowlines.
 
“Over the last seven years, SPDC has replaced approximately 1,300 kilometres distance of flow lines and pipelines. In line with industry regulations, SPDC only pays compensation if the spill is operational.”
 
Weli who referred to the ogoni clean-up said, “SPDC actively supports the clean-up process along with other stakeholders. SPDC remains fully committed to providing its share of $900 million (N283.73 billion) over five years to the Ogoni Trust Fund as stipulated in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) gazette and the agreed governance framework.”
 
Published in Business

On Wednesday the 29th of May 2019, the Federal Republic of Nigeria again swore in President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office. For many Nigerians, the administration’s return to power presents an opportunity for it to consolidate many of its reform agenda.

Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation's head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état.

Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation's head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état.

This piece argues that given the multifarious challenges that the new Nigerian Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) already faces, i.e, from Nigeria’s status as a developing country, the commission can take advantage of the institutional openings presented by the new Nigerian regime, to advance its objectives.

Importantly, beyond the technical issues of the necessity of a competition culture, and resources, for the efficacy of the new Nigerian competition law, the broader administrative law context of Nigeria is also relevant. Here, the newly re-inaugurated Nigerian administration presents some key opportunities, the Nigerian agency can utilize.

Specifically, the generally accepted denominators of a successful competition law are the relevant social norms of competition; the requisite resources to sustain or galvanise the framework, when it is introduced, and the appropriate legal structures to interface with the enacted law to actualise the law’s objectives.

For example, concerning the social norms, the relevant social practices that priorities the acceptability of ‘competition’, as a market value, and necessitates its inclusion in the relevant markets, contribute highly to the success of a competition law. In the key jurisdictions where the law has flourished, the broad-based social acceptance of ‘competition’, as a desirable social value, and the norm by which the market ought to be regulated, greatly advances the purposes of the jurisdictions.

In the US, for example, the country’s anti-trust law was originally inaugurated on, and continues to be sustained by, a social acceptance of competition over the grip of ‘cartels’. Similarly, in other jurisdictions, the success of the regimes draws from the broad-based social acceptance of ‘competition’, i.e., over other forms of monopolistic tendencies, especially, by the relevant societal actors.

Concerning resources, the availability of the requisite human and financial resources, for the enforcement of a competition law, forms the bedrock of the efficacy of the law. Similarly, the appropriate legal framework refers to the complimentary ancillary rules and procedures that will assist the enforcer of a country’s competition law achieve its aim. A good example is the existence of plea bargaining in the US. However, beyond the above ‘technical’ requirements, for a competition law, other societal components are also relevant. They include the overall, broader, societal ‘space’ within which the adopted law of a country will operate, and the absence of corruption to ensure that the introduced law will be free of hijack and distortion.

The relevant broader social space or ‘culture’ refers to the broader social perceptions that guide the general attitudes of citizens towards the laws of a state (or how the citizens perceive the overall legitimacy of a state’s laws to be), and the absence of corruption refers to the bedrock or institutional ‘normalcy’, of a state, that guarantees the long-term success of its laws or frameworks.

In Nigeria, the condition of the above parameters, before the ascension of the current government, is documented. Especially, within previous regimes, a pervasive and institutionalised dissatisfaction, with the government, and the process of governing, existed in Nigeria.

A 2012 report submitted to the United States Congress by the Secretary of State John Kerry has alleged massive corruption at all levels of the Nigerian government.

A 2012 report submitted to the United States Congress by the Secretary of State John Kerry has alleged massive corruption at all levels of the Nigerian government.

Also, a concretised and largely unchallenged, grand, form of corruption was also the norm. The first (disaffection) flowed from the absence of genuine and targeted pro-poor programs, in the previous administrations (or the failures of the same where they existed), and the latter (corruption) arose from the complicity of the governments, in the vice of corruption, coupled with the manifest lack of punishment for corrupt figures where they were discovered.

However, with the current administration (while by no means perfect), a huge chunk of the regime’s popularity has arisen from its demonstrated willingness to interrogate the above status quo. Specifically, two areas where the government has been successful, include its pro-poor social agenda and the regime’s war on corruption.

In the first case, for example, following the regime’s inauguration, in 2015, the administration introduced various social measures to combat the almost institutionalised sense of inequality in Nigeria. Examples of measures introduced by the regime include the Nigerian Social Investment Program (N-SIP), consisting of the N-Power program; the Home-Grown School Feeding program, and the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme meant to assist petty traders, university graduates, NCE holders and less-privileged Nigerians.

Other schemes also include the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan—that established the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, constituted of the government and key private sector representatives at the highest levels of the country; agriculture sectoral initiatives—including the Nigerian Anchor Borrower’s program, operated by the Central Bank of Nigeria and kicked off to assist subsistent and industrial farmers improve their quality of living and reduce Nigeria’s dependency on imports, and the Special Presidential Committee on key commodities, set up to effectively strategise the Nigerian government’s efforts in the area. The government has also embarked on a wide range of infrastructural developments to foster a sense of inclusion amongst Nigerians and improve their lots.

In addition to the above, the current administration has also been aggressive against corruption; with the country’s anti-corruption agency recording at least nine hundred and forty-three anti-corruption cases between 2015- 2018. Particularly, during the period, erstwhile ‘powerful’ and ‘untouchable’ entities in Nigeria have been arrested, with some currently serving jail terms. The list includes serving senators of the federal republic of Nigeria; past governors of states and federal ministers; a serving chief justice of the federation; different judges; the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the heads of various governmental parastatals.

Other measures that have been also put in place by the administration to combat the menace of corruption in Nigeria include, the implementation of a Treasury Single Account (TSA); a whistleblowing policy; an Efficiency Unit of the government, and an Integrated Payroll Personnel System (IPPIS), implemented across the various governmental MDAs, to enhance the efficiency of the government and remove unjustified payroll entries from the government’s fiscal registers. 

Admittedly, the above measures by the current Nigerian administration hardly touch directly on the technical prerequisites for the success of a competition law. But they open up significant opportunities which the new Nigerian competition law commission can utilise to advance its objectives.

Especially, the success of a competition law is informed by the political, social, cultural and institutional fertility of the forum into which the law is introduced. Furthermore, in Nigeria, owing from the nation’s ostentatious status as a developing country, the country already faces significant drawbacks, in its ability to operationalise a competition law. Therefore, both facts make the above ‘successes’ of the current Nigerian administration relevant.

The Nigerian agency can adopt the following measures to advance its objectives.

First, the agency can take advantage of the current good will of many Nigerians, to advance the formative message of the importance of a competition law for Nigeria. Particularly, the current Nigeran administration’s social programs have reduced (not eliminated) the previous, characteristic, suspicion of many Nigerians towards the government. This reality presents a distinct opportunity for the competition agency to position itself as a socially inclusive organisation, working in line with the Nigerian Federal Government, to better the welfare of Nigerians. A successful utilisation of the strategy, by the commission, will reduce its resource burdens.

For example, in the face of the current widespread social acceptance by Nigerians, more Nigerians will be willing to voluntarily obey the competition law, as espoused by the agency, and Nigerians will also be willing to distribute the information of the commission, thereby reducing its overall costs. Here, the agency can achieve the objective by recruiting popular Nigerian (entertainment) figures and community leaders to share the message of social and economic inclusion, through competition, and the commission can also take advantage of the prime role religion plays in the Nigerian society.

Second, the Nigerian competition commission can also utilise the current federal government’s ‘war’ on corruption to advances its mission. Specifically, the commission can couch anti-competitive practices as a form of corruption that disadvantages Nigerians.

Further still, the commission can also carefully select cases to prosecute, relying on the currently reduced chances of ‘hijack’ by corrupt judges on appeal, in Nigeria, to get its message out. (A similar strategy has been successfully adopted by the Nigerian EFCC, a comparable law enforcement agency). The competition commission can also take advantage of the anti-corruption policies of the current federal government and lobby for the extension of the same to anti-competitive practices. One such key policy is the Nigerian whistleblowers’ policy, set up by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), in December 2016. A key component of the whistleblowers’ policy is the Nigerian federal government’s attempt to undermine the secrecy that ordinarily advantages corruption in Nigeria, including by providing financial rewards (parts of the recovered booty) to informants.

Therefore, by relying on the already functioning Federal Government of Nigeria’s policy on whistleblowing, and especially its provision for financial rewards to whistleblowers, the Nigerian competition commission can integrate an otherwise problematically developed competition law tool, and leapfrog certain advanced jurisdictions (including the United States of America).

Competition law reform is a complicated form of legal engineering and the analyses typically focus on the existence of technical prerequisites for the success of regimes. However, in developing countries, issues beyond the above technical analyses are also relevant. In the contexts, interrogating broader questions of the overall societal and institutional ‘space’ of a competition law is crucial. This piece has highlighted specific opportunities that currently exist under the present Nigerian administration. The opportunities are non-traditional, but they are significant, and the Nigerian agency will be better off if it utilises them.

The writer Dr Bob Enofe is an international researcher in International and Comparative Competition Law

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Sudan risks becoming another failed state like Libya or Somalia if the opposition and military don’t agree on a transition process, Tibor Nagy, a senior U.S. diplomat warned on Friday.
 
A positive outcome in troubled Sudan would be an agreement that leads to a civilian government, while a negative outcome could lead to the “type of chaos that exists in Libya or Somalia,” said Nagy, assistant U.S. secretary of state for African affairs.
 
Nagy said the mood changed dramatically on June 3, when Sudanese security forces orchestrated a deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters.
 
“Until June 3, everyone was so optimistic,” he told reporters in a phone briefing.
 
Over 100 people were killed and around 500 injured during the crackdown on a mass sit-in in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, according to an association of doctors aligned with the protest movement.
 
The protesters had been demanding that the military, which toppled long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir in an April coup, hand power to a civilian-led government.
 
Nagy said that the U.S. was supporting the African Union’s efforts to mediate between the civilian opposition and the governing transitional military council for a road-map towards elections.
 
But when asked about possible sanctions, Nagy didn’t rule out the option. “The U.S. always says that all tools available remain on the table,” he said.
 
Published in World
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