THE U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center hosted the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah for a roundtable discussion with U.S. business executives at their office in Washington, D.C.
The conversation, aimed at enhancing trade and investment relationship between both countries was held on Tuesday.
This comes in the context of a telephone call between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump Monday, where both Presidents discussed security and economic issues. It is seen as suggesting the U.S. consideration of Nigeria as a strategic partner.
“The U.S. has historically been one of Nigeria’s top trading partners; it was the biggest importer of Nigeria’s crude oil at some point. In the last five years, however, the sharp decline in U.S. imports of our crude, on account of rising domestic production of shale, has altered the trade balance between our two countries.
This development presents Nigeria with a good opportunity for diversification and to explore and increase non-oil export – especially in agricultural products, services and the digital economy,” said Minister Enelamah.
On his part, the President of the U.S.-Africa Business Center and Vice President for African Affairs at the Chamber Scott Eisner, stated that “With the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is an important partner for U.S. businesses. Our conversation highlighted the work being done to strengthen the economic relationship between our two countries and how we can continue to build on this relationship.”
With the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is an important partner for U.S. businesses
Enelamah also participated in a Facebook Live conversation with the U.S.-Africa Business Center following the roundtable. Some of the companies that attended the gathering include Google, Microsoft, Blackstone, Procter and Gamble, UPS, Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific, Philip Morris International, Lekoil Oil, ITIC, among others.
It was gathered that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country-and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad. The U.S.-Africa Business Center is the preeminent voice in the global business community advocating for increased trade between the United States and Africa.
After the roundtable, the Minister went on to attend events focusing on the Ease of Doing Business and Investment at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Hudson Institute. He answered questions from a mixed audience of business executives, government officials, diplomats and others.
He similarly had meetings at the State Department with the outgoing Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas Greenfield and U.S. Trade Representatives for Africa at the Commerce office.
Issues on the agenda at the state department ranged from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), SMEs, Nigeria’s leadership on the Continent and continued engagement with the new administration, while the commerce office focused on trade and the WTO.
Minister Enelamah was accompanied by his Trade Adviser and Chief Negotiator Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Special Adviser Bunmi Adeoye and Strategic Communications Adviser, Constance C. Ikokwu.
‘I can’t be blackmailed, no more business as usual’ – FCC boss, Dankaka spits fire
The Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission (FCC), Dr Muheeba Dankaka, has said nobody can blackmail her over sponsored false and fabricated stories to smear the Commission and her name, in her quest to return sanity to the system.
Dankaka also warned the purveyors of the fake news to get used to ‘no more business as usual’ as indeed the Commission has entered a new dispensation.
According to her, the Commissioners cannot work in isolation, stressing that the Directors and Career officers will join in the smooth operation of the Commission
The FCC boss, in a statement released on Tuesday and made available to newsmen in Abuja, by the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs & Communication, Dipo Akinsola, disclosed that no fewer than thirty commissioners are currently working in harmony to bring positive changes. She added that under her watch, the Commission has recorded successes in all areas and centralized the administrative structure of the monitoring and enforcement department.
The statement reads, “My attention has been drawn to a social media report in circulation in which it is alleged that some commissioners accused me of holding them to ransom by taking over their jobs and giving same to Directors with impunity. Over 30 Honourable Commissioners are currently working in harmony with me in bringing positive changes.
“Five of the Commissioners are fighting for their personal and selfish interests; they want business as usual in the Commission which is not possible under my watch. The contents of the publication are false and mere fabricated stories to dent my image and that of the commission through social media.”
Dankaka, in the statement, also revealed that the monthly monitoring allowance of Commissioners has been embedded into their monthly salaries as approved by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RAMFAC).
“These allegations are not true in all areas. We assumed office during the peak of the terrifying COVID-19 which slows down the operation of government generally.
“We thank God that there is an improvement in the allocation to the Commission by President Muhammadu Buhari, once the implementation of the year’s budget commences, there will be an improvement in the activities of the commission”, Dankaka assured.
DAWN commission proffers solution to fulani herdsmen, farmers skirmishes
The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN Commission, has proffered solution to the frequent skirmishes between farmers and Fulani herders in Nigeria, attributing it to the archaic open grazing practice.
DAWN Commission, through its Director General, Mr Seye Oyeleye suggested that governments at all levels should make urgent arrangements to stop open grazing adding that in the 21st century, nobody should be engaging in this practice.
He advised the government and stakeholders to embrace modern methods of cattle ranching.
According to him, “governments at all levels and the stakeholders in the agricultural sector should accept and embrace modern methods of cattle ranching to solve the recurrent problem of collision between farmers and herders”.
Speaking on the agenda that brought Lagos state into the fold of O’dua Investment Company after it was initially excluded by past western states’ leaders, the DG said the coming on board of the former capital of Nigeria is already adding more economic benefits to O’dua, DAWN commission and to the sister states including Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.
He said, “Lagos State has the fourth biggest economy in Africa. It is only logical that the governors decided that Lagos should be brought on board at O’dua and DAWN Commission did a lot of work in the background because Lagos State is an integral part of Yorubaland. It is a logical thing for the five states to collaborate and work with Lagos”.
DAWN Commission boss made all these known on Monday evening while featuring on Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Continuing, Oyeleye also informed that the commission was established to promote and engender cooperation and faster development among the six states in the western part of Nigeria, since they have the same economy, culture, challenges and speak the same language.
He equally avowed that the six states have been speaking with one voice in several areas in relation to the recent developments that was experienced by the collaborating states which led to the ban placed on all forms of open grazing in all parts of the South-West as adopted by all stakeholders during the recently held governors’ meeting in Akure, Ondo State.
He said, “prior to the coming of DAWN, the six states did not have any formal avenue to meet. The coming of the commission created an official platform for the states to come together on a regular basis to work towards economic development”.
On the issue of restructuring of the country being clamored for by the people of the western states, the DAWN Commission Boss stated that Nigeria is not a truly federal state. He noted that the powers given to the federal government by the constitution made it too powerful and this has not helped the states, adding that his commission is working on advocacy to ensure that the yearnings of the people of the region are respected.
He condemned the 1955 Railways Act that gave only the Federal Government the exclusive rights to the building of railways.
While addressing the issue of the South West Security Network codenamed Amotekun, he stated that the governors must be given kudos for implementing the idea while praising them for their determination to see to the success of the project despite the teething problems encountered at the initial stage.
Oyeleye, however, disclosed that the commission is open to receiving support from well-meaning Nigerians and private sectors in terms of technical and financial help while admonishing that the governors should do more to ensure that the commission is well funded.
Catholic bishops advocate review of Nigeria’s security architecture
Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses, on Tuesday called for a thorough review of Nigeria’s security architecture.
The bishops, who gathered at the Jubilee Conference Centre in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, also expressed concern over the rising insecurity in the country, adding that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call.
The meeting had in attendance, Most. Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, (Ibadan), Most. Rev. Felix Ajakaiye (Ekiti), Most. Rev. Emmanuel Badejo (Oyo), Most. Rev. Felix Job (Ibadan).
Others are: Most. Rev. AyoMaria Atoyebi (Ibadan), Most. Rev. John Oyejola (Osogbo), Most. Rev. Jude Arogundade (Ondo) and Most. Rev. Paul Olawoore (Ilorin).
According to them, “With the current realities, it has become more necessary than ever to demand the review of Nigeria’s security architecture. Given the campaign promises of the present government and the cauldrons of insecurity erupting all over the country, it is unfortunate that the Federal Government has remained impervious to this call. As a consequence, we parade a Nigerian Army that has not been able to effectively check the atrocities of Boko Haram for over a decade. How does one deny the allegation that kidnapping and banditry are abetted by government when even State governments pay bandits and herdsmen as a means of placating them?
“How can we claim to have a Nigeria Police, when the body is no longer trusted to protect the same people it was set up to serve in many parts of the country?”, the bishops questioned.
The Catholic Bishops, in a communique jointly signed by the President, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and the Secretary, Most Rev. John Oyejola at the end of their first meeting for the year 2021, identified the ongoing effort of the governors of some South Western States to regulate the activities of Fulani herdsmen within the zone, noting that insincerity, selfish interests and lack of political will had in the past, caused needless destruction of life and property and inflicted untold pain and hardship on innocent citizens.
However, they urged the governors to shun deceptive adulations and empty promises on issues that impact the security of life and property.
The communique read, “they must work with the security agencies to courageously implement the law in all cases and sanction those who blatantly and murderously flout it in their territories. No Nigerian or foreigner should be above the law in any part of the country.
“It is frustrating to see Governors, constitutionally empowered as the first security officers of their States, being impeded and rendered ineffective by mitigating actions and pronouncements allegedly made on behalf of the Federal government, when they take lawful steps to respond to security needs in their States. Such manner of governance, that exerts itself to protect the interest of a segment of the population at the expense of the security of life and property of the majority, makes the emergence of militias and self-appointed messiahs inevitable.
“We therefore join all well-meaning Nigerians who have called on the authorities to allow alternative and lawful initiatives which are established for protecting life and property like the South Western Security Network (SWSN), codenamed Amotekun, to thrive. Such initiatives deserve to be supported and optimised as a complimentary security organization for the benefit of the people in different parts of Nigeria”.
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