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Dismantle Trade Barriers to grow Africa’s economy, Dangote urges Leaders 

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African leaders have been urged to dismantle trade barriers stifling their individual countries, in a bid to ensure smooth flow of goods and services, with a corresponding impact on economic growth and development across the continent.

 

The call was made by the Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Industries Limited, Mr Rabiu Umar, during an interview aired on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme of the Arise News Channel, on the sidelines of the just-concluded Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) held in Durban, South Africa.

 

Rabiu, who represented the Dangote Group, a platinum sponsor of the trade fair, also called for reforms at the various ports across Africa. He noted that “bringing down these barriers will mean that goods and services can move much more freely on the continent from one country to another.”

Dangote committed to Bridging Unemployment Gap                                  

He advocated improved infrastructure across Africa to promote regional integration, as well as the ease of regulations and bureaucracy that prevented free flow of trade across the continent in order to realise the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

 

Calling for enforcement of the Rules of Origin enshrined in the agreement, Rabiu also canvassed for 80 per cent of components of manufactured products to be sourced from Africa to avoid dumping of goods from foreign countries. He noted that there was a renewed interest in the Dangote group and Nigeria from other African countries at the fair.

 

Highlighting the benefits of the AfCFTA and its impact on manufacturers like the Dangote Group, he said, “The trade barriers highlights a lot of issues around infrastructure, around diplomacy, around ports. For example, if you take the port situation, you may get your goods to the port and it takes such a long time. If I give the example of Nigeria to get them out of the country or into the country.

 

“I was on a panel here and someone from South Africa said it’s cheaper to move goods from Durban to China than from Durban to Cape Town. So, the challenges are not just related to a particular region, they’re all across Africa,” he added.

 

Commenting on the renewed interest in Nigeria at the IATF meetings, with particular focus on his Dangote group, Rabiu said, “I think what has been impressive is the level of interest. From across the continent, many countries come in to find out what we do, trying to either sell us a solution or try to buy something from us. I mean, we’ve had people from all over.”

 

Speaking about the scope of operations of the Dangote Group, he stated that, “We have presence in 10 countries, like I said, including South Africa. So, we had people come in, who are in South Africa to ask to do business with us. We have had people who want to know about our fertiliser business, for example, and all sorts and of course, the famous refinery, people are interested in finding out more and how they can collaborate and do business with us. So, it’s been a worthwhile trip so far.”

 

Responding to question on how to boost Intra-African trade, Rabiu proffered vital tips like fixing infrastructure, tariff reduction, ease of payments and settlements as the top priorities.

 

According to him, “It’s a very difficult process. It is not just about the road transport or the quality of the roads you have. We don’t have a rail system and of course, you know, road transportation is very expensive. The second part is the tariffs, the systems and the process, the bureaucracy.

 

“So for us to get to where we need to get to, I think the key condition is to remove these barriers to trade, the biggest one being infrastructure, you need the infrastructure to move goods across the second part of it, you need to cut out the red tape, from a diplomatic perspective, from a customs perspective, or from even a payment settlement perspective. This is one of the things the Afreximbank has done with the settlement system among the African countries meaning that you are kind of dollarising the economies of these countries”, he said.

Business

Petroleum marketers threaten to down tools over unpaid claims

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Deeni Umar

Northern petroleum marketers under the aegis of Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum have threaten to down tools over unpaid claims to their members by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

The Chairman, Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum, Musa Yahaya Maikifi, made this known while speaking to Journalists in Kano.

He was reacting to the claims by the NMDPRA and its Executive Officer, Farouk Ahmad, saying that they have paid marketers the sum of N74 billion within the past seven months, out of which the Northern marketers received N42 billions of their bridging claims.

Maikifi called on the authorities involved to settle their unpaid claims from now to the end of this month, July 2022, or else they will down tools, as many of them are out of capital to transport petroleum to the northern parts of the country.

“The claim that Mr Farouk Ahmad made on the 29th of last month that he has been paying Independent Petroleum Marketers their bridging claims up to the amount of 42 billion which is not true. Couple of months ago, he paid some selected marketers huge amount of money. Maybe he was referring to those marketers.”

“Our general marketers comprising nine depots under my leadership; Kano, Kaduna, Gusau, Suleja, Minna, Maiduguri, Gombe, Yola and, Jos, none of us collected such kind of money.

“All the money we are using to lift the product are now with him, so, in the next few months, we won’t be able to buy the little product people are seeing now. We can’t even afford to buy it because all the money is now under his custody.

“We have given him up to the end of this month, if he refuse to pay us our money, we are going to take an action that will not be good for him, the north and Nigeria at large.

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“Before we receive our money in a month, two or three months highest, but now it’s more than a year. The last payment we received was May last year he paid.

“Rejection of payment is seriously disturbing our marketers. If nothing comes up by the end of this month, we are going to collaborate with our mother association – IPMAN to make sure that we take serious action that will not be good for him and everybody.”

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) had in a statement counter allegations made by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN Suleja Branch) on product scarcity as a result of non-payment of bridging claims.

The Authority said, “bridging payment is an ongoing process which is carried out after due verification exercise by the Authority and Marketers.

“So far, the Authority paid N71.233,712.991 bridging claims and another N2.736.179.950.84 freight differentials to the Marketers as at 6th June. 2022.

“A breakdown of payment made to Marketers is as follows: Major Marketers (MOMAN) received N9.958.777.487.24, IPMAN members were paid N42.301.923.616.96. NNPC Retails N6,661,459.118.61 while DAPPMAN members were paid N12.303.195.651.57, these translate to a total of N73.969.892.941.84.”

It added that it is disheartening that despite these payments and increase of N10 bridging cost, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago. IPMAN could turn around to accuse the NMDPRA of insensitivity.

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Transport Claims:IPMAN Threatens Legal Action

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By Our Reporter

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has threatened to drag the management of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to court over its purported claims on the payment of N74 billion transport claims to marketers.

Recall that the management of NMDPRA had on Wednesday, 29th July 2022, said It had paid marketers N74 billion within the past seven months.

The Chairman IPMAN Northern chapter, Alhaji Bashir Danmalam made the threat while addressing a news conference in Kano on Thursday.

Danmalam, who was reacting to the purported payment, said the claim was not true as their members were not paid unless the payment was made to the “ghost marketers”.

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The IPMAN chairman challenged the management of the NMDPRA to come up with the names of all the marketers who were paid to prove their claims.

“I’m surprised to hear the story on payment of the N74 billion claims by the Chief Executive of the agency, Faruk Ahmed Maishanu. Either he was misinformed or he does not know what is happening in the place.

“Who and who were paid the money? I know some of the marketers who are being owed N10 billion each. So for him to say that the agency paid N74 billion to marketers is not true.

“So, we can only agree with the said payment if the money was paid to “ghost marketers” or if it is part of the rejected waybill.

“The Federal Government should sack this man because he is not competent to hold such a sensitive position in view of the fact that he doesn’t know what is going on there,” he said.

He noted that the inability of the agency to settle the marketers transport claims amounting to about N500 billion was responsible for the persistent fuel shortage being experienced in the country.

Danmalam said based on the investigation conducted by IPMAN, It was discovered that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had recently released over N70 billion to the agency to pay marketers which had yet to be paid.

He lamented that before now, their members were being paid their claims within one or two months as against the present system of payment.

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FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school

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Leading Cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc, on Wednesday launched the Dangote Articulated Truck Driving School in a move aimed at inculcating safe driving culture in its drivers so as to stem the tide of road crashes.

The opening of the school in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Company management reasoned, would also make the drivers become better road users.

The Academy, which was officially commissioned by Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, was characterized as historic and unique.

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The new Academy for truck drivers, according to the Corps Marshal, is a significant step forward that will benefit not only the Dangote Group but Nigeria as a whole.

The country’s top road safety official hailed Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, for taking “a big step” towards reducing truck accidents.

He said: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. You made it. I have observed that Dangote has done a lot to address truck crashes and I must commend them for this.”

He extolled the conglomerate for leading other companies on this path, saying the new school will play a key part in the country’s efforts to make roads safer.

He said he had suggested such a school long ago, adding that he is happy that the school has come to fruition.

In his remarks, the National Director, Logistics of the Dangote Cement (Transport section) Mr. Juan Carlos Rincon, said the new school is an expression of the determination of the company to bring to halt the incidences of auto crash in the country.

Speaking also Executive Secretary National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Idris Bugaje who was represented by Engr S.M. Yusuf, said the NBTE will partner with the Dangote Cement Plc for a successful accreditation and takeoff of the new school.

In his remarks, the Bajana of Obajana HRH Oba Idowu Isenibi said he was optimistic that the school will help address auto crashes in the country, even as he described the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as a “rescuer and God sent to their communities that should be emulated by other investors in the country.

Speaking in the same vein, the Olu of Akpata Oba Frederick Balogun urged other investors to emulate the company.

Both the Dangote Cement Transport and the FRSC signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on how to cooperate to ensure that the school is a success.

In the same vein, Dangote Cement organized thorough block molding training for block makers in both Kano and Katstina states respectively. This, according to the company is to ensure that the blocks moulded for building constructions are strong, reliable, and durable, noting that some block makers do not really know how to make strong and reliable blocks.

The Coordinator of the programme, Mr. Johnson Olaniyi, said the workshop would give the block molders and allied product manufacturers the opportunity to once again build capacity and adhere to global best practices.

 

Mr. Olaniyi said the Dangote Cement Plc is desirous of reversing the trend of collapse building through the capacity building of block manufacturers.

 

Meanwhile, government representatives, quality regulators, cement dealers, block makers, and end-users have come to an accord that Africa’s cement giant produces the best quality of cement on the continent.

The stakeholders who attended the meeting also said the ongoing nationwide workshop and sensitization of block manufacturers will help check the menace of collapsed buildings in the country.

 

Speaking at the workshop in Kano, representatives of the Kano State Government Alhaji Muhammad Garba Kwall said that Dangote Cement Plc is not only the biggest company but produces the best quality in Africa.

 

He described the company as socially responsible and that’s why it is giving back to society through the sensitization workshop and creating various platforms for educating end users to mitigate the incessant incidences of collapse building in the country.

 

Speaking, Regional Director, Kano Directorate, Standard Organization of Nigeria(SON), Mr. Albert Wilberforce urged block molders to patronize the quality cement produced by the Dangote Cement Plc, adding that the SON was partnering with the company and ensuring that only quality cement are produced by the company.

 

In the same vein, The Kano State Coordinator (II) of SON Engr Hauwa M. Husseini urged the block moulders to comply with standard practice in order to prevent the menace of collapse buildings in the country.

 

Speaking also, Regional Sales Director for Northwest  Aliyu Dan Aliyu urged participants to be ambassadors by telling their customers about the quality of the cement.

 

He said: A customer who wants to build a house, doesn’t know the quality or type of cement to use. It is the responsibility of the builder to advise him on the desired cement to use for quality building.

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