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.”
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.
Dangote advocates Unity, Cooperation among Africans to get global recognition
ACCRA – President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has charged African leaders and citizens to be united in the promotion of the continent’s intrinsic greatness through improved trade relations amongst African countries.
Speaking at the formal launch of the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System (PAPSS), which is a centralised payment and settlement infrastructure platform for intra-African trade and commerce payments, in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday, January 13, 2022, Dangote urged Africans to close ranks, in a bid to propel the continent towards charting her own course and being the master of her destiny, to maintain her rightful position on the globe.
Dangote, who was represented at the occasion by the Group Managing Director of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Olakunle Alake, lauded the African Union, under the auspices of the Afreximbank, for the launch of the PAPSS, which he noted was aimed at facilitating payments across the continent.
He asserted that improved trade relations would greatly enhance the speed of recovery across Africa, noting that it had the potential to boost the level of economic activities through intra-Africa trade. He also remarked that the advent of PAPSS would greatly address challenges such as: high-cost, lengthy correspondent banking relationships, delays, among many others, and therefore ease transactions among businesses across Africa.
He equally expressed optimism that PAPSS would enhance the volume of trade among countries, which were hitherto not recorded or were overlooked because of the informal approach towards these transactions. According to him, these were now captured to reflect the correct or at least close to the appropriate position of trading activities within the continent, while also boosting the level of economic activities across the continent.
Dangote noted the enormous potential and benefits of PAPSS, but nevertheless warned that such projects had their teething issues. He therefore urged regulators and participants across the continent to look beyond any such operational challenges and ensure a successful implementation of the PAPSS.
In thanking all the member countries and organisations who contributed to the success of PAPSS by playing key roles leading to the launch of the project, he invoked the words of Ghana’s first President and Prime Minister, and renowned promoter of Pan Africanism – Kwame Nkrumah, stressing that “The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater…”
Dangote thus charged African leaders and citizens to continue to promote the continent’s intrinsic greatness through improved trade relations amongst African countries.
Dangote Refinery Will Boost Growth of Downstream Sector in 2022, CPPE, Others Affirm
The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), an economic advocacy group, has identified Dangote Petroleum Refinery as one of the key expected drivers of growth that would impact positively on the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy in 2022.
Likewise, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, a financial institution, in its recent Economic Report for 2022, expressed a firm belief that Dangote Refinery would boost the growth of the downstream sector of the economy and enhance petroleum products distribution across Africa.
The Managing Director/CEO of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane, however, warned that the refinery, when operational, would not be a final solution to Nigeria’s economic crises. “The coming on stream of Dangote Refinery will no doubt enhance product distribution across Africa. Will Dangote refinery solve Nigeria’s problem? The answer is no. But the company is going to make Nigeria an exporter of refined petroleum products,” he added.
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In a Nigeria Economic Outlook for 2022 released by the CPPE, its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Muda Yusuf said activation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in 2022 is expected to impact positively on the economic outlook.
“We expect to see positive outcomes as investor sentiments in the oil and gas sector improve on account of the reforms anchored on the PIA. This will however depend on the political will deployed to drive the implementation of the provisions of the Act. It is also expected that the coming on stream of the Dangote refinery in 2022 will also impact positively on the downstream sector of the economy”, he added.
He said the average oil price in 2022 is expected to exceed the budgeted benchmark of sixty-two dollars ($62) per barrel, offering some fiscal headroom. This, he noted, would be powered by higher energy demand driven by the recovery of economic activities globally.
“This trajectory is expected to impact on our foreign reserve and strengthen the capacity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support the foreign exchange market”, Yusuf said. He, however, added that if the Dangote refinery comes on stream in 2022, the fiscal pressure on the economy may abate, but not completely eliminated.
According to the economist, because the service sector is less vulnerable to the structural constraints of the economy, especially the real sector of the economy, it will continue to outpace the real sector in 2022.
He said, “The service sector of the Nigerian economy will continue to outpace the real sector in 2022. In the third quarter of 2021, service sector contribution to GDP was 50 per cent and the growth of the sector was 8.41 per cent. The oil sector contribution to GDP was 7.5 per cent while the non-oil sector contribution was 92.5 per cent. While the industrial sector growth contracted by 1.63 per cent, agriculture grew by 1.2 per cent.”
Yusuf said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth would remain fragile at about three per cent, pointing out that the key expected drivers of growth would be sustained recovery of global oil price.
He said, “We expect that the average oil price in 2022 will exceed the budgeted benchmark of $62 per barrel, offering some fiscal headroom. This would be powered by higher energy demand driven by the recovery of economic activities globally.”
The economist noted that despite the downside risks, the economy would continue to present huge opportunities for investors across all sectors. “This is on account of the resourcefulness of the Nigerian people, especially the entrepreneurs. Other inherent strengths of the Nigerian economy include the market size, the population, and the demographic characteristics”, he added.
Dangote Cement Partners FRSC for accident-free road transportation
Dangote Cement Plc, Ibese has embarked on road safety awareness campaign as well as provision of road safety kits to motorists and commercial motorcyclists to help ensure accident-free road transportation.
Also, the Company, as part of its efforts at ensuring accident-free trucking disclosed that it has partnered with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to help in the recruitment, training and monitoring of its drivers.
Speaking during the awareness campaign, the Dangote Cement, Ibese Pant Director, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin explained that beyond the reduction of road crashes, the company was targeting zero accident, especially during festive periods when the roads are usually congested.
Explaining the theme for the Campaign, “Use Road Like Person Wey Sabi”, the Dangote plant Director noted that the message of being considerate while using the road is directed at its truck drivers, the commercial motorcyclists and drivers of light vehicles operating in and around the Plant, as well as other members of its communities.
He said, “I therefore enjoin all these actors on our roads who are well represented here today to learn and imbibe necessary tips to improve their use of the road in a professional manner and help cascade the safety messages to their colleagues hereafter.
“We, as Government, Corporate Organizations, Communities and Individuals must all join hands and play our part in ensuring safety on our roads because safety is a collective responsibility.
“Earlier today, we had taken the road safety campaign to our neighbouring communities via roadshows coordinated by FRSC and our employee Volunteers in recognition of the communities as our key stakeholders and partners.
“I am glad that the messages were well received, and it is our hope this will drive some attitudinal change in the way we use the road.”
In the same vein, the assistant director of transport in charge of safety and operation in Dangote Cement, Mr. Sanusi Iskilu revealed that the company is fixing board cameras on its trucks so as to help in achieving the zero-accident target.
Iskilu explained that Dangote cement also employed the service of external stakeholders who give feedback on the performances of its drivers, noting
“We have a lot of initiatives that we have taken on board. In the recent year, you will discover that our accidents have reduced drastically, and we have improved.
“Strategically, we have been able to fix onboard cameras on some of our trucks, so, we are able to see drivers in transit in their cabin and they are cautioned as well.
We have external stakeholders that give feedback of our drivers performance in transit for us to immediately act and ensure that they are monitored, and they are strictly brought under control.”
He added that the awareness campaign started with a reduction in road crashes and has now “moved from our campaign of no harm to people to no accident at all. So, if there is no accident, we can’t hurt anybody let alone killing and we want to consider everybody on the road. And this has even given us credibility from the public apart from the regulatory agencies.”
While giving his lecture, FRSC Commander, Caleb Yerima maintained that every road users need to adhere strictly to the rules and regulations guiding it while commending Dangote cement for embarking on the awareness campaign and the training of its truck drivers so as to help in reducing accidents on Nigeria road.
He said, “Dangote has been doing that; that is why they engage their staff in different training to enhance their performance. For spending billions of naira to purchase vehicles, it means that it also needs training them to preserve the vehicles. We cannot just hand over investments to someone that don’t know how to use it. And that is why training and retraining are very important.”
The highlight of the Dangote Plant Road Safety Awareness Campaign program was the presentation of hundreds of C-Caution, 500 reflective jackets and 100 motorcyclist helmets to the participants at the event.
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