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African Iron and steel confident Buhari will resuscitate Ajaokuta steel complex before end of tenure

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African Iron and steel confident Buhari will resuscitate Ajaokuta steel complex before end of tenure

**says no meaningful development without steel in any country

Deputy Secretary general of the African Iron and steel Association (AISA), Solomon Femi Adeyemo has expressed the confidence that Ajaokuta steel Company would be back on track as enunciated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He spoke over the weekend when he recieved a certificate of credence given to him by Public Office Holders Association of Nigeria (POHAN) for excellence.
Adeyemo based his confidence on the believe that the issue is very close to the President’s heart and so he does not have any doubt as to the coming back on stream of the steel complex.

The steel complex which was said to have been 90% completed in 1984 by late 0Nigerian first executive President Alhaji Shehu Shagari had been abandoned by successive administrations and the gigantic project has been lying fallow almost in the shadow of its potentials.
Shehu Shagari and Leonid Brezhnev led Nigeria and Russia when the two countries first started to build the Ajaokuta steel rolling mill in 1979.

Forty years after Nigeria returned to Russia for a bilateral agreement to resuscitate the now derelict steel factory complex.
The accord to revive the Ajaokuta project was reached during a meeting between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia in October last year.
The partnership was meant to help get sections of the factory into production before the end of 2019, according to, the minister of Mines and Steel Development Olamilekan Adegbite.
We are now almost at the close of 2020 the project is yet to be completed.
The deputy secretary general said from the pronouncement of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when he said he has set up committee of professionals who will look into the immediate take off of the Ajaokuta Steel, ‘all we need to do is to keep our fingers crossed and be praying for that committee that has been set up so that they hasten up.’

Adeyemo indicated that the minister at another forum was also quoted as saying that they are making sure that the Ajaokuta steel complex takes effect and seen to be working before the exit if the President Buhari administration. “We can just pray for them that this promises will come to pass.”
On what it means for Nigeria if Ajaokuta is made to be working he said,
“Firstly, Steel is the bedrock of every development in any country, go to China, go to Asian countries where we have Steel industries that are working they put them to use, even the per capita income of China at a time was measured by the Steel that they produce so you see there cannot be any meaningful development in any country without Steel it is not possible.”

We had a committee that was set up by world Steel Association and we called it sustainability study group, I was part of that sustainability study group and we found out that there is nobody who goes out that has no element of Steel on him.
“There is no way any person will dress up and there is no element of Steel on him.
“Check your Biro, your button, some of the designs on your cloths, so Steel is so important that we carry it along with us anytime, anyway and everywhere we are. Imagine that about 200m people in Nigeria are carrying one product of Steel in one form or the order.
“Think of the level of production, think of the products. To come to look at Ajaokuta Steel, you see there are other industries that are tied to this Steel complex.
“It is an integrated Steel complex, that means every other one comes to support it. Look at the downstream effect, is it those that are going to be building or those that are going to be using it for one thing or the other.
“Think of the thousands of products that would be coming out of it just like in the issue of the Petroleum product where Nigerians base their argument on just petrol, what of all other products that are associated with it?
“We are not talking about the black oil, petroleum jelly that we can get out of it, we are just talking about petrol, and that is what we are talking about in the Steel sector.
“In the Steel sector we have so many other things that are attached to it.

He said though non of the African Iron and steel Association members is a member of the committee however
very many of the committee members are engineers adding that they have the confidence they will deliver as promised.

He said on behalf African they have written to the Federal Government to congratulate them for taking that bold step and the committee thank them as they agreed to get back when their inputs are needed.
He expressed the hope that the committee is going to work objectively and call those who knows something about this thing to come and chip in their own knowledge.
The deputy secretary general said the proposed multiple railway projects to achieve Intermodal Transportation in the country as captured in the 2021 budget by the federal Government would easily be achieved as Ajaokuta will be handy in producing that railtracks.

He recalled at a time when Government was about to build the Stadium in Abuja when the association went to the President then, chief obasanjo and told him, the Nigeria steel industries to produce the Steel quantum of the Stadium and the answer was not favourable.
“We should be looking for way forward and that is those who knows the thing should be allowed to do it. We should use our local content to achieve our purpose.”

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Economy

Post COVID-19: FG explores indirect tax, ICT to shore up revenue says Finance minister

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Post COVID-19: FG explores indirect tax, ICT to shore up revenue says Finance minister

The minister of finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has reiterated the Federal Governments determination to explore all possible avenues including indirect taxation such as ICT driven tax to shore up the country’s revenue.
She spoke when the chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) Abuja and District Society visited on sensitization to mark the tax week.

The minister who spoke through a director in the ministry Fatima Hayatu said because of the experience during the COVID-19 lockdown the tax drive is being redirected to ICT.
“We have all seen from the COVID-19, we were all in Lock down,  but we were using our phones and technology, that is why we are now going to ICT driven tax and we are going to be taxing more of the digital technology.
She said Post COVID-19 indirect taxation is where most of the taxes will be coming from.
“The theme; ‘Tax, Politics and social contract’ is very apt in the present situation, Nigeria needs all the taxes more than before, as a ministry we will give the CITN all the support it needs to carryout it’s basic duties.
Chairman of FCT Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Alhaji Abdullahi Attah said considering the fact that the country is now seriously looking for money and oil is dwindling the next option is taxation.
Speaking through Director Human Resources in FCT IRS Muhammad Jada, he said there is every need to take taxation seriously and ensure that the trust reposed in them is not be betrayed
“It is an important organization and an important week where the trust and the integrity is the key.”

The chairman CITN Abuja district Dr Nwabuzor M. Emeke said they are organising the annual tax week as a week they lay emphasis on tax advocacy and sensitisation.
“This year we have chosen the topic that has to do with tax, politics and Social Contract
What are we trying to say, we are looking at it from two perspectives, and equally encouraging Government to fulfil their own end of the bargain so that when Nigerians see what the Government is doing with the proceeds from tax they would be encouraged to pay taxes.
He said in so doing they CITN Abuja district is organizing a seminar Tuesday at Merit House, where about four eminent professors will speak on issues about taxation. “The issue of tax cannot be over emphasised because we all know what Nigeria is going through in terms of the dwindling oil revenues, so the Government is deploying more efforts on tax issues and that is on your shoulder as FIRS and we as CITN that regulate tax in Nigeria is partnering with you to ensure that you achieve your target that is given to you by the Federal Government.

The chairman of FIRS Muhammed Nami said they attach importance to the Relationship between FIRS and CITN as many directors in FIRS are also members of CITN
Represented by the coordinating director digital support group of the Federal inland Revenue Service Dr. Achek Maidugu he said,
“The CITN is part and parcel of the FIRS, most of us are members with the Abuja and district society.
“FIRS holds CITN in high esteem as critical stakeholder we appreciated and we always identify with CITN.”
He said they have been supporting CITN adding that they will continue the partnership.

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Economy

AEC urges African Govts. to invest in home-made products as post COVID-19 strategy

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AEC urges African Govts. to invest in home-made products as post COVID-19 strategy

By Mustapha Sumaila

The African Economic Congress (AEC) has urged African Governments to invest in home-made products as a means of fast-tracking development as post COVID-19 strategy to recover economy.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AEC, Mrs Nancy Nnaji said this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Nnaji said this suggestion was part of recommendations of various speakers
at the just concluded 2nd Edition of the annual conference held recently by AEC.

The meeting had the theme: “Post COVID-19: Africa in the New Economic Order”.

She said the conference had also recommended that Africans should prioritise research as a tool for sustainable development on the continent.

According to her, Africa is advised to move for self-reliance in the coming years, by harnessing and leveraging its abundant resources both human and materials to drive economic transformation.

She said the meeting noted that agricultural sector was key to Africa’s economic transformation and by developing it, abundant resources could be provided to finance the 2063 African union agenda to curb unemployment, food shortage, malnutrition and extreme poverty.

The founder stated that “Africans are also enjoined to be educated on the technical know-how to improve agriculture on the continent.

“Governments must increase the yearly allocated budget for agriculture and promote private sector engagement to avoid inadequate funding.

“To increase the level of value addition of food exports, there must be an investment in innovation and technology around local processing and infrastructure building.

“There is need for digital literacy skills, critical thinking skills, technical skills, soft skills, entrepreneurial skills, and certification programmes should be incorporated into the learning curriculum in all levels of education to produce self-reliant and employable graduates” she added.

Nnaji also added that the conference advised on the need to improve broadband connectivity to support interactive online learning and teaching. (NAN)

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Economy

Hope for border reopening dims as agric minister reiterates indefinite closure

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Hope for border reopening dims as agric reiterates indefinite closure

The Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, has said that the Federal Government was not ready to reopen the borders, so as to boost the country’s agricultural sector.
He stated this, at the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers affected by the recent flood in Kebbi State on Saturday.
He said Nigeria borders will remain locked and the key thrown into the lagoon.

He said: “Nigerian farmers have been performing well by producing such food items as rice, millet, guinea corn, and Shea butter, among others. We are not ready to reopen the borders, which is why the Federal Government is ready to support the dry season farming to regain what farmers lost to the flood disaster.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero, supported the continued closure of borders, to encourage the growth of local rice farming.
He commended federal and state governments for supporting flood victims in the state.
The Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu Abubakar, represented by the Deputy Governor, Col Ismail Yombe Dabai (rtd.), thanked the Federal Government for the kind gesture. He assured me of equal distribution of the items.
He appealed to the Federal Government to increase the quantity of the items, to enable them to go round the affected people.
The items shared included rice, millet, guinea corn, and beans, among others.

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