The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has launched a N 36 billion Export Development Fund to be disbursed to targeted export-oriented projects in the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector across the country.
The Managing Director/ Chief Executive, Mr Abba Bello, who disclosed this at the exporter enlightenment forum for the South West region held in Akure, the Ondo state capital, pointed out that a minimum of N1billion for every state of the Federation to be disbursed to targeted export-oriented projects in the SME sector,
Bello said that “As the nation’s Export Development Bank, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), is in the vanguard of promoting economic diversification, towards increased jobs creation and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“In this regard, and in line with the Zero Oil Plan of the federal government, which seeks to develop at least one exportable commodity in every state of the federation, we have launched the State Export Development Fund.
“Under this programme, we have earmarked a minimum of N1billion for every state of the federation to be disbursed to targeted export-oriented projects in the SME sector, towards crowding in investment and promoting regional industrialization and economic development.
“This fund is also expected to support the various states to benefit from the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to which Nigeria is a signatory.
” As you may all be aware, the AfCFTA, which commenced in January 2021 comes with enormous benefits, including a borderless market of about a 1.2billion people, with a combined GDP of about $3.4trillion.
” It, therefore, offers our SMEs, particularly those engaged in cross-border trade, the opportunity to increase their sales under a more liberal market condition.
“This scheme also seeks to corporatize and onboard our informal exporters into the formal sector, and through this capture the huge volume of informal trade which has been estimated at about four times the value of recorded trade.
“While our intervention under the State Export Development Programme is targeted mainly at export-oriented projects promoted by the private sector, the State governments have a major role to play towards creating an enabling environment for the effective utilization of the fund, particularly in such areas as land allocation, issuance of permits and other necessary support.
“We have already commenced discussions with some state governments on this scheme and we hope to continue the engagements with all the state governments present here at this forum.
“Aside from the State Export Development Programme, NEXIM also offers other intervention schemes, which include the Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF), which was recently launched as a financial inclusion strategy for the vulnerable groups.
” We also have the N500bn Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility, which is targeted at the medium and large-scale exporters.”
Bello lamented that “it is rather a paradox that despite our huge human and natural resource endowments, Nigeria remains a mono-product economy, with the crude oil sector contributing about 70% of government revenue and about 90% of export earnings.
“Nigeria has over 44 solid minerals in commercial quantities, found all over the country, largely unexploited.
“The point of emphasis is that our country is so blessed, and our economy need not be tied to the vagaries of one commodity, which contributes less than 10% of our Gross Domestic Product.”
The Executive Director, NEXIM Business Development, Mrs Stella Okotete said the bank came to Ondo State because of the export potentials available in the state.
She said the bank was ready to partner with the southwest governments to develop the export capacities in the region.
On his part, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said that Governors in the Southwest are steadily working together in the Agriculture sector through the formation of the Southwest Agric Company (SWAgCo).
According to the Governor, SWAGCo is a registered company under the Oodua conglomerate which was created for effective exploration of agricultural resources in the region.
FG Cancels Operating Licences Of Two Oil Firms Over Unfair Labour Practices, Other Infractions
The Federal Government, through the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, the regulatory agency in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry, has cancelled the operating licences of two oil firms; NOV Oil and Gas Services Nigeria Limited as well as Nov Oilfield Solutions Limited (National Oilwell Varco) over alleged breach of terms and conditions of the Oil and Gas Industry Service Permit, OGISP.
The companies were accused of failing to abide by the rules and regulations governing the release of staff, failure to put in place a Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, and for contravening the extant laws within Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry with regards to committing anti-labour infractions and lack of respect for due process.
NOV Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited and NOV Oilfield Solutions Limited are subsidiaries of Houston, Texas-based multinational National Oilwell Varco (NOV) Incorporation with total assets $20.21 billion and a revenue of over $10 billion.
NOV Nigeria has participated in many projects in Nigeria including the Total Egina project which fetched the company over a billion dollars in the last five (5) years. It currently has ongoing contracts with IOCs in Nigeria.
The cancellation of the licences was the height of the sanctions against the company for its perceived lack of respect for national and international labour laws, conventions, rules, and regulations, including the Trade Union Acts, the Nigerian Constitution and Regulation 15A of the Petroleum Drilling Act (as amended) 2019.
The company paid a fine $250,000 for the infraction in early 2021 and was imposed a fine of another $250,000 on September 29, 2021, with a deadline for payment on October 6, 2021, for deliberately flouting extant laws, procedures and guidelines, while the DPR directed that the terminated workers should be recalled and reinstated.
In a letter titled “Cancellation of Permit to operate as an oil industry service company, Director/CEO of DPR, Engr. Sarki Auwalu, dated October 5, 2021, to the Managing Director, National Oilwell Varco(NOV), insisted that “the permit shall not be re-issued until such a time that your companies are in compliance with the law and statutes.”
Recall that NOV Nigeria has been having a running battle with Organised Labour under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and regulatory authority and Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity over anti-labour and unprocedural practices in the country.
The DPR directed the NOV Nigeria Management to put in place a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and discuss with the union before embarking on redundancy in 2014, which the Management refused to adhere to but went ahead to severe the employees’ employment and a similar thing happened in 2019 when 23 employees who were members of PENGASSAN were sacked in 2020.
Since June 2020, Management and PENGASSAN had engaged in CBA discussions at various times with the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, and the DPR.
A CBA was however concluded on July 27, 2021, and signed by all parties including PENGASSAN, NOV Human Resources Manager in Nigeria and DPR representatives except the offshore Management representatives, Mr Francisco Cruz, Human Resources, HR, Director, the Middle East/Africa; Mr Pierre Yves Palud, Vice President, Africa Finance; Mr Juanita Olivier, Africa Regional Counsel and Mr Cesar Velasco, Vice President, Well Services, Middle East and Africa who refused to sign the agreed CBA/Minutes and this culminated in the industrial relations crisis and breach of the industry regulations.
Speaking on the anti-labour practices, Lagos Zonal Chairman of PENGASSAN, Eyam Abeng, said that the management had been engaging in harassment, victimisation, intimidation and sacking of its workers without following the laid down procedures for releasing of staff.
“This has been the practice of the NOV Management in all its countries of operations. They will come into the country with over 100 local staff and within two years of operations, it will tactically reduce to 4 or 5 staff, while all jobs are gradually off-shored.
“The Union is not averse to redundancy or release of its members but must be carried out in line with the signed CBA and extant laws of the industry in Nigeria. Offshoring of jobs by NOV Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited and NOV Oilfield Solutions Limited or any other company operating in the Oil & Gas industry in Nigeria will not be allowed henceforth. This action/practice is against the Nigeria Petroleum Act.”
Glamour As World-class Wine Store Hits Benin [VIDEO]
It was glamour, dance and merriment on Sunday, October 10, at Upper Adesuwa, GRA, Benin, the Edo State capital, as a world-class wine store, Happinex Wine Gallery, formally opened for business in the area.
The store, located at 14, Upper Adesuwa, GRA, Benin is stocked with different categories of wines such as: Italian wine, exotic wines and spirits; alcoholic and non alcoholic wines; shisha pots; sharpman; cocktail; parfait; smoothies and lots more to satisfy customers.
Stocked with other non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, Happinex Wine Gallery is strategically located to serve residents of Upper Adesuwa and other nearby areas in GRA, Benin.
Speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Happinex Wine Gallery, Happy Enoma, said that setting up a standard wine store has been a dream she has been nurturing for long, adding seeing herself owing a wine store is a dream come.
“The reason why I choose wine business is because of my love and passion for the wine business in my entire life. So, setting up my own wine shop has always been my passion and also wine business is a lucrative business,” she said.
Her friends who came to grace the occasion lauded her for making frantic efforts in making sure her dream comes through.
While describing her as a hardworking, determined and focused person, they congratulated her for owing her personal business which they described as of standard.
For enquires and booking, you can reach Happinex Wine Gallery on 08160994909
Outrage As Aero Contractors Abandon Passengers’ Luggage To Shed Load
There was outrage at the Margaret Ekpo Airport in Calabar on Sunday, after passengers from Abuja on an Aero Contractor flight found that the airline had deliberately abandoned their luggage before take off.
Airline officials had claimed that passengers were hinted that their luggage would not be flying with them but those affected insisted the airline abandoned their luggage in Abuja on purpose, allegedly to conserve aviation fuel.
Although it is not clear how that could have been possible, but other passengers at the airport claimed the luggage was deboarded in Abuja to make room for airlifting of aviation fuel, reportedly to be used for another flight via Calabar.
Passengers who spoke to DAILY POST, said Sunday’s incident was not the first time the airline was denying passengers of their luggage. Some claimed they had been frequenting the airline, days after their flights and were yet to get their bags.
“My luggage was cleared by FAAN alongside others and we even saw it at the foot of the airline while boarding, which was very deceptive of Aero. I was shocked and angry when I did not see my luggage at arrival here in Calabar. I was told my luggage will arrive tomorrow by 5:30 pm” one of the affected passengers, a journalist, Bishop Onche, lamented.
Nuel, another Abuja-Calabar passenger said, two days after his flight, he was back at the airport, again, to see if his luggage had arrived.
“We arrived here on Friday, they said the aircraft was overcrowded or something like that and they couldn’t carry our bags. So I left, then I came here on Saturday to claim it and they said there was no flight yesterday that’s why I am here today being Sunday only to meet a host of new passengers without luggage too.”
Nuel, a Sound Engineer, lamented that he had very essential work equipment in his luggage for a job he came to Calabar for and was not informed that his luggage would be dumped for that long to shed some weight off the aircraft.
He also decried the attitude of airline officials who allegedly were nonchalant at the plight of passengers.
“This is past 4pm and I have been here for the past one hour and nobody has said anything,” Nuel complained.
Udom Blessing Matthew, another passenger, told DAILY POST that she was in Calabar for a marriage ceremony but two days after the wedding she came to attend, a bag containing her bridesmaids’ dress was still at the airport in Abuja.
Udom said she arrived on Aero contractors 3.10pm flight on Friday, only to discover her luggage was left behind in Abuja.
“I left Abuja on Friday for a wedding which was supposed to hold on Saturday, the dress and hair I was supposed to wear at the wedding are in my luggage and this is Sunday I still haven’t gotten them. I’ve been wearing the same clothes and inner wear since Friday,” Udom cried profusely.
She claimed the airline treated its passengers with disdain as none of those affected had received either a call, a text message or an explanation as to why their luggage was abandoned.
But an Aero Contractors Manager in Calabar, Victor Dan, who spoke to our correspondent said he had called Abuja and was told that the bags would come in on Monday afternoon, however, after a follow-up inquiry, an affected passenger confided in our reporter that he was yet to receive his luggage.
A staff of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) in Calabar, stationed at the Servicom desk said she had recorded the incident and that a report would be sent to the office of the NCAA as it is the responsibility of the agency to sanction the airline.
An official of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), who simply identified himself as Bruno, said this was not the first time the airline had treated passengers in such a shabby manner.
Bruno explained that though shedding of weight on aircrafts was not new in aviation history, the NCAA Act mandates the airline in question to inform all the affected passengers before take-off.
“And even after take-off, the airline is expected to pay compensation to the affected passengers while ensuring that the luggage is taken to the passengers wherever or whatever address they make available,” Bruno said.
He asked passengers to fill the necessary complaints forms promising to follow up the matter and assured our correspondent that the NCAA would ensure that compensation is paid to affected passengers and their luggage delivered to them.