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Pan-African Payment System To Save Africa $5bn Annually — AfCFTA

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The Secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), H.E Wamkele Mene has said thr commercial roll-out of the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System (PAPSS) will save Africa up to US$5 billion dollars annually.

The Secretary General made the remarks on Thursday at the Commercial Launch of the PAPSS in Accra, Ghana, which held virtually and physically.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PAPSS is a cross-border, financial market infrastructure enabling payment transactions across Africa.

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PAPSS ensures instant or near-instant transfer of funds between originators in one African country and beneficiaries in another.

Mene said, “The great liberation struggle heroes of our continent over 60 years ago had a vision of an integrated market in Africa are rejoicing today because the dream of an integrated Africa is becoming a reality in our lifetime.

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“How fitting it is, therefore, that the commercial launch of the PAPSS is taking place here in Ghana, a country that has always been at the intellectual and philosophical vanguard of Pan-Africanism.

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“This project is a pioneering effort at achieving a pan-African payments and settlements system which will enable Africa to reduce reliance on third currencies, and more importantly, it has the potential to significantly boost intra-Africa trade.

“The commercial roll-out of the PAPSS is timely and set to boost intra-Africa trade significantly by making cross-border payments less reliant on third currencies.

“It is set to save the continent up to US$5 billion dollars annually, which is the amount currency convertibility costs Africa.”

Mene explained that the African continent had, in the last two years, borne the effects of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to border closures, restrictions and logistical difficulties that had disrupted trade and economies.

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“In the midst of this, our Heads of States took the bold decision to commence trading under the very difficult conditions that were caused by the COVID-19.

“Since the commencement of trading under the AfCFTA on Jan 1, 2021, significant improvements were recorded in other key aspects of the implementation of the agreement,” he said.

Mene added: “They include an increase in the number of AfCFTA State parties from 35 (64 per cent) in December 2020 to 39 (73 per cent) at the end of 2021.

“Improvement in the agreement on the AfCFTA rules of origin from 81.8 per cent to 88.6 per cent.

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“Activation and operationalisation of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), a key pillar in the successful implementation of the agreement, in April.”

According to the AfCTA Secretary General, the Appellate body was also being constituted.

He also cited the successful hosting of the second edition of the IATF in Durban, South Africa, in November 2021, where a record US$ 42.1 billion trade and trade-related deals were concluded.

“Continuation of preliminary work on the phase II negotiations covering protocols on Intellectual Property, Investment, Competition Policy, Digital Trade (e-commerce), and Women and Youth in Trade.

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READ ALSO: Return Cooking Gas Price To How You Met It In 2015, Group Tells Buhari

“All these are a testament to the fact that momentum to implement the AFCFTA Agreement, one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, to achieve an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, is on course.

“With the launch of the PAPPS, a critical tool of boosting intra-Africa trade, the implementation of the AfCFTA is well positioned to benefit SMEs, young entrepreneurs and those trading across borders in Africa.

“This is by significantly reducing the cost of trading across borders in Africa,” he said.

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FG’s January Bonds Oversubscribed By N175bn –DMO

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DG, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha

The Federal Government’s bonds for January worth N150bn, which were auctioned on January 19, were oversubscribed by N175.24bn, the Debt Management Office has said.

The DMO said on Friday the total subscription received from investors was N325.24bn.

It said a subscription of N11.19bn was received for the 12.50 per cent FGN January 2026 bonds and N214.05bn for the 13 per cent FGN January 2042 bonds, which recorded the highest subscription.

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The debt office said a total of N170.64bn was allotted, comprising N81.72bn and N88.92bn.

It said, “Successful bids for the 12.50 per cent FGN January 2026 and 13 per cent FGN January 2042 were allotted at the Marginal Rates of 11.50 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

“However, the original coupon rates of 12.5000 per cent for the 12.5000 per cent FGN January 2026 will be maintained, while the coupon rate for the 13 per cent FGN January 2042 (New Issue) is set at 13 per cent.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Debt Vulnerable, Costly, Alerts World Bank

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The DMO had earlier released its bond issuance calendar for the first quarter of 2022, which the auction dates being January 19, February 16, and March 23.

The Federal Government planned to acquire about N480bn in new debt capital from the domestic capital market in Q1 2022, according to its bond issuance calendar.

(PUNCH)

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Govt Moves To Revive Few Moribund Ports

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The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council are set to revive six moribund ports whose contracts were signed in 2006.

To commence the process, ICRC on Wednesday held a meeting with NSC, which is the owner of the projects, and the concessionaires, according to a statement.

The purpose of the meeting was to get the six inland container depots located in each of the geopolitical zones of Nigeria to become operational.

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The statement quoted the commission’s acting Director-General, Mr. Mike Ohiani, as saying that when completed, these ICDs would bring the required benefit to the country Nigeria.

We are not unaware that at the material time that the contracts were signed, ICRC as a commission had not been set up, so no proper outline business cases were done for the projects like we now do, but I want us to have a frank discussion so that we can chart a way forward,” he said.

The commission reminded the concessionaires and that NSC that by its Act, it is to take custody of all PPP contracts including the ones for the ICDs.

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The states where the ports are located and the level of progress by the concessionaires were listed as Oyo State (10 per cent), Abia State (five per cent), Plateau State (29.7 per cent), Kano State (55 per cent), Katsina State (68 per cent) and Borno State (five per cent).

According to the statement, the concessionaires told the ICRC that the 16 years’ journey had been fraught with various challenges that had hampered any progress that could have been recorded.

It said the concessionaires complained of poor cooperation from state governments, which they said mostly delay in meeting their own part of the agreement, citing land provision as an example.

They said another major challenge was the lack of narrow gauge rail lines in and out of the dry ports, which they noted was important to make the operation of the ports efficient.

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They added that access to funds also remained a major issue as banks and foreign investors made unreasonable demands for assets and bank bonds before the release of funds.

The concessionaires unanimously stressed the need for the ports being constructed to be given the status of port of origin and destination and also to be registered with the International Chamber of Commerce upon completion.

(PUNCH)

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NDE Disburses N9.3m Loan To 93 Farmers In Bauchi

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The National Directorate of Employment (NDE), says it has disbursed N9.3 million to 93 small holder farmers to boost animal and crop production in Bauchi State.

Mr Mbata Michael, Director, Rural Employment Promotion Department, NDE Headquarters, disclosed this at a 5-day agricultural extension training for the beneficiaries, on Thursday in Bauchi.

Michael, represented by Mr Farouk Farouk, Senior Rural Employment Promotion Officer, said that each of the beneficiaries received N100,000 loan to increase their productions.

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He said that the facility was part of programmes initiated by the Director-General of NDE, Malam Abubakar Fikpo, to encourage crop and animal productions.

“The facility has a six months moratorium period before commencement of repayment and it will be repaid within 30 months.

“It is designed for farmers in different areas, those in commercial farming trying to sustain their businesses and those who are likely to start up agricultural businesses.

“Many of them are doing one or two things in agriculture and the money is to augment their businesses,” he said.

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READ ALSO: NDE Distributes Starter Packs To 20 Trainees In Bauchi

The director urged the beneficiaries to ensure effective utilisation of the facility to expand their businesses.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, commended the gesture, adding that it would boost crop and livestock production in the state.

Meanwhile, the NDE’s State Coordinator, Mr Lawan Yaya, said the directorate had concluded arrangements to train 50 agricultural extension workers in the 20 local government areas of the state.

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Yaya said the exercise was to complement Federal Government’s efforts towards encouraging agricultural production through improved farmer support services

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