…Base’ll boost economy, tourism, security — Governor
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, on Thursday performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Nigeria Air Force base at the Ekiti Agro Allied International Airport.
Speaking at the elaborate ceremony at the site of the base in in Igbemo, Ekiti Governor, Oyebanji said the project was aimed at developing a new frontier of economic activities, strengthening security architecture and tourism development in the state, adding that as a landlocked state, there is urgent need to open and connect the economy to the rest of the world.
While noting that the state is already driving towards establishing an aviation economy by taking advantage of its geography as a state and nearness to the political and commercial capitals of the nation, the Governor added that without aviation and security infrastructure, the state’s ambition to grow tourism infrastructure and prosperity agenda for the people would remain a mirage.
Governor Oyebanji posited that the turning of the sod was in fulfilment of the strategic vision of expanding security architecture and air military presence in the state, recalling that one of the reasons the state opted for the airport with the capacity to land any aircraft including military, was to ensure adequate and effective security of the people.
He stated further that the establishment of an Airport in the state was in fulfilment of the overall vision of his administration to make Ekiti the ultimate medical tourism destination in West Africa with the first class medical services being provided at Afe Babalola Multisystem Hospital and other tertiary medical facilities such as Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti and Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti.
While commending the contribution of the Chairman, Organizing Committee of the Airport Project, AVM Afolabi Ojuawo (rtd.), the Governor called on Ekiti indigenes at home and in the diaspora to emulate him by using their position to attract development to the state and boost its economy.
He solicited the support of the citizens of the state to cooperate with investors in the state to record seamless developmental programme as the state would continue to witness influx of investors who would need partnership as well as land.
Governor Oyebanji Commended the Chief of the Air Staff and the entire Air force for their laudable achievements assuring them of the unflinching support of the people and government of the state for the timely completion of the project.
“It will be recalled that one of the reasons we opted for this airport, which is situated on 4,072 hectares of land with the capacity to land any aircraft including military, is to secure our people.
“It, therefore, delights me greatly that today’s event is in fulfilment of our strategic vision of expanding security architecture and air military presence in our dear State. It will be recalled that one of the reasons we opted for this airport, which is situated on 4,072 hectares of land with the capacity to land any aircraft including military, is to secure our people.
“Let me reiterate the fact that the decision to have an airport in our State is primarily for economic, security and tourism development. As a landlocked state, we need to open and connect our economy to the rest of the world. As an agrarian economy, one of the ways to expand our economy is to find a way to connect our farm produce to the international market and to develop new frontiers of economic opportunities.
“Let me, therefore, use this medium to express my profound appreciation to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Oludayo Amao for his commitment to the actualisation of the Air Force Operational Base in Ekiti and in particular for his promise to immediately activate the Air Defence project by establishing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operational unit in Ekiti to cater for the air defence needs of the south western region of the country.
Earlier, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao said Nigerian Air Force had been employing airpower in support of the overall to tackle security situations such as terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and kidnapping adding that part of the measures to urgently addressing the challenges was to establish new bases in strategic locations of which Ekiti was benefitting from.
AM Amao noted that the base would help the Air Force to effectively perform its security obligation in the state in particular and southwest in general.
While commending President Mohammadu Buhari for authorising the acquisition of modern and well-equipped platform to boost Nigerian Air Force air power employment and projection capabilities and air combat training, the Air force Chief stated that there would soon be deployment of Aircraft to Ekiti state to strengthen response to security challenges in the state and the southwest geo-political and to as well impact its readiness and responsiveness to security challenges facing the country.
In attendance at the event were members of the state executive councils, traditional rulers and Airforce officials.
Divestments: Foreign investors cite harsh operating environment as reason for exit, pull out N310bn assets
Foreign investors have cited a harsh operating environment as reasons for their exit from the Nigerian market.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu had in his inauguration speech in May and also in August assured investors of his dedication to revitalising the nation’s economy by intensifying the removal of all bottlenecks obstructing efficient business establishment and management in Nigeria.
However, since the President came on board, the country has witnessed over four major foreign investors in the manufacturing and oil and gas sector exiting the country in droves citing high operational costs and unfavourable business climates as some of the reasons for their exit.
The latest exit announcement was made yesterday by Procter & Gamble (P&G) a major global player in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment and Equinor, another global player in the upstream oil sector.
With these new exits, Nigeria’s economy is expected to lose $335 million (about N310 billion) in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
The amount represents the combined assets value of the two companies.
Procter & Gamble (P&G), an American multinational consumer goods company, says it has plans to transition from local production to solely importing its products as the firm winds down its on-ground presence in Nigeria.
Equinor is exiting after selling its Nigerian business, including its share in the Agbami oil field to Nigerian-owned energy company Chappal Energies.
Explaining the decision, Chief Financial Officer, P&G, Andre Schulten said the decision is a result of “the challenging business environment in Nigeria, as well as the difficulty in creating US dollar value.”
On his part, Equinor’s Senior Vice President for Africa Operations, Nina Koch, in a statement, said, “Nigeria has been an important part of Equinor’s international portfolio over the past 30 years.
“This transaction realises value and is in line with Equinor’s strategy to optimise its international oil and gas portfolio and focus on core areas.”
In the second half of this year two other major multinational companies, GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, Consumer Nigeria Plc and Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria Limited, a French pharmaceutical company, pulled out assets estimated at over $800 million from Nigeria, citing harsh operating environment.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has blamed stringent regulatory and legislative activities, insufficient infrastructure, and policy inconsistencies for the difficulties faced by businesses.
Reacting to the exit of Procter & Gamble, P&G, NECA’s Director-General, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde expressed dissatisfaction with the news.
He however, commended the Federal Government for supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, and manufacturers through the disbursement of the N125 billion Presidential Palliative Programme.
The DG said, “NECA commends the Federal Government for supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and manufacturers through the disbursement of the N125 billion Presidential Palliative Programme.
“This strategic intervention is a proactive step in mitigating the impact of the multi-dimensional challenges currently being faced by businesses. It strongly emphasised the immediate need for decisive measures to halt the ongoing trend of companies divesting from the country.
“While we commend the Federal Government for the disbursement of the intervention funds, we urge a quick and definitive action to arrest the continuous exit and divestment of legitimate organizations in Nigeria.
“In the last few years, hitherto strong brands like GSK, Nampak and now P&G and some other local brands have either closed shop or divested fully or partially. These regrettable departures will persistently undermine the Federal Government’s efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment, rendering its initiatives highly ineffective.
Highlighting the probable factors behind these business closures, the NECA boss asserted “that the challenging business landscape, marked by stringent regulatory and legislative activities, insufficient infrastructure, and policy inconsistencies, all conspired to exacerbate the difficulties faced by businesses.
“When established global brands like P&G cannot survive the environmental and regulatory onslaught, it is worrisome how many more businesses will capitulate.
“Regulatory bodies tasked with fostering business growth persist in prioritising revenue generation at the expense of their core mandate, while legislators, in the guise of oversight functions, consistently create impediments for organized businesses, hindering their operations.
“The contradictions and self-disruptive tendencies of many federal and state Institutions can only be imagined, as they negate the efforts of the President to attract Foreign Direct Investment.”
NECA implored President Bola Tinubu, as well as the Minister for Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, “to prioritise the survival of local businesses as the primary step before actively seeking Foreign Direct Investment.
“We advocate for the 2024 Appropriation Bill to address crucial infrastructural requirements conducive to business expansion, laying the groundwork for a prosperous nation.
“Additionally, he underscored the necessity of focusing on comprehensive tax reforms and addressing the challenges related to FOREX and exchange rates with a sense of urgency.”
CBN reviews service charter to drive ease of doing business
By Sodiq Adelakun
In a significant move to bolster the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Yemi Cardoso, has officially approved a revised “Service Charter” for the nation’s apex bank.
This strategic initiative is a direct response to the mandates of the Business Facilitation Act 2022, which aims to streamline business operations and enhance customer service delivery across the country.
The CBN announced on Thursday that the newly reviewed charter is designed to establish a clear framework for interactions between the bank and its external stakeholders. By adhering to the provisions of the charter, the CBN commits to aligning with the directives set forth by SERVICOM, the government agency responsible for promoting efficient and effective service delivery in public offices.
The implementation of the service charter is expected to mark a new era of transparency and accountability in the CBN’s operations, ensuring that the bank’s services are delivered in a customer-centric manner.
This development is anticipated to have a positive impact on the Nigerian business landscape, fostering a more conducive environment for both local and international investors.
Governor Cardoso’s endorsement of the service charter underscores the CBN’s dedication to upholding the principles of the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and its commitment to driving progress in Nigeria’s economic landscape.
“The document clearly outlines the bank’s mandates, vision, mission, and core values.
“It contains the list of services offered by the bank through its various departments and the service standards for each service.
“The service charter also includes a standardised customer complaints form for reporting service failures as well as a mechanism for addressing failures in any of the bank’s services,” it stated.
It added that the service charter reiterated CBN’s commitment to effective and prompt service delivery to its stakeholders and to its customers.
“It enables our customers to know the range of services provided by the bank as well as the standards at which these services would be provided.
“It equally states redress procedures in the event of service failure from any of our service windows.
“The charter applies to all stakeholders and customers of the bank,” it stressed.
In the foreword to the reviewed document, Cardoso reiterated CBN’s commitment to providing more responsive and citizen-friendly governance through quality service delivery that is efficient, accountable and transparent.
At UBA Business Series, e-commerce owners urge SMEs to prioritise delivering value
Seasoned business owners have advised Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) owners and operators on winning tips that will help them run successful online businesses especially in the face of growing competition and challenging business terrain.
Speaking during the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Business Series hybrid event at the bank’s Head office in Lagos on Thursday, the entrepreneurs and E-commerce experts agreed that SMEs should start small and offer value-added services to their customers as these are essential factors to help them grow their businesses into successful empires.
The Chief Executive Officer, Konga.com, Nnamdi Ekeh, the Founder/CEO RenDoll Fashion Brand, Reni Abina, and Media Personality & Entrepreneur, Kaylah Oniwo were panellists at the event who spoke on the topic; E-commerce: the Effects of Online Retail.
“There is a need for proper documentation. Data is very important for business growth, as it gives you your conversion rates, and lets you know what to do to improve these rates to boost business patronage,” Ekeh said, as he emphasised that boosting security as regards payment options is also very important.
On her part, Abina advised E-commerce business owners and prospective owners to make use of reputable online influencers to promote their businesses, as she said, “It is important to find influencers in your field that are fitting to your brand and the kind of business you do.”
“It is important for business owners to know how their brands are being positioned; remember to track your growth properly as this will help you to know what you are doing right or wrong at every point in time,” Oniwo stated as she pointed out that the need for business owners to take the storytelling element of their business very important.
Together, all the speakers at the event noted that business owners should ensure that their businesses are duly registered, with functional business accounts as this gives a large amount of credibility to the company.
Speaking earlier, the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Alero Ladipo, said UBA organises these business series frequently as they go a long way towards equipping customers with the much needed strategies to help build their businesses.
She said, “This year alone, we have had several conversations around business and health, personal finance and now, we are talking about e-commerce. To us as a bank, it is important that we have these conversations and the topic for this session is E-commerce, and is very important as we wrap up the year, because this is the season for giving and a lot of buying and selling will be going on during this period.
“As a financial institution that cares about its customers, UBA is interested in bringing in great speakers, experienced business people and thought leaders to educate its customers and Small business owners as they can then take the points discussed in these series and work with them to improve upon and positively impact their businesses,” she stated.
United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.
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