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Israel extols 30 yrs of renewed diplomatic relations with Nigeria

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Amb. Michael Freeman, Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, has extolled the maiden nine-day project on “Art of friendship” in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Israel-Nigeria renewed diplomatic relations.

Freeman said this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, on the sidelines of the ongoing project implementation fixed from Jan. 30, to Feb. 8, 2023.

The envoy said that the project was carried out in patnership with Orisun Art Gallery to mark the 30 years of renewed diplomatic relations between Israel and Nigeria since 1992.

According to him, the project by Ella Amitai Sadovsky, an Israeli Artist and Dr Peju Layiwola, Nigerian Artist, was designed to promote diplomatic ties and friendship between the two countries.

Freeman said, “Israel and Nigeria are marking renewed diplomatic relations of 30 years of renewed friendship; we chose to symbolise this by hosting event with two world renowned artists.

“One artist from Nigeria and one from Israel have come together in Abuja after working for six-months, to produce one unique piece of art.

“In the past, they have been artists that worked together and collaborated to produce their own piece, but this two artists are to produce one unique piece that both will work on.

“To reflect Nigeria-Israel and the relationship between the two countries, we chose art because it is an expressive form which allows people talk about their desires.

“Art is open to interpretation, possibilities; it reminds us all the time and it lasts for ever; every person sees a different opportunity, potential and ways of seeing piece of art.”

He mentioned that the art-piece would reflect diverse opportuninty, potential and values that showcase Israel/Nigeria agriculture, waterways, economic cooperation and beautiful landscape.

Freeman explained that the collaborative project was organised to commemorate the anniversary, showcase gallery of art for auction to raise funds for charity donation to less privileged in Israeli-NGO and Nigerian-NGO respectively.

In separate interview, Israeli Artist, Amitai Sadovsky, commended the project initiative to be designed for Nigerians to know more about Israel and for Israelis to know about Nigeria.

Amitai Sadovsky said, “It is very important to know not as a tourist but in person, to know not just Nigeria Artist, Dr Peju Layiwola, but many other artists here as well and to share ideas, thoughts and materials.

“The art industry or techniques are not so important, you can learn it; the major thing is to study about the similarity in history that we both have.

“The Israeli Jewish people were also colonised, for two thousand years, yet in less than75 years we are in Israel after an exile of more than 2000 years.”

For her part, Nigerian Artist, Layiwola described the project as unique, saying it would foster exchange of ideas by people-to-people between both countries.

“I think it is unique in the sense that we are not doing separate pieces of art, we are working on same platform.

“Both of us are creating work on the same platform in a very unique experience, I think it is the first of its kind really, when you think about how artists work.

“People say that artists like their own space and I think that we have come together as one to synergise our ideas and create this artwork, which will be auctioned.

“It is a platform for us to exchange ideas and techniques and products; it is a learning curve, she is learning from me, just as I am learning from her,” Layiwola said.

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FG unveils plans for inland waterways, coastal services

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, on Sunday, said that it would soon unveil its plans for the Inland Waterways and Coastal Services in the industry.

Its Minister, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, was quoted to have disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zoe Maritime, Mrs Tosan Edodo-Moore.

The minister will unveil the plans at the forthcoming Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting.

Edodo-Moore said that the federal government, through its Renewed Agenda, was committed to increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, by increasing the revenue generated by the ministry.

“We are pleased to announce the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting (MBRBM) on Security and New Technologies in Inland Waterways Transportation, scheduled for April 18 in Lagos.

“The highlight of the meeting was the intervention of Madam Yan Yuqing, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China.

“Yuqing will share the Sino-Nigeria Maritime Relationship and lessons to be learnt from China, which has the largest Inland Waterways Network in the World.

“Also, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, will unveil the administration’s plans for Inland Waterways and Coastal Services.

“The subject will be dissected by a panel, comprising industry stakeholders, regulatory authorities and security agencies,” she said.

Edodo-Moore said that the panellists would include Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Dr Dayo Mobereola, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Others are Alhaji Munirudeen Oyebamiji, the Managing Director National Inland Waterways Authority, [NIWA] Lokoja and Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, the General Manager of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).

It will also include Mr Oluseyi Oluyede, the Managing Director, Niger Benue Transport Co Ltd. and AIG Rhoda Olofu, the Maritime Police Command.

According to her, expected participants are port users, maritime stakeholders, government agencies, banks (with maritime desk), Insurance companies, ship-owners, boat operators, logistics companies, freight forwarders, Oil and Gas companies and foreign entities

Edodo-Moore said that the benefits of the Maritime Breakfast Roundtable include visibility, growth, networking, impartation and exchange of knowledge.

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Nigerian Breweries embarks on strategic recovery plan to boost profitability

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Nigerian Breweries Plc has embarked on a company-wide reorganisation business recovery plan to ensure a sustainable future for its stakeholders.

The company’s Human Resource Director, Grace Omo-Lamai, said this in a statement signed by Mrs Sade Morgan, its Corporate Affairs Director, to the leadership of some food and beverage associations on Friday in Lagos.

The associations include the National Union of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employees and the Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association.

Omo-Lamai said the move was essential to improve the company’s operational efficiency and return to profitability, in the face of the challenging business environment.

She said the proposed plan would include operational efficiency measures and a company-wide reorganisation that includes the temporary suspension of operations in two of its nine breweries.

“As a result, and in accordance with labour requirements, the company invited the unions to discussions on the implications of the proposed measures.

“It will be recalled that the company recently notified the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) of its plan to raise capital of up to N600 billion by way of a rights issue.

“This is as a means of restoring the company’s balance sheet to a healthy position following the net finance expenses of N189 billion recorded in 2023 driven mainly by a foreign exchange loss of N153 billion resulting from the devaluation of the naira,” she said.

Also, the Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr Hans Essaadi, described the business recovery plan as strategic and vital for business continuity.

Essaadi noted that the tough business landscape characterised by double-digit inflation rates, Naira devaluation, foreign exchange challenges and diminished consumer spending had taken its toll on many businesses.

This, he said, was why the company had taken the decision to further consolidate its business operations for efficient cost management and optimal use of resources for future sustainable growth.

“We recognise and regret the impact that the suspension of brewery operations in the two affected locations may have on our employees.

“We are committed to limiting the impact on our people as much as possible by exhausting all options available including the relocation and redistribution of employees to our other seven breweries; and providing strong support and severance packages to all those that become unavoidably affected.

“We are also committed to supporting our host communities in ways that ensure they continue to feel our presence.

“We remain wholly committed to having a positive impact on our host communities and our consumers; leveraging our strong supply chain footprint; excellent execution of our route to market strategy; and our rich portfolio of brands,” he said.

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FIRS generates N12.3 trn in 2023 – Adedeji

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The  Executive, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, has said that the organisation witnessed unprecedented progress in revenue collection, culminating in a remarkable achievement of N12.3 trillion in 2023.

The Chief Executive, who was represented by a staff of the organisation, Mrs Aisha Ribadu, said this on Friday at the FIRS special day at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.

Adedeji said that this success was a testament to its dedication to nurturing and empowering its workforce, and to ensuring they possessed the skills, knowledge and tools necessary to excel.

He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Enugu State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) for its discerning choice of theme, “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness.”

The FIRS boss added that the choice of theme reflected the collective aspiration to not only dominate the African market but to assert relevance on the global stage.

“Investing in human capital is the cornerstone of sustainable development, and nations that prioritise human development inevitably experience enduring growth and prosperity.

“The FIRS has spearheaded transformative reforms aimed at diversifying revenue sources and enhancing the overall taxpayer experience.

“One of such initiatives is the introduction of the Taxpromax Solutions, an innovative e-service platform designed to empower taxpayers to fulfill their obligations seamlessly from anywhere at any time,” Adedeji said.

He expressed gratitude to ECCIMA for affording the FIRS the invaluable opportunity to showcase its commitment to national development.

In a welcome address, the ECCIMA President, Mr Odeiga Jideonwo, said that the essence of the special day was to bring the business community and the general public closer to the activities and operations of the FIRS.

Jideonwo, who was represented by the first Deputy President, Nnanyereugo Onyemelukwe, said that the FIRS should work in tandem with other agencies of government and stakeholders in the organised private sector.

He said that it would enable the FIRS to redefine and streamline tax administration and regime in the country.

“It will also bring about a society wherein the rich and poor will leverage each other in contributing to the development of the society in a fair and just manner, as it affects company tax by various businesses,” he said.

He commended the chief executive for its various innovations aimed at voluntarily bringing into the FIRS database companies in order to boost the tax network.

Jideonwo added that it would also boost revenue with the attendant grace offered in the process to those who had been evading tax payment.

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