Global Diplomatic News: Week 15, 2019

Bangladesh wins ‘Best Foreign Participant Award’ in Kaduna International Trade Fair

The Bangladesh High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria has participated in the Kaduna International Trade Fair—organized by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture—for the first time. The event took place between March 29 and April 7, 2019.

Dr. Okechukwu Enyinna Enelama, minister for Industry, Trade and Investments of Nigeria, inaugurated the fair on March 29, 2019. Md Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh high commissioner to Nigeria was present—along with diplomats from other countries, local dignitaries, and the business leaders—at the inaugural ceremony which marked the 40th yearly event.

In line with the present government’s emphasis on “economic diplomacy,” Bangladesh’s mission put up a large stall with its own collection of exportables. Bangladesh’s stall received the Best Foreign Participant Award, and a crest was handed over, ceremonially, on the concluding day, by Mr. Abidul Yazid, patron of the trade fair.

Pharmaceuticals, ceramics, jute and leather products, RMG and knitwear, tea, jute leaf tea, electrical appliances, light engineering, plastic and melamine products, spice & curry powder, pickles, food items, snacks, pearl items, saris (muslin, silk), nakshi kantha, handicrafts, among others, were on display; these drew huge crowds each day.

The High Commission is in the process of launching a commercial display centre at the chancery soon, to showcase exportables to the visitors and Nigeria’s potential importers and investors.

 

Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, appointed by the Africa Union (AU) as the chairperson of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of its peace fund

Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the finance minister of Nigeria, was on March 21 [2019], appointed by the Africa Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as the chairperson of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of its peace fund.
This Day reports that the board is made of five members drawn from each region of the continent. The board also has non-African members (United Nations and European Union) as international partners. According to the report, the finance minister represents the Western African sub-region on the board.
The report quoted a statement by the special adviser to the minister on media and communications, Paul Ella Abechi, as saying Ahmed expressed appreciation and commitment towards achieving the agenda of the special fund. Accordingly, it was learnt that the protocol relating to the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) provides for the establishment of a special fund to be known as the “peace fund”. This fund comes with the objective of providing the necessary financial resources for peace support missions and other operational activities related to it in Africa. According to the report, the peace fund is meant for the prevention and management of conflicts, and the promotion of peace in Africa.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 11, 2019

Abdullateef Olasubomi Abdul appointed as IBA National Representative for Nigeria

On 5 March 2019, Abdullateef Olasubomi Abdul, a young Nigerian lawyer, was appointed as the National Representative for Nigeria by the International Bar Association (IBA).

This follows his recent appointment as Chair of the Regional Development Subcommittee of the IBA’s International Sales Committee for a two year term from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

The position of a National Representative is established by the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee (YLC) in order to promote the interests of young IBA members within the jurisdiction of each National Representative.

As the National Representative for Nigeria, Abdullateef’s role includes fostering links between the IBA, young Nigerian lawyers, and the Nigerian Bar Association. As the Chair of the Regional Development Subcommittee, his functions include keeping the International Sales Committee apprised of developments in the subcommittee’s area, recruiting IBA members to assist in the subcommittee’s works, and assisting with any relevant sessions of the International Sales Committee.

According to Abdullateef:

“I hope to employ these roles to deepen my contributions to the legal profession and to young and aspiring lawyers in Nigeria and globally.

I also hope to add depth to the Nigerian narrative.

Excellence is a very important value to me. It is at the heart of my being. In all that I do, I desire to be excellent. To apply the entire might of my being to the task at hand and to do it well.”

Abdullateef is an Associate in Ikeyi Shittu & Co, a full service Nigerian law firm. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies (SALS), London. A multi award-winning lawyer and writer, he was recently named as the 3rd most influential young Nigerian in Law & Governance and the 21st most influential young Nigerian overall for the year 2018.

 

Nigeria 2018 Foreign Trade Report – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Nigeria recorded a total trade value of 32.26 trillion year-on-year in 2018, representing 39.3 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2017.

The trade value for 2017 stood at 23.16 trillion.

The NBS said this in its Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics for Fourth Quarter of 2018 posted on its website.

The bureau said the volume of total merchandise trade in 2018 was the highest recorded since 2014, nearly double pre-recession levels.

It said during the fourth quarter of 2018, total merchandise trade stood at 8.60 trillion compared to its value of 9.06 trillion recorded in third quarter of the year.

It said the total export component of the trade recorded at 5.02 trillion, represented an increase of 3.5 percent over third quarter 2018 and 28.5 percent over fourth quarter 2017.

Meanwhile the bureau said the import component stood at 3.58 trillion in fourth quarters 2018.

The figure showed a drop of 631.6 billion or 15.0 percent compared to third quarter, 2018 but an increase of 69.6 percent when compared with the corresponding quarter in 2017.

However, it said the increase in export value and decrease in import value (relative to third quarter 2018) resulted in a favourable trade balance of 1441 billion, or 125.5 percent over the preceding quarter.

According to the report, crude oil export has been the main stay of the economy; it accounted for the largest share of total exports (84.2 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2018 at 4.228 billion.

Non-oil products accounted for 4.6 percent of total exports while other oil products accounted for 11.2 per cent of total exports in the quarter under review.

The report said that the value of crude oil exports in the fourth quarter, 2018 was 1.98 percent higher than in third quarter 2018 and 29.95 percent higher than in fourth quarter 2017.

It said the value of other oil products exports increased by 3.5 percent in fourth quarter 2018 when compared with third quarter 2018 and 15.99 percent compared to fourth quarter 2017.

Also, the value of manufactured goods exports rose by 14.97 percent in fourth quarter 2018 when compared with the value recorded in third quarter 2018 but decreased 36.6 percent against the corresponding quarter in 2017.

It, however, said that the exports of energy goods increased in value by 6.1 percent in fourth quarter 2018 compared to third quarter 2018 and by 12.7 percent when compared with fourth quarter 2017.

Meanwhile, the bureau said the value of total exports in fourth quarter 2018 increased by 3.52 percent against the level recorded in third quarter 2018 and 28.46 percent higher than its value in fourth quarter 2017.

India, Spain, France, South Africa and the Netherlands were the country’s major export trading partners in the quarter under review while China, US, Netherlands, India and Belgium were the major import trading partners.

 

Professor Tijjani Bande appointed chairman of the African Group at the United Nations

Nigeria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Tijjani Bande has assumed the chairmanship of the African Group at the International Organization for the Month of March 2019, succeeding the Republic of Benin.

Professor Tijjani Bande took over from Jean-Claude Do Rego, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin to the UN at a ceremony at the African Union Observer Mission in New York.

He also said that he would be chairman of the African Group and would like to send the views of the African Union to the United Nations and globally.

According to Tijjani Bande:

“The focus of the mission of Nigeria is to continue the work of consolidating Africa’s position on the continent.

These positions are issues like Security Council reform, positions we take in relation to the status of women, and issues relating to peace and security around the globe.

The whole idea is to strengthen the African voice.

The voices actually are of the African permanent representatives but occasionally, collectively, we need to make a statement for the continent and to defend the continent’s interests.”

Global Diplomatic News: Week 52

Nigeria & Russia Sign Treaty on Criminal Matters

The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Nigeria and Federation of Russia have signed a treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

The ministry explained through a statement made available by the Ministry’s Spokesperson George Edokpa, that the Treaty was negotiated in 2009 to enhance collaboration and cooperation between the two countries in the administration of criminal justice and signed in Moscow, Russia on Nov. 27, 2018.

According to the statement:

“The Treaty was signed on behalf of Nigeria by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, while Russian Acting Minister of Justice, Mr Oleg Plokhoy, signed on behalf of his country.

The Treaty on Legal Assistance in Criminal Matter is aimed at providing the necessary mechanism for cooperation in the fight against crime and criminal related matters.

These include terrorism, as well as to counter every form of support to terrorism.”

The ministry explained that the agreement would assist in the fight against corruption as it makes provision for the tracing, recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of stolen assets, as well as the proceeds and instruments of crime.

The signing of the Treaty, it stated was a major breakthrough in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Russia and the beginning of greater cooperation and partnership in other sectors.

 

UN Adopts Nigeria’s Resolution On Education

The United Nations General Assembly on Monday adopted, by consensus, Nigeria’s resolution to proclaim January 24 every year as the ‘International Day of Education’. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that all the 193-Member States of the UN General Assembly supported the Nigerian resolution, hence, there was no dissenting voice or abstention.

With its historic adoption on Monday, therefore, every January 24 will be celebrated all over the world as the International Day of Education, with the first being on January 24, 2019.

NAN also reports that the resolution, the first-ever on ‘International Day of Education’, was co-sponsored by Ireland, Singapore and Qatar, in partnership with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UN Children’s Fund, UN Women and Collegiate Congress and additional co-sponsors.

The resolution acknowledges “the importance of education for achieving sustainable development, including in the context of the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, Agenda 21, the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Plan of Implementation).

“Others are the Education for All goals, the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development and the Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4”.

The Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

NIS records 81,003 Non-ECOWAS Foreigners In Nigeria

Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has declared that it recorded a total of  81,003 foreign nationals resident in the country, of which those from India and China, Britain, the United States and Lebanon top.

The Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, in a statement, Friday, signed by the Service’s Public Relations Officer, deputy comptroller of Immigration (DCI), Mr. Sunday James, said the disclosure is in line with agency’s ‘statutory mandate as enshrined in Section 2 (a) – (f) of the Immigration Act 2015 as amended,’ even as he assured that it will now provide a quarterly report of migrants resident in Nigeria.

The NIS also said data was obtained from the newly-introduced Visas on Arrival (VoAs) regime as well as the Temporary Work Permits (TWPs) issued from various international airports in the country.

According to the statement:

“As at August 31st 2018, the Nigeria Immigration Service has recorded a total of 81,003 non-ECOWAS foreign Nationals legally resident in Nigeria.

From available statistics, there were 2,694 United States citizens, 3,946 Britons, 17,995 Chinese, 31,660 Indians, 6,295 Lebanese and 1,295 Germans living legally in Nigeria.

Also, there were 17,118 foreign nationals from 92 other countries resident in the country.

Within the same period, 82,084 Visas on Arrival (VoAs) were issued at 6 International Airports in Nigeria and a total of 7,570 Temporary Work Permits (TWPs) were also issued by the Service.

The breakdown for the TWP is 1,492 issued to Indians, 1171 issued to Chinese, 987 issued to Britons, 1006 issued to South Africans, 641 issued to Italians, 649 issued to Ukrainians while a total of 1,624 were issued to other nationals.

The Service hereby restate its commitment to safeguarding and protecting Nigerian borders while discharging its administrative and operational duties in line with International best practices and respect for the rights of Migrants without compromising National Security.”

Global Diplomatic News: Week 45

Nigeria Donates $500,000 & Logistics Support Towards Guinea Bissau Election

The Nigerian government has approved the donation of $500,000, over 350 electoral kits and seven vehicles, to facilitate a successful conduct of Guinea Bissau legislative election, scheduled for November 18, 2018.

The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, announced this when Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Guinea Bissau, Mr. Jose Filho, visited him in Abuja. Mr. Onyeama expressed delight that Nigeria was able to play that important role stressing that President Buhari in his capacity as the Chairperson of ECOWAS was watching the situation in Guinea Bissau very closely.

According to Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama:

“It is in the framework of establishing peace and stability in Guinea Bissau that Mr . President has approved a substantial number of elections kits to enable them to carry out this election.

Without those kits that are over 350, it is going to be difficult to carry out the election.

The last batch of it is about to be delivered, and in addition, Mr . President has approved the supply of seven vehicles with about 500,000 dollars.

Guinea Bissau is very important for the ECOWAS sub region as you know that President Muhammadu Buhari is the chairperson of the ECOWAS and interested in the political situation of Guinea Bissau.”

Mr. Onyeama said Nigeria, UN and ECOWAS are determined to ensure complete political stability in Guinea Bissau to permit economic development that the country needs.

Mr. Jose Filho , thanked the Government of Nigeria stating:

“We came here to exchange view and express appreciation, not in the name of Guinea Bissau, but in the name of the of the international community because I represent the UN in Guinea Bissau. I thank Nigeria for the assistance to Guinea Bissau.”

 

Nigeria & Botswana Sign Agreements On Cultural Affairs & Diplomatic Relations

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said Nigeria and Botswana have signed agreements on cultural cooperation and diplomatic relations as part of efforts to deepen bilateral relations.

The minister stated this in Abuja after the 4th session of Nigeria-Botswanan Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation (BNJPCC).

According to Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama:

“The signing of the agreements on the JPCC signalled our collective desire to promote political, economic, cultural, social, educational, scientific relations among others.

It also marked a strategic cooperation and partnership to boost economic growth and create employment opportunities thus making a contribution in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment in our countries.

As members of both commonwealth and African Union, we should consult on regular basis with a view to strategically cooperate with each other in these prime organisations to achieve our set objectives.”

He said the meeting had broaden the scope of collaboration between Nigeria and Botswana and also paved the way for regular political exchanges at a higher level.

The Botswana Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Unity Dow, expressed satisfaction with the existing relations between the two countries and reiterated the necessity to reinforce these relations for mutual benefits.

She stressed the need to deepen cooperation politically, economically, social-culturally and in all aspects of development in line with the principle of African Union. The minister said the relation should be broaden from economic and technical cooperation to social cultural, human resources and manpower development as well as legal and defence cooperation.

 

ATAF Re-elects Tunder Fowler As African Tax Chairman

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, has been re-elected as Council Chairman of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) for a fresh two-year term.

This was disclosed in a press release signed by Wahab Gbadamosi, FIRS’ Head of Communications and Servicom Department.

According to the press release, Fowler was returned unopposed by all ATAF Council members at the Forum’s 5th General Assembly meeting, in Gaborone, Botswana.

He led the organisation in the last two years, with commendable applause from members of the organisation. His candidature was not opposed by any of the 26 countries that participated in the elections.

Burundi, Burkina Faso and Mauritius contested the position of the Vice-Chairman, which Mauritius won.

Established in 2009, ATAF, the continental association of tax authorities, has 38 members.

Fowler succeeded Mr. Gershem T. Pasi, the Commissioner- General of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, in 2016.  Under Fowler, ATAF has made tremendous strides.

Last year in Abuja, ATAF launched the landmark ATAF Transfer Pricing Toolkit, which is assisting African countries to prevent huge financial losses through new Transfer Pricing Rules.

Many African Tax Authorities are leveraging the toolkit to contain financial leakages from their economy.

Also, ATAF under Fowler has given Africa a global voice in global tax matters.

ATAF is leading the world in African position on Tax Affairs, with its representation on High Level Talks on stemming Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). Under Fowler, the Forum has also launched the African Tax Outlook, through which African Tax administrations are sharing data.

It has equally strengthened the capacities of African Tax Administration Authorities, with its organisation of quality technical training on the continent.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 36

Dr. Omobola Johnson Named To World Wide Web Foundation Board [2018]

After a 3-year tenure as an Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) where she provided guidance and advocacy to help drive down internet costs, Dr. Omobola Johnson is joining the Web Wide Web Foundation as a board member.

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) — a global coalition, led by the Web Foundation, working to make broadband affordable for all.

The World Wide Web Foundation was founded in 2009 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to ‘advance the open web as a public good and a basic right.’

A part of an official statement by the A4AI reads:

“As the second Honorary Chair of A4AI — a role she assumed on September 1, 2015 — Omobola has provided invaluable policy guidance and has led high-level advocacy efforts to drive down the cost of internet. In that time, both A4AI’s membership and its international profile have grown, and the Alliance has achieved important policy victories, including the adoption of the ‘1 for 2’ affordability target by Nigeria, Ghana, ECOWAS and the UN Broadband Commission.”

In her response, Dr. Omobola Johnson said:

“So honoured to be asked to join the Web FOUNDATION Board. Looking forward to contributing to making all of the web available to all of the people.

So honoured to be asked to join the Web FOUNDATION Board. Looking forward to contributing to making all of the web available to all of the people.”

 

Nigeria-China Trade Value Reaches $7.2 Billion [January 2018 – June 2018]

The China Commercial Consular to Nigeria, Mr. Hongliang Gao, has put the present value of trade between Nigeria and China at $7.2 billion, making China the third largest trading partner with Nigeria.

At the opening ceremony of the 2018 China-Nigeria Trade Fair in Lagos, Mr. Gao stated:

“Nigeria is Africa’s first population country and the largest economy. It is rich in natural resources, fertile land and huge market potential. In recent years, the friendship between China and Nigeria have been further strengthened, high-level exchanges have become closer, political mutual trust has deepened, bilateral economic and trade cooperation have achieved fruitful results, and the scale of trade has continued to expand.

From January to June this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $7.2 billion. It increased by 7. 6 per cent year-on-year.

At present, Nigeria is China’s third largest trading partner in Africa, the largest engineering contracting market and an important investment destination.
The continuous and in-depth development of China-Nigeria economic and trade relations is in the common interest of the two peoples.”

He further spoke on the just concluded China Africa Summit, saying:

“Chinese President Xi Jinping shared the friendship and discussed the plans with the leaders of African countries. The Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum is a major event in the historical development of China-Africa relations.

It has established a historical monument of China-Africa friendly exchanges, played a strong voice of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, and point out the future development direction of China –Africa relations.

The China-Africa Cooperation Forum closed successfully yesterday. Today, the 2018 China -Nigeria Expo has entered Lagos and was grandly opened.

It is just the right time. The Expo is an important measure for the organisers and exhibitors to actively respond to the national interest.”