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ACCI calls for stronger Nigeria-India economic relations

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Mr. Adetokunbo Kayode, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has called for a refocused and stronger economic ties between Nigeria and India.

Kayode made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking as a panelist at the webinar meeting tagged: “India – Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges, and Opportunities – Post-COVID-19”.

Kayode, an economic expert, noted that in a rejigged relationship, a win-win situation should be the watchword.

He said that it had been informally estimated that there would be around 10 billion dollars of investment by Indian companies in Nigeria.

“A maybe very substantial part of that amount has been loaned to Indian companies by Nigerian government-owned banks like, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Exim Bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL FUND of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as commercial banks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the relationship between the two countries, especially on medical tourism, which is one of the key areas.

“Some of us attended schools that Indians were teachers. For us to move forward, we need to rejig the already existing obsolete 1973 Trade Agreement between Nigeria and India.

“In doing so, we have to bear in mind that Nigeria has several areas where it can do business with India,” he said.

According to him, if Nigeria is ready to use Indian technology then, India should also help Nigeria to diversify its economy into agriculture, mining, manufacturing, amongst others.

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He recalled that in the Great Gujarat gathering in 2019, it was discovered that several Indian companies were rather using Indian firms in Nigeria to carry out activities in a manner that undermined local legislations, particularly in trading in retail and distribution services.

On the challenges in the trade relations, Kayode pointed out that the absence of Indian manufacturing hubs in Africa and Nigeria, in particular, as well as intrusion into local businesses needed to be addressed to strengthen the ties.

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In a remark, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abbay Thakur, said Nigeria was one of Indian’s biggest trading partners for several years.

He highlighted some of the activities of Indian companies in Nigeria in several sectors cutting across agriculture, power, technology, automobile, health, and pharmaceuticals, among others.

Other participants at the event unanimously expressed the desire to actively participate in activities and programs that would ensure the sustainability of the already existing cordial relationship.

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JUST IN: Fire guts World Trade Centre, Abuja

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World Trade Centre, Abuja

Fire on Monday gutted a section of the World Trade Centre building located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

An eyewitness told The PUNCH that the fire started from the top of the skyscraper which dots the skyline of Central Business District, Abuja.

First responders including firefighters have since been drafted to the incident scene.

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Since it began in 1939 in New York, United States, the World Trade Centre brand has since become global trade hubs in more than 90 countries including Nigeria.

 

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Doctors begin three-day warning strike

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Resident doctors

Doctors under the aegis of the Medical Guild in Lagos State are to begin three days warning strike from today over issues that affect their safety and welfare.

The Medical Guild is the Association of Medical Doctors in the employ of the Lagos State Government.

The Chairman of the Guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, who addressed reporters yesterday in Lagos, said the strike, which would run till July 16, would exempt members working in the state’s COVID-19 isolation centres.

He said Congress of the Guild on June 27 extended the two weeks ultimatum to the state government, after expiration of its initial 21 days ultimatum to resolve the issues.

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The guild leader noted that the grace period was given to the government to meet 70 per cent of the doctors’ demands in order to avert the strike.

He, however, said the Council, after its meeting on July 11, observed that some of the demands were unresolved by the government.

According to him, wage disparity between the Federal and Lagos State doctors is not being given necessary attention by the state government.

“The issue of COVID-19 hazard allowances and inducement allowances Memorandum of Understanding approved by the Federal Government to the doctors has not been approved by the Lagos Government to her doctors.

“Doctors working in COVID-19 isolation centres are still being owed two months salaries, which has remained unpaid at the moment.

“They are also being unceremoniously disengaged without recourse to their welfare,” he said.

The chairman stressed that the issue of doctors getting infected and re-infected on a daily basis was not getting the required attention from the government.

“Our members are putting themselves on the line daily to provide care, and we need to do everything to protect our colleagues,” Sodipo said.

He said adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), prompt testing of health workers and insurance should be provided. Sodipo added that issues of shortage of doctors in health facilities have yet to be resolved with no visible substantive action taken by the government to resolve it.

“The congress will reconvene after the three days warning strike to review the progress made and plan for further actions.

“We call on the Lagos State Government to do all within its power to resolve the impasse,” he said.

Also, Dr Babajide Saheed, former chairman of the Guild, said that the government could still avert the strike within 24 hours if the needful was done.

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma sells $8.2 bn worth shares, stake dips to 4.8%

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd co-founder Jack Ma has cut his stake in the company over the past year to 4.8 per cent from 6.2 per cent, cashing out around 8.2 billion dollars at its current share price, the firm’s annual filing released on Friday showed.

The divestment comes as Jack retired as the Chinese e-commerce company’s executive chairman in September and pulled back from formal business roles to focus on philanthropy.

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Alibaba did not disclose the average selling price of his divestment.

Its share price has risen around 40 per cent since jack reported his 6.2 per cent holding in the company a year ago.

The stock’s stellar performance has been helped by forecast-beating earnings growth, even as China’s economy sharply slows, as more people shop online for essentials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai also reduced his stake in the company over the same period, to 1.6 per cent from 2.2 per cent.

The offloaded shares were worth 3.3 billion dollars as of Friday.

Both Jack and Joseph have been steadily less involved in Alibaba’s regular operations since Daniel Zhang was announced as Ma’s successor as company chairman.

He assumed that role formally in September 2019.

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Throughout this year, the two have donated millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) via their individual charity arms to hospitals worldwide to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

An April 2019 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Jack would plan to sell up to 21 million shares within one year to support his philanthropic efforts.

 

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