10 Billion Paliative By Federal Government To Transport Operators.

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  1. By Elom Victor

    The
    funds is to serve as palliative to mitigate the
    effects of COVID-19 on the transporters.
    Minister of state for Transportation, Sen.
    Gbemisola Saraki, made this known when the
    president, Public Transport Owners of Nigeria
    Association (PTONA), Engr Isaac Uhunwagho, led
    the association’s National Executive Committee
    and Trustees on a courtesy visit to the minister in
    Abuja yesterday.
    The minister said the funds will help cushion the
    sufferings encountered by road transport workers
    and operators as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
    She stated that the funds is domiciled at the
    Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment,
    adding that the Federal Ministry of Transportation
    is currently working on the modalities for its
    disbursement.
    A statement signed by the director of press of the
    ministry, Erik Ojiekwe, said while the minister
    recognises the fact that about 90 percent of
    Nigerians travel by road, she revealed that the
    federal government will soon initiate a master
    plan that will reform the sector and sought the
    buy-in of all stakeholders.
    Reacting to the challenges operators face from
    state governments and other stakeholders, the
    minister gave the assurance that she will discuss
    the issues through the National Transport
    Commissioners Forum.
    She also disclosed that she is in talks with the
    Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the
    concessionning of some routes which she
    believes is the best way to go so as to increase
    government revenue.
    She further, enjoined members of the association
    to avoid duplicity and formalise their structures in
    an organised manner for better engagements, with
    the ministry and other relevant agencies.
    Earlier, president of PTONA, Uhunwagho stated
    that their visit was to intimate the minister with
    the challenges their members were facing.
    Uhunwagho said, “Our future in the ‘one chance’
    business is now encouraging.”
    He pleaded for financial palliatives for his
    members to prevent their businesses from folding
    up.
    …Zenith Bank seeks expansion of non-oil exports
    Meanwhile, the group managing director/chief
    executive of Zenith Bank, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu
    has called for a concerted effort towards
    diversifying the country’s export base through the
    promotion of non-oil exports. He made the call
    during a Webinar themed “Prospects of Non-Oil
    Export During and Post COVID-19” organised by
    the bank yesterday.
    According to him, the onset of the COVID-19
    pandemic which has impacted the demand for oil
    and, by extension, the price of crude oil in the
    international commodities market has further
    exposed Nigeria’s over-dependence on crude oil
    earnings and its susceptibility to oil-related
    shocks.
    He added that the events of the last couple of
    months have also highlighted the limited range of
    the country’s value-added products exported to
    foreign markets.
    Speaking further, he noted that boosting non-oil
    export is imperative in view of the opportunities
    that exist in the broader contexts of ECOWAS
    Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the African
    Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which seeks
    to create a continent-wide market of 1.2 billion
    people with combined Gross Domestic Product
    (GDP) of $2.5 trillion and about $4 trillion in
    consumer and business spending.
    Whilst commending the efforts of the government
    and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deepen
    the non-oil export business in the country,
    Onyeagwu urged players in the non-oil export
    value-chain including exporters and financial
    institutions to play their part in the drive towards
    expanding the nation’s non-oil export base.
    Delivering the keynote address, the director of
    Trade & Exchange, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),
    Dr (Mrs) Ozoemena Nnaji, who commended
    Zenith Bank for organising the webinar at a time
    like this, observed that the impact of the
    COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for the
    country, as it has once again exposed the over-
    dependence of the Nigerian economy on one
    product. She therefore called for a deeper policy
    to look at the non-oil sector to find ways of
    genuinely improving the quality and quantity of the
    nation’s non-oil export goods.
    Also speaking at the Webinar, the chief executive/
    executive director of the Nigerian Export
    Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Olusegun Awolowo
    commended the efforts of Zenith Bank in
    promoting non-oil export business in Nigeria,
    describing the bank as ‘the Export Trade Bank of
    Nigeria’.
    Speaking on the topic “Repositioning Non-oil
    export as a Leading Revenue Earner: Government
    Plans and Programmes”, Awolowo noted that the
    crash in oil prices following the COVID-19
    pandemic and OPEC’s price war with Russia
    reinforced what everyone already knows – the
    mono-product economy of the country is not
    sustainable, calling for a buy-in into the Zero oil
    policy of NEPC.
    Zenith Bank remains committed to the promotion
    of the non-oil export sector in Nigeria by
    identifying emerging opportunities which help in
    stimulating non-oil exports and developing robust
    financial products and incentives for operators in
    the sector.

 


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