ALIKO Dangote, president, Dangote group, has been appointed as co-chairperson at the 2014 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Kloster, Switzerland. Klaus Schwab, executive chairman, World Economic Forum, in a letter of invitation to the business mogul, said the WEF believes that Dangote’s participation would contribute significantly to the substance of the discussions.
The letter said, “The discussions aim to stimulate an unparalleled global dialogue among the relevant leaders from the government, business, academia, civil society and the media. In these unprecedented times, I feel that as co-chair, you will contribute significantly to the substance and relevance of the exchanges. You are well positioned to take on this role. Co-chair would, in principle, consists of your presence and participation in activities to be defined with you. The theme of the meeting is ‘The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business.”
In a similar development, Dangote has been appointed to the steering committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative. The Global Business Coalition for Education is a forum connecting businesses to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and the youth through education. Launched on September 26, 2012, the Global Education First Initiative is a five-year initiative sponsored by Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations.
A global advocacy platform at the highest level, it aims to generate a renewed push to achieve the internationally-agreed education goals set for 2015 and get the world back on track to meet its education commitments.
Less Fees for Business Registration
THE federal government has slashed the costs of registering businesses in Nigeria by half, in a bid to encourage investment in the country. Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, said this in Abuja during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between his ministry and Brazil’s ministry of development, industry and foreign trade on the promotion of trade and investment.
He said the corporate affairs commission had, since October 1, 2013, reduced capital registration costs by 50 percent for equity registration of N500 million or lower, and by 25 percent for equity registration above N500 million. He explained that the initiative was in line with the ministry’s investment climate reform programme, which was aimed at strategically repositioning Nigeria as the preferred destination for both local and foreign investments.
“Following the directive from the President, the CAC has since October 1, 2013, slashed fees for business registration by 50 per cent. Under the new regulations, capital registration fees for companies (under Part A) have been reduced across board. While capital registrations below N1m will retain a flat fee of N10,000; all registrations between N1m and N500m are reduced by 50 per cent; and all registrations above N500m are reduced by 25 per cent,” he said.
The minister said by this action, Nigerian companies would save over N2bn per annum, which they could use to hire more workers and expand their businesses. He said that the new regulation had been deliberately designed to ensure that the bulk of these savings went to smaller businesses, which needed the lower fees more.
Aganga expressed optimism about the likely impact of the MoU, which the Brazilian deputy minister led a 19-man delegation to sign in Abuja. According to him, the MoU will make it possible for various agencies responsible for skills development, industry and development finance in both countries to work together and deliver better services for the citizens of their respective countries. “The aim of the MoU is to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries at the bilateral and multilateral levels; increase and promote the bilateral trade of strategic items of mutual interest, and support cooperation between institutions of both countries.”
Nissan/Stallion Vehicle Plant
NISSAN motors and Stallion group have announced plans to jointly build a vehicle assembly plant in Nigeria. Their plan is in anticipation of the federal government’s approval of a new automobile industrial policy, designed to encourage development of the auto industry. Sunil Vaswani, chairman, Stallion Group, said the partnership would see Nissan become the first major international manufacturer to start a vehicle assembly in the country following the legislation. “The parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, which will result in Stallion, already Nissan’s exclusive distributor in Nigeria, increasing capacity at its existing plant, VON Automobile Limited in Lagos,” Vaswani said.
According to him, the plant’s yearly capacity will be expanded to 45,000 units to assemble a range of cars, light duty trucks, pick-ups and vans. He said details of the product line-up would be confirmed at a later date. It is envisaged that the first product to be introduced will be the iconic Nissan Patrol SUV in spring 2014.
Vaswani said the government initiative was aimed at making Nigeria the regional leader in the industry. He said the capacity of the plant would also be opened to Nissan’s Alliance partner, Renault, to be utilised according to future business needs.
On his part, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan president and chief executive officer, said: “We welcome the proactive measures being taken by the government of Nigeria to encourage inward investment and job creation driven by local auto manufacturing. Together with our local partner, Nissan is preparing to make Nigeria a significant manufacturing hub in Africa. As the first-mover in Nigeria, we are positioned for the long-term growth of this market and across the broader continent,” Ghosn said.
No Outright Ban on Tokunbo Vehicles
THE Federal Government as assured Nigerians that the new automobile policy is not aimed at immediate ban on the importation of fairly used vehicles. Olusegun Aganga, minister of trade, industry and investment, made this clarification at a news conference on the content of the new automotive plan in Abuja, on Monday, October 7.
Aganga said the new automobile industrial policy development which was approved on Wednesday October 2, 2013 by the federal executive council, would instead; focus on promoting investments in affordable made-in-Nigeria vehicles that will in future minimize their importation. “This policy will not result in the banning of the importation of vehicles in Nigeria but will focus on promoting investments in affordable made-in-Nigeria vehicles that will, in future, minimize the importation of vehicles.” Aganga, added that phasing out second hand vehicles, popularly known as ‘tokunbo’ was a gradual process.
He said what government had done was to raise tariff on importation with a view to discouraging the influx of used vehicles into the country while also encouraging local manufacturing. According to him, no responsible government would ban importation of used cars without putting in place viable alternatives. “The importation of tokunbo cars will not be a major threat to the plan. Production of vehicles is in stages and involves a long process. You do not remove a thing without providing a viable alternative.”
Aminu Jalal, director general, national automotive council, said the policy would help to open up the industry to many international auto manufacturers. He said Toyota, Nissan, Renault and GM have all indicated keen interest to invest in Nigeria following the articulation of a comprehensive automotive development plan.
“These companies are now conducting feasibility studies on assembling vehicles in Nigeria. The elements of the plan, which will ensure competitiveness and increased productivity of the sector, are: industrial infrastructural improvement, skills development, standards, investment promotion, market development and anti-smuggling measures.’’
Ibrahim Boyi, chief executive officer of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, PAN, commended the Federal Government for the initiative. He urged the government to map out strategies for the gradual banning of importation of used vehicles. Boyi, who held that the importation of used cars had been a great challenge to the industry, said there must be a strict regime on the importation of fairly used vehicles.
“It is something that we have been clamouring for and something we have been hoping for. When you look at the performance of the industry, it has been a very unfortunate situation for the country. Apart from the environmental effects, importation of used cars had remained a great challenge to the industry. Most of the vehicles shipped into the country fall short of the stipulated environmental standards of the exporting countries.”
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu and Vincent Nzemeke
— Oct. 21, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT