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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Nigeria, Japan Trade Volume Stands At $10billion, Says Japanese Envoy

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Japanese Ambassador

Trade between Japan and Nigeria is estimated to be about $10 billion, according to Matsuyama Kazuyosh Hasi, the Japanese ambassador to Nigeria.

 

However, according to Kazuyoshi, initiatives are already underway to strengthen economic links.

 

On the 64th birthday of Japan’s Emperor, Naruhito, the envoy revealed the information.

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He added, “Currently, Japan and Nigeria as of today have a trade volume of $10 billion.”

The envoy while insisting that it is not good data given the potential of both countries, said there is a need to expand trade relations between both countries.

 

He said: “I feel the potential of Nigeria, rich in mineral resources and also rich in the talented youth. We need to expand trade and investment to Nigeria.”

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The envoy said further that Japan is looking forward to deepening the existing cooperation between both countries.

 

He said: “Japan looks forward to further deepening its cooperation with Nigeria, despite the various challenges we both face.

 

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“Japan is facing unprecedented population ageing and decline and Nigeria is facing an economic crisis.

 

“But Japan has its advanced technology, and Nigeria has its rich human and natural resources, they complement each other.

 

“So together, united as one, we can become a formidable force for a better future.

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Just as the Japanese people continue to “Build Back Better” after every natural disaster, each time we come together, we learn from each situation and each other.

 

“In this way, we can overcome anything. Especially as 2024 is the Year of the Dragon in Japan—a symbol of courage, strength, and wisdom. With these qualities and our unwavering unity, we will triumph over any obstacle in our path.

 

“So here’s to another year of deepening friendship, fruitful cooperation, and shared prosperity between Japan and Nigeria.”

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He also revealed that there are scholarship opportunities for Nigerians students to school in Japan.

He said there are also exchange programmes in place.

 

The Ambassador said currently no fewer than 51 Japanese companies operate in Nigeria.

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He said his country is working with the Nigerian government to address the challenges inhibiting Nigeria’s investment climate.

 

According to him, “So there are many challenges but now

we are working together with the Nigerian government to overcome that kind of challenge to Japan and Nigeria companies.

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“In many ways, Japan is rich in technology, so that technology can help Nigeria to overcome those kinds of challenges. So I think that Japan and Nigeria should be united together to overcome challenges to promote more trade and investment between Japan and Nigeria.”

 

On his part, the Deputy Speaker, of Nigeria House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu also called for the deepening of Nigeria-Japan relations.

 

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Kalu also assured the Japanese Ambassador and investors that the National Assembly is ready to remove any impediment to the ease of doing business in Nigeria, through the legislative instrument.

 

He said, “As you know, we are the home for primary products but it’s about time we use their technology (Japanese) to add more value to our primary product.

 

“Lots of resources are here Japan is blessed with technology and they have been doing well with assistance, communication, equipment and the rest of them we want them to do more.”

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“Every legislative impediment that will affect investors coming into our country will be removed.

 

“We are willing to fine-tune the laws to ensure legislative interventions that will give more confidence to invest in us.”

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Aero To Commence Payment To Redundant Employees In Batches

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There are strong indications that Aero Contractors will resume payment to some of its redundant employees by the end of this month.

Comrade Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), told journalists that the airline would resume paying affected employees in batches.

According to Abioye, the union learned of this earlier this week during a meeting with Aero Contractors management, led by Capt. Ado Sanusi, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), at the airline’s office at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.

Abioye explained that the union reached an agreement with the airline’s management to make payments in April, emphasising that two employees from each of the three unions would be paid monthly.

With this, six members of the affected unions, Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), and NAAPE, will be paid monthly until all backlogs are cleared.

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Abioye stated that with more funding and access to resources, the airline’s current management could improve the airline’s and its employees’ conditions.

He stated: “Aero described its current challenges, which are impeding their willingness to commit more funds to service outstanding redundancy benefits. Second, we have agreed that payments for two people from each of the three unions will be made this month (April), with NAAPE members receiving 75 per cent of these payments.

“We have demonstrated our commitment to Aero’s continued growth, and this has rekindled hope that things can be done better with more funds at their disposal.

“I would like to plead on behalf of the secretariat that, based on our observations of the airline’s current situation, it cannot do any better than what has just been offered. Let us hope that by next month, some other people will have something to smile about.

Sanusi stated earlier this month that it had paid approximately 95% redundancy packages to some of its employees affected by the exercise a few years prior. He promised that the remaining 5% of affected workers would be paid very soon.

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According to him, 225 out of the 237 staff affected by the redundancy package had been paid off, accounting for 94.94 per cent of those affected.

A further breakdown of the affected workers revealed that three members of ATSSSAN and nine members of NAAPE were still affected by the exercise.

Sanusi also lamented in the interview that the operating environment in which the airlines operate was hostile to business, but that despite this, management had been relentless in ensuring that the vast majority of affected individuals received their entitlements.

He assured that Aero Contractors would continue to fulfil its obligations to all employees, but urged that unions not be used to disrupt airline operations.

He stated, “The Company has successfully disbursed redundancy payments to 94.94 per cent of affected employees. Admittedly, we still have financial obligations to a few affected employees.

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“However, plans are underway to offset these costs, and we have been engaging with affected employees to keep them informed of everything the company is doing and going through.”

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OIL & GAS

NNPC, First E&P Achieve 20,000bpd Production At OML 85

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NNPC boss, Mele Kyari

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its joint venture partner in OML 85, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (First E&P), have begun producing oil from the asset known as Madu Field.

 

The field, located in shallow waters offshore Bayelsa State and operated by First E&P, is expected to produce an average of 20,000 barrels per day.

 

The achievement demonstrates the President Bola Tinubu administration’s commitment to optimising production from the country’s oil and gas assets by creating an enabling environment for existing and prospective investors.

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Speaking about the development, NNPC Ltd’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mele Kyari, described the start of oil production at the Madu Field as a significant milestone that will contribute to the larger goal of meeting the production required to drive revenue growth and boost the country’s economy.

 

Kyari praised stakeholders for their support and explained that the addition of 20,000 barrels per day by an indigenous oil player demonstrates stakeholders’ commitment to Nigeria’s economic development.

 

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The NNPC Ltd/First E&P JV made the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the development of the Madu Field and its sister field, Anyala, in 2018.

 

The Madu Field’s production will be processed at the JV’s Abigail-Joseph Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Unit, which can store up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil.

 

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

 FCCPC Storms Masaka Market, Engages With Traders Association, Others Over Hike In Food Prices

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Food market

The enforcement team from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Friday, stormed Masaka market, located in Nasarawa State, and engaged with the executive members of the Market Association, traders and consumers in a bid to stem the rising cost of food items in the market.

Mrs. Boladale Adeyinka, Director, of Surveillance and Investigation, FCCPC, who led the enforcement team to the market located in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, said the team was on a fact-finding mission to understand why the prices of food items continue to soar despite the measures put in place by the Federal Government to stem it.

Adeyinka explained that recently, Naira has been appreciating against the Dollar, adding that it is expected that this measure would bring down the cost of food items in the market.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the fact-finding mission, Adeyinka explained that the enforcement team of the FCCPC was in the market to interact with executive members of the Traders’ Association, traders and consumers.

She noted that the team of investigators had gathered information on what is responsible for the skyrocketing prices of food items in the market despite the frantic efforts made by the government to stabilise the prices of goods and services.

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She identified multiple taxation imposed on traders by various associations in the market as well as the high cost of transportation as being responsible for the high cost of items in the market.

Adeyinka said a concise report would be developed by the Commission, which would advise the government on how to remove multiple taxation to reduce the prices of food items in the market.

The Director of Surveillance and Investigation further assured that the illegal activities of cartels who often impose levies on the traders would be checkmated.

Also speaking, Danlami Salisi Gimba, General Chairman of, Masaka Market Association, blamed the removal of the fuel subsidy as being responsible for the high cost of goods in the market.

Gimba appealed to the government to reduce the price of fuel to ensure that the cost of transportation is greatly reduced, which would in turn impact positively on the prices of food items.

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Some traders who spoke to our Correspondent decried the high rate of hunger as well as low sales in the market.

They appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring down the cost of fuel and introduce policies that would create a new lease of life for the citizenry.

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