The Federal Government in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and Africa International Trade and Commerce Research (AITCR), have intensified efforts to ensure product specification.
This they said is aimed at increasing the volume of exported unique products in Nigeria.
This came to the fore during the week at the National Conference on Creation of Legal and Institutional Framework for Geographical Indications, in Abuja.
In his keynote address, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Otunba Adebayo commended the EU and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for funding the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in Africa (AfriPi project).
According to him, Geographical Indication is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
He stated that the AfriPI Project has gone a long way in supporting African companies, creators and inventors to generate value from their intellectual property.
“For many years, stakeholders from both the public and private sector in Nigeria have worked hard to promote and draw attention to geographical indications and other forms of intellectual property protection in Nigeria.
“The benefits obtainable from geographical indications in Nigeria are immense. Nigeria Is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world.
“We can boast of a wide variety of products that can be classified as GI.
“These range from the popular Ijebu garri to Nsukka Yellow Pepper, the Sokoto Red Skin Goat and the famous Yauri Onions.
“Unfortunately, poor knowledge of geographical Indications and the absence of a specific legal framework has rendered our unique products more vulnerable to misappropriation”, he added.
The Minister mentioned that poor knowledge of the Geographical Indications (GI) and absence of a specific legal framework has continued to render Nigeria’s products more vulnerable to misappropriation.
He assured that Federal Government is committed to ensuring that Nigeria exports more finished goods, adding that GI would play a major role in supporting Nigerian producers generate greater value.
“Agri-food and drink products which have names that are protected by the European Union as geographical indications represent a sales value of about €75 billion.
“Currently over one fifth of this amount Is generated by exports that originate outside of the European Union. This presents a huge opportunity for indigenous exporters who can now capitalize on improved product reputation and the willingness of consumers to pay a premium for authentic products.
“Many potential Nigerian Gis originate in rural areas that are challenged by extreme poverty and socio-economic issues.
“Studies have established that the sales value of products associated with Gis is on average, twice that of similar products. Geographical indications provide opportunities for some of Nigeria’s most impoverished areas to participate in the exportation of non-oil products, earn fair compensation and drive much needed development.
“As all the stakeholders here are aware, geographical indication protection is not limited to agricultural produce but extends to a wide range of products induding, handicrafts, industrial products and prepackaged personal care products to name a few”, Adebayo said.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the conference, Mr. Sand Mba-Kalu, Executive Director at Africa International Trade and Commerce Research (AITCR), noted Geographical Indication is the hope for the common man as it would help to put their names in the global market.
He reaffirmed that it will bring development and economy sustainability process to use our local products for export market and to our local communities as well as create employment in the rural areas.
Also speaking during the conference, Head of European Union Intellectual Property, Ignacio Medrano noted that they are convinced that with the protection of geographical indications, it will potentially increase the exports and tourism in Nigeria because of the quality of the products that Nigeria have.
EUIPO is supporting AFTIPI program of a legal framework for geographical indication and there are many activities trying to raise awareness about intellectual property in the African continent.
A member of the working committee, Mr. Mark Abani underscored the importance of having a legal framework.
He mentioned that members of the working committee was drwan from a wide range of experience and skills, that way they are able to develop a robust outline that would cater for all interests.
On her part, Tolu Olaloye, a member of the working committee, noted that one of the best practices that should adopted was scrutiny that would be done by a registrar, that would look at the value and origin of a product to aoid mixups.
She stated that generic name should not be allowed as a provision in the European laws do not petmit that.
The Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Commission, john Clarke, on his part said agriculture has huge potentials for export in Nigeria.
Clarke reaffirmed that with a proper framework for farmers, the country’s economy will grow rapidly due to abundant agriculture unique varieties that will be exported.
AfCTA: Marine and Blue Economy minister delighted as NPA hosts West, Central African Ports in Nigeria
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has expressed delight in the prospects of the hosting right conferred on the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) for the 43rd Annual Council and 18th Managing Directors’ Roundtable by the Port Management Association of West & Central Africa (PMAWCA).
The NPA won the hosting right in recognition of the remarkable improvements it demonstrated in advancing the frontiers of trade facilitation.
The gathering of 24 littoral African countries scheduled to hold from November 6 to 9 at the Lagos Continental Hotel Victoria Island Lagos is expected to be declared open by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Council has as theme: “The Role of Ports in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The annual council provides a platform for the cross-fertilisation of ideas, experiences and knowledge sharing to guide necessary policy action towards maximizing the maritime comparative advantage of the sub-region.
Speaking on Nigeria’s preparedness and expectations from the conference, the Minister said, “This gathering of maritime experts is very timely as it is coming when Nigeria is eager to provide the leadership necessary to convert our marine and blue economy potentials to actualities in a bid to provide opportunities for our growing youth population.”
He added that, “to demonstrate the premium we place on maximizing the emerging opportunities of AfCFTA which is the focal point of the conference, we have given the Nigerian Ports Authority all the support necessary for a flawless hosting.”
Responding during a media chat preparatory to the occasion at the NPA Headquarters in Marina, Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, mentioned that, “our confidence in hosting this conference is in demonstration of our readiness to provide regional leadership in ports competitiveness and is inspired by the uncommon trade facilitation orientation of Mr. President who is already endorsing some of our initiatives for the maximization of our littoral assets under the auspices of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.”
DG ACCI commends Dangote group for scaling up volume of Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange
By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
The Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mrs. Victoria Akwai, has commended Dangote Group of Companies for helping to scale up the volume of foreign exchange through export of his products.
Mrs Akwai who gave the commendation in his speech delivered at the Special Day of the Dangote Group at the ongoing 18th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) said exports of the company’s’ products such as Fertilizer, Cement to other countries has boosted Nigeria’s foreign reserve.
She identified Dangote Group of Companies as one of Nigeria’s biggest earners of Foreign Exchange thereby contributing to the growth and development of the country’s economy.
According to her “This year’s Trade Fair looked at the issue of Made in Nigeria, and we are proud that the Dangote Group is the champion of Made in Nigeria products”.
She commended the Dangote Group for the sponsorship of the 18th Trade Fair, which has as its theme: “Sustainable Finance and Taxation as Drivers of the New Economy.”
The Dangote Group’s Executive Director, Government and Stakeholders Relations, Mansur Ahmed, an Engineer, said the company is committed to its industrialization project in Africa.
While noting that the Dangote Group is the biggest employer of labour, he said the company’s’ President Aliko Dangote is passionate about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Philanthropy.
Mr. Ahmed commended the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government over its reform effort, and numerous steps taken to ginger the economy.
According to Mr. Ahmed the partnership with ACCI offers the company the opportunity to display its numerous innovative products while contributing its quota to the Nigerian economy through Trade Fairs and expos.
At the trade fair, the company’s pavilion became a mecca of a sort as participants trooped to catch glimpse of the several innovative products on display.
A statement by the Branding and Corporate Communications Department of the company said a special help desk has been set up at the company’s pavilion to respond to queries while urging participants to leverage on the numerous innovative products which included the: Dangote Fertiliser, Dangote Sugar, Dangote Cement, Dangote Salt, and lots more.
The Trade Fair will run between September 28 and October 9, 2023.
Economic downturn: Fasua, other experts, say, Nigeria needs home grown solutions
The Special Adviser to the Vice President, Kashim Shettima on Economic Affairs, Tope Fasua, has indicated that Nigeria has all what is needed to overcome all of its current economic challenges given the country’s abundant human and natural resources.
Fasua spoke on Thursday at a colloquium organized in his honour to mark his 52nd birthday anniversary in Abuja.
He said all that the country needs is for it to unlock its full potentials by developing its own “home grown solutions”, and taking advantage of the limitless opportunities that abound in the country to address its needs especially in the short run.
“All I see are Opportunities for development. I do not like to see the economy from the position of its challenges. I see only opportunities and prospects. This economy has not even started yet, hopefully it will start to grow with this administration
Speaking further, he advised that while the country steps up its fight against corruption, the country must not lose sight of the need to grow its economy, pointing out that this can be better achieved by looking more inwardly instead of relying on foreign interventions.
He said Nigeria can start by ramping up production which will then attract more Foreign investment Investments and ultimately create job opportunities, rake in foreign exchange and strengthen the Naira.
Speaking to Journalists on the sidelines, Director General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dasuki Arabi shared similar sentiments with Fasua on the need for government to look inward for answers to Nigeria’s economic challenges.
He noted that President Bola Tinubu had in his inaugural speech set the pace with a clear roadmap towards economic recovery and that with people like Fasua having opportunity to work closely with him, Nigeria will in no time bounce back.
“We are happy he has a place in this government, as I said it we cannot get outsiders to do it for us it has to be a home grown solution to the problem that we are facing and we have a president that is giving people the space to address the challenges and problems facing this country.
“If you look at his inaugural speech he spoke about value addition improvement in foreign exchange earnings
“Most especially that message of saying use what we produce what we eat that will reduce our demand for foreign dependency on import and we look inwards to solving our problem.”
In his goodwill message, former Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside said the major ingredient needed to jumpstart the Nigerian economy is quality leadership which he said is embodied in the current administration.
Five books authored by Tope Fasua were also presented at the intellectual discourse with many of them providing answers to Nigeria’s economic challenges.
The event had in attendance a crème of other prominent economic experts and policy matters.
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