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Ghanaian govt defends $1million trader’s levy, faults Nigerian borders’ closure

This comes as both countries have traded words over the closure of Nigerian-owned shops in Ghana.

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The Ghanaian government may have imposed the $1million levy on traders in the country, including Nigeria, due to certain steps taken by Nigerian government to protect the former’s interest.

This was revealed in a statement issued by the Ghana’s Ministry of Information on Sunday. The statement was in reaction to claims by Lai Mohammed of closing of Nigerian-owned shops by Ghanaian authorities and seizure of properties owned by the Nigerian High Commission.

This comes as both countries have traded words over the closure of Nigerian-owned shops in Ghana, with the Ghanaian Foreign Minister citing the border closure policy by President Buhari as affecting the revenues of Ghanaian exporters.

Back story: Themoneymetrics earlier reported that the Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the closure of Nigerian shops contravenes ECOWAS trade protocols and called for a decisive solution between both countries.

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama took matters on by summoning Ghana’s Chargé d’Affaires to Nigeria, Ms. Iva Denoo, to discuss the closure of Nigerian-owned shops in Accra.

Onyeama also met with a  delegation from the Nigerian Traders in Ghana to propose steps towards ensuring that the traders get their shops reopened. The delegation of Nigerian traders was led by Mr. Jasper Emenike, the National President of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN) and the organisation’s National Director, Hon. Ruth Ango.

Reacting to the crisis, Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey stated that Nigeria’s border closure in 2019 has hurt Ghanaians and nearly bankrupted many Ghanaian businesses after their goods were stuck in the Seme Border for months.

August 2019 saw Nigeria close its land borders without notice to community trade. Explanation- ‘To stop smuggling and to protect local industries from imported/smuggled rice, etc.’

“Of course, this decision ended up hurting Ghanaian exporters and brought many of them to their knees financially as trucks were stuck at the Seme Krake border for months,” she said.

Ghanaian’s defence

Citing the accusation that 300, 600 and 250 Nigerian owned shops were closed in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively, it said, “Upon evidence that some individuals, including Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians had been involved in various forms of trade, without complying with the laws and regulations of Ghana, several engagements and prior advice had been given to encourage compliance.

“Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry personally intervened to ensure reopening of the closed shops, pending compliance with Ghana’s laws.”

On seizure of the High Commission building located at No. 10 Barnes road, Accra, the former Gold Coast minister said terms of the lease between Nigeria and a private citizen named Thomas. D. hardy expired 46 years ago without any evidence of renewal by the Nigerian government. The government said it was not involved in the transaction that occurred on 23rd October 1959 and has not seized the property in question.

On the demolition of a building located at No 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, Accra, the government argued that Nigeria failed to complete the proper documentation after acquiring the property in the year 2000. It stated that Nigeria’s High Commission failed to purchase the Land and Lease Title Certificates.

It added, “The demolition was not carried out by the Ghanaian government but by agents of the Osu Stool. Ghana has decided to return the property to the Nigerian government to preserve relationships between both nations.”

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Companies

Dangote Sugar proposes N18.2 billion as final dividend for 2020

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has proposed a sum of N18.2 billion as the final dividend for shareholders.

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The Board of Directors of Nigeria, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has proposed a sum of N18.2 billion as the final dividend for shareholders for the period ended 31st December 2020.

This announcement was contained in the audited financial statement of the leading integrated sugar company.

In line with the statement of the Board of DSR, the approval of this proposed dividend at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting will see Dangote Sugar pay out a final dividend of N1.50 for each of the outstanding 12,146,878,241 ordinary shares of the company, held by its shareholders.

The proposed dividend is 36.36% higher than the final dividend of N1.1 per share (N13.36 billion) the sugar company paid its shareholders in 2019.

What you should know

  • Dangote Sugar Refinery declared in its audited statement for the period ended 31st December 2020 that its profit for the year climbed to N29.8 billion, from N22.4 billion in 2019.
  • According to these figures, DSR’s earnings per share for 2020 are pegged at N2.45. Hence, with a dividend of N1.50 per share, Dangote Sugar is set to payout 61.2% of its profits for 2020.
  • At the close of trading activities on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange today, shares in Dangote Sugar Refinery declined by 0.83% to close lower at N17.85.
  • At this price, the dividend yield of Dangote Sugar shares is 8.40%.
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HOSPITALITY & TRAVEL

FG approves reopening of Osubi Airport, Warri for daylight operations

Osubi Airport will be opened for operations in daylight in VFR conditions and observe COVID-19 protocols.

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The Federal Government approved the reopening of Osubi Airport, Warri, Delta State for daylight operations on Monday.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, via his Twitter handle on Monday.

According to him, the facility will be opened for operations in daylight in VFR conditions, while observing COVID-19 protocols.

He tweeted, “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in Visual Flight rules (VFR) conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.”

VFR are a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going.

What you should know

  • The Airport, which was commissioned on 17th April 1999 by the former Minister of Aviation, Captain Briggs, is managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
  • In 2020, the Federal Government, in a letter to all the aviation parastatals, had allegedly terminated the contract of Shoreline Oil Services Limited, the operator of the airport, with immediate effect, citing incompetence.
  • The facility has been a subject of controversy since it changed hands from the original owner, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), to Shoreline in partnership with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2015.
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Business

US Ambassador opens centre in Lagos, to boost entrepreneurial skills among Nigerian youth

US Ambassador to Nigeria has launched a centre where youths can gain entrepreneurship skills through programs and workshops.

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The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, opened the first-of-its-kind Window on America in Nigeria on Monday.

The Centre is expected to serve as a community center where young people develop their ideas, as well as their leadership and entrepreneurship skills through programs and workshops designed especially for them.

This was disclosed in a statement shared by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section (PAS), U.S. Consulate General and seen by Themoneymetrics.

According to the statement, the Centre, which was Hosted at the Lekki Slum2School Innovation Hub in Lagos, is as a result of a partnership between the US Consulate General, Lagos and Slum2School Africa, founded by Otto Orondaam, a 2016 alumnus of U.S. government’s Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The Ambassador noted that the new Window on America is open to everyone in the community, offering its services, programs and resources to the public at no cost.

She said, “We are happy to open the very first Window on America space in Nigeria here in Lekki.

“In the next few months, we will follow with six additional new Windows on America in the south and 12 across the country. We want our Windows on America to promote mutual understanding between the United States and the people of Nigeria.”

In addition to providing public programming space, the Lekki Window on America will support five core programs: English language learning, educational advising, alumni activities, cultural programs, and information about the U.S.

What you should know

  • Visitors to the window will typically include students, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, journalists, civic organizations, government officials, and community leaders, in addition to many others.
  • Windows on America are American spaces that provide welcoming environments where visitors can learn about the United States, including its government, history, culture, and educational system through programs, lectures, books and electronic resources provided by the U.S. Government.
  • In addition to the Lekki Window on America, 12 more will be opened in major cities across the country, including Abeokuta, Awka, Benin City, Enugu, Osogbo, Uyo, Zaria, Minna, Dutse, Makurdi, Gombe and Lafia, in order to engage more Nigerian audiences in their local communities.
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