An award geared towards the promotion of Made-in-Nigeria products and services will be launched on 1st October 2016.

Titled ‘Made In Nigeria Product Awards,’ the awards seeks to create awareness, loyalty, recognition and prestige for the local manufacturing sector.

Point Blank Media Concepts (PBMC) Nigeria Limited, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, will launch the first edition of Nigeria Made Products Awards in Lagos in October 2016.

A statement issued by the chief executive officer of the PBMC, Mr Theophilus E. Akatugba, said the event would promote locally made products and services to consumers and facilitate the discovery of old and newly manufactured ones.

He said, “The award is about seeking made in Nigeria products and services and exposing them to Nigerians across the country in an effort to promote and market them. The fast depreciation of the naira against other currencies is due to the low patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products and high importation of related products.

At the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja this morning, 90 lawyers announced their appearance for the embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, an increase in the number of lawyers that appeared for him previously.

But on Wednesday, Kanu Agabi (SAN), Saraki’s lead counsel, reeled off 90 names, including that of four senior lawyers. He jokingly told Danladi Umar, chairman of the tribunal, that he would go down in history as one of the judges before whom the highest number lawyers appeared.

Agabi was absent on Tuesday, but Paul Usoro (SAN), one of Saraki’s lawyers held brief for him. The trial had progressed at the time of his arrival.

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The 3rd annual mPAD/MAN Expo 2016 was an absolute success. We represented the African Textile/Fabric manufacturing industry in a big and unique way. We were there and even foreigners where taken aback at our quality, finely tailored head-wears and apparels. Some wondered why they have to leave the shores of Nigeria to get products that are right under their noses. We have joined the movement to propagate the Africa and Nigeria market. ‪#‎BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira‬

The House of Representatives has acknowledged what it termed as “excruciating hunger” in the country, including “the depreciating welfare of the Nigerian masses”.  It called on the Federal Government to vigorously fund the manufacturing sector through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The lawmakers urged the apex bank to enforce the statutory requirement that 10 per cent of banks’ profits should be used to finance and lend to the manufacturing sector to promote economic growth.

Lawmakers had assessed the economic situation of the country during a debate on a motion on ‘Need to Address the Excruciating Hunger, Hardship and Depreciating Welfare of the Masses of the Nigerian People’ on the floor of the House in Abuja.

The motion, which was moved by a member from Kogi State, Mr. Karimi Sunday, also called for the establishment of a commodities and exchange commission/farm produce board to promote the export of Nigerian agricultural products.

A document detailing the House’s proceedings, indicated that the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, directed that the motion was good enough to be included in the House’s upcoming “sectoral debate.”

The sectoral debate will deal with issues on all the sectors of the economy and will involve ministers/heads of agencies coming to address the legislature.

The motion on hunger implored the governments of the 36 states to “enter into strategic alliances that will boost agricultural development in their states.”   Part of the motion reads, “The House observes that the catalyst for economic recovery remains reduction of imports, development of small and medium scale enterprises and diversification from an oil-based economy.

Nigeria is in a state of crisis. The Nigerian brand has never been so bad. Recently Future Brands, a leading international brand evaluation agency, issued a Country Brand index. It ranked 75 countries in the same way they measure consumer or corporate brands – according to strength of global perceptions across association dimensions.

Nigeria came 75th out of 75 countries profiled in the Country Brand Index.

This means that to the outside world, Nigeria was perceived as the worst place on the planet to do business, to live, to invest, to buy from, and to visit. According to the index, Nigeria’s reputation trailed far behind countries such as Iran and Zimbabwe, and numerous countries with far lower GDP. Whilst we may see this as undeserved and unfair, in the world of marketing the saying goes “perception is reality”.

Fig: Country Index 2015
 Country Index 2015

So our perception issue should not come as a surprise because there has never been any management of the Nigerian brand. Nigeria has suffered from a void of national branding since its loveless creation by a British Colonial Administration in 1914, after its bloody Post-Independence civil war in the 1960’s, through the decades of erratic military dictatorships, and its more recent well-documented corrupt democratic regimes.

And in the absence of a grand meta-narrative, or sustained communicated identity, the rest of the world has simply filled in the gap and imagined the Nigerian brand and come to its conclusions about Africa’s biggest economy.
Sure, there have been glimmers of singular national brilliance out of Nigeria, periodic wafts of the promise that the rich land and people possess, but there has, in over a hundred years of its existence never been a cohesive and consistent narrative , or brand. Not one. Not once.

Nigeria has never introduced itself to the world, in its own words, in its voice.

Several people are randomly mentioning words that they have associated with Nigeria – the words ‘corruption’, ‘hope’, ‘future promise’, ‘terrorism’, ‘insecurity’, ‘instability’, ‘oil’ were prevalent. These words are some of the most prevalent words associated with Nigeria in the foreign (and local) press. If we were to export those seven word associations, ‘oil’ is the only commodity appealing to other countries. While the oil prices were high, Nigeria could raise its misunderstood head on the world stage in pride – there was money to be made. But now the oil prices have fallen the other less valuable associations persist.

None of these people can confidently mention any export other than oil.

So why is it vital to brand a country? A nation brand is one of the most important assets in the global marketplace, and an investment worth making for the sake of the nation’s future. It is an invisible hand that governs macro-economic factors. Nation branding dictates perceptions of national competence, tourism, exports, governance, people, culture and heritage, investment and immigration, trade and even political relations with other states.

Through nation branding itself, countries can partake in “investment branding.” Countries promote their infrastructure, favourable tax structures, or other incentives in an effort to lure foreign investment. The image and reputation of a nation can greatly influence its success in attracting tourism and investment, and can successfully transfer to the nation’s exporting products, essentially as a representation of the nation that produced them.  The key drivers of a ‘country brand’ include having a reputation for producing high quality ‘Made In’ products and services. The two other main drivers are a desire to visit, live, do business or study in a country.

Of the over 2,000 manufacturing firms in the country, more than 200 will be closing shop in the next two months due to lack of raw materials to continue production, according to findings by our correspondent.

The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, told our correspondent that 100 operators in the general goods sector had indicated that they would shut down in April when their remaining stock of raw materials would have been used up.

Similarly in the pharmaceutical sector, 120 operators are down to two months’ supply of raw materials after which they will close shop, according to the Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of MAN, Dr. Okey Akpa.

In the food and beverage sector, only few of the 80 operators may be in business by April if the situation does not improve.

The President, Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers, Mr. Paul Gbededo, told our correspondent that apart from two or three firms, which were able to attain 40 per cent to 50 per cent local sourcing of raw materials, the rest depended on importation and would find it difficult to keep operating beyond April.

It was gathered that a combination of factors, chief among which was the scarcity of dollars and the restriction of forex sales to importers of 41 items (some of them considered as essential raw materials) by the Central Bank of Nigeria, had curtailed the supply of raw materials to the industrial sector, leading to low capacity utilisation and poor output.

Operators said they had been unable to meet both local and foreign financial obligations on account of poor bank credit and lack of access to dollars.

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the convocation of a national economic conference aimed at rallying the country together to offer solutions to the current economic challenges facing Nigeria.  The approval came barely a week after Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, called on the President to summon an emergency economic meeting to recommend specific solutions to the nation’s prevailing economic challenges to save the country’s economy from further drift.

The nation’s currency has slumped drastically against the dollar in recent months due largely to the scarcity of the foreign currency and the tough regulations of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This appeared to have led to spiraling inflation in the country as most products are produced abroad, putting the nation’s foreign reserves and currency under intense pressure.  The price of crude oil in the international market has continued to fall since November 2014, threatening to frustrate the provisions of the nation’s N6.07tn 2016 budget.   Soyinka, who made the call when he visited the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja last Thursday, had said experts and consumers should be invited to the meeting.

“The President should call an emergency economic conference with experts to be invited – consumers, producers, labour unions, university experts, professors, etc. I think we really need an emergency economic conference, a rescue operation, bringing as many heads as possible together to plan the way forward,” Soyinka had said.

But the government source said the idea of the economic conference, which had tentatively been fixed for March 10 and 11, was first discussed at the 65th National Economic Council meeting held on January 28.

The council, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had all the state governors and the Central Bank Nigeria Governor, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and some ministers as members.

It has a constitutional role of advising the President on economic matters.

Today the Naira has hit a record low of N400 to a dollar, while it exchanged for N510 to a British Pound exchanged at the parallel market.  Traders attributed the pressure on the local currency on the continued scarcity of the greenback as well as speculation occasioned by the forex policy of the Federal Government.  Nigerian Tribune  findings revealed that the local unit fell to N375 per dollar in Lagos, the commercial capital.     Aminu Gwadabe, president of Lagos-based Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria, said by phone that the naira might fall to something above N415 per dollar this week.
“As the currency drops in value, more people engage in panic buying,” Gwadabe said. “There are importers looking for dollars at all costs to keep their businesses going.  ”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stopped selling foreign exchange to money changers last month, the latest in a series of controls aimed at supporting the naira at a fixed peg of N197-N199 per dollar on the official interbank market since March last year amid plunging oil prices.
Nigeria has restricted foreign currency trading at banks, causing a shortage of dollars in an economy that imports most of its manufactured goods, sending the unofficial rate soaring. Crude sales accounted for about two-thirds of government revenue in 2014 and about 90 per cent of the nation’s foreign currency earnings

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday (today) embark on yet another round of foreign trips that will take him to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

This time, Buhari, who returned to Nigeria on Saturday from Egypt where he participated in the Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum, will be away for about one week.      According to the President’s itinerary released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Sunday, Buhari will first fly to Riyadyh for talks with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and senior officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.    The talks will hold on Tuesday.

Adesina disclosed further that ongoing efforts by Nigeria and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to achieve greater stability in the price of crude oil exports are expected to be on the agenda of discussions between Buhari and the Saudi

The President will be accompanied by a high-powered Federal Government delegation, including the Minister of State (Petroleum) and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

The President is also scheduled to meet with leading Saudi and Qatari businessmen in Riyadh and Doha, and invite them to support his administration’s efforts to revamp the Nigerian economy by taking advantage of the great investment opportunities currently available in Nigeria’s mining, agriculture, power supply, infrastructure, transportation, communications and other sectors.

President Buhari’s other engagements in Saudi Arabia include meetings with heads of international financial organisations and multilateral associations

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