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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group In Nigeria On A 4-day Visit

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By Gloria Ikibah
Members of the Council of European Union’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) have arrived Abuja, Nigeria, for a four-day working visit from 26-29 February 2024, to the country.
In a statement by the EU, during the visit the COAFR members will engage with Nigerian authorities, government agencies, civil society groups, regional and international organisations and private sector actors in Abuja and Lagos.
The statement reads: “The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.
“The visiting COAFR members is expected to meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies in Abuja starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others.
“There will also be an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes”.
The statement also stated that while in Lagos, the COAFR team will meet with the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Consuls General of EU Member States, and leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.
“They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.
“The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts”.
Naijablitznews.com reports that the group plays an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent.
The team will also commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.
This is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria. In addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team.
Naijablitznews.com reports that this year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).
“More than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country.
“Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs”, the EU added.
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I’ve been suffering in silence for two years, Korra Obidi laments

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By Francesca Hangeior

Dancer Korra Obidi has claimed she has been suffering in silence for two years after divorce.

Obidi allegedly suffered acid and a knife during a live session in the United Kingdom.

Korra explained that she escaped the attack in the best possible way and hoped the inquiry will provide some answers as to who the ringleader of the attack is.

She added that she doesn’t want to wait till the worst happens.

She wrote: “I escaped with the best possible scenario and this I am grateful. Hoping the investigations will yield some closure as to who the ring leader to all these attacks are.

“I have been suffering in silence for 2 years since divorce. Glad this was LIVE and there is ample evidence. Don’t want to wait till the worse happens and help will finally come.

“This can only be God, Thank you everyone.”

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NIMC Speaks On New National ID Card

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Following the announcement of the planned release of a new National Identification Number in the country by the Federal Government last week, the National Identity Management Çommission, NIMC has provided further clarifications on the proposed ID.

In a statement released and signed by Head of Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke on Friday, the Commission said the new National ID Card is coming as a single, convenient, and General multipurpose card (GMPC), eliminating the need for multiple cards.

The single card with GMPC is said to have multiple use cases. as: Payments/Financial, Government intervention/services, travel, etc.

The card, according to the National Identity Management Commission is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System to deliver the payment and financial use cases.

“The card will be powered by the AFRIGO card scheme, an indigenous scheme powered by NIBSS.

Applicants for the card will have to request with their NIN through the self-service online portal, NIMC offices, or their respective banks.

“The card will be issued through the applicants’ respective banks in line with existing protocols with the issuance of the Debit/Credit cards.

“The card can be picked up by holders at the designated centre or delivered to the applicants at the requested location at an extra cost to be borne by the applicants’” the statement said.

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Nigerian Breweries shuts down two of its 9 plants due to ‘persistently challenging business environment’

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Nigerian Breweries Plc (NB plc) has indicated plans for company-wide reorganisation as part of strategic recovery plan which entails the temporary shutting down of two out of its nine breweries in Nigeria.

Following the recent announcement of its business recovery plan, the conglomerate which is a member of the HEINEKEN Group and Nigeria’s pioneer and largest brewing company indicated plans for a company-wide reorganisation aimed at securing a resilient and sustainable future for its stakeholders.

The company said the move is essential to improve its operational efficiency, financial stability and enable a return of the business to profitability, in the face of the persistently challenging business environment.

In letters signed by the company’s Human Resource Director, Grace Omo-Lamai, and addressed to the leadership of the National Union of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) and the Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB), the company informed both unions that its proposed plan would include operational efficiency measures and a company-wide reorganisation that includes the temporary suspension of operations in two of its nine breweries.

As a result, and in accordance with labour requirements, the Company invited the Unions to discussions on the implications of the proposed measures.

It would be recalled that the company recently notified the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) of its plan to raise capital of up to ₦600 billion (Six Hundred billion naira) by way of a Rights Issue, as a means of restoring the company’s balance sheet to a healthy position following the net finance expenses of N189 billion recorded in 2023 driven mainly by a foreign exchange loss of N153 billion resulting from the devaluation of the naira.

Speaking on these developments, Managing Director/CEO Nigerian Breweries Plc, Hans Essaadi described the business recovery plan as strategic and vital for business continuity:

“The tough business landscape characterised by double-digit inflation rates, naira devaluation, FX challenges and diminished consumer spend has taken its toll on many businesses, including ours. This is why we have taken the decision to further consolidate our business operations for efficient cost management and optimal use of our resources for future sustainable growth”.

“We recognise and regret the impact that the suspension of brewery operations in the two affected locations may have on our employees. We are committed to limiting the impact on our people as much as possible by exhausting all options available including the relocation and redistribution of employees to our other seven breweries; and providing strong support and severance packages to all those that become unavoidably affected. We are also committed to supporting our host communities in ways that ensure they continue to feel our presence.”

“We remain wholly committed to having a positive impact on our host communities and our consumers; leveraging our strong supply chain footprint; excellent execution of our route to market strategy; and our rich portfolio of brands across the Lager, Stout, Malt, Soft drinks, and Energy drinks categories; and more recently, Wines and Spirits with the acquisition of Distell”, he added.

The Nigerian Breweries’ business recovery plan includes a Rights Issue and a company-wide reorganisation exercise which includes temporary suspension of two out of its nine breweries in the country and an optimisation of production capacity in the other seven breweries, some of which have received significant capital investment in recent years.

The company reaffirmed its commitment to the long-term future of Nigeria and “stands as a cornerstone of Nigeria’s beverage industry.”With over 77 years of operations, the company said it would continue to demonstrate its enduring commitment to the Nigerian market and its people.

Incorporated in 1946 as “Nigerian Brewery Limited,” NB Plc made history in June 1949 when the first bottle of STAR lager beer rolled out of its Lagos brewery bottling line.

Today, it has a rich portfolio of 21 high-quality brands, including iconic brands like Heineken, Desperados, Maltina, Life, Amstel Malta, Gulder, Fayrouz, and Legend produced from nine breweries and distributed nationwide.

NN Plc recently added to its portfolio with the acquisition of an 80% business stake in Distell Wines and Spirits Limited, a local business in the wines and spirits category, as a demonstration of its resilient and forward-thinking strategy to deliver long-term value creation for its shareholders and other stakeholders.

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