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How FAAC allocation is hindering agriculture

A N50 billion Export Promotion Fund has been launched for Nigerian exporters, in the bid to promote exports of made-in-Nigerian goods,

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NEXIM Bank, Agriculture, Agriculture: Looking beyond the provision of finance   

The Nigerian agricultural producers and exporters have been advised to improve the quality, branding and packaging of their produce, in order to fully explore the huge marketing opportunities in the Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates.

This and numerous issues were discussed on Wednesday at an agro stakeholders’ conference, Meet the Farmers Conference, held at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Lagos. The event was organised by Crenov8 Consulting and tagged “The Future of Agribusiness”.

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Smart Agriculture

Technology is now changing the face of agriculture, not only globally, but also in some sub-Sahara African countries. Nigerian farmers were, therefore, advised to embrace the use of technology for their farming and livestock activities, so as to maximise their agricultural produce.

Various stakeholders who spoke at the agro export business conference advocated for the need for Nigeria to immediately begin to nurture younger ones, especially youths (who make up 60% of the population) to take over agriculture in the country so as to revolutionise the sector through technology.

On his part, Mr Ayodeji Arikawe, Co-Founder, ThriveAgric, said the use of technology in agriculture could be from the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), methodology, process etc, adding that technology will reduce the number of people who work on the farm while methodology will maximise land by reducing the amount of land used for agriculture etc.

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Agribusiness in Nigeria

A key note speaker at the event and Vice President of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), Emmanuel Ijewere, enjoined Nigerian businessmen to invest heavily in the agricultural sector saying that agribusiness has more potentials than the much talked-about oil and gas business. He said,

“in the next few years, the next group of Nigerian billionaires will be from the agribusiness.”

He said the demography of Nigerian population is an asset which should be exploited, adding that the ratio of youth to the total population is very high and should be a huge market for agribusiness, since the almost 200 million Nigerians must feed daily. He also encouraged Nigerians to pick and click into any of the value chains of agribusiness.

“The almost 200 million Nigerians must eat daily, so we need to take agriculture serious now because our population will soon double by 2050.”

Maximising Agro produce

Mr Ijewere also advised Nigerians farmers to exploit the use of greenhouse for agriculture, in order to multiply their farm yields.  He described greenhouse as the future of agriculture, especially in Africa.

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According to him,

“Greenhouse is not farming, but science and technology. It protects produce and multiplies them.”

He emphasised that Kenya and many African countries have left Nigeria behind in the area of agriculture, adding that while Kenya has 1,078 greenhouses, Nigeria only have about 300 greenhouses, of which only 2 are operational.

In his own contribution, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, represented by a Director in the Ministry, emphasised that government see technology as a way of increasing and improving agricultural produce which necessitated government’s  support for smart farming in Nigeria.

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Promotion of Agric Exports

A N50 billion Export Promotion Fund has been launched for Nigerian exporters, in the bid to promote exports of made-in-Nigerian goods, according to Stella Okotete, who represented the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), at the conference. She went on to add that several cocoa exporters have recently benefited from the fund. She also said Nigeria can even benefit from the trade war between the United States and China:

“US flying soya beans over Africa to export them to China is a shame to the continent. We have arable land for soya beans in Nigeria, but we don’t even have enough soya beans to process into soya oil. We should be exporting it in large quantity.”

The need for Partnership

She advocated the need for partnerships in the Nigerian agricultural sector, saying that most of the big companies operating in the agric space are not owned by one individual. She went on to encouraged agric exporters and farmers to form partnership and co-operative societies, in order to make it easier for them to access funds from NEXIM Bank.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), represented by Emmanuel Adesina, also urged farmers to form partnerships, to enable Nigeria sustain food security and increase export at the same time. He added that the foreign experts brought in by NIPC can only train local farmers on how to improve the quality of agric exports, only if they form co-operative societies.

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FAAC Allocation Hinders Agric Development

However, speaking exclusively to Nairametrics, the Vice President, NABG, Emmanuel Ijewere, blamed the monthly FAAC allocation as one of the reasons why many governors are not interested in the development of Agriculture. He advised the Federal Government to halt the monthly allocation to State Governments throughout the federation.

Crenova8 Consulting is a leading consulting and digital technology firm based in Dubai, but with offices in Lagos and Nairobi. The last Meet the Farmers Conference was held in Kigali, Rwanda last week while the next edition comes up in  November.

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Patricia
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Appointments

AfDB appoints Rabah Arezki as new vice president and chief economist 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the appointment of Dr Rabah Arezki as  Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, with effect from October 1, 2020. 

This was disclosed in a press statement on the bank’s website on July 13, 2020. 

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Dr Rabah Arezkiwho is an Algerian citizen, is currently the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, a role he has held since 2017. 

At the World Bank, he led the development of the Bank’s “moonshot approach” for the Middle East and Africa which aims to achieve full internet and digital payment connectivity. He championed the agenda on fair competition, data and transparency to empower and unlock the potential of the region’s youth. 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2006 to 2017. He started his career at the IMF as an Economist and became the Chief of the Commodities and Environment Unit in the Research Department. He provided leadership on IMF’s rapid response to the historical collapse in oil prices that started in 2014. He advised authorities all around the world on risk mitigation policies. 

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Dr Arezki is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an external Research Associate at the Oxford University, UK, a research fellow at the CESifo, a global independent research network. Dr. Arezki is also a resource person for the African Economic Research Consortium and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum. He has been a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute, USA. 

He has published extensively both in top academic journals and policy-oriented outlets and is a co-editor and co-author of five books including Shifting Commodity Markets in a Globalized World. Many of his research papers have been cited extensively in academic circles and in prominent media outlets.  

In his statement after his appointment, Dr Arezki said, The African Development Bank is making excellent progress in accelerating Africa’s development. I am excited with the opportunity to work with President Adesina and the Bank’s leadership and teams to further provide top notch policy, knowledge and capacity building support for African countries.” 

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Dr Arezki holds a Masters in Economics and Statistics from Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE) – France (2003), and a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute – Italy (2006). He is multilingual and fluent in French, English, and Arabic. 

In his own response, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, said, I am delighted that Dr. Rabah Arezki is joining the African Development Bank Group following an impactful career at the World Bank and the IMF. Rabah is an outstanding researcher and policy expert with extensive experience in research, policy and reforms.” 

“His leadership will be especially important as the Bank designs and deploys policy-based operations to address COVID-19, advances policy reforms, and supports African countries growth recovery efforts from the pandemic,” Adesina added. 

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Corporate Press Releases

NSE simplifies investing in the capital market with comic book

StockTown is dedicated to providing financial literacy education to Nigerians.

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The proliferation of dubious investment schemes that often result in loss of money by unsuspecting members of the public continues to make the role of financial literacy imperative. To play its part, Nigeria’s leading bourse, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) has issued the second edition of its comic, StockTown, dedicated to providing financial literacy education to Nigerians.

The comic, available in digital format on a dedicated website at www.nse-stocktown.com builds on The Exchange’s advocacy for safe and trusted investment schemes.

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READ ALSO: NSE aids financial literacy, rewards students with equity, edufund

The story picks up from the first edition, following the life of Mora Johnson as she seeks to liberate her family from their financial struggles by investing in the capital market. This second edition highlights some major lessons for potential and existing investors including the need for vigilance in avoiding Ponzi schemes and unregulated investments, whilst advising prospective investors to seek proper guidance before making investment decisions. Readers can look forward to a simplified explanation of the history of the capital market, its evolution over the years, and how anyone can start making investments today in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of StockTown.

Commenting on the importance of this comic book, Head, Corporate Communications, NSE, Olumide Orojimi said, “Investor Education is a priority for us at The Exchange. We have identified the need to empower individuals across all levels to make good financial decisions and better their lives now and in the future. As the investment landscape continues to evolve to accommodate more retail participants, we are excited to leverage new and existing platforms to present investment products and processes in ways that are both appealing and easy to understand, particularly in this new normal. We hope that StockTown becomes a widely-read resource for potential and existing investors, the financially excluded, millennials and the larger public.”

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READ ALSO: Gold rises above $1,800 amid COVID-19 surge, weaker dollar

StockTown is just one of the many ways NSE demonstrates its strong commitment to promoting financial literacy in Nigeria. Even amidst the Coronavirus pandemic and the temporary closure of The Exchange’s facilities, NSE continues to host virtual financial literacy workshops with students and young upwardly mobile professionals. Furthermore, The Exchange has hosted several webinars on various products including Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Green Bonds, and Securities Lending to provide more information to the market on available securities and how to trade them.

It should also be recalled that NSE is a member of the Financial Literacy Technical Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); as well as the National Finance Inclusion Steering Committee led by the Central Bank of Nigeria with a mandate to reduce the level of financial exclusion in Nigeria to 20%.

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Hospitality & Travel

5th evacuation flight for Nigerians in the US scheduled for July 31; see details

The evacuees are to forward the details of tickets and contact addresses of their next of kin.

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5th evacuation flight for Nigerians in the US scheduled for July 31; see details

The Federal Government has approved the 5th Evacuation flight for Nigerians stranded in the United States of America, for July 31.

According to a tweet from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Ethiopian airline, flight number ET547 will leave George Bush international airport Houston, Texas on Friday 31, July 2020 by 16:00 hours and arrive Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on Saturday 1st August 2020 by 20:00 hours.

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An official statement released by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Atlanta, Georgia in collaboration with other Nigerian missions in the United States of America, states that Nigerians registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA, and interested in boarding the flight, can purchase their one-way tickets.

“The airfare is $1,500 for economy class and $3,000 for business class for adult/child fare, including all taxes, with the usual percentage reduction for infants under 2 years,” it read.

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In addition, the intending evacuees are also expected to forward the details of purchased tickets together with the contact address of their next of kin in Nigeria to the consulate.

READ MORE: FG states international passengers to arrive 5 hours before departure, discloses other protocols

In line with the protocols announced by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, all of the returnees are to present a negative COVID-19 test result (not older than 14 days), and undergo a temperature check before boarding the evacuation flight, and upon arriving Nigeria, are expected to proceed on a 14-day self-isolation.

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In the last couple of months, the federal government, through the ministry of foreign affairs has evacuated hundreds of stranded Nigerians from different countries including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The returnees bear the cost of their flight tickets and are expected to self-isolate for two weeks, upon their return to Nigeria. Returnees, who receive a clean bill of health after the isolation, are given their passports and allowed to go home.

 

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