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Sterling Bank dedicates 10% loan portfolio to supporting agriculture

@Sterling_Bankng Plc has notified the general public that it dedicated 10% of its overall loan portfolio to help finance the country’s agricultural sector.

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Nigeria's Agricultural sector records highest growth in Q1 2019, Central Bank disbursed N299 billion

Sterling Bank Plc has notified the general public that it dedicated 10% of its overall loan portfolio to help finance the country’s agricultural sector. According to the lender, this is being done in recognition of the fact that the sector is one of the major contributors to the growth of the nation’s economy.

The bank’s Group Head of Agriculture Finance and Solid Minerals, Mrs Bukola Awosanya, disclosed this at a recent summit on Commodity Value-Chain Investment and Agribusinesses Support Initiative through Public and Private Partnership (PPP).

She disclosed that the bank’s dedication to the sector was a premeditated intention to help farmers and ensure that the value chain is properly tied end to end.

Reasons for delayed intervention: According to Mrs Awosanya, most lenders have been reluctant to provide credit facilities for the company because of the following;

  • The absence of good agricultural practices.
  • Farmers’ inability to meet up to loan agreements.
  • Bad weather.

“We want to encourage farmers but if the input is bad, the output will fall short of expectations. For instance, poor seed quality is an issue; lack of infrastructure such as bad roads is also an issue because it makes distribution of the harvest from the farm to the market difficult.

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“Government policy also affects lending to the sector because after the bank has concluded arrangements to finance some farmers, the government may decide to lift a ban on the importation of the commodity. What happens to the ones you have done? So government policy is also a problem in agriculture.” -Awosanya

Farmers’ Access to Loans: She also spoke about the need for farmers to be educated on the importance of paying bank loans, because if loans are not repaid, banks will not be motivated to give them loans again.

In the meantime, Sterling Bank Plc intends to support the health, education, renewal energy and transport sectors.

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Business

Nigeria to begin gold production in 2021 with the Segilola Gold Project

The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve.

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Nigeria to save $300 million from importation of barite 

Nigeria is set to commence gold production in 2021 after the launch of the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state. This was disclosed by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, while taking stock of his first year in office as Minister.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the project is expected to create about direct 400 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs along the gold value chain.

He added that once the project takes off, Nigeria would become a major gold producing country, a move that would hasten the diversification of the economy and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.

He noted that the government was creating an enabling environment across the gold value chain. According to him, “the international roadshows we have had in the past have borne fruits. Today we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project, which is projected to start producing in the first half of next year.”

The minister also noted that the government has licenced two gold refineries to refine gold to the London Bullion Market Association, LBMA, standard.

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About the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Adegbite explained that the global travel restriction caused by the pandemic had prevented the technical experts from Russia from coming over to the plant to conduct an audit of the steel plant. He assured that this would be done as soon as the flight restriction was over, and there are hopes to revive the plant before the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.

Why it matters

The take-off of gold production in Nigeria is expected to open up an industry centred around gold production, from equipment leasing and repairs, logistic and transport. Note that gold requires a specialized means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators among others. These, according to Adegbite, would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs across the gold value chain.

The minister further stated that Nigeria has mined, processed, and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI. The first batch of PAGMI gold was unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020.

The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve after being purchased by the Central Bank.

“PAGMI will result in the creation of thousands of new mining and formalized jobs, leading to poverty alleviation for many households. Under the scheme, artisanal and small scale gold miners will earn more from higher productivity, better recovery rates through mechanization of operations, and better access to reliable geological information,” he said.

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Business

AGF launches Committee on Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal

This initiative will provide the public with financial information of all MDAs.

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Office of Nigeria's Account General is reportedly engulfed in flames, Auditor-General, Accountant-General, grants, FAAC disburses N327.68 billion to States and LGAs in September, as allocation drops again,

Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has launched a Committee on Federal Government Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal to enable Transparency on economic governance policy.

Speaking during the launch today in Abuja, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, FCNA, said the committee would provide the public with financial information of all MDAs to promote accountability and anti-corruption campaign.

The AGF said that the Honourable Minister of Finance and National Planning (HMFBNP) had in July 2018, presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the approval to establish the Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal.

“The approved Transparency Policy provides for Transparency requirements, thresholds and responsibilities as part of Government Policy on accountability in line with Freedom of Information Act 2014.

“The HMFBNP, then constituted the composition of the Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee which membership were drawn from MDAs,” he said.

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Idris said that the Committee would implement transparent governance and improve the FG’s whistleblowing programme, which would help Nigerians report financial crimes in the MDAs.

He disclosed that the operations of the committee would be accounted through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which will offer its secretariat services to the committee, and enable the committee request information and clarification.

Idris added that the Committee would report to the Accountant General and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed monthly, citing that the Committee would work transparently “without fear or favour”.

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Economy & Politics

FG meets group to access AfCFTA’s $650 billion market

AfCFTA is aligned to the ministry’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export based diversification.

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UNIDO’s $60m investment programme to boost Nigeria’s industrialisation - FG, FG to strengthen economic ties with Turkey, FG moves to facilitate tax incentives for SMEs, Made-in-Nigeria vehicles gulp N364 billion from FG

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has met with executives of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and access the continent’s market worth $659 billion, in mostly manufacturing goods and services.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo during the meeting on Monday.

The minister emphasized on the importance of AfCFTA, as it is aligned to the ministry’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export based diversification. It provides us with a preferential access to African market worth over $650bn, in mostly manufactured goods .

Back story: Nairametrics had reported when Aissata Koffi Yameogo, ECOWAS’ Programmes Officer in charge of implementing AfCFTA rules of origin in the continent, said that the implementation will expand market for the manufacturing industry to 1.3 billion West African citizens, without additional duties and fees.

“It will build production capacity in the region and develop the value chain, and increased export to other African states” she added.

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The benefits would also encourage member states to specialise in the production of a certain good where they have a comparative advantage, thus enhancing the quality and quantity of local production and creating more jobs.

He said, “This would improve our competitiveness and the perception of our products and services in the African market. Intra-African trade in Agro products and services will develop our local value chain, create jobs and increase our GDP.”

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the elimination of tariffs could boost trade in Africa by 15-25% in the medium term, and once fully implemented, is expected to cover all 55 African countries, with a combined GDP of about US$2.2 trillion.

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