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Columnists

Reducing risks in the agricultural sector

The MD/CEO of NIRSAL disclosed that the institution had provided insurance cover worth N6.5 billion to protect farmers in the country.

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FG moves to reduce gender inequality in agriculture, De-risking the agricultural sector

Speaking during a summit in Lagos, the Managing Director/CEO, Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) disclosed that the institution had provided insurance cover worth N6.5 billion to protect farmers in the country. He also disclosed that NIRSAL developed and launched the Area Yield Index Insurance product and protected over 37,399 farmers, with over N121 million paid out as compensation.

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.) is a Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013.

Cotton producers move to recover N4 billion CBN loan 

The core mandate of NIRSAL is to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain, building long-term capacity, and institutionalizing incentives for agricultural lending through its five (5) strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

With respect to the insurance pillar, the establishment of NIRSAL was expected to encourage banks to improve direct lending to the agricultural sector while NIRSAL stands as a guarantor. However, we understand that banks are still reluctant to lend to the sector, suggesting that the sector is still considered highly risky.

[READ MORE: Nigeria’s tomato shortfall: What’s the way forward?)

In our view, socio-economic/structural issues which range from insecurity particularly in the northern parts of the country (evidenced in Fulani- Herdsmen clashes), inadequate infrastructure (especially power and good road networks) and the dearth of technical skills among farmers will continue to deter banks from extending credit to the sector.

The reluctance of banks to extend credit to the agricultural sector has led the CBN to establish alternative financing schemes such as the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP) and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to provide finance for the planting and cultivation of crops locally.

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Sigma Pensions

Despite these initiatives, we note that the fortunes of the agricultural sector is yet to show any remarkable improvement as the supply gap across a number of commodities has continued to widen in the face of faster population growth.

While we applaud the initiatives of the CBN towards improving domestic agricultural output, we believe the federal government needs to complement the efforts of the apex bank by tackling those long-standing structural barriers that have hindered the productivity of the sector. Improvement in agricultural output is crucial considering Nigeria’s growing population.

_______________________________________________________________________

CSL STOCKBROKERS LIMITED CSL Stockbrokers,

Member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange,

Stanbic 728 x 90

First City Plaza, 44 Marina,

PO Box 9117,

Lagos State,

NIGERIA.

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Columnists

The role of healthy communication in the workplace

To foster a healthy work environment, employers should take communication more seriously.

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Networking, way to success in Nigeria

Profit is the purpose of every business organization. The best way to sustain profit is to strengthen the “Employer-Employee” relationship and the “Buyer-Seller” relationship. The profit of every business organization depends on these two. The success and failure of every business organization also depends on these two.

Communication is one of the major concerns in an organization and it is very necessary in our workspace and among people around us. Constant communication helps to build a strong connection in the relationship between an employer and an employee. It is crucial to the growth and success of your business and it allows everyone to provide input and feel that their ideas are valued.

Everyone can communicate as long as it is with words. In an organization, both the employer and the employees should develop good communication skills.

Your employees are part of the vision of your company and their opinions and innovations should be considered. This will go a long way in building a positive workplace culture.

Communication can be in oral or written form; and while written communication is the preferred form of communication in organisations, oral communication should neither be limited or downplayed. As an employer, your employees should be able to communicate freely with you. Communication reminds your employees about the goals of your company and helps you to delegate responsibilities effectively.

According to research, 57% of employees report not being given clear directions. A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees cited an average loss of $62.4 million per annum because of inadequate communication between the employer and the employees.

It is the responsibility of an employer to communicate the organisation’s vision, mission, goals and objectives to employees. Goals must also S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Where communication is absent or ineffectively handled, employees can become unproductive, unresourceful, demotivated, and disorganised. There may also be high employee turnover which ultimately affects the profitability of the business. Without effective communication, an organisation will most likely be unable to retain its star performers or motivate average-performing employees into becoming highflyers.

Communication in organisations should not be left only to the Human Resources department, but feedback should also be encouraged from employees. Where there is a gap in communication, employees are left with no choice but to fill these gaps with rumours, (wrong) assumptions, gossip and the spread of misinformation. This creates an unhealthy work environment that is detrimental to the business.

Hotflex
Sigma Pensions

To foster a healthy work environment, employers should take communication more seriously. They should not only learn the art of effective communication but should also encourage and be receptive to feedback from their employees.

 

 

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Columnists

Why NNPC’s Borno power plant may not materialise 

The glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State.

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Only a few days ago, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, led a delegation to Borno State to meet with the Governor of the State, Babagana Zulum.

In the conversation with Zulum, Kyari promised the establishment of a gas-fired power plant in Borno State within a maximum of 4 months to solve the recent blackouts that resulted from insurgents cutting off Borno from the national grid since January this year.

In Kyari’s words, “We have talked to each other and we think it’s very possible to establish a dedicated power plant in Maiduguri which will serve current needs of power supply not only in Maiduguri but to other parts of the neighbouring cities.”

READ: NNPC GMD says AKK pipeline, Nigeria’s biggest gas project is 15% complete

Yet, there is a significant possibility that the power plant promised by Kyari may not materialize for many reasons, the first of which is security. In the meeting with Kyari, Governor Zulum had noted: “The ongoing insurgency has cut off the entire Borno from the national grid in the last three months. We put all our efforts and restored it back… but unfortunately, after 48 hours, the same group of insurgents went back and destroyed the main tower again.”

This glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State, particularly noting that the State and its surrounding communities have been the hot zone of insurgent and terrorist attacks by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have particularly been states where the insurgents have set up shop and carried out various activities, including kidnap, extermination of entire communities, burning of markets and religious buildings and the attack on the United Nations compound, in each case claiming tens or hundreds of innocent lives.

READ: Analysis: NNPC and its refining losses

One report reveals that at least 37, 500 people have been killed by the insurgent group since May 2011, a modest number, some say. Also, till date, some of the secondary school girls kidnapped in the April 2014 Chibok incident are yet to be returned to their families. It is then bewildering how Kyari intends to see to the construction and operationalizing of this gas power plant.

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Sigma Pensions

Additionally, while the Minister of Petroleum for State, Chief Timipre Sylva, announced last year about the discovery of oil and gas deposits in the North, we have not seen any exploration and production kick-off. It then begs the question of where the gas for the Borno power plant intends to be sourced. The only gas pipeline that runs through the North – the AKK- is still in its first phase of construction out of three phases and has been earmarked at the earliest, to be completed in 2023 – not counting the typical delays the project will experience along the way.

READ: NNPC, only Nigerian company to cut losses by N800 billion in one financial year – GMD

Should the AKK by some stroke of luck materialize much earlier than the target date, the pipeline route is a considerable distance from Borno. It runs the route of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Katsina-Kano, its endpoint, a striking 481km from Borno State. Thus, there would have to be construction of a tie-in pipeline almost as long as the AKK from Kano to Borno State to get gas to Borno.

Optimists may reference the oil and gas discovery in the North and how production may start soon, thus obliterating the need for a 481km pipeline. This optimism however is not well-founded, as insecurity has been shown to be a major risk to oil and gas projects everywhere in the world. One of the major reasons the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline proposed to run from Nigeria to Algeria was abandoned was due to security challenges posed by Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Tuareg guerilla movement in Niger and other insurgent groups along the proposed route of the pipeline.

READ: Why NNPC should be commercialised

Stanbic 728 x 90

These increased the risks across board, including for completion and operations through the lifecycle of the project. As such, failing to fix the security threats in northeast Nigeria makes any proposed gas plant project a pipe dream. Transporting gas via LNG trucks is not a better option, given that the drivers and their cargoes would be in danger of being kidnapped, shot at or bombed. The risks for both personnel and investors are high.

In any event, promising a power plant in 4 months for the people of Borno is unconscionable, since a typical gas power plant will take between 1 to 6 years to construct in relatively peaceful regions. What the government needs to do instead of making promises it cannot keep is to work arduously to fix the security challenges in Northern Nigeria and at the same time consider using decentralised solar power to provide power supply to homes, government institutions, schools and businesses while plans to produce gas in the region or transport gas to it are underway.

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