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Fish importation to end in 2022, says minister

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The Federal Government has asked fish importers to consider producing fish locally as it plans to ban its importation in the next two years.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said this on Monday in Abuja at the 35th Annual Conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON).

He said this was part of measures to prevent capital flight and implement programmes in the agriculture sector geared towards diversifying the economy.

The minister, who was represented by the Director of Federal Department of Fisheries, Mr Imeh Umoh, described fisheries as one of the value chains in the ministry.

“Let me inform you that the vision of Mr President is to grow Nigeria’s agriculture sector to achieve a hunger-free nation, through agriculture that drives income growth, accelerate the achievement of food and nutritional security, generate employment and transform Nigeria into a leading player in the group of food and fish markets, and to create wealth for millions,” he said.

The minister said currently, the total demand for fish was 3.6 million tonnes annually while Nigeria was producing 1.1 million tonnes, leaving a deficit of about 2.5 million tonnes to be supplemented by importation.

Nanono noted that an estimated over 12 million Nigerians were actively engaged in primary and fish production, adding that contribution of fisheries to the national Gross Domestic Products was about 4.5 per cent.

He said the government had directed all fish importers to go into backward integration for local consumption and export to international market as part of the measures of the ministry to reduce this importation and generate employment.

He said several companies had complied with the policy and that the ministry was optimistic that in the next two years, Nigeria would have no business with the importation of fish.

He said it is in this regard that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was pursuing a holistic approach to the development of the fisheries subsector through the diversification programme along the value chain process.

“In line with the theme of this conference, the ministry has developed various programmes to increase domestic food/fish production and the main target is the empowerment of the youth and other groups especially the women,” he said.

He added, “All these programmes are tailored towards wealth and jobs creation, arrest and prevention of youth restiveness.”

Nanono added that the contributions of the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector to the Nigerian economy and the ongoing economic recovery programme of the current regime were significant in terms of employment, income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials.

President of FISON, Mr Adegoke Agbabiaka, said in order to achieve self-sufficiency in food fish production, the government in the last decade had made a paradigm shift under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda and was considering agriculture, including fisheries, as a business.

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We won’t tamper with foreign currency in your dom accounts, CBN assures customers

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says speculations that the apex bank is considering converting foreign exchange (FX) in the domiciliary accounts of customers to naira should be ignored.

 

Speaking with reporters on Monday in Abuja, Osita Nwanisobi, the apex bank’s acting director in charge of corporate communications, described those making such allegations as “criminal speculators whose intention was to create panic in the foreign exchange market”.

 

On Tuesday, CBN announced that it would discontinue sales of FX to Bureau De Change operators(BDCs).

 

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, had accused BDCs of becoming agents for illegal financial flows and working with corrupt people to conduct money laundering in Nigeria.

 

The development has heightened fears of forex scarcity among Nigerians and led to a significant drop in the value of the naira against the dollar.

 

Addressing insinuations about CBN’s plan to check the purported unavailability of forex, Nwasinobi assured that the apex bank will not tamper with the foreign exchange deposits in the accounts of customers.

 

“At no time did the CBN ever imply that it would tinker with the foreign exchange deposits of customers,” he said.

 

Nwasinobi urged operators of domiciliary accounts and other members of the banking public to go about their legitimate foreign exchange transactions and disregard fictitious stories aimed at pitching them against the apex bank and triggering chaos in the system.

 

Nwanisobi assured the banking public that the CBN would monitor the commercial banks to ensure they meet the legitimate FX demands of customers.

 

He said the CBN had put in place monitoring mechanism to guarantee the seamless sale of foreign exchange to customers who supported their requests with relevant documentation.

 

He also said the CBN had extracted the commitment of the banks, through their chief executive officers, that customers with legitimate FX requests will not be turned back.

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FG adopts gas as strategy towards climate-change-net-zero-emission ― Sylva

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Tuesday, disclosed that the Federal Government has adopted gas as a strategy to meeting the nation’s climate-change-net-zero-emission target.

 

Speaking at the Annual International Conference & Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Lagos with the theme: “The Future of Energy – A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market”, he expressed the government’s concern about joining the rest of the world to transit from oil to cleaner fuels.

 

Specifically, he said: “Let me state categorically that our approach towards the climate-change-net-zero-emission debate is to optimize the use of our abundant gas resource domestically as a transition fuel option towards meeting our Nationally Determined Contributions to climate change.

 

“As a Government, we are determined to encourage more penetration of natural gas and its derivatives for domestic utilisation, power generation, gas-based industries, and propulsion in all aspects of the national economy. This would in a fundamental manner address the great challenge posed by volatile oil market, the environmental issues and public health concerns.”

 

The Minister of State, who reflected on current issues in the global oil market, said: “Regarding the global oil market in the foreseeable years, it is becoming obvious that a global migration from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable would engender a corresponding decline in hydrocarbon including possible divestiture in the sector as deliberate frameworks are being championed to discourage the extraction of carbon-laden resources. The COVID-19 Pandemic has further exacerbated the investment decline.

 

“The Government of Nigeria in collaboration with global partners are exploring policies, technologies, and investments to address the current global challenge that will support migration from our reliance on carbon dependent fuels to meeting our commitment to the Paris Agreement.”

 

He, however, added: “It is our belief that the distinguished Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) will be at the forefront of our quest to achieve the desired balance of a clean environment, safe public health, and a renewed global oil market. This SPE Annual International Conference and Exhibition will be an appropriate platform to bring to the front-burner the critical discussions that would forge a robust and implementable clean energy solutions pathway for Nigeria.”

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Court unfreezes Dokpesi’s accounts, orders release of seized documents

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered accounts of businessman and politician, Raymond Dokpesi be unfrozen.

 

The Court also ordered the release of his documents being held by the State.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained court order freezing the accounts and seized his documents in the course of prosecuting Dokpesi and his company, Daar Investment and Holdings Limited, before the court.

 

They were charged with engaging in procurement fraud and breach of public trust, in relation to the N2.1billion they got from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), under Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

 

In a judgment on April 1, the Court of Appeal in Abuja set aside the November 21, 2018 ruling by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, rejecting their no-case submission and ordering Dokpesi and his company to enter a defence.

 

In her lead judgment in the unanimous decision of the appellate court’s three-man panel, Justice Elfrieda Williams-Daudu, held among others, that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Dokpesi and his company to warrant their being called upon to enter a defence.

 

The Court of Appeal then upheld their no-case submission, quashed the charge against them and discharged and acquitted them.

 

Armed with the Court of Appeal decision, Dokpesi returned to the Federal High Court, Abuja with an application for orders directing the EFCC to unfreeze his account and return documents seized from him while his trial lasted.

 

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Tsoho rejected the opposition by the prosecution and proceeded to grant the application by Dokpesi and his company.

 

Justice Tsoho, who is the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, held that since the charge which precipitated the restriction on the accounts had been quashed and the applicants discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal, the restriction could no longer be justified.

 

The judge further held that the EFCC had no basis to sustain the post no debit order on the accounts in view of the subsisting and valid order of the Court of Appeal.

 

He noted that the EFCC did not obtain any order staying the execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal since it was delivered on April 1.

 

On EFCC’s argument that it has lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the judgment of Court of Appeal, Justice Tsoho held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court cannot, in law, stay the execution of the subsisting judgment.

 

He added that the prosecution ought to have obtained an order staying the execution of the judgment.

 

Justice Tsoho was of the view that in the absence of any order staying the execution of the judgment by the Court of Appeal, his court was bound by law to give effect to the judgment.

 

He then ordered that the vacation of the freezing order earlier obtained by the EFCC on the accounts in compliance with the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

 

The judge equally ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi or voluntarily surrendered by him to the state be immediately returned to him.

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