The push for the people of Nigeria’s South-South region to show greater interest in the various intervention funding of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now yielding fruits, as the apex bank has granted a total of N333.2billion intervention loans to businesses in the region.
The Governor of the CBN , Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this at the commissioning of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant, located at Afam/Ban-Ogoi Link Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area, Rivers State, on Thursday, last week.
Some critics had faulted the CBN for what they described as an undue concentration on a certain part of the country while neglecting some parts of Southern Nigeria.
But the CBN governor said that the apex bank has been working to boost economic activities in all parts of the country, without neglecting any region.
He said, “So far, our developmental finance initiatives at the Central Bank of Nigeria have been focused on creating an enabling environment that will drive both public and private sectors participation in the real sector with strategic deliverables around price stability, job creation, financial inclusion, import substitution and accretion to foreign reserve among others.
“Our interventions seek to improve access to credit for households and businesses which will enhance productivity and create value across a wide range of economic activities. Our interventions have cut across key sectors such as agricultural, manufacturing, health, and infrastructure. So far, the sum of N333.196 billion has been disbursed to various projects in the South-South region covering activities in these different economic sectors.
“Land development has been identified as a major constraint to increase in agricultural activities in the Southern parts of the country due to its topography. As a result, the CBN has partnered with several States Governments in the Region under the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
“The sum of N7.436 billion has been accessed by four States in the South-South regions to open up more land for cultivation, create access roads to agricultural lands, and provide infrastructure among other support services in the region. These measures are helping to induce greater activity in the agricultural sector and are enabling the movement of goods from farm to factories, and to the markets.”
Mr. Emefiele added that funds have been made available for States governments in the region that want to use the bank’s facilities to clear agricultural lands for their farmers, given the difficulties of the environment.
$ 580m cassava by-products import
Speaking of the cassava processing plant, the governor said that he would encourage more of its type in the region and across the country, in order to generate more employment and reduce imports of cassava derivatives.
According to him, “Another key benefit of this facility is the impact it could have on improving local sourcing of inputs for households and businesses. With the ability to process over 45,000 tons of cassava, this facility will provide high-quality cassava flour for households, industries and bakeries. Notwithstanding our position as the largest producer of cassava in the world, Nigeria imports over $580m worth of cassava by-products.
“With facilities such as this, it will help in reducing our reliance on imports of cassava by-products, which serves as a key input in the production of food items in several factories.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is keen on encouraging similar projects like this, given the headwinds that we have faced over the past year. As we are all aware, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic along with the 60 percent decline in crude oil prices in the 1st half of the year had a significant effect on the Nigerian economy.
“With over 80% of our export revenues coming from the sale of crude oil, the drop in crude prices along with the imposition of the lockdown measures had a significant constraint on GDP growth. This impact led to the Nigerian economy falling into recession in the 3rd quarter of 2020.
“The emergence of the Nigerian economy from the recession in the 4thquarter of 2020, and the recent report that the economy continued to experience positive growth in the 1st quarter of 2021 was due to significant growth in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Given the multiplier effects of these two sectors on growth, employment, and wealth creation, it is imperative that we continue to encourage more investment in these critical sectors of our economy.
“Principal agencies of government at the federal and state level should continue to work hand in hand towards diversifying our economy and creating an enabling environment for further investment by firms such as the Rivers Cassava Processing Company.
“With deliberate emphasis on reducing our dependence on the oil sector, agriculture and the manufacturing sectors have emerged as key catalysts for reducing unemployment and driving growth in Nigeria. With the decline in our foreign exchange earnings, we can no longer afford to support continued importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria.
“Our current situation has also made it imperative for the Central Bank to work towards supporting programs that will enable greater cultivation and processing of key agricultural commodities in Nigeria.”
Rivers gets N13bn
Governor Emefiele disclosed that Rivers State has received a total of N13 billion from various intervention programmes of the CBN and urged other states in the region to emulate Rivers State.
“So far Rivers State has accessed over N13bn from our various intervention programs and their loan status remains in good standing.
“The CBN remains committed to working with the state government in supporting small holder farmers and processors across other commodities such as cassava, palm oil and fisheries.
“In the case of Rivers Cassava Processing Company, the Anchor Borrowers Program can be leveraged on to support improved supply of cassava for this facility.”
Mr. Emefiele commended Rivers State for being up-to-date in the re-payment of its loans.
Wike challenges Rivers people on loan utilisation
In his address , the Governor of Rivers state, Barr. Nyesom Wike, challenged Rivers state indigenes to utilise bank loans in productive economic activities.
“When we came on board in 2015, we knew that in order to cushion the effects of the dwindling oil revenue, we had to assist our people to obtain loans with which to go into various economic activities.
“We gave out not less than N5 billion but not up to.1 per cent was put into effective use.
“So we said look, the best we can do is to complete this factory and see how to raise employment and provide a ready market for cassava farmers in the state.
“This project will employ 150 people and 3 ,000 farmers will sell cassava directly to the company.
“We have a vast land. Apply to us that you want money that you want to grow cassava and we will facilitate your loan. We will make sure you have it. Stop depending on council money. It will not help you,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Sabo Nanono, said that Nigeria has been spending huge sums in foreign exchanging to import wheat flour, annually, and that it is time to substitute it with high quality cassava flour.
He said the nation was targeting 60 per cent wheat flour import by 2030 and that the cassava farmers in Rivers State would readily benefit from it.
The minister pledged to support the farmers with high yielding cassava stems developed by the National Root Crops Council.
Lagos Gridlock: Fayose Takes ‘Okada’ To Avoid Missing Flight
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it is working with the Lagos State Government to address the traffic gridlock on the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) road in the state.
Daily Trust reports that the traffic gridlock has worsened on the airport road in recent times, forcing some travelers to resort to motorcycles in order not to miss their flights.
There were mixed reactions when the former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was sighted on a bike along the airport to catch a flight. It was not clear where the governor was heading to.
Our correspondent reports that many passengers on several occasions had to resort to Okada in order not to miss their flights following the hectic traffic gridlock that has become a daily occurrence especially at peak periods on the airport road.
The worst hit is the domestic wing of the airport as the gridlock usually stretches from Ikeja under bridge to as far as the airport tollgate.
When such happens, commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders usually flood the airport road, charging passengers as much as N1000 and N2000 to convey them to either the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) or the MMA2, a private terminal operated by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
Though Okada is banned on major roads in Lagos, the riders have continued to defy the law to take over the road leading to the busiest airport in Nigeria.
Passengers and airport users have continued to lament the daily traffic gridlock on the airport road where they spend hours commuting from the international airport to the local terminals or the popular Ikeja Under-Bridge.
Speaking with Daily Trust, General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a chat with Daily Trust said Okada remain banned on the airport road and vowed that the authority would continue to clamp down on the riders.
She, however, said the authority was working with the state government to address the gridlock on airport road while further clamping down on Okada riders.
Asked on what FAAN is doing on the Okada menace, she said, “Of course we are doing something. We usually arrest them and take them to the Police station. We impound their bikes. Only recently we mounted signages warning them on the use of bikes on our access roads. There’s a fee of 50k if caught.”
On the worsening gridlock, she said, “FAAN is working with the LASG to address the traffic gridlock. It starts from under the bridge and the government promised to do something.”
Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, decried the situation, saying it was wrong for Okada to be operating a shuttle on airport service road. He charged FAAN to urgently do something about it.
Why We Attacked Goronyo Market – Banditry Kingpin
Bandits operating between Sokoto and Zamfara states have taken responsibility for the attack on Goronyo Market in Sokoto State, where 49 villagers were killed on Sunday, describing it as a reprisal.
One of the kingpins, who is close to both Kachallah Turji and Halilu Sububu – the two notorious warlords in the area – Shehu Rekeb, said the attack was carried out to avenge killings of “innocent Fulani” in the area.
Daily Trust had on Tuesday reported that the attack was a joint one with the attackers storming the market on over 100 motorcycles.
They surrounded the place and opened fire on buyers and sellers that led to the death of 49 people.
“We heard those who attacked Goronyo being described as criminals. They were not.”
“The president (Muhammadu Buhari) came out to say so. Those people (of Goronyo) have killed so many people, so they would have to be attacked and killed,” he said.
Citing the killing of some Fulani Muslim worshippers at Unguwar Lalle, Rekeb said, “When those people (Fulani) were killed, the president did not say anything but he is now coming out to react to this one.”
A resident had on Monday told Daily Trust that, “The recent attack could be a misplaced reprisal by ‘Yan Sakai’ because of the recent killing of 11 herders at Mamande Market in Gwadabawa Local Government Area.
“This outlawed group is arresting and killing Fulani men unjustifiably,” he said.
NNPC Spent N1.1tr On Subsidy, Oil Exploration, FAAC Remittance In 7 Months
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent N1.165 trillion to subsidize petrol, for oil exploration and remittance to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in seven months of this year.
According to NNPC monthly FAAC report for September, the three expenditure items gulped 57 per cent of the total revenue distribution of N2.043 trillion done by the national oil company in the first eight months of 2021. The balance of N878bn was distributed for other expenditures including crude oil lifting inspection expenses.
On subsidy which NNPC describes as under-recovery of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) value shortfall, the corporation spent N714.791bn within seven months, from February to August.
While there was no subsidy spent in January, NNPC spent N25.37bn in February and that figure rose by nearly three times in March to N60.396bn. The corporation then spent N61.966bn in April which more than doubled to N126.298bn in May, following a reported higher rise in the landing cost of imported petrol.
The national oil company further incurred a higher cost in petrol subsidy of N164.337bn in June but declined to N103.286bn by July; however, by August, the gain was reversed when subsidy cost rose to N173.132bn, the highest figure published so far.
The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has continually reiterated that the government was committed to ensuring the total removal of subsidy from next year especially with the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as Nigerians await the impact of the decision.
Frontier exploration gulps N20bn
NNPC also spent N20.681bn on frontier oil exploration in seven months with the highest expenditure done in August. While it spent N1.964bn on exploration activities in January, the bill slightly dropped to N1.920 in February but rose to N2.250bn in March. There was no expenditure on oil exploration in April but the figure rose to N3.216bn in May, and dropping to N2.715bn in June. While oil exploration expenses dropped to N2.443bn in July, it rose by three times in August to N6.167bn.
This expenditure on oil exploration is being made at a time when global leaders are shifting from the use of fossil fuel to renewable and clean energy. However, Sylva recently said Nigeria will gradually lead its energy transition by focusing on gas exploration towards reaching a cleaner energy goal.
More so, in the recently signed PIA, 30 per cent of oil proceeds has been pegged for oil exploration activities at the frontier basins with concerns that these activities are concentrated in the north.
However, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, at an oil and gas union gathering last week in Abuja, clarified this misconception saying what refers to as frontier encompasses all new exploration areas including the Niger Delta, with the Benue Trough exploration reaching Calabar, the Cross River State capital. He also said it includes the Benin Basin and some undeveloped offshore areas in the South-South.
FAAC gets N429bn in 7 months
The corporation also remitted N429.284bn oil proceeds to the FAAC for seven months during the period as it skipped remittance in April.
The breakdown of the remittance shows that NNPC remitted N90.860bn in January, but that dropped to N64.161bn in February, and further depleted to N41.184bn in March 2021.
There was no remittance in April which was said to have gone for subsidizing petrol pump price per litre to keep it at the 162 to N165 price band.
By May, the remittance to FAAC dropped to N38.608bn but rose significantly to N47.162bn in June and higher to N67.280bn in July before climaxing at N80.030bn in August.
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