The Central Bank of Nigeria has unveiled guidelines for the operation of the Private Sector-led Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (P-AADS) to facilitate increased private sector agricultural production of staple foods and industrial raw materials as well as support food security, job creation and economic diversification.
The P-AADS is designed to complement the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS), earlier introduced by the apex bank to engage 370,000 youths in agricultural production, in collaboration with state governments as well as address the food security and youth unemployment challenges across the country.
Efforts at growing the economy also received a boost from the United Nations (UN) with the provision of $250 million for Nigeria’s Economic Sustainability Plan.
The UN offer, which is aimed at complementing Nigeria’s COVID-19 economic recovery efforts under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) initiative, was hailed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The CBN, in a circular titled: “Guidelines for the Private Sector-led Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme,” signed by the Director, Development Finance Department, Mr. Yusuf Yila, said the scheme shall be funded from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
The CBN pegged the maximum loan accessible under the scheme at N2 billion per obligor- and to be repaid from the Economics of Production (EOP) for cultivating on the cleared farmland.
The apex bank also stated that interest rate under the intervention shall be five per cent per annum (all-inclusive) up to February 28, 2021.
However, interest on the facility from March 1, 2021, shall be nine per cent per annum (all-inclusive), it added.
The guidelines put the maximum tenor for annual crops at six years with a six months’ moratorium while perennial crops have a maximum tenor of 10 years with a one-year moratorium.
The framework also stipulated that the collateral be pledged by participants under the scheme shall be the title of the cleared land and other acceptable collateral prescribed under the ABP.
The CBN added that it will bear 50 per cent of the credit risk in the event of default by the participants while the repayment of the facility shall be made on instalment through the participating banks and spread over the EOP of the cultivated commodities.
The participating banks shall remit repayments received to the CBN on a quarterly or annual basis depending on the commodity financed.
The CBN listed the focal agricultural commodities eligible for consideration under the scheme to include rice, maize, cassava, cotton, wheat, tomato and poultry.
Others include fish, sorghum, oil palm, cocoa, livestock/dairy and any other commodities as may be listed by the CBN from time to time.
On the eligibility criteria, the apex bank stated that prospective P-AADS participants must be existing or new firms engaged in agricultural production with proven capacity and bankable proposal; possess the acceptable title for contiguous lands of not less than 20 hectares; have good credit record and be able to provide collateral for participation.
The beneficiary will also provide evidence of the capacity to cultivate a focal commodity directly or engagement of farmers, including youths as in-growers or out-growers to cultivate on the land after clearing.
The guidelines specified infractions and sanctions against participating parties.
According to the CBN, diversion of funds by the participating banks shall attract a penalty at its maximum lending rate at the time of the infraction.
In addition, such PFI shall be barred from further participation under the scheme.
Also, non-rendition or false returns shall attract the penalty stipulated by BOFIA, while charging interest rate higher than prescribed shall attract the penalty stipulated by BOFIA.
The CBN said any participating bank that fails to disburse the fund within the stipulated days of receipt to the borrower shall be charged penalty interest at the PFI’s maximum lending rate for the period the fund was not disbursed.
Also, failure to remit repayments received to CBN within the stipulated period shall attract penalty interest at the PFIs maximum lending rate.
State governors responsible for rising poverty, not FG, says minister
The Federal Government has blamed state governors for the rising rate of poverty in the country.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, gave this position at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting.
He said the governors prioritised the construction of heavy infrastructure such as bridges and airports in cities rather than improving the lives of the rural poor.
According to him, about 72 per cent of Nigeria’s poor live in neglected rural communities.
Agba said the governors had abandoned the critical demography, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead.
He said, “The governors are basically functioning in their state capitals. And democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. And from our demography, it shows that the greatest number of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas.
“Right now, 70 per cent of our people live in rural areas. They produce 90 per cent of what we eat. And unfortunately 60 per cent of what they produce is lost due to post harvest loss and it does not get to the market.
“I think from the Federal Government’s side, we are doing our best. But we need to say that rather than governors continuing to compete to take loans to build airports that are not necessary, where they have other airports so close to them, or governors now competing to build flyovers all over the place, we appeal that they should concentrate on building rural roads so that the farmers can at least get their products to the market.”
Citing the findings of a recent survey he conducted across the 109 senatorial districts nationwide, the minister said Sokoto State ranked the highest on the poverty scale, followed by the oil-rich state of Bayelsa.
“The result clearly show that 72 per cent of poverty is in the rural areas. It also showed clearly that Sokoto State is leading in poverty with 91 per cent.
“But the surprising thing is Bayelsa being the second in terms of poverty rating in the country. So, you see the issue is not about availability of money. But it has to do with the application of money,” he said.
Agba lamented that despite the Federal Government’s intervention to alleviate poverty, the results did not reflect the amount of investment made in the area.
He said, “In the course of working on the national development plan, we looked at previous plans and asked why they didn’t do as much as expected. We also looked at the issues of the National Social Investment Programme.
“At the federal level, the government is putting out so much money but not seeing so much reflection in terms of money that has been put into alleviating poverty, which is one of the reasons the government also put in place the national poverty reduction with growth strategy.
“But if the Federal Government puts the entire income that it earns into all of this without some form of complementarity from the state governments in playing their part, it will seem as if we are throwing money in the pond.”
JAC woos customers, slashes car prices in Yuletide promo
JAC Motors Nigeria has commenced a price slash special end-of-year promo for its numerous existing customers as well as potential customers across the country.
The company says it wants its customers to celebrate holidays and the festive season in a grand style through its latest sales promotion tagged, ‘JAC Motors End of Year Promo’.
It says in a statement that it will offer a discount of N1 million on any of the JAC models purchased during the promo period, which will run till the January 10, 2023.
This, according to the auto firm, is to enable the buyers to use the N1 million for other essential items needed for the family during the festive period.
Already, the auto firm says players in both the public and private sectors are already taking advantage of the promo to acquire quality vehicles this season and enjoy the mouth-watering discount.
It says, “Festive periods are synonymous with the act of giving. JAC Motors will, as part of the End of Year Promo, give its customers not just the N1 million discount on every car purchased but also ample value-added services that come with after-sale support to strengthen the durability and performances of all vehicles purchased. Now is your chance to drive your dream JAC car in this season of giving.”
Explaining why JAC Motors is offering the unique end-of-year promo, the Head of Brand and Marketing Communication of the company, Mr Franklyn Okotie, stated that the year had its fair share of challenges on everyone.
“There is no better way and time than now to thank all our customers who go the extra mile to make the JAC brand stronger and continually promote us. For this reason and more, we will always support and positively impact our customers as we steadfastly meet the vehicular and transportation needs in Nigeria.”
He advised that their existing and potential customers to log onto this website – https://jacnigeria.com/end-of-year-promo/ to get their dream car today, even as he promised that a JAC car would be a remarkable gift to a friend this season.
The firm said the JAC vehicles are of best quality, durable, beautifully designed with modern-day aesthetics, optimum performance and highly fuel efficient.
“JAC vehicles are tropicalized, made tough to withstand all the challenging terrains on Nigerian roads. Elizade Autoland offers JAC passenger cars, commercial vehicles and light duty trucks,” it added.
Kia offers football fans fun, prizes, drive in latest EV in Qatar
As the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup moves into the round of 16, high flying Korean automaker, Kia Motors, says it is providing more exciting moments for spectators in the Qatar stadiums where matches are being played.
The auto company is activating what it calls two must-see activations along with a host of exciting prizes for football fans visiting the match centres.
The activations will be hosted at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, and Khalifa International Stadium, where Kia’s latest generation EV6 GT, Sportage, K5, Telluride, K8, Sorento will all be on display, Kia says in a statement.
According to the firm, the first activation offers a thrilling simulator experience “where spectators can drive a Kia vehicle of their choice from the automaker’s latest line up.”
The second activation invites football fans to win big by participating in a football challenge, where successful participants can walk away with a Kia branded cap, towel or wristband.
It says, “Visitors can check out Kia’s spot at the FIFA Fan Festival™ zone, which is the perfect place to experience the World Cup, as it is the central destination where fans from all over the world can come together to share their love of football and celebrate the electrifying atmosphere of the global event.
“At the FIFA Fan Festival™, Kia’s Ground of Inspiration will offer audiences a chance to check out the Kia EV9 Concept, which embodies an adventurous and recreational form with its rugged and upright stance.
“Fitted with a solar panel built into the car bonnet and an interior made from sustainable materials, this electric car reimagines what an all-electric vehicle can be.”
It also says alongside the activations, the automaker will support 64 Official Match Ball Carriers (OMBC) across the tournament.
The statement says, “Children from about 20 different nations globally will enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of carrying the official match ball to the pitch at the start of all matches.
“As a partner of the FIFA World Cup™, the automotive brand will support the operation of the world’s greatest sporting event by providing an official event vehicle fleet that will include Kia passenger cars to facilitate the safe and convenient mobility of players, referees, VIPs and staff, as well as Kia-branded buses specifically dedicated to transport national teams and referees.”
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