The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, on Tuesday inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee to oversee the implementation of a memo on the “Promotion of Agri-Business in Nigeria through Right Farm Gate Pricing and Ban on Foreigners from Purchasing Agricultural Commodities at the Farm Gates.”
The memo, was earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) after it was jointly presented on March 9, by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Adebayo, explained that the move was part of the government’s efforts to provide the enabling environment for the commodity sub-sector to thrive.
The minister said the memo specifically seeks to address challenges impeding the development of the agricultural commodity subsector of the economy, curtail unfair trade malpractices and exploitation of Nigerian farmers by foreigners as well as promote competitive premium pricing as the impetus for increased productivity in the commodity subsector among others.
THISDAY gathered that the practice of middle-men who usually mop up farm produce at source often contributed to rising food inflation as a result – as agricultural products are hoarded to cause artificial scarcity which would then lead to higher food prices.
Also, in the process, farmers are often short-changed by the middle-men who enticed them with quick cash at the source of harvest.
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These practices had also been attributed to some of the reasons why food prices rarely fall even after the so-called bountiful harvests.
But the latest intervention could slowdown food prices if properly implemented.
The minister, however, decried the exploitation of farmers by foreigners who come to Nigeria to mop up agricultural commodities at the farm gates and in turn offer farmers prices below market value.
Adebayo said, “This situation has indeed led to the failure of many contractual agreements between farmers and indigenous off-takers. It has also affected the production capacity of our local factories due to the fact that foreigners buy off supplies and deprive the factories of required stocks.
“The current practice of direct purchases of agricultural commodities at unfair prices by foreigners at our farm-gates poses serious dangers which include, reduction in farmers’ income, declining productivity in the agricultural sector, unemployment and insecurity.”
He added, “A number of activities have been outlined for implementation and the committee is expected to ensure that they are properly articulated and implemented for the growth and development of our economy.”
The committee would also facilitate the establishment of enforcement organs in the states and local governments, and facilitate the signing of Executive Order by Mr. President, specifying penalties and fines for violators.
It will further liaise with the state governments for the establishment of commodity aggregation centers for export in some strategic locations nationwide and, carry out periodic assessments (quarterly) on the implementation.
However, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Suleman Audu, expressed the readiness and willingness of the body to provide the required leadership and coordination to ensure the efficient implementation of its mandate.
FG sues Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta over adverts, demands N30bn
The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said it filed a lawsuit at the Federal High Court, Abuja against Meta Platforms Incorporated (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and its agent AT3 Resources Limited.
The country’s apex advertising governing agency revealed on Tuesday that the advertisements on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in the Nigerian markets are not vetted and approved by the federal government.
ARCON then asserted that such continued unscrutinised adverts and other publications emanating from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta-owned social media platforms are illegal, unlawful and a violation of the extant advertising Law in Nigeria, thus seeking N30 billion for punitive damages.
It revealed this in a statement titled “ARCON sues Meta platforms incorporated, seeks N30b in sanction and penalties.”
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The statement read: “The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has instituted a suit against Meta Platforms Incorporated (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms) and its agent AT3 Resources Limited at the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.
“ARCON is seeking declaration among others that the continued publication and exposure of various advertisements directed at the Nigerian market through Facebook and Instagram platforms by Meta Platforms Incorporated without ensuring same is vetted and approved before exposure is illegal, unlawful and a violation of the extant advertising Law in Nigeria.
“ARCON stated that Meta Platforms Incorporated’s continued exposure of unvetted adverts has also led to a loss of revenue to the Federal Government.
“ARCON is seeking N30b in sanction for the violation of the advertising laws and for loss of revenue as a result of Meta Incorporated’s continued exposure of unapproved adverts on its platforms.
“ARCON reiterate that it would not permit unethical and irresponsible advertising on the Nigeria’s advertising space.
“ARCON further stated that it’s not regulating the online media space but rather advertisement, advertising and marketing communications on the online platforms in line with its establishment Act.”
NNPC declares over 100% profit in one year, with N674bn for 2021
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited recorded a profit after tax (PAT) of N674 billion for the year ended 2021.
This is more than 100 per cent profit over the N287bn declared in the previous year (2020).
The Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, disclosed this at a briefing on Tuesday.
He said, “Today, I’m happy to announce that the Board of NNPC has approved 2021 audited financial statements & NNPC has progressed to a new performance level, from N287bn profit in 2020 to N674bn profit after tax in 2021, climbing higher by 134.8% YoY profit growth.”
The 2021 financial year made it the fourth consecutive year that the NNPC will be opening its book for public scrutiny.
In 2018, when the NNPC first made account statement public, it reported a loss of N803.9bn.
GM raises production of electric vehicles, repositions Chevrolet Bolt
General Motors Company says said it is increasing its electric vehicle assembly plans, raising production of the EV Chevrolet Bolt and other vehicles.
GM reported its highest quarterly sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, which totalled 14,709 vehicles. Bolt sales are down by 11 per cent for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.
In June, GM said it would sharply cut Bolt prices after it halted sales for six months following a battery recall.
Autoblog reported the GM as saying on Monday it would specifically boost Bolt production for global markets to more than 70,000 in 2023 from about 44,000 vehicles this year.
Bolt sales in 2021 hit a record annual high of 24,828 vehicles.
The largest US automaker said it was moving up body shop upgrades at its Detroit Factory ZERO for Silverado EV production in 2023 and taking other steps to prepare.
GM will suspend the production of the GMC HUMMER EV pickup for several weeks starting in late November to prepare for that production jump, it said.
Cadillac Lyriq production will increase in the fourth quarter and GM plans additional production shifts for GMC Hummer EVs in 2023, it said.
The automaker stated that its 2023 EV launches, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV and Chevrolet Equinox EV, were on schedule.
GM’s EV sales are still a small fraction of US sales. Out of 1.65 million US vehicles sold in the first nine months of the year, GM sold 22,012 Bolts, 782 Hummer EV pickups and 36 Lyriq SUVs.
GM and LG Energy Solution’s joint venture Ultium Cells LLC is considering a site in Indiana for a fourth $2.4 billion US battery cell manufacturing plant, the venture said in August.
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