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DMO Hands Over Final N162.6bn Sukuk to Fashola

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N162.6bn Sukuk Bond

By Dipo Olowookere

The sum of N162.6 billion raised from the sovereign Sukuk by the Debt Management Office (DMO) has been handed over to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola.

The fund would be used on 44 federal roads spread across the six geo-political zones of the country under the Sukuk roads project.

The Director-General of the DMO, Ms Patience Oniha, said the release of the N162.6 billion was the third and final Sukuk secured financing obtained from investors in June 2020, for road project out of the total N462.6 billion raised by her agency.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who witnessed the presentation, said one of the key pillars of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is the development of critical infrastructure projects with a view to removing the impediments to growth and development in the economy.

She explained that the President through the annual budgets had prioritized capital expenditure on the development of roads, rail, power and agriculture infrastructure projects.

She stated that the N162.6 billion signified the 100 per cent full deployment of the total amount raised by the debt office dedicated to roads project.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, when receiving the money yesterday in Abuja, commended the partnership between the government and the private sector in the provision of Sukuk to finance roads project across the country.

He listed the number of roads project being executed per geo-political zone as follows: North Central having eight, North East Eight, North West Seven, South West Six, South East Five and South-South having 10 roads each with the breakdown of the financial implication as follows: North Central N26.5 billion, North East N30.5 billion, North West N26.5 billion, South-East N26 billion, South-South N26 billion and South-West N27.05 billion.

Speaking on the recent public debate on government borrowing and the concerns being raised by Nigerians, Mr Fashola explained that, with this Sukuk projects distribution, citizens will now see where and how the monies were being spent.

He also listed the many economic benefits of roads construction to the people, saying that a lot of jobs have been created for labourers, artisans, suppliers of building materials, sands suppliers, farmers and even food vendors who make their daily earnings from the construction sides.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has been legitimately distributing wealth through investment in road infrastructure and the 100 million Nigerians he would take out of poverty in a decade would be achieved,” he said.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Imasayi Cashew Plant in Ogun Resumes Operations

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Imasayi Cashew Plant

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Ogun State government has revived its cashew processing plant at Imasayi by partnering with an indigenous agro-allied processing company, J22 Concerns Limited in Kajola.

The Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment in the state, Mrs Kikelomo Longe, explained that this was part of efforts to boost the processing and exportation of cashew nuts.

Represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Olu Ola Aikulola, who presented the letter of award to the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Yinka Akintola, at the Palace of the Olu of Imasayi, Imasayi, Yewa North Local Government Area, the Commissioner said the present administration decided to operationalise the plant which has been unused since 2018 to enhance the socio-economic development of the people.

Mrs Longe called on relevant stakeholders and the people of Imasayi to support the investor in enhancing the cashew nut value chain through increased production of cashew nuts and sale for processing instead of selling them raw.

“We should team up with the investor to ensure the best use of this cashew processing plant. We want a situation whereby the cashew nuts grown in Imasayi will be processed in Imasayi.

“This will boost the cashew value chain and bring about development for the people, create job opportunities and lead to an improvement in the people’s standard of living,” she said.

The Commissioner assured that the Mr Dapo Abiodun-led administration remains committed to making Ogun State investors’ prefererred choice of destination as well as promoting policies such as the Public-Private-Partnership which would lead to the development of the agricultural value chain.

Also speaking, the Trade Promotion Advisor/ Head, Abeokuta Smart Office, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Samson Idowu, said only 10 per cent of the 240 metric tonnes of cashew nuts grown in Nigeria is processed.

Mr Idowu said the need to diversify the economy from dependence on oil through increased cashew nut processing and exportation made the council donate the processing machine to the state in 2018 and also train the farmers on the latest techniques in cashew nut processing, adding that increased processing of the cash crop has the potential of making the gateway state an export hub.

The Chief Executive Officer of J22 Concerns Limited, Mr Yinka Akintola, said the company intends to process 500 kilograms of cashew nuts daily noting that the utilisation of the machine would create employment opportunities for indigenes of the area and bring about human capital development among the people.

He added that his company would also help cashew farmers in Imasayi and its environs expand their acreage of cashew plantation and yield as well as help position farmers in groups so as to access more funding for their business.

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Economy

Onions Can Attract Foreign Investors to Nigeria—Customs

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 By Adedapo Adesanya

The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (OPMAN) have inaugurated documented onion exports through Illela land border in Sokoto State.

At the launch of the programme yesterday, the Area Controller of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Abdulrahameed Ma’aji, in charge of Sokoto and Zamfara states, urged producers and marketers to utilize the opportunity for enhanced production and trading.

Mr Ma’aji commended President Muhammadu Buhari for reopening the land borders for legitimate businesses, and lauded the efforts of the Comptroller General of NCS, Mr Hameed Ali, for keeping in tune with international best practices in customs’ responsibilities.

He described onion as a commodity with vast potentials that could attract foreign investors and create employment opportunities along with enhancing value addition to consumption and industrial use.

He said the NCS worked with stipulated laws and guidelines, to enhance trade and encourage domestic entrepreneurs individuals and groups to key into exports, for national economic growth.

“Despite COVID-19 pandemic, NCS provided proactive solutions to the public that will aid continued reliable and quality service delivery for the sustenance of global trade,” Mr Ma’aji said.

Also speaking at the occasion, the National President of OPMAN, Mr Aliyu Maitasamu, said onion was an important vegetable, whose distinctive flavour and medicinal content was appreciated by people throughout the world.

Mr Maitasamu noted that there is no household that does not consume onion, as it is being used as bulbs, onion powder, and others which serve as a raw material in the production of seasoning, ketchup, noodles, onion oil, onion jam, flakes by various food industries.

He explained that onion is used in pharmaceutical products, targeting the management of obesity, heart disease and cancer, due to its high vitamins, mineral and antioxidants content.

The President said based on these benefits, the union resolved to join hands with all onion exporters across the nation and take advantage of the federal government initiative on the diversification of the nation’s economy.

According to him, no fewer than 2,000 marketers engaged in the business, thousands engaged in its farming and other associated businesses, had been mobilised by the association.

“In line with the Federal Government plan to diversify the economy and create jobs, the union in conjunction with sister bodies in West and Central Africa developed an onion recovery plan which will target an average steady growth of 20 per cent each year, from 2020 to 2026.

“Nigeria is among the 10 top onion exporting countries in the world, and with a competitive advantage of producing the largest onion producing country in sub-Saharan Africa, with annual 1.4 million metric tonnes in output.

“With the present arrangement, Nigeria will continuously export onions to Niger Republic, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, and others, with more expanding opportunities,” Mr Maitasamu said.

He added that with the commencement of documented export of onion and onion products, the commodity has the capacity to contribute greatly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), encourage repatriation of forex back to Nigeria and other value addition from the global map of onion exporting countries.

It was reported that the occasion was attended by Nigerian authorities, exporters and clearing agents, traditional rulers and representatives of law enforcement agencies.

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Economy

NAHCO GMD/CEO Resumes After 3-Week Suspension

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Adetokunbo Fagbemi

By Dipo Olowookere

The group managing director/chief executive of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, Mrs Adetokunbo Fagbemi, has resumed at her duty post.

Mrs Fagbemi was earlier suspended by the board of the company, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

She was punished by the board over her failure to obey an instruction and for the period she was away from her office, she would be paid half salary.

A statement issued by the organisation explained that Mrs Fagbemi got into trouble when her team could not give cogent reasons why the equipment ordered overseas could not be delivered at the required time.

NAHCO had purchased equipment for the smooth running of its operations and the management was expected to secure the delivery of the item from the vendor within the contracted period.

She was specifically told to get the certified bill of lading for the equipment by February 2, 2021, and when she could not explain why this could not be achieved, she was asked to go on suspension from the next day.

Her seat was then occupied by the group executive director in charge of Corporate Services, Mr Olumuyiwa Olumekun.

“The GMD/CEO was suspended by the board at its meeting held on January 27, 2021. The suspension was due to management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from the vendor within the contracted period and management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonably very long delay.

“The suspension was in line with the board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by February 2, 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer,” a part of the statement signed by the company secretary, Bello Abdullahi, disclosed.

“The board is, however, pleased to inform the investing public and the exchange that on Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.

“Consequently, the board at its emergency meeting on February 24 has recalled the GMD/CEO from the suspension and she has resumed work,” the statement added.

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Economy

CBN Retains One-Year OMO Bills Rate at 10.1%

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CBN OMO bills

By Dipo Olowookere

There was an Open Market Operations (OMO) conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday and it came 24 hours after the apex bank sold treasury bills to investors at the primary market.

The central bank offered the liquidity management tool to investors across three maturities during the session, with the stop rates remaining unchanged.

According to details of the exercise obtained by Business Post, the apex bank offered for sale N50.0 billion for a 96-day bill, another N50.0 billion for a 173-day bill and N230.0 billion for a 362-day bill and for the bids, investors showed a strong appetite for the long-dated maturity with N505.0 billion worth of subscriptions received.

However, the mid-term bill was slightly oversubscribed as bids valued at N54.1 billion were received, while the short-dated instrument was undersubscribed as only N45.5 billion was staked on it.

The CBN, thereafter, allotted the exact amount it auctioned for the respective bills, with N50.0 billion sold for the 96-day OMO bill, N50.0 billion for the 173-day OMO bill and N230.0 billion for the 362-day OMO bill.

Also, the central bank, as earlier stated, retained the stop rates for the respective maturity with the 3-month instrument clearing at 7.0 per cent, the 6-month instrument clearing at 8.5 per cent and the 12-month instrument clearing at 10.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, at the money market yesterday, Business Post observed that the average rates increased by 6.29 per cent on the back of the 6.10 per cent rise in the Open Buy Back (OBB) rate and 6.47 per cent jump in the Overnight (OVN) rate.

At the close of transactions, the OVN rate increased to 8.30 per cent, while the OBB rate rose to 7.60 per cent.

The rise in the rates was influenced by the debits from the recent sales of treasury bills by the central bank via the Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB) and OMO bills, causing a squeeze in liquidity in the system.

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Economy

Court Convicts Farmer for Rice Investment Fraud

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Rice Farmers

By Dipo Olowookere

A farmer who hails from Taraba State, Mr Hassan Abubakar, has been convicted by a Gombe State High Court for criminal breach of trust.

The convict was punished for diverting the sum of N1.6 million he was to invest in a rice farming business jointly owned by him and another investor identified as Mr Abubakar Suleman.

Mr Suleman filed a petition to the zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Gombe State, accusing Mr Abubakar of using the money he invested in the business for another purpose.

This prompted the EFCC to swing into action and after having something concrete to nail on the convict, he was dragged before Justice Abubakar Jauro on 15 count charges bordering on criminal breach of trust.

He was arraigned in 2019 and one of the charges read, “That you Hassan Abubakar and Jamilu Abubakar (at large) sometimes in 2017 in Gombe, within the Jurisdiction of this court converted to your own use the sum of N208, 000 property of Abubakar Suleman and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Court Law”.

He pleaded not guilty, but Justice Jauro found him guilty because the prosecution, through its counsel, A. M. Ocholi, proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

He, thereafter, convicted and sentenced the defendant to one-year imprisonment on each of the 15 counts with the sentences to run consecutively.

However, the judge said the convict has an option to pay a fine of N75,000 and he has been ordered to pay the complainant the amount in question in restitution.

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Economy

Naira Gains 0.03% at I&E as Bitcoin Sells for N32.2m

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Bitcoin Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The wavy movement of the Naira at the foreign exchange market, especially at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window this continued on Thursday.

Yesterday, the value of the local currency paired with the United States Dollar appreciated just a day after it depreciated.

During the trading session, the Nigerian currency was strengthened by 0.03 per cent or 13 kobo to trade at N408.67/$1 compared to N408/80/$1 it traded the previous day.

One of the major factors that supported this was the decline in the pressure on the domestic currency as FX traders had enough supply to meet the demands of their customers.

On Thursday, transactions worth $43.97 million were recorded as against the $123.37 million worth of trades recorded at the midweek session, indicating a decrease in the turnover by $79.4 million or 64.4 per cent.

Bu at the parallel market segment, the local currency closed flat against the American currency on Thursday at N480/$1.

The Naira also traded flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro at the same black market yesterday at N670/£1 and N582/€1 respectively.

Equally, at the interbank segment of the market, the Naira sustained its stability against the greenback at N379/$1 and at the Bureaux De Change (BDC) window, the Naira maintained its previous rate against the Dollar at N395/$.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market continued to witness fluctuations. At the market on Thursday, the Bitcoin (BTC) gained 3.3 per cent to trade at N32,204,465.99.

For the Dash (DASH), it appreciated by 5.2 per cent to sell at N150,000, the Litecoin (LTC) grew by 6.7 per cent to close at N127,000, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) improved by 5.3 per cent to settle at N685.00.

However, the Ethereum (ETH) lost 2.7 per cent to sell at N1, 060,100.99, the Ripple (XRP) recorded a 0.9 per cent loss to trade at N309.99, while Tron (TRX) declined by 1.4 per cent to sell at N31.50.

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