By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
The federal government has expressed worry over the resumed smuggling of foreign rice into Nigeria through the land borders, warning that this could jeopardise the achievement made in the promotion of local production.
On August 20, 2019, the authorities shut down all land borders in an effort to curb the smuggling of foreign food items as well as arms into the country.
The embargo was lifted in December 2020 as the continent prepared for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 1, 2021.
In a statement signed on Sunday, November 7, 2021, by Mrs Mabel Mbosire, the Senior Information Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Minister, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, said all hands must be on deck to ensure that the gains recorded in the domestic rice industry are not wasted.
Speaking in Abuja when he met with the Steering Committee of the National Taskforce on the Illegal Importation of Rice Through Land Borders, Mr Abubakar stated that the ban on rice importation had been in the interest of Nigerians as it has created a favourable environment for rice investors in the country while boosting local production. He noted that this needs to be sustained.
He also noted that the federal government and the private sector had invested a lot of resources in rice production and processing over the years in line with a commitment to developing the sub-sector through its various interventions.
However, the Minister noted that, “The resumed smuggling of foreign rice, primarily through the land borders is constituting a serious threat to these achievements.
“Therefore, if the smuggling is left unchecked, it will jeopardise all government efforts to enhance the domestic rice industry and make them ineffective.
“There is no better time than now to maintain the rice production momentum to achieve self-sufficiency for food and nutrition security, job creation, wealth generation and import substitution.”
According to the Minister, these concerns have necessitated the need to convene the meeting to discuss critical issues to strategize and develop concrete measures to enable the committee to carry out its duties effectively.
In his contribution, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Hameed Ali, pointed out that the agency needs collaboration from other security agencies, such as the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in the operation of the border patrol.
The significant resolutions reached at the end of the meeting include the continuation of border patrol operation by the NCS with additional equipment, the deployment of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers to support the border patrol, and severe punishment for rice smugglers caught.
CitiTrust Holdings Sells Commercial Paper for 22%
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
An opportunity has opened for commercial paper investors as CitiTrust Holdings Plc is offering the asset class at a coupon of 22.0 per cent per annum under its N50 billion commercial paper issuance programme.
According to details of the exercise obtained by Business Post, the company, in the financial services sector, is selling the debt instrument in four tenors of 90 days, 120 days, 180 days and 270 days.
The minimum subscription for prospective and potential investors is N5 million and can be purchased through any of the registered stockbrokers.
The 90-day instrument is going for 16.1 per cent, the 120-day paper is being sold for 17.5 per cent, the 180-day note is 19.1 per cent, and the 270-day instrument is going for 22.0 per cent.
The offer commenced on November 23, 2022, and is expected to close on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, with the net proceeds to be used for the company’s general corporate purposes and working capital.
CitiTrust said investors would be paid their interests from the operating cash flows of the organisation, with purchases to be settled via direct debit, electronic funds transfers, NIBBS Instant Payment (NIP), NIBBS Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) or Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).
CitiTrust is a leading pan-African financial and investment conglomerate owned by reputable institutional and private investors. The company has a focus on high-end financial products and services for its targeted sectors of the economy, with operations in commercial banking, investment banking, wealth management, pension management, insurance and alternative investment.
The firm is a foremost financial solutions provider and has been an intricate part of the Nigerian economy since 2007. It has grown and evolved over the years into an award-winning market leader in the financial sub-sector of the Nigerian economy, establishing its footprints in 12 African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, Liberia, Benin Republic, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and the UK.
In 2019, the organisation upgraded its operations into a reputable financial services provider to align with the strategic vision of its shareholders to build an enduring institution that delivers cross-functional services to its clientele.
The company’s deep knowledge of the market, dexterity, smooth and reliable processes driven largely by technology and the high quality of its personnel puts it on the cutting edge of strategic Importance with its clientele.
No Individual Should Operate Domiciliary Account in Nigeria—Tope Fasua
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An economist and former presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) in the 2019 general elections, Mr Tope Fasua, has kicked against the opening of a domiciliary account in Nigeria for an individual, calling it an abnormality.
Speaking on a Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast show, he said only corporate organisations involved in international trades should be allowed to operate a dorm account.
As individuals who need foreign exchange to transact any business transaction, they should be given a credit card or prepaid card, which would be loaded with the value of Dollars they require instead of giving them cash.
According to him, this would limit the demand for FX and strengthen the Naira in the forex market segments.
Mr Fasua made these submissions while reacting to the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
“Personal dorm accounts are mostly unnecessary; only companies that are doing international trade transactions or financial market companies should be able to hold dorm accounts because they have a reason to,” the renowned analyst said on the programme monitored by Business Post.
“When I travelled abroad recently, GTBank loaded by card with Dollars, and when I need to spend where I am going, I just use my card,” he added, stressing that, “If you are an exporter, you have export proceeds coming in, you can have a dorm account.
“If you are an importer and you need to pay your customer once in a while, you can have a dorm account as a company, but if every Tom, Dick and Harry can speculate against their own currency, you will never get it out of crises.”
According to him, “The ease at which people move against their currency in this country is too much; it should not be that easy.”
LIBIZFAIR Will Boost Business Opportunities in Lagos
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Chairman of Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has disclosed that the Lagos Island Business Fair (LIBIZFAIR) will improve business opportunities in the state and also attract more investments.
The former federal lawmaker said this at the opening ceremony of the fair organised by the Lagos Island Connect, in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.
At the programme held at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Onikan, Lagos, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, represented by the Head of the Lagos Annex of the agency, Mr Oladipo Odebowale, commended the state government for the initiative.
She noted that the platform provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses, saying, “This will boost investment and business opportunities in the state.”
The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Lola Akande, in her remarks, described the empowerment of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as critical to the empowerment of youths.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the minister, Mrs Adetutu Ososanya, she noted that building the capacity of youth-oriented enterprises, with the goal of providing opportunities for growth, will lead to an increase in prosperity among Lagos Island youths.
“I believe this platform can leverage socio-economic networking and Information Communication & Technology to provide more interactive opportunities for the teeming youth of Lagos Island and its environs from diverse cultural, religious, social and educational backgrounds to grow their businesses and services, as well as the State’s economy,” she said.
The Commissioner explained that the fair aligns with the policy of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, widening access to the market and encouraging networking and collaboration among entrepreneurs.
Also speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to the governor on Sustainable Development Goals & Investment (SDG&I), Mrs Solape Hammond, stressed that the programme was geared towards supporting businesses to thrive at the local government level.
“The study discovered that the youths of Lagos Island are versatile, technologically enabled, driven and willing to be positively engaged, particularly in personal and communal development.
“Though most of them are faced with different challenges yet, there is an enormous zeal to be gainfully engaged rather than being idle, which could contribute to community nuisance.
“Young people in Lagos Island have a brighter vision for the future, and all stakeholders must join together to support them to deliver it,” the governor’s aide said in her presentation on the Lagos Island Youth Needs Assessment Survey.
The co-founder of the Lagos Island Connect, Mrs Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, while addressing participants, noted that the LIBIZFAIR 2022 was geared towards taking businesses in Lagos Island from a local to a global level by investing in the youths and preventing their massive migration to foreign lands.
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