By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has disclosed that 30 percent of the Nigeria’s demand for foreign exchange was for fuel importation.
Mrs Adeosun made this known in Lagos on Friday at the launch of ‘FirstGem’, a product of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., aimed at empowering women through wealth creation.
According to her, government was working very hard to transform the country from consumption driven to investment driven nation.
The Minister revealed that it was disheartening that Nigeria exports crude oil and imports petroleum.
“We lose a lot of money exporting unprocessed raw materials. We don’t have the power to process and that’s why we need to build infrastructure to export processed products in order to earn more foreign exchange,” she said at the occasion.
The Finance Minister noted that the Federal Government was committed at rebuilding the country’s infrastructure to boost local production for job creation.
“If we have an enabling infrastructure such as power, roads , among others, cost of doing business in Nigeria will reduce drastically,” Mrs Adeosun said.
She said that government would continue to improve the country’s competitiveness through the provision of basic amenities.
The Minister further said that funds borrowed by the government would be tied to capital projects to boost infrastructure development.
She stated that government revenue had reduced due to drop in the price of oil at the global market.
She said, “It is a difficult time but we will get out of it. We will survive and get better. Nigeria is tough but we are very resilient.”
Speaking on the FirstGem product, Mrs Adeosun said that women were very critical to the country’s development.
She said that women needed to be financially independent as they represent 52 per cent of the country’s population, adding that, 70 per cent SMEs operators were women.
The Minister, who commended the bank for introducing the product, noted that FirstGem would help women to show track record of success that would make banks to offer them funds to grow their businesses.
Mrs Adeosun stated that women must learn to save and stick with their budget in order to prepare for tough times, noting that, women must not spend all their monies on consumables.
She said, “Women have to open their eyes, your children are not your pension because it doesn’t work anymore.”
Also speaking, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, who was the special guest of honour, commended the bank for the product aimed at empowering women.
Mrs Osinbajo urged women to take advantage of the product and empower themselves, noting that, recession had opened up a lot of opportunities that were yet to be tapped.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Mrs Ibukun Awosika, said that the product was introduced to support and make women more financially responsible to be good entrepreneurs.
She added that the given country was going through tough times and women needed to wake up in order to support their families.
She said, “We want to ensure that women stand on their own when the need arises, its time for the women to wake up and must not be a liability.
“We want to use the product to challenge the mind of women to save and have the capacity to stand on their own.”
The FBN Chief Executive Officer, Mr Adesola Adeduntan, said the significant role of women in economic development was not debatable.
Mr Adeduntan said that FirstGem was initiated in order to empower more women to contribute their quota to economic development.
He said, “When women thrive the whole society benefits because there will be sustainable growth.”
Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal
By Dipo Olowookere
A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.
The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”
Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.
This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.
Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.
This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.
In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.
“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.
“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.
“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.
“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.
“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers
Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.
It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.
The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.
Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure. The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.
New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.
FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.
Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.
He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).
According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.
“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.
“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.
“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.
He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.
“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.
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