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Heritage Bank Joins NatnudO to Boost Food Security in Nigeria

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Heritage Bank Joins NatnudO to Boost Food Security in Nigeria

By Dipo Olowookere

The menace of food insecurity currently prevailing Nigeria may soon become part of history as Heritage Bank Plc has disclosed that it is supporting NatnudO Foods, a food processing company in its determination to make poultry affordable and accessible for the people.

Speaking at the media briefing organized on food security in Nigeria, Team Member, Agric Finance, Specialised Banking of the bank, Mr Adelana Ogunjirin, a representative of Heritage Bank, said the bank decided to partner with the company in order to ease the burden of poultry production in the country.

He explained at the briefing held at the company’s headquarters in Magodo, Lagos recently that the interest of Heritage Bank in agriculture and food production in the country is second to none as it is impossible to increase productivity on empty stomach.

According to him, Heritage Bank is supporting the company in the area of funding infrastructural projects required to make agricultural business more productive for farmers in different parts of the country.

He disclosed that Heritage Bank supported such projects with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-intervention fund with a maximum interest rate of nine percent.

Mr Ogunjirin said the project structure on ground, as prepared by NatnudO, has helped to reduce the level of risk which could impact on the profitability to different parties.

As a result, he promised that Heritage Bank would be willing to support such projects at any time as long as it would boost agricultural produce in the country.

Speaking earlier at the occasion, Mr Gbolade Adewole, Coordinator, natnudO Foods’ broilerout-grower scheme tagged ‘natnuPreneur’, acknowledged that Heritage Bank has been very supportive in making the required infrastructure available for the participating farmers on the project.

He commended the bank for standing out as a veritable pillar upon which the food production initiative of NatnudO Foods rests.

However, he implored Heritage Bank to get ready to do more for the farmers who are increasingly showing more interest in the scheme.

According to him, farmers are getting more interested because they enjoy between 7.5 percent and 15 percent profit on investment per cycle.

“With a potential to conclude 5 cycles per year, efficient farmers stand to make between 37.5 percent – 75 percent profit, making natnuPreneur ‘broiler out-grower’ scheme the most profitable in the country,” he said.

He also disclosed that between October 2014 and July 2017, poultry farmers registered under the three-year pilot phase have reared over 4 million birds and the firm has handled birds to the value of over N4 billion.

Mr Adewole explained that what makes this possible is that natnuPreneur does not only make market available for the participating broiler farmers, it also gives them the required technical support for the success of their farms.

He stated: “We treat our farmers’ farms as our own and invest a lot of time in ensuring their poultry businesses are run with global best practices as we run and manage ours, because we believe that our success is closely tied to the success of our farmers”.

He further said natnuPreneur has a standard operating manual used in ensuring optimal farm management, such that, lapses in standard processes are quickly noticed and brought to the attention of farmers.

Aside from this, he added, “we pay weekly visits to farms to monitor their progress and offer business and technical advice when needed. These activities have helped to achieve the success level recorded by our farmers so far.”

According to him, these processes are what distinguish natnuPreneur from other broiler out-grower schemes the country had witnessed in the past.

Sharing their experiences, two long-term natnuPreneur farmers, Dr Robinson of Kadapo Farms in Ilorin, Kwara State; and Mrs Tomori of Honey Dew farms, Ibadan, Oyo State; made highly complementary comments and confirmed the claim made by the AMO FARM’s team.

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

Economy

MTN Declares N10 Per Share Dividend as Revenue Hits N2.0trn

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MTN N10 per share dividend

By Dipo Olowookere

Shareholders of MTN Nigeria will receive a N10 per share dividend for the financial year ending December 31, 2022.

The board proposed this cash reward in a regulatory notice filed to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.

The payment is only for shareholders who have the company’s stocks as of March 27, 2023, with the payment date fixed for April 20, 2023.

The telecommunications giant is rewarding its investors with this money amid a very profitable accounting year.

Details of its financial results showed that the revenue generated in the year under consideration improved by 21.5 per cent to N2.0 trillion compared with the N1.7 trillion achieved in the preceding year.

The improvement in the total turnover was due to increases in its mobile subscribers by 10.5 per cent to 75.6 million, active data users by 15.3 per cent to 39.5 million, and active fintech subscribers by 57.5 per cent to 14.9 million.

More people had reasons to join the MTN network because of the decision of the company to “invest in the resilience of our business and networks, expanding coverage and capacity.”

In the year, MTN cut its expenses by 21.2 per cent to N941.9 billion from N777.2 billion, with employee costs dropping to N45.1 billion from N48.4 billion, helping the operating profit to rise to N733.3 billion from N584.8 billion.

With a finance income of N13.8 billion versus N11.9 billion in FY 2021 and finance costs of N213.1 billion versus N160.0 billion a year earlier, the profit before tax closed at N534.0 billion as against the N436.7 billion recorded in the previous year, while the profit after tax stood at N358.9 billion, in contrast to N298.7 billion in FY 2021.

“2022 was challenging due to global macroeconomic and geopolitical volatility, resulting in higher inflation, supply chain uncertainties, foreign exchange volatility and availability.

“In Nigeria, Inflation reached a 17-year high of 21.5% in November before moderating slightly to 21.3 per cent in December, bringing the average for the year to 18.8 per cent and putting pressure on consumer spending.

“To curb rising inflation, the Central Bank of Nigeria increased interest rates four times in 2022, bringing the Monetary Policy Rate to 16.5 per cent – up by five pp during the year. This was further raised by 1pp in January 2023 to 17.5 per cent,” the chief executive of the firm, Mr Karl Toriola, said.

“In line with our dividend policy and guided by our ambition to create shared value for our stakeholders, the Board of Directors has proposed a final dividend of N10 per share to be paid out of distributable net income.

“This brings the total dividend for the year to N15.60 kobo per share, an increase of 18.9 per cent, delivering economic value to our shareholders,” he added.

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Economy

Buhari Tasks MOFI Board to Grow Assets to N100trn

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MOFI board

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The newly inaugurated board of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) has been given the mandate to grow its Assets Under Management from the current value of N18 trillion to at least N100 trillion in the next 10 years.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, disclosed that the charge was given at the State House, Abuja, during the inauguration of the MOFI board shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today.

The President also tasked the new board to “be the clearinghouse for the management of federal government investments and assets in line with global best practices with a view to ensuring that these investments are delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to the government.”

He also called on the new MOFI to “work with other MDAs to create a consolidated national asset register with a view to converting these assets into cashflow-generating entities to support the government’s revenue drive and; partner with the government with a view to using government-owned investments and assets to support the government in delivering on its social and economic obligations to the citizenry.”

To this effect, he directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, to commence the process of amending the MOFI Act and other legislations to institutionalise this reform further and ensure that MOFI is restructured and repositioned to become a trusted custodian and manager of Federal Government investments and assets.

President Buhari said the event was significant as the restructured MOFI will help identify “what we own” and how to get the best out of them.

According to him, the MOFI Act of 1959, now Cap. 229, Laws of the Federation, 2004 “explicitly empowers MOFI to enter into commercial transactions of any description on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria in its own name. As a result, MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across different sectors to invest in commercial entities over the last 64 years. To put this in context, MOFI was created even before Nigeria’s independence.”

Speaking further, the President said, “MOFI was not structured to be governed or resourced to deliver on the expected mandate. MOFI’s peers, on the other hand, that were deliberately set up with the institutional framework, governance structure, and execution capacity, have gone on to make major social and economic impacts in their respective nations. Many of these have become global brands for investing domestically and internationally.

“As part of the governance structure, there will be a Governing Council headed by me, a Board of Directors under the leadership of a former Minister of Finance and an Executive Management Team headed by Dr Armstrong Takang.”

President Buhari reminded members of the Governing Council as well as the Board of Directors that this administration expected much from them. Specifically, he tasked Ministers who are members to “create an enabling environment that will facilitate the creation of a National Asset Register that will be harnessed to strengthen our fiscal and economic realities and the optimization of our investments and assets that will be under the purview of MOFI.”

In her remarks, Mrs Ahmed thanked President Buhari for his support and approvals that have made the restructuring and repositioning of MOFI possible, assuring him that Council members and the Board will ensure that the new MOFI delivers on its mandates.

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Economy

US Stocks May Give Back Ground Ahead Of Fed Announcement

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US stocks

By Investors Hub

The major US index futures are currently pointing to a lower open on Wednesday, with stocks likely to give back ground following the strong upward move seen in the previous session.

Traders may cash in on gains by US stocks yesterday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

While the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points, traders will look to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for further rate hikes.

After a slightly cautious start, stocks climbed higher on Tuesday thanks to sustained buying across the board.

Investors picked up stocks right through the day’s session, digesting a slew of stronger-than-expected earnings updates and the latest batch of economic data.

Data showing a slowdown in the pace of growth in US labour costs helped raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will soften its aggressive approach to fighting inflation.

The major averages all ended with strong gains. The Dow ended with a gain of 368.95 points or 1.09 per cent at 34,086.04. The S&P 500 surged 58.83 points or 1.46 per cent to 4,076.60, while the Nasdaq climbed 190.74 points or 1.67 per cent to 11,584.55.

The Dow gained about 6.6 per cent in the month, while the S&P surged nearly 3 per cent, and the Nasdaq gained as much as 11.5 per cent.

Data showing a drop in labour costs has reinforced the view that the central bank will likely slow the pace of its monetary policy tightening and raise the interest rate by 25 basis points.

The central bank’s accompanying statement will be in focus for clues about further interest rate hikes.

On the economic front, data from the Labor Department showed employment cost index wages in the US increased by 1% on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022, after rising 1.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the United States decreased 0.8% month-over-month in November of 2022, the same as in October and marking a fifth consecutive decline.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said the Chicago PMI in the United States fell back to 44.3 points in January of 2023 from 44.9 in December and compared to market forecasts of 45. The reading pointed to a fifth consecutive month of contraction in business activity in the Chicago region.

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