Insurgency, Banditry Fuelling Food Crisis—FG
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has admitted that the rising insecurity in Nigeria was threatening the supply of food items across the country, deepening the food crisis.
But the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has assured that efforts would be made to address the issue.
Speaking at the Consolidatory Dialogue for the Nigeria Food Systems in Abuja on Tuesday, she said the federal government has resolved to find lasting solutions to the issue through dialogue.
“Indeed, through these engagements, we have not only been able to identify some challenges intrinsic to our food systems from multiple perspectives, but we have equally been able to harvest some promising ideas, innovative solutions and approaches from diverse stakeholders,” she said.
According to her, the food systems encompass the entire food production, processing, supply chain, food environment as well as consumer behaviour.
“We have also recognised the need to make our food systems attractive to our teeming population especially to the youth of this country. For this reason, the government is deploying up to date technology in agricultural production and the entire food value chain,” she said.
In her words: “There is no gainsaying that the Nigeria food systems is currently being threatened by increasing cases of insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry and other vices currently plaguing our country.”
“These challenges notwithstanding, the emphasis, according to her, has always been on protecting the economy and funding the country’s healthcare needs, with the COVID-19 response spurring necessary transformation and innovation in the fiscal space and beyond.
She said this informed the rationale for making food and nutrition key thematic areas in the medium-term national development plan (MTNDP 2021-2025) presently being developed by my Ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
“It is, therefore, my belief that the opportunity provided by these dialogues have created more awareness, a better understanding of the challenges of our food systems and actions needed to make our food systems more sustainable and more resilient.
“Solutions we shall be coming out with will be those that will further propel us to achieving Nigeria of our dream particularly in the quest to improving nutrition security, reducing hunger and prevalence of malnutrition as it was envisioned in the national food and nutrition policy for Nigeria,” Mrs Ahmed said.
The Minister noted that she sees dialogue as a platform to consolidate all conservations that have been made in Nigeria around the food systems since the inception dialogue in February 2021.
She noted that the event was to enable Nigerians to harmonise the major highlights that emanated from the series of government and independent-led dialogues that have taken place so far in the country and making some commitments on ways of making the food systems better, more inclusive and more sustainable.
“During this period that the dialogues lasted, participants from diverse sectors shaded lights on the synergies and trade-offs between the five actions trackers of the United Nations (UN) food systems.
“Thorough analysis was made of existing policies, plans and guidelines, in-country studies and on the field experiences leading to a better understanding of how our food systems are affected and pathways to a more drastic transformation of our food system,” the Minister said.
Mrs Ahmed disclosed that, “In line with the UN’s leadership directive, Nigeria under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary as the National Convenor has successfully organised an inception dialogue at the national level, exploratory dialogues in 12 States across the six geo-political zones and local government and community level dialogues in eight communities selected from eight states.
“We have also had over 30 independent dialogues” organised by a group of individuals as well as private organisations. With this, you will agree with one that the journey has been so tedious but with our collective resolve to succeed we were able to come this far.”
Subsidy Removal: CNG at N130 Per Litre Cheaper Than Petrol—IPMAN
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised Nigerians to begin to look into the direction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative energy source to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
The National President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okorokwo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, as the federal government continues its dialogue with the organised labour over the hike in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.
On May 29, 2023, during his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu said the payment of subsidy for fuel had ended because there was no provision for it in the 2023 budget beyond June 30.
His announcement triggered the hoarding of fuel by marketers, and when the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited increased the price of the product across its retail outlets, prices of food, transportation and services went up, forcing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to threaten a nationwide strike, which was supposed to start today but was stopped by the National Industrial Court.
At a meeting on Monday night between the government and the labour unions, it was agreed that the adoption of CNG as an alternative fuel would be the best option, and it was agreed that the CNG conversion programme earlier planned in 2021 should be revived.
CNG, which is a gas mainly composed of methane and produces less emission, is the cleanest burning fuel operating today with less vehicle maintenance and longer engine life.
In the interview with NAN, Mr Okoronkwo said bringing CNG, which was cheaper than even firewood, as an alternative energy, would create relief for the government and its citizens.
“We have also discovered that bringing an alternative that is cheaper than even firewood which is CNG, will not only create relief for the government and its citizens but it is environmentally friendly.
“The CNG is abundantly available in Nigeria than anywhere in Africa.
“In the Niger Delta region, you see billions of tonnes of gas flare being wasted daily, these are huge amounts that should be accruing to our GDP, but we are wasting it because there is no market for it.
“So, we are asking the government to create the market. How do you create the market?
“What Egypt and India did was to give soft loans to be paid back within stipulated periods; from there, you can get vehicles to use gas instead of fuel,” he said.
“There’s a franchise for the bottling of CNG so that an average woman in the kitchen can use it,’’ he added, noting that the introduction of CNG would cushion the effect occasioned by the high price of fuel currently as a litre of CNG would not cost more than N130.
He advised that repairing the local refineries as well would reduce the impact of the removal as it would eliminate the cost of importation and exportation.
Nigeria Upgrades Tax-to-GDP Ratio to 10.86% From 6%
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has been upwardly reviewed to 10.86 per cent from the 6 per cent earlier reported to reflect better data sources and improved estimation using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) manual.
The OECD manual is an improvement over the System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) classification of taxes.
Although the System of National Accounts conceptual framework and its definitions of the various sectors of the economy are reflected in the OECD’s classification of taxes, the OECD classifications provide the maximum disaggregation of statistical data on what is generally regarded as taxes by tax administrations.
In a disclosure, the statistics office said the country’s total tax revenue compared with its GDP was at that level in 2021, higher than 8.40 per cent in 2020, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the previous year, the ratio was 10.20 per cent, marginally lower than the 10.36 per cent recorded in 2018 but higher than the 9.02 per cent in 2017.
The NBS said the revised computation considered more comprehensive coverage of data at the federal, state, and local government levels and revenue items not previously included in the computations, particularly relevant revenue collected by other government agencies.
The review of the tax-to-GDP ratio was initiated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NBS for better measurement of the ratio.
The data used were sourced from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), FIRS, NBS, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Joint Tax Board (JTB), and other relevant agencies of government that collect revenue.
VFD Group to Join Nigerian Exchange After Exit From NASD
By Adedapo Adesanya
VFD Group Plc has announced its intention to list its shares on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) after leaving the NASD Over-the-Counter Securities Exchange, where it has been trading its stocks for the past three years.
This development, according to analysts, is a strategic move that would allow the company to gain access to public equity markets, increase its visibility, and strengthen its financial position.
VFD Group Plc is a leading proprietary investment company with a proven track record of generating attractive returns for its investors through a variety of investment strategies.
The company has a diverse portfolio of investments in various sectors, including banking, technology, media, energy, and real estate. The group has been listed on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange since 2020.
Speaking on this big step, Mr Nonso Okpala, Group Managing Director of VFD Group, stated, “We are excited to take this next step in the evolution of our company.”
“Listing on a major stock exchange will give us access to a larger pool of investors, enhance our profile, and provide superior returns to our investors,” he added.
With the intention of listing on the NGX, the company will delist from the NASD and is subject to regulatory approvals and market conditions.
VFD Group noted that it would provide additional updates as the listing process progresses.
At the close of business on Tuesday, the securities of the organisation closed on the NASD OTC exchange at N244.88 per unit, the same rate they finished in the preceding trading session.
Business Post reports that the NASD was created to provide an avenue for public companies to transition smoothly into the country’s main stock exchange.
However, it has witnessed the movement of firms from the NGX to the NASD, especially due to the very strict regulatory requirements by the former.
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