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Economy

Nigeria Launches $520m Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to End Hunger

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Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria has begun its long journey to end hunger and achieve food security by launching the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ).

The launch ceremony in Abuja on Monday kick-starts the implementation of phase one of the SAPZ program in eight states across the country. These include – Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The SAPZ program has already garnered huge momentum as an additional 19 state governments have expressed strong interest in participating in the program.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is providing funding of $210 million, with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) jointly providing $310 million, while the Nigerian government will contribute $18.05 million.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in remarks delivered by Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, praised the initiative and said, “if the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones program delivers on its objectives, and we have no doubt that it will, then we would in less than a decade have dealt a fatal blow to food insecurity, create millions of good paying agro-industrial jobs and opportunities and radically improve export earnings from agriculture.”

On his part, the AfDB President, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, said, “the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones are new economic zones, located in rural areas, to be fully supported by infrastructure (power, water, roads, digital infrastructure, and logistics) that will allow food and agribusiness companies to locate within such zones.

“This will put them close to farmers in production catchment areas, provide market offtakes for farmers, support processing and value addition, reduce food losses, and allow the emergence of highly competitive food and agricultural value chains.”

Mr Adesina, a former minister of agriculture of Nigeria, said: “Hunger in Nigeria cannot be justified. Nigeria has the land, with 34 million hectares of arable land with rich and diverse agroecology. It has water. It has the labour. It has great sunshine. Nigeria must achieve zero hunger. There is no reason for anyone to go hungry in Nigeria.”

To help Africa prevent a food crisis from the Russia-Ukraine war, the lender launched a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to support 20 million farmers to access climate-resilient agricultural technologies and produce 38 million metric tons of food valued at $12 billion.

“The African Emergency Food Production Facility provided $134 million to Nigeria, one of the highest levels of support across African countries. I would like to thank the Japanese International Development Agency (JICA) for co-financing this with an additional $110 million. That means we collectively made available $244 million for emergency food production in Nigeria,” the bank group head said.

Noting that the latest Global Hunger Index (2022) ranks Nigeria 103rd among 121 countries facing hunger crisis in the world, Mr Adesina called for “greater action, responsiveness, and delivery to avert a food crisis in Nigeria”.

“Nigeria must decisively tackle insecurity challenges that prevent farmers from going to the farms. Food security needs national security,” said Mr Adesina.

In a rallying call around the SAPZ program, Mr Adesina said: “The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) will help feed Nigeria, transform rural economies, expand fiscal space, fully unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential, and create millions of jobs.”

“I am delighted that the SAPZs have finally come to pass in Nigeria and across Africa,” he said.

According to the IsDB President, Mr Muhammad Al Jasser, “with the disruption of supplies arising from the war, Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food imports from Russia and Ukraine, especially for wheat, maize, and soybeans. Urgent actions are needed to prevent a food crisis in Africa.”

He expressed confidence Nigeria will efficiently implement the SAPZ program, which will boost food production, reduce food price inflation, and transform the agriculture sector while assuring food security and creating jobs.

On her part, the Associate Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Ms Katherine Meighan, said her organization is determined to contribute to the overall goal of the SAPZ programme by empowering 100,000 direct beneficiaries, including smallholders, small processors, traders, and service providers in Ogun and Kano State, with a strong focus on youth and women.

“Our empowerment strategy aims to equip farmers and smallholders to take advantage of the markets created by the SAPZ to sustainably enhance their income through income-generating activities, household food security and nutrition, and resilience to climate change,” said Ms Meighan.

The zones will develop value chains for selected strategic crops in Nigeria, including maize, cassava, rice, soybean, cocoa, poultry, and livestock products. They will also create millions of quality jobs, especially for youth and women.

Speaking on behalf of the phase one participating states and the Federal Capital Territory, the Governor of Cross River State, Mr Ben Ayade, praised the innovativeness of the program and said “the SAPZ program will help Nigeria develop an economy independent of oil. The program is a classical departure from other projects we know.”

During the event, Vice President Osinbajo launched a set of commemorative stamps for the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones. The stamps were designed by Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) in conjunction with a local NGO, FLEESD.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

Economy

CitiTrust Holdings Sells Commercial Paper for 22%

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Cititrust Financial Services Ikechukwu Peter

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.

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Economy

No Individual Should Operate Domiciliary Account in Nigeria—Tope Fasua

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domiciliary account in Nigeria

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.”

Tope Fasua

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Economy

LIBIZFAIR Will Boost Business Opportunities in Lagos

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business opportunities

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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