By Adedapo Adesanya
In order to boost agricultural productivity in Nigeria in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari 9-point agenda, the National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) has released 18 high-yielding crop varieties.
The unveiling of these new crop varieties is expected to favour farmers in the country, who will now experience bountiful harvest going forward and in turn, make food cheaper.
During the announcement, the Chairman of NVRC, Mr Oladosu Awoyemi, said the 18 crops were taken from the 25 submitted by researchers.
While speaking during the 29th meeting at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) in Ibadan, Oyo State, according to a press statement from the Registrar of NACGRAB, Mr Sunday Aladele, the researchers were drawn from research institutions, universities and private seed companies.
In the statement issued on Sunday, it was disclosed that two sweet sorghum varieties (SAMSORG 50SW and SAMSORG 52SW), and four multipurpose cassava varieties (UMUCASS 47, UMUCASS 48, UMUCASS 49 and UMUCASS 50) were among the 18 approved.
NVRC also approved one poundable cassava variety (UMUCASS 51), two white maize hybrids (SC667 and SC419), one yellow maize variety (ILOMAZ – 1), and two pro-vitamin A maize varieties (SAMMAZ 59 and SAMMAZ 60).
Others were one medium maturing top – cross maize variety (SAMMAZ 61), two maize hybrids (SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63), and three yam varieties (Dioscorea alata – UMUDa 31 and Dioscorea rotundata –UMUDr 29 and UMUDr 30).
The statement explained that the sorghum varieties were released based on their high brix content and high extract yield.
The agency declared that the cassava varieties were released based on high-quality flour product and high dry matter while the maize varieties were released based on high grain yield and excellent husk cover, tolerance to drought, low nitrogen and high pro-vitamin A content.
The three yam varieties were released based on the slow rate of oxidation, ability to be eaten in pounded form, high yield, and high dry matter content.
The statement disclosed that apart from the 18 released varieties, two-hybrid cotton were just registered by the committee to serve as a refuge for the released Bt Cotton.
Two-hybrid cottons were (MAHYCO C 567 and MAHYCO C 571) approved for registration only.
Developers of the 18 released crop varieties include the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
Other developers are the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, the University of Ilorin, the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training Ibadan; and Seed Co. Nigeria Ltd.
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Kenya, Bayer Crop Science, Petit, South Africa, and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Kenya are also among developers of the released varieties.
It also noted that Mr Awoyemi said the meeting was held once or twice yearly with the target of increasing agricultural productivity of Nigerian farmers through the provision of high yielding crop varieties.
SEC Introduces Regulatory Incubation Program for Fintechs
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A regulatory incubation (RI) program for financial technology (fintech) companies operating or seeking to operate in Nigeria has been introduced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A circular issued by SEC disclosed that this framework would be officially launched in the third quarter of 2021 and will operate by admitting identified Fintech business models and processes in cohorts for a one-year period.
Participation in the RI program will encompass an Initial Assessment Phase and the Regulatory Incubation Phase.
The categories to be admitted into each cohort will be determined based on submissions received through the Fintech Assessment Form and communicated ahead of each take-off date.
SEC explained that the scheme was designed to address the needs of new business models and processes that require regulatory authorisation to continue carrying out full or ancillary technology-driven capital market activities.
The RI Program has thus been conceived as an interim measure to aid the evolution of effective regulation which accommodates the innovation by fintechs without compromising market integrity and within limits that ensure investor protection.
It was disclosed that review of completed Fintech Assessment Forms will continue on an ongoing basis and those who consider that there is no specific regulation governing their business models or who require clarity on the appropriate regulatory regime for seeking the authorisation of the commission, are encouraged to complete the Fintech Assessment Form.
NGX Suspends Trading on GTBank Shares Ahead of Delisting
By Dipo Olowookere
In preparation for the eventual delisting of shares of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc from its trading platform, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Friday, June 18, 2021, placed the banking stock on a full suspension.
GTBank, a tier-one lender trading its equities on the exchange, intends to transform into a financial holding company (Holdco) so as to offer a wide range of services it is restricted to do.
Some years ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks in the country to offload their subsidiaries not performing core lending services.
This was after many deposit money banks (DMBs) were delving into different business ventures, including insurance, stockbroking, asset management, amongst others.
For the CBN, which regulates the banking industry in Nigeria, most of these banks were losing focus and were not supporting businesses that need funds to grow and then stimulate the economy in the process.
To address this issue, the apex bank asked banks to sell off their non-banking assets and this forced many of them to offload their companies not offering core banking services.
However, there was an opening for banks to still delve into other sectors within the financial and capital markets and this was by operating as a Holdco.
A few of them towed this path, including FBN Holdings, Stanbic IBTC Holdings and FCMB Group.
Not wanting to be left out, GTBank is joining the party and to achieve this, it is delisting its banking arm, which is the popular GTBank from the stock exchange.
GTBank will now operate as a private company, while the new Holdco, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, will now be a public company. The shares of this new firm will be listed on the NGX after the delisting of GTBank.
Last Friday, the stock exchange informed the investing community of the latest development, announcing the suspension of trading on GTBank shares.
In the circular sighted by Business Post, the NGX explained that the rationale behind placing GTBank stocks on full suspension is to “prevent trading in the shares of the bank” in preparation of its “eventual delisting”
Before trading on its stocks was suspended on Friday, GTBank closed at N28.55 on Thursday after appreciating by 50 kobo or 1.78 per cent.
DLM Capital Remains Best Structured Finance & Securitization Team in West Africa
A prominent developmental investment bank, DLM Capital Group, has emerged winner at the Capital Finance International (CFI) 2021 awards as the best-structured finance and securitization team in West Africa.
This award has been won consecutively in three years and affirms the group’s strong performance as a leading investment institution and asset manager.
CFI awards seek to identify the contributions of individuals and organizations that contribute significantly to the advancement of economies and truly add value for all stakeholders.
DLM Capital Group creates bespoke business solutions for alternative financing and harnessing funds for growth.
The group focuses on four key sectors — consumer credit, agriculture, microfinance, and education with a mandate to reduce poverty and improve living conditions for Africans while mobilizing resources for the continent’s economic and social development.
“In the past three years, our portfolio management team’s performance has remained consistent, and our clients have benefited immensely from exposure to our solutions, including the NMRC securitization deal and the DLM Primero BRT Securitization,” said Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing, DLM Capital Group, Ms Chinwendu Ohakpougwu.
“We are positioned to provide services to an expansive client base of retail, high net-worth and institutional customers.
“DLM Capital Group remains committed to constantly providing financial solutions that will enable our clients to make a difference, and we are honoured to be recognized once again as a reflection of the quality of support offered to our clients,” she added.
DLM has won recognition in West African capital markets, acting as a sole arranger to over 80 per cent of structured finance transactions in Nigeria — and all the securitization transactions. It provides deal structuring, advisory execution and capital raising services across the Nigerian capital market.
The institution recently launched an asset financing scheme and is preparing a venture into digital banking under its subsidiary, Sofri.
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