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22,000 Beneficiaries to Get N50,000 Nano Businesses Grant in Kogi

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From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
No fewer than 22,000 beneficiaries in Kogi will get N50,000 each, under the Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme (PCGS) to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Kogi Enterprise Development Agency (KEDA), Hon.

Muhammed Kadiri Okeji, disclosed this on Thursday during enrollment exercise at the palace of Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Okene.

Okeji said the PCGS was being  implemented by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment through the Bank of Industry (BOI) in partnership with the Kogi Government in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
He noted that the PCGS enrollment for beneficiaries of Nano businesses was flagged by Kogi Government simultaneously on Wednesday across the three senatorial districts in Okene, Ankpa and Kabba respectively.

He disclosed that over 22,000 beneficiaries across the 21 local government areas of Kogi would receive N50,000 each as grant to boost their nano businesses and improve sustainability.
According to him, about 1070 beneficiaries would get the grant from each of the 21 local government areas across the state.
“The PCGS is aimed at ameliorating the harrowing effects of the fuel subsidy removal, to provide a one-off grant of N50,000 to over 22,000 Nano business owners across Kogi State.
“We are grateful to Mr President for the impactful initiative at a time of stiff economic challenges for both businesses and the generality of Nigerian citizens.
“Mr President’s gesture is a sensitive step towards safeguarding the small business ecosystem which is the lifewire of the nation’s economy,” he said.
Okeji expressed gratitude to Gov. Ahmed Ododo for keying into the initiative and providing the adequate resources required to draw down the benefits to thousands of Kogi Nano businesses.
This, he said the governor was fulfilling his determination to strengthen the MSMEs which remained the backbone of the nation’s economy.
He added: “We thank our governor for swinging into action to provide the needed resources to complement the effort of the federal government in flagging off the scheme across Kogi.
“As we embark on this journey of empowering our Nano businesses today, let me remind you that you are the backbone of our economy.
“As such, the government of our dear Gov. Ahmed Ododo is determined to provide all the support that will boost your capacity and survival. We will not let you fail”, Okeji assured.
In his remarks, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, HRM Alh. Ahmed Tijani-Anaje, commended President Tinubu for the timely initiative, and eulogised the governor for ensuring that a larger number of Kogi citizens benefited from the scheme.
Our Correspondent reports that Okeji subsequently went round the state to monitor the enrollment exercise in Kabba and Lokoja.
Okeji further said that the enrollment exercise which was being conducted by officials of BoI, was expected to continue till Friday, while disbursement follows immediately.
One of the beneficiaries, Oyiza Bajeh from Adavi, thanked the President for the gesture, and appreciated the Governor for deeming it fit to bring the program to the grassroots.
“When I received a text message from BOI to come for data capture, I dismissed it as one of those scams. But upon a second thought, I decided to give it a tryer.
“Surprisingly, I met a huge crowd of market women, youth and even people with disabilities gathered here at the Ohinoyi palace for the exercise.
“We are very grateful to President Tinubu and Governor Ododo for the gesture,” Bajeh said.

Business News

FG Launches $100bn Economic Expansion Fund to Promote Cultural Heritage

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Minister of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musa-Musawa, has announced the establishment of a $100 billion economic expansion fund to promote and preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage under the administration of President Tinubu.

The Minister disclosed this at the 2024 Ojude Oba Festival held in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

Represented by the Director of Cultural Industry Heritage, Ben Ugo, the Minister emphasized the rich cultural diversity of Nigeria and the government’s commitment to establishing the country as a cultural hub by 2030.

She also said the annual Ojude Oba festival is being considered for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list.

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State expressed his administration’s dedication to elevating the Ojude Oba festival to a global event. He highlighted the festival’s evolution from a celebration of the Awujale among the Ijebu people to a gathering that attracts participants from across the nation and the world.

Abiodun emphasized that the festival serves as a symbol of unity and showcases the hospitality and traditions of Ijebuland to a wider audience.

The governor acknowledged the festival’s role in attracting tourists and promoting the development of Ijebuland.

He emphasized the importance of preserving traditions for future generations and pledged his administration’s support to make the Ojude Oba festival a permanent fixture in the global tourism industry.He added that the announcement of the economic expansion fund and the commitment of the government and local authorities highlight the significance of cultural heritage in Nigeria and the efforts being made to promote and preserve it for generations to come.

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Nigeria’s Trade Surplus with ECOWAS Rises 216% to N1.14trn

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Nigeria’s trade surplus with countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rose by 216 per cent, Year-on-Year, YoY to N1.14 trillion in the first quarter of 2024, Q1’24.

Analysis of foreign trade data for Q1’24 released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS showed that Nigeria’s export to ECOWAS countries rose YoY by 213 per cent to N1.

25 trillion in Q1’24 from N399.
19 billion in Q1’23.

On the other hand Nigeria’s import from ECOWAS countries rose by YoY by 167 per cent to N113.04 billion in Q1’24 from N42.296 billion in Q1’23.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS showed that Nigeria’s main trading export partners within the ECOWAS region in the quarter are Ivory Coast (N744.

59 billion), Senegal (N361.29 billion), Benin (N55.67 billion), Togo (N38.01 billion) and Ghana (N33.75 billion) altogether representing 98.61 percent of total export to ECOWAS countries.

Nigeria’s major import trade partner within ECOWAS in the period under review was the Ivory Coast (N51.41 billion) followed by Togo (N40.86 billion), Ghana (N13.61 billion), Liberia (N3.96 billion) and Benin Republic (N1.04 billion) representing 98.10 percent of total imports from the ECOWAS region.

NBS stated: “Exports to ECOWAS member states totaled N1,250.71 billion, while imports amounted to N113.04 billion.  The main commodities exported to ECOWAS countries in the first quarter of 2024 are Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals worth N1,074.70 billion (85.93 percent of total exports to ECOWAS), Electrical energy (optional heading) (N58.65 billion or 4.69 percent), Urea, whether or not in aqueous solution (N29.45 billion or 2.35 percent), Flours and meals of soya beans (N9.20 billion or 0.74 percent)) and Other excluding White cement (N6.66 billion or 0.53percent). The top five exported products represent 94.24percent of the total exports to the ECOWAS region.”

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My Purported Removal as SALS President in Quest of Shippers’ N3tr funds – Ogamba

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

President of the Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS), Leo Ogamba, has dared the association’s Board of Trustees (BoT) to publish his offences or any act warranting his alleged removal from office other than his push for due process.

Ogamba disclosed that the BoT, whose constitution since 2008 has been invalid, is even being misguided on the expected N3 trillion Cargo Defence Fund, which invariably is influencing their illegal actions.

Addressing the media Tuesday in Lagos over the BoT’s general meeting of June 11, 2024 at which he was purportedly removed, Ogamba said he is not an “embattled president” by any stretch, having not violated or been charged with any violation of the constitution whatsoever.

 “This BoT constituted themselves in 2008. Nobody knew that they were in existence. The record of the status report of the association was invalid, but immediately they heard that I signed the first N13 billion, being the judgement sum between APM Terminals Ltd, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Registered Trustees of Shippers Association of Lagos State, they woke up from their slumber,” he said.

 “Their understanding has been negatively influenced. They have no idea where that judgment sum would be paid in, thinking that the money, which is about N3 trillion, belongs to them on the ground that they are entitled to 60-70 per cent, with about 15 shipping companies involved.

 “Cargo Defence Fund is limited by guarantee, meaning that even if you make N10 trillion profit, you cannot share it, and accessing the fund is by subscription. I am sure that none of these people paid that money. It is the money that shipping companies and terminal operators collected but ought not to have collected.

 “In this circumstance, for you to have locus, you have to show evidence that you paid that money as a shipper. When the publication was out asking shippers to submit their bill of laden, only two submitted.

 “The Nigerian Shippers’ Council had to go the extra mile to meet these shippers for these bills of laden, on the basis of which the money was determined. The Shippers Association of Lagos State represents the whole shippers in the country by virtue of that judgment.”

Insisting that he remains president, Ogamba said the BoT, which is only advisory, does not have the power to convene a general meeting of the association, nor does it have the required membership to sit, being only three, while the constitution requires seven out of the 10-member body as quorum for any meeting.

He stated that the said general meeting was not properly constituted or was at best illegal on the ground that he “was not in the meeting. Till today, I have not received any letter to the purported removal either through e-mail or whatsapp.”

Meanwhile, more recently, a mediation agreement with the NSC at the instance of the BoT was that there should be “no meeting of SALS at any level pending the outcome of the reconciliation,” he disclosed.

In breach of this, however, he said the BoT has met “about three times,” including for his purported removal on June 11th, 2024, two days ahead of the mediation meeting called by the NSC as agreed, and which the BoT and their supporters failed to attend.

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