Again, State Govs Seek CBN Assistance Over FAAC Deductions
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
State Governors have again appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) to assist them reschedule their Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPOs) upon which deductions are made directly monthly from their allocations at the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), made the appeal at the apex bank corporate headquarters in Abuja on Thursday when the Forum led by it’s Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr.
The Governor of Borno State, Prof. Zanna Zulum who made the request on behalf of the States said the North -Eastern States were heavily burdened by the deductions because of the spate of insurgency and have become hamstrung in activating agricultural initiatives because of their cost implications.
The CBN had earlier restructured States loans in 2016 during the bailout palliatives to assist the States meet up with salaries and other emoluments obligations in the wake of the recessionary effects at the time .
Also on the shopping lists of the visiting Governors were the assistance in the provision of electricity to help agro processing and storage as well as more credit lines through the Development Finance Department of the apex bank.
Responding, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele promised to work with the States to reap the potentials in agriculture in the country .
He listed the many initiatives undertaken by the apex bank to boost food production in the country so as to cut down on import and save foreign exchange for Nigeria.
In line with the objective, he announced that the CBN has added cassava derivatives to the list of foreign exchange ban for import into the country.
“We have indeed begun to restrict Forex for importers of all cassava derivatives into the country such as ethanol and starch, he stated”.
Emefiele, explained that the action was taken because Nigeria was the largest producer of cassava and wondered why Nigeria should be importing cassava derivatives into the country.
The governor also disclosed that the CBN has disbursed about N30 billion for the cultivation of oil palm to meet domestic consumption requirements. He said:”The annual demand for palm oil in Nigeria stands at 2.5m mt of which only 1.25m mt, is produced locally leaving a gap of 1.25m mt per annum. This gap is currently being met through imports.
The Central Bank of Nigeria Oil Palm Initiative is aimed at closing the gap and also positioning Nigeria to incrementally export oil palm products to neighboring African countries and beyond.
“Closing the identified gap would require bringing about 312,500 hectares under modern cultivation at an estimated yield of 4 metric tons per hectare. Our target is to ensure that a minimum of 1.4 million ha of land is put under oil palm cultivation in three years.
“As a step in this direction, the Bank had met with 14 State Governors who pledged to make available 100,000ha of land in each state. We currently have a total of 904,624 hectares which are available in the states for allocation and investors have been matched with the States of interest to process necessary documentation and titling requirement.
“The investors are to be funded from the Bank’s intervention programme. However, some of the States are slow in making the land available to these investors.
“So far a total of about N30 billion has been disbursed through deposit money banks in favour of 6 oil palm companies to support their expansion programmes. The companies are PZ Wimar, Biase oil company ltd, Eyop, Okomu Oil company, Presco Oil Company, SIAT Ltd.
“We are expecting application in favour of Ada Palm IMO State. Over 40 applications from investors across the country for the cultivation of 126,694 hectares are being considered,” Emefiele further disclosed.
World Bank Donates $12bn Food Grant to Nigeria, Others
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The World Bank said it has disbursed at least $12bn, almost half of which was to Africa, to help beneficiary counties cope with food shortage.
In a report titled “Food Security Update: World Bank Response to Rising Food Insecurity” the Bank noted that domestic food prices remained high all over the world, especially in low and middle income countries.
According to the Bank, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, trade-related policies imposed by countries have surged, and the global food crisis has been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries with a goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices.
The Bank also said a $30bn relief package, spread over a period of 15 months, including $12bn in new projects, will be rolled out to help counties cope with food insecurity.
According to the report, up to 205 million people are expected to face acute food insecurity and to be in need of urgent assistance in 45 countries.
“World wheat prices fell in January for a third consecutive month; international coarse grain prices remained mostly unchanged; and international rice prices rose at an accelerated pace in January 2023.
“Overall, FAO’s analysis indicates that high prices have persisted for the past three months despite some evidence of easing from 2022 peaks in certain countries, with rice price hikes mostly responsible for sustained high cereal prices.”
Beyond the fiscal stimulus, the World Bank Group stated it had partnered the G7 Presidency and co-convened the Global Alliance for Food Security, which aimed to catalyse an immediate and concerted response to the unfolding global hunger crisis.
The report added that the alliance had developed the publicly accessible Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard, which provided timely information for global and local decision-makers to help improve coordination of the policy and financial response to the food crisis.
FG Establishes 500 Capacity Livestock Farm in Sokoto
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has established an animal husbandry farm with cow milking parlour.
The farm with capacity for 500 cows and cow milking parlour with capacity of 200 cows in a set, sits on a 100 hectares land in Sokoto State.
NALDA said the idea behind the project was to develop a modern animal husbandry farm that would sustain itself and reduce the movement of cows within the area.
The Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen after inspecting the farm and the poultry feed mill facility, said he was satisfied with the level of work at the facilities.
He explained that the essence of establishing the modern animal husbandry farm, which has cow pens with napier grass on 50 hectares, with the construction of clinics/veterinary sections and a training centre, was to reduce the movement of cattle and end the farmers/herders clashes.
Ikonne said that NALDA was committed to achieving food security and development, as he assured that the farm would generate employment, hygienic milk production and cow fattening for meat.
At the same time, the farm would train and encourage young farmers to go into animal husbandry and animal food formulation, according to the NALDA boss.
Construction workers were spotted at the 100 hectares farmland at the section of the clinic and training centre building where work was ongoing, while the 500 cow capacity pens and the cow milking parlour have both been completed.
Also spotted were those watering the napier grass field using the boreholes provided by NALDA at the farm.
The farm is located at Dabagin-lafia, opposite the Usman Danfodio University farm, while the poultry feed mill is situated in Dayin village along the road to Doba, in Sokoto State.
“NALDA is into partnership with Prime Ranch Ltd, who donated the 100 hectares of land where we are establishing the animal husbandry farm, napier grass field and will cultivate maize and millet on 30 hectares of the said land,” Ikonne stated.
“The establishment of the napier grass field is to ensure feed production for the cows, as that will eliminate the roaming around of the animals in search of feed, thereby curtailing farmer/herder clash.
“The milking parlour will serve both the cows in the farm and other animal husbandry farmers who would want their cows milked in a hygienic way.
“Prime Ranch will manage the farm on completion based on their wealth of experience in animal husbandry. This type of partnership is sustainable, productive and should be encouraged in order for us to achieve food security and development,” he added.
On employment opportunities through the partnership, Ikonne stated that with the establishment of the poultry feed mill, which Prime Ranch provided the land and was managing the 62,000 poultry capacity, there would be feed production for small farmers across the zone and other parts of the country.
He said job opportunities would also be created for those who would work at the milking parlour by attending to the cows.
“The employment chain will not be anything less than 400, consisting of workers who would be directly involved in these activities, outside the output, which is achieving food sufficiency,” he stated.
Also speaking during inspection of both projects, the farms and feed mill, the Founder, Prime Ranch Ltd, Nafiu Yakubi, said the partnership with NALDA was coming into fruition.
“The thinking when we incorporated Prime Ranch years back, is to have a ranch kind of arrangement whereby we grow our animals, grow their feeds, fatten them, and sell them off to the market. The partnership with NALDA is a very cordial one. They support us in all areas that we need support from them,” he said.
On the output from the partnership, Yakubu said, “Arising from this partnership with NALDA, you have seen the feed mill. We are currently producing feed for our poultry and other NALDA poultry farmers.”
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for encouraging young farmers through NADLA, stressing that the President had called Nigerians to return to farming, as he urged Nigerian youths to yield to the call.
“I am a lawyer and I am back to the farm, so Nigerian youths should go back to farming. It is very profitable and the opportunities are very wide,” Yakubu stated.
Agric Ministry, Lagos Govt Partner on Proper Nationwide Meat Haulage
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said it was ready to work with Lagos State government in order to improve the distribution of meat across the country.
Speaking during a study tour and stakeholders engagement to understudy the air-cool Meatvans from the Abattoirs and Slaughterhouses to the various meat markets in Lagos State recently, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria and Director Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr.
She revealed that the Ministry would facilitate the process to ensure that a policy was drafted to ensure smooth operations, enforcement and implementation of the process across the nation, pointing out that the Ministry had procured 37 vehicles that would be distributed to butchers for free in order to facilitate the process across the country”.
She further stated that the Ministry would strengthen it collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to make every structure and every movement of meat from abattoir to the market across the country a success.
In her remarks the Hon. Commissioner Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture Ms. Ruth Abisola Olusanya said that “prior to the launching of Eko Meat van Project in Year 2004, Meat haulage business in Lagos State was rather disorganised, haphazard and unregulated, adding that wooden carts were used to transport Meat and Carcasses from Abattoirs and Slaughter facilities to the deboning and bulk-breaking sections.
She pointed out that four Private investors and Butchers Association Group formed the executing stakeholders to run the fleet of air-cool Meatvans from the Abattoirs and Slaughterhouses to the various meat markets statewide, noting that the project was funded by Polaris bank in agreement with the stakeholders.
She further stated that In 2009, the Ministry launched the Eko Refrigerated Meatvan Project which was an advancement of the air-cool Eko Meatvans into refrigerated form and a total of fourteen private investors’ companies along with the State Butchers Association’s and Lagoon Butchers Ventures were successfully –screened and licensed to operate the project under a jointly-registered cooperative umbrella (Agege Meat van Multipurpose Cooperative society).
In his welcome address, the state Director of veterinary services Dr. Macaulay Rasheed Molade said that “the refrigerated meat transportation project runs from 2009 till date and it is involved in the daily haulage of Meat carcasses, cattle officials, head and feet as well as other cow parts from the abattoirs/slaughter facilities to the various meat markets”.
Earlier, in his Goodwill message, the Chairman Lagos State butchers Association Mr. Alabi Bamidele Kazeem said that “the butchers have been supportive to the state government and will continue give its maximum cooperation”.
The Essence of the Visit was to understudy the model of meat haulage in the state’s abattoirs, under the umbrella company known as the EKO REFRIGERATED MEAT HAULAGE. It aimed at adopting the best practices in our abattoirs nationwide and learn from the challenges that come from the initiatives in order to improve on them.
In attendance were Representative of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), National Agricultural Insurance Cooperation (NAIC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the CEO A is Farmers Market.
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