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Expert Says Banning More Imports Will Cripple Economy



CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

By UdoOnyeka

President of the Shippers Association, Rev Jonathan Nicole has said that Nigerian ports would continue to suffer, just as the manufacturing industries have suffered, if the Federal Government decides to place ban on importation of certain goods items.

Rev Nicole who raised the concerns noted that already, the 41 items banned from accessing foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria has caused most industries to fold up.

According to him, the policy has had a ripple effect on most Nigerian Shippers, the port system has suffered tremendously and poor Nigerians have also suffered effect of these policies.

“If the government now places ban on some of the items that Industries need to produce, because most of the 42 items already on ban has to do with Industries, so if the government wants to place more items on ban, it means that the industries will suffer.

In fact, some of them are already packing up their load because they cannot even sell their goods,” he said.

Further he said “I know one or two who found it difficult to import this year, their workforce is about 500 Nigerians, they work three shifts before, now they hardly do two shifts because they are reducing, and even then, reduction of overhead cost, the regular machineries they have to service, they have to buy diesel to fuel their generators and vehicles and other sundry expenses.

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“With all these, the manufacturers cannot cope because there is no income, check through their warehouses, they are sealed up because they cannot sell their goods because there is no money in the country for citizens to buy goods,” Rev Nicole added.

“The Shippers Association boss asked how many of the factories will survive if the government places ban on some more items? It means that our port system will be empty” he said

Rev Nicol noted that most of the importers from the informal sector are still surviving because they source their foreign exchange by themselves because most of them are not valid for foreign exchange

He said most of them enjoy the ninety days payment schedule from the manufacturer who gives out the goods and collect money after ninety days.

The shipping expert was reacting to the latest import restriction announced last week when the Federal Government directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop issuance of foreign exchange for food importation, so as to increase local production of food in the country.

It would also be recalled the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had also announced plans to put forex restriction on dairy products during the last Monetary Policy (MPC) meeting held on July 23 in Abuja.

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Chocolate firm pays N26m to cocoa farmers to improve livelihood




A cocoa company, Barry Callebaut Nigeria, has unveiled a reward initiative to celebrate farmers with high level of commitment in promoting sustainable cocoa farming in the country.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr Adriaan Verbeke, said this in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

Newsmen report that Barry Callebaut Nigeria is world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products.

Verbeke said that the company would be offering a premium to cocoa farmers under its Cocoa Horizons programme to improve their livelihood.

He said that the company would pay an additional premium totaling N26 million under the programme for deliveries of sustainable cocoa beans in Ondo and Cross River states during the 2021/2022 season.

Verbeke added that the programme would be extended to other regions of the country.

“This significant initiative is in line with the objectives of our cocoa horizons programme aimed at improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities.

“This is through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development.

“Through the cocoa horizon, Barry Callebaut will continue to work closely with local farmers on how to improve their yields, shun cocoa farming activities in protected areas and support “zero child labour” programmes,” he said.

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Verbeke said that over 1,000 farmers in Akure and Ikom recently participated in awareness-raising training courses which addressed critical child labour. (NAN)

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Ondo Govt begins Verification of Forest Allottees




Ondo State Government has begun the  verification of allotees operating in forests in the state, as part of efforts to stop conflict of interest between government and allotees.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Olayato Aribo, at the inauguration of the committee on Tuesday in Akure, appreciated the members of the committee for accepting to serve.

Newsmen report that the committee has as its Chairman, Mr Anjola Samuel, who retired as Director of Forestry in the ministry.

Aribo said that the exercise would pave way for proper monitoring and evaluation of the forest reserves in the state.

The commissioner said that the exercise would rid the forest of illegal allottees, adding that any allottee who failed to show up for the exercise would be considered as no more interested in his allocation.

Aribo urged the committee to ensure that all allottees were screened, stressing that no genuine allottee should be left out.

The commissioner charged the committee to do a good job that would stand the test of integrity anytime, explaining that he sought to put the records straight as regards logging activities in the state.

“All allottees that do not appear for verification of their forest allocations will be regarded as no longer interested in participating in logging activities in the state and deemed to have forfeited such allocation.

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” You must ascertain the number of genuine forest allottees with valid documents and approvals to operate in each forest.

“Also, you must  ascertain the payment made by each allottee to date and  recommend as appropriate the payment of any indebtedness to the state government.

“Come up with a list of all eligible forest allottees in each of the forest reserves and  ascertain the numbers of various hammer holder and their indebtedness,” he said.

He promised the state government’s total support for the committee to achieve the desired goals.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, its chairman, Mr Anjola  Samuel, thanked the Ministry; especially the commissioner, for counting them worthy by extending his  hands of fellowship to them to carry out the assignment.

He told the commissioner that the committee had invited all allottees and the exercise would be successful, saying competent hands were selected  to  serve  on the committee.

He assured  thd state that the committee would deliver on its  terms of reference and that  its reports would be submitted  to the state government in due time.

Newsmen report that the committee was inaugurated by the Administrative Secretary, Mr David Adesina, on Monday.

It was mandated, among other things, to ascertain the number of genuine forest allottees in the state based on each of the forest reserves.

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The Committee was given two weeks to submit its report. (NAN)

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Kogi VCDP Distributes Tricycles Worth Millions Of Naira To Farmers




From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Kogi under the FGN/IFAD assisted project, has distributed tricycles worth millions of naira to VCDP farmers to boost their farming activities in the state.

The distribution ceremony was  witnessed by Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development  Hon.

David Apeh, at the Kogi VCDP office in Lokoja.

The Commissioner was visibly happy with the happenings in VCDP and how farmers were being supported in the state.

Presenting the tricycle to one of the farmers Hajia Rabi Abubakar from Ajaokuta LGA, Apeh lauded the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello for always standing by the programme in the State.

He advised beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the project and the State as they continue to work hard to earn a good living.

The Commissioner also commended the efforts of the state Programme Coordinator to keep the flag of success flying always as she pilot the affairs of VCDP in the State.

Also speaking, Mrs  Vera Onyilor, the National Knowledge Management and Communications Advisor IFAD/VCDP, who monitored the distribution, commended the managerial acumen of the State Programme Coordinator.

She said that  there was every assurance that the lives of the beneficiaries would change for better courtesy of VCDP, while urging the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the machine.

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Earlier, the State Programme  Coordinator, Dr Stella Adejoh, said the tricycles were distributed to help the farmers in transporting their farm produce as well as using them for transportation business to generate income.

She explained that the beneficiaries were some of the farmers already captured on their data base in the five benefiting local government areas in the state.

She urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items for the benefit of their families, the state and the nation in general.

She noted that the tricycles were not totally free that the beneficiaries had paid their matching grants, which was to enable them show commitment and take ownership of the items given to them.

She disclosed that several of such tricycles had been distributed in batches to beneficiaries in the past, saying the feedback from them had been success stories with positive results.

She reiterated that the development objective of VCDP “is to ensure food security, empower the rural farmers to lift them out of poverty and enhance the economy on sustainable basis.

She expressed her delight on the distribution and the impacts the VCDP had made in achieving its goals and objectives in the state.

Dr Adejoh thanked His Excellency Gov. Yahaya Bello for his commitment towards the VCDP project, noting that the governor was always interested in improving and better the wellbeing of the citizens of the state.

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On his part, Engr. Gabriel Salihu who is in charge of the Sub Component, encouraged the beneficiaries to always maintain the tricycles so that the machines will make them better, stressing that the life span of every equipment is dependent on the level of maintenance.

One of the beneficiaries, who is Physically Challenged, Mr Armstrong Shuaibu, thanked the State Government and Kogi VCDP for the gesture to alleviating their  suffering.

He opined that the opportunity will not be miss used.

He promised that the tricycle would be used for the intended purpose to enhance their his productivity and support his family and indeed render services to the entire community.

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