In what appears to be a yet another milestone in the Nigerian Agricultural sector, the tech giant, Microsoft, in collaboration with Sterling Bank, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and TedPrime Hub has announced three agro-digital solutions as winners at the just concluded Microsoft Agro-Tech Hackathon.
The grand finale, which was held at Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, Lagos Nigeria featured 10 solutions by the Nigerian youths from Abuja FCT, Benue, Enugu, Jos, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Sokoto.
The winning digital solutions: Sell Harvest, Farmsquare and Farmers’ Market were announced as first (with N2.
The National Hackathon which commenced on March 2022 with the ultimate goal of designing digital solutions that bolster value chain in agriculture and connect thousands of farmers to end-product users together for the next decade was designed by Microsoft in partnership with Sterling Bank and NITDA.
Speaking at the opening session, the Microsoft Country Manager Nigeria and Ghana; Olatomiwa Williams in her Keynote reiterated the position of Microsoft in harnessing the potentials of African youths to support the continent by raising over 40,000 home grown Start-ups in critical sectors as envisioned by Microsoft Africa Transformation Office. “It is Microsoft’s pleasure to onboard these creative youths as finalists at this occasion into the exclusive Microsoft Global Entrepreneurship Program.
The Group Head, Agric & Solid Minerals Finance of Sterling Bank PLC, Dr. Olushola Obikanye in his presentation expressed his delight on the new milestone in the Nigeria’s agricultural sector through a robust digital transformation framework as one of the five pillars of Sterling Bank’s approach to National Development outside its core banking services.
In his remarks, Mr. Ahmad Bature while representing the Director-General, NITDA noted that sustainable innovation and creativity among the young people of Nigeria remain the heartbeat of the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency.
“The Director-General has approved the sum of N3,150,000 to support the remaining top 7 finalists with exclusive access to NITDA-Deployed IT Hubs across the country including the National Centre for AI and Robotics, Abuja and NITDA-coordinated programmes for Start-Ups post Hackathon” Mr. Bature announced.
While the winning team, Software Chasers, expressed their delight on their winning and product development experience, “Muhammad Mukhtar, Albany Muhammad, Sa’adu Abubakar said, “It has been an interesting journey with wide experience from varying degrees of virtual sessions, engagements and supports from TedPrime Hub to all teams that participated. We see this as a milestone for Sell Harvest app in our next phase of the journey post Hackathon.
Giving a detailed account of the event, the Director of Administration and Global Partnerships of TedPrime Hub (Microsoft Partner), Odeogbola Ayodele, affirmed that the 3-month hybrid Hackathon has been a rewarding one for over two thousand youths selected from the pool across Nigeria through innovative virtual Skill-up sessions on Technology and Cloud Services, emerging issues on Agricultural value chain process, Start-up ecosystem and idea scaling, product testing and now to the final round.
“Beyond this great milestone, TedPrime Hub would continue to pride itself on infusion of education, technology and skills development to transform every critical sectors of the economy of Africa for the next decade. A great appreciation goes to Microsoft, Sterling Bank and NITDA for keying into this direction through a robust partnership drive and vision as we set out to nurture these tech creators in agricultural sector and also proceed to transforming other sectors beyond this historic event. We therefore call on other organizations to join us in this movement”. Mr. Odeogbola further added.
Microsoft Agro-Tech Hackathon is an innovative competition that engages Nigerian youths from different backgrounds across Nigeria as agric experts, software developers and entrepreneurs to collaborate and curate digital solutions that transform the agricultural sector at scale.
Wike Gives Ultimatum to Illegal Land Owners in FCT Communities
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
Minister Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Nyesom Wike on Monday gave ultimatum to illegal settlers in Chika Aleita Abuja Science and Technological Village to leave.
Wike stated this during an inspection tour of the technology village in company of his counterpart in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Uche Godfrey Nnaji, in Abuja.
Issuing the order, Wike said the fast encroachment was aided by inability of the past administration to take action and stop individuals from building illegally despite the payment of compensation.
He noted that the money expended in providing infrastructure to the village will not be a waste.
“I will give Development Control a go ahead to demolish because I heard they have been compensated since 2018.
“We want to take over the place so that infrastructure can come in. It will even attract investors. I can tell you that they have been compensated.
“No amount of propaganda can stop us from doing the right thing,” The FCT Minister said. .
Earlier, the Minister of Science and Technology, informed Wike that leaving illegal settlers that have encroached the buffer of the village constitutes a big risk and loss to the country’s investment drive to the village that is a the replica of London technology village.
He said the government of Great Britain was able to generate 6 billion pounds in six years.
Nnaji noted that the country stands the chance of making more if right environment is put in place.
The Abuja technology village was the creation of Federal Government during the return of democracy to the country.It is a Free Trade Zone expected to incubate science and technology but subsequent administrations failed to execute the project.
Naira Falls to N2,000/£1 at Parallel Market
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The naira is currently trading at over N2,000 against the British pound sterling in the parallel market.
Malam Ibrahim, a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator in Wuse Zone 4 in Abuja confirmed the price of the local currency on Monday.
According to the news report, the new rate is higher than the N1,930 reported on Saturday and is currently the lowest point in the naira’s historical performance.
In the parallel FX market, where the naira is unofficially trading at N1,673 from N1,670/$ on Friday, the naira also lost value in relation to the dollar.
Confirming the development, Ibrahim said, “Yes it is true, we are currently selling above N2,000 for the pounds and it is still about the heavy and consistent demand for these currencies.”
The statement by the CBN to stop foreign oil companies operating in Nigeria from instantly sending 100 percent of their foreign exchange earnings to their parent businesses overseas was one of the most recent measures.
Experts in the market credit the latest drop to a sustained increase in demand for US dollars that has been visible since January 1, 2024.
The main causes of this increased demand include a sizeable amount that is attributable to companies actively attempting to replenish inventory or get raw materials, which raises the need for foreign exchange.
Manufacturers Reduce Cement Price to N8,000
By David Torough, Abuja
Cement manufacturers have said a sharp rise in their operating costs is responsible for the increase in the price of the commodity.
They agreed to bring down the price between N9,000 and N15,000 to between N7,000 and N8,000 per 50kg depending on the location nationwide.
It said that prices could be N7,000 in some parts of the country owing to closeness to the supply of the product.
This was part of the agreement between the Federal Government and the cement manufacturers as well as its association.
The Minister of Works, David Umahi led the meeting which had the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite in attendance, saying they would intervene on issues of gas and bad roads among other issues affecting the rising price of the critical material in the construction sector.
The cement manufacturers including Dangote Cement Plc, BUA Cement Plc and Larfarge Cement Plc and other stakeholders issued a communique after meeting with the ministers.
Umahi said smuggling, bad roads, high energy costs, and the forex crisis caused the high price but stressed that manufacturers had expressed their readiness to bring down the prices in the future.
He said, “The cement manufacturers have noted to the government that the present high cost of cement in the market is very much abnormal in some locations nationwide.
“Ideally, they noted that cement price, and retail price to a consumer should not cost more than between N7,000 and N8,000 per 50kg bag.
“Therefore, the government and the cement manufacturers, which are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc have agreed to have their cement price nationwide between N7,000 and N8,000 per 50kg pack of cement, depending on the location which means that this price depends on the locations.
“Going forward, the government has advised manufacturers to set up a price monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance with the prices that are set today.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment lamented the high rate of smuggling to the neighbouring countries.
She noted, this was responsible for the scarcity and hike in the price of the produce and assured that the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu is committed to tackling the menace.
Uzoka-Anite said, “The amount we recommended is N7000 to N8000 but we have other factors. This is the first time that manufacturers are saying they will go and manage compliance in this distribution network.
“We have issues of smuggling not just for cement, but even food across the borders and this has led to scarcity. We have engaged with the NSA who has committed to tackling this. We’ll hear from the NSA soon on this’’.
The manufacturers expressed readiness to bring down the price as soon as the Federal Government interventions are fulfilled.
The Executive Director, BUA Group, Kabir Rabiu admitted that the high cost of cement in neighboring countries made smuggling lucrative, saying that the cost of cement in Chad and Cameron is about N15,000 in the countries’ monetary value.
Rabiu assured that his company would bring in 6 million tonnes of cement into the market to crash the price.
He said, “The high cost of cement in neighboring countries is making smuggling lucrative.
“The cost of cement in Chad and Cameron is about N15,000 equivalent there, and distributors in the North East instead smuggle products there.
“They do that not through official channels and the government is not benefiting from their export. Unless that is sorted, we’ll continue to have pressure from those markets.
“We have promised the minister that we are going to bring in 6m tonnes of cement into the market and that is going to crash the price. There is a big disparity between demand and supply in Nigeria. I think some plants have issues that have reduced production.
“We are at the peak of cement demand but supply seems less so there is going to be a crisis and that is why we are working hard to bring more products to the market to reduce the pressure of demand and supply in the market.”Government expects the agreed price to drop after securing government’s interventions on the challenges of the manufacturers on gas, import duty, smuggling, and better road network.
Read Our ePaper
Public Disturbance: Court Orders Kano TikToker to Undergo Mental Evaluation
Share A Kano State Shari’a Court on Tuesday, ordered that a Kano Tiktoker Murja Kunya, be taken to a Government...
NAF Nabs Alleged Notorious Kidnapper in Kano
Share Troops of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) deployed at Durbunde in Takai Local Government Area of Kano State have...
Palestinian Death Toll in Gaza Rises to 29,195 Amid Israeli Attacks
Share The death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,195 with 69,170 others wounded as the Israeli attacks...
Surety Faces N500,000 Bail Bond Forfeiture Charge
Share A 47-year-old man, Ogbonna Anoka, who allegedly stood surety for a church member, but failed to produce him in...
Flood Overruns Bridge in Lagos Community
ShareThe early morning downpour which caused heavy flood on Tuesday in Lagos, overran the Command Bridge in Ipaja, Alimosho Local...
Major Oil Marketers Rally Tanker Drivers for Smooth Operations
ShareFuel marketers under the aegis of Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) have assured tanker owners of a cordial...
Fintiri Announces N10,000 Monthly Allowance for Corps Members in Adamawa
Share Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa has reiterated his administration’s commitment to the payment of N10,000 monthly allowance for corps...
Most Wanted Serial Kidnapper in Rivers Feared Dead – Police
Share A joint operation involving the military, paramilitary and Police, may have killed Gift Okpara, alias 2Baba, a suspected serial...
Attacks: FCTA Pledges Maximum Security for Contractors Handling Projects in Abuja
Share Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has promised to provide maximum security for the contractors handling various projects in the...
9 die, 7 Injured in Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway Accident
Share No fewer than nine persons were confirmed dead while seven others sustained injuries in an accident involving a truck...