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NIRSAL Guarantees N61.16bn Loans to Agriculture

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Agriculture

Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr. Aliyu Hameed has said that the firm has guaranteed loans totaling N61.16billion to agriculture and disbursed N753.35million as rebate to borrowers who paid back loans on time between 2013 and 2015.

This was the period when the agency was still a project implementation office under incubation within the Development Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He added that NIRSAL had also guaranteed up to 207 agricultural value chain projects valued at N39.49billion under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD) and paid $2.2million (N439.09million) as interest draw back to beneficiaries on 91 agriculture related projects.

Hameed said NIRSAL had between 2013 and mid-2016 trained 157,000 farmers/primary producers in 6 value chains including rice, cocoa, cotton, tomatoes, sesame, and soybeans.

Speaking during a presentation at the Design Workshop on Establishing an African Agriculture Risk Sharing and Financing Mechanism which was organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Nairobi, Kenya, the NIRSAL boss argued that the growth of agriculture in Nigeria will lead not only to prosperity but also improve income equality in the country.

He, maintained that the positive impact of agriculture on income inequality was one of the several reasons for the focus of the Buhari administration on the sector which is believed to have the potential to boost the economy and improve the lives of Nigerians.

Hammed further described the progress made so far by NIRSAL as a product of the farsighted pro-people vision of the Buhari administration and the continued commitment of the CBN under Mr. Godwin Emefiele to achieving the vision.

His comments also came as the AfDB identified the NIRSAL financial model as of the current successes of African agriculture during its post event assessment of the workshop.

Describing NIRSAL as a “Game Changer” in Nigeria’s agricultural space, the MD added that it planned to further facilitate lending to 3.8 million agricultural producers out of the estimated 14 million agricultural producers in the country within the next 10 years by providing guarantees through intermediaries including Microfinance institutions and cooperatives.

In a statement by NIRSAL’s Coordinator Research & Strategy, Bello Abdullahi Abba! Hameed said part of the key objective of NIRSAL was to increase total value of agricultural lending- from the current 1.4 percent to 10 percent of total bank lending by 2026 and generating by $3 billion of additional agricultural lending in order to boost food production levels, stimulate inclusive growth, create jobs and increase the standard of living of farmers who constitute the greater majority of our population.

Essentially, NIRSAL was set up in 2013 as an initiative of the CBN, the Bankers’ Committee and the FMARD as a primary platform for managing agribusiness risk so banks can lend with confidence to the sector which had largely been neglected.

NIRSAL use credit guarantees to address the risk of default and provide technical assistance and incentives to both financial institutions and borrowers to bridge understanding and increase capacity to payback.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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NNPC and TotalEnergies to Invest $550 Million in Rivers State Gas Facility

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Totalenergies

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd and TotalEnergies have announced a joint investment of $550 million in a new gas processing facility in Rivers State.

The project aims to enhance gas exports and boost domestic supplies, a source within NNPC revealed on Wednesday.

The planned investment encompasses the construction of a state-of-the-art gas processing plant and an extensive pipeline network.

The facility will be situated on the Ubeta onshore gas field, which is co-owned by TotalEnergies and NNPC.

The gas processed at this facility will be supplied to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant, a consortium involving NNPC, Shell, TotalEnergies, and Italy’s Eni.

Upon completion, the Ubeta gas processing plant is expected to produce 350 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, alongside 10,000 barrels of associated liquids daily.

This development comes as Nigeria seeks to capitalize on its vast natural gas reserves, estimated at over 200 trillion cubic feet, which remain largely untapped due to inadequate processing infrastructure and capital limitations.

An official announcement regarding the investment is anticipated later this week. Although TotalEnergies has declined to comment, sources close to the agreement confirm that the project reflects a renewed effort by President Bola Tinubu’s administration to attract substantial investment into Nigeria’s energy sector.

“This investment is a clear indication of confidence in Nigeria’s resource potential and the government’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business,” commented Clementine Wallop, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at political risk consultancy Horizon Engage.

The initiative also aligns with Nigeria’s strategic goals to increase its gas exports, especially to the European Union, which has been seeking alternative energy sources in the wake of reduced imports from Russia due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Domestically, the project is expected to alleviate some of the supply issues faced by Nigeria’s gas power plants, which are crucial for the country’s electricity generation.

Energy analysts highlight that this project could signify a turning point for Nigeria’s energy landscape, offering a much-needed boost to the country’s economic stability and energy security.

As Nigeria continues to grapple with the challenges of gas flaring and underutilization of its natural gas reserves, the NNPC and TotalEnergies’ investment in the Rivers State gas facility represents a strategic step forward in addressing these longstanding issues.

The successful implementation of this project could pave the way for further investments and advancements in Nigeria’s energy sector.

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Escravos Seaport: $27.29 Billion Seaport Project in Jeopardy Amid Bureaucratic Stalemate

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Deep Sea port - Investors King

Nigeria is on the brink of losing a $27.29 billion investment earmarked for the development of the Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) in Delta State.

The ambitious project, championed by the Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) and backed by foreign investors, is stalled due to prolonged delays in securing final governmental approvals.

Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja (rtd), the chairman of MMCC, voiced his concerns during a recent press briefing.

He emphasized the urgency of obtaining the necessary governmental consents, warning that the delay could result in the forfeiture of the crucial investment.

“EDIB International of Hong Kong has expressed readiness to inject $27.29 billion into the deep seaport project located in Escravos. However, without the required approvals from both federal and state governments, we risk losing this investment,” Okoja stated.

The ESIC project is poised to be a significant economic catalyst, promising to transform Delta State and its neighboring regions.

Modeled after the successful Lekki Deep Seaport and Free Trade Zone, the ESIC is expected to spur trade, commerce, and industry across eight states, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“This project is not just about developing a seaport; it’s about creating an economic hub that will drive growth and development across a broad spectrum of sectors,” Okoja explained.

In a letter dated January 19, 2024, EDIB International Ltd., through its chairman Kwame Springer, reiterated its commitment to the project. The letter, addressed to MMCC, highlighted the need for a federal government guarantee to protect the investment.

“We require a guarantee from the Nigerian government to secure our investment. The time frame given to secure these approvals is three weeks, beyond which we might have to consider alternative locations for our investment,” the letter stated.

The Escravos Seaport project has seen provisional approvals from both federal and state governments in the past.

In November 2020, the Federal Government granted a provisional approval for a 50-year renewable concession agreement under the Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer (BOOT) model.

Similarly, in May 2022, the Delta State Government agreed to lease 31,000 hectares of land for the project.

Despite these provisional nods, the final approvals remain elusive.

“We have met all regulatory requirements and are ready to proceed. The delay now lies with obtaining the final consent from the government,” Okoja noted.

He urged the federal and state governments to expedite the approval process to avoid losing the investment to other African nations.

The development of the ESIC encompasses not just the construction of a seaport but also the integration of road, rail, and marine connectivity aimed at optimizing cargo flow.

The project includes the construction of the Warri-Sapele Expressway, linking it to key trade routes.

“This infrastructure will significantly reduce congestion at Lagos ports and open up new economic opportunities for the Niger Delta, Eastern, and Northern States,” Okoja highlighted.

The Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex represents a transformative opportunity for Nigeria’s economic landscape.

However, bureaucratic inertia threatens to derail this landmark project. As the clock ticks, the onus is on the federal and state governments to act swiftly and secure the future of this pivotal investment. Without immediate action, Nigeria stands to lose a monumental opportunity to boost its economy and create thousands of jobs.

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Crude Supply Concerns Stall Nigeria’s Modular Refinery Construction Projects

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The ambitious plans for constructing modular refineries across Nigeria, aimed at bolstering domestic refining capabilities, are encountering significant roadblocks due to apprehensions surrounding crude oil supply guarantees.

Despite the country’s aspirations to become self-sufficient in refining, the reluctance of international oil companies (IOCs) to commit to supplying crude to these facilities has left many projects hanging in the balance.

Presently, only a handful of the planned 20 modular refineries are operational, with the remaining projects either stalled or facing financial uncertainties.

This predicament stems from investors’ demands for assurances regarding crude oil availability before releasing funds for construction.

Eche Idoko, the publicity secretary of the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria (CORAN), highlighted the pivotal role of guarantees in securing financing for refinery projects.

He emphasized that without a guarantee of feedstock, investors are understandably hesitant to proceed with funding.

Idoko further elucidated that the absence of a regulatory framework mandating IOCs to provide such assurances exacerbates the challenges faced by modular refinery operators.

Despite repeated pleas from industry stakeholders, regulatory bodies have yet to enforce provisions ensuring crude supply to indigenous refiners, adding to the uncertainty surrounding these projects.

The ramifications of this impasse extend beyond the economic realm, as Nigeria’s aspirations to emerge as a regional refining hub are jeopardized.

With the potential to significantly reduce the country’s reliance on imported petroleum products, modular refineries represent a critical component of Nigeria’s energy security strategy.

Furthermore, the synergy between modular refineries and larger-scale projects like the Dangote Petroleum Refinery could position Nigeria as a key player in West Africa’s refining landscape.

By addressing the continent’s substantial deficit in refined petroleum products, Nigeria has the opportunity to assert its leadership in the region’s energy sector.

However, unlocking the full potential of modular refineries hinges on overcoming the current challenges surrounding crude supply guarantees. With concerted efforts from regulatory bodies, IOCs, and industry stakeholders, Nigeria can navigate these obstacles and realize its vision of a vibrant and self-sustaining refining sector.

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