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Dangote Foundation Grants Target 1m Vulnerable Women

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  • Dangote Foundation Grants Target 1m Vulnerable Women

There is no other issue in Nigeria that reflects federal character in almost equal proportion other than poverty.

Even at the peak of her economic buoyance occasioned by the high price of the crude oil in the international market, years ago, there has not been any commensurable change in Nigerians’ lives for the past decades,.

Nigeria’s situation appears to be a paradox and her citizens’ living condition strange in that while the country was getting richer, her people become poorer. For a country with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, the level of poverty remains unacceptable. Despite being one of the three biggest economies in Africa, Nigeria ranks around 160th out of 177 countries on the scale of the Human Development Index (HDI).

Nigeria is reputed to hold the disgusting record of having about 80 per cent of her population living in abject poverty. And of this, 60 per cent are said to be women. Irrespective of where they live, whether rural or urban, poverty among women has remains alarming. Yet women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family. The vast majority of the world’s poor are women. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterates are female. Of the millions of school age children not in school, the majority are girls.

Though poverty cuts across Nigeria landscape, the women have been the most engendered specie. In a country where the level of poverty has taken a nosedive over the years, women, continue to face daunting and debilitating challenges.

In fact, despite every effort made by the Nigerian authorities at all levels of governance and other non-formal organizations towards poverty reduction in the country; this problem has continued to mitigate women from living happily and contributing their own quota to national growth and development. Thus women become a wasted potential to national growth.

Many women are denying themselves to ensure that their children are fed. These women are already suffering the effects of severe malnutrition, which inevitably will be their children’s fate as well. And if no cogent action is taken, the impact of this crisis will be with us for many years.

Studies have also shown that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.

It is against this background that the Dangote Foundation, a multi-purposegrant-making vehicle which supports interventions in critical sectors such as education, health, population and community giving decided to intervene to bring the helpless women out of the dingy life of animal existence.

Endowed by the Africa’s richest man and foremost entrepreneur, Aliko Dangote, the Foundation few years ago, designed a multi-billion naira micro-grants programme to assist the vulnerable women across the 774 local governments in Nigeria conjunction with the state governments.

It is expected that at the end of the exercise, a sum of N10 billion would have been injected to revive the economy of some one million women. Already, the grant has been disbursed in seven states among which are Kano, Yobe, Adamawa, Jigawa, Borno, and Kogi. Presently, the foundation is disbursing in local governments in Lagos state.

Explaining the rationale behind the Foundation’s decision to help women with the grants to do petty business, Alhaji Dangote said the Foundation believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty.

According to him, “we thought of a response to the widespread poverty in Nigeria and how can we help in our own way and in 2011, we came up with this idea. So we instituted the cash transfer intervention. We call it the Dangote Foundation Micro-grants Programme, to provide cash transfers to select poor and vulnerable women and youths. The grant is to enable beneficiaries meet immediate family and livelihood needs by providing a one-time fund to start up enterprises that will boost their economic and consumption activities. He explained that the cash transfer intervention focused on women who bear the greatest brunt of poverty.

Said he “Our Programme provides a one-off grant that enables recipients to grow or start an enterprise, invest in product assets, improve the health of their families, and/or take on new activities that reduce their vulnerability and enhance their economic standing. It has successfully assisted women and their families in the states where we have made disbursement.

“I have always believed that one of the surest ways of alleviating poverty is through job creation and that the kind of jobs that the masses in Nigeria need could be created through such grants. We need this kind of empowerment especially for our women because when companies are established jobs would be created but not on a large scale again because the machines are automated and would only require few hands.

“It’s only in agriculture that the opportunities are massive”, adding that this was the reason he is investing in sugar plantation and refinery where thousands of people can work and earn living. He said agriculture is the solution.”

Explaining the partnerships with State governments, he said, “This is in keeping with Dangote Foundation’s belief in working through partnerships for effectiveness, scale and impact in tackling the challenges that we face as a nation. This is a key feature of the Programme which aims to support and compliment state governments’ poverty reduction efforts.”

The state governors have taken turn to commend Dangote foundation’s initiative to complement the poverty alleviating efforts of the states describing the gesture as godly and unprecedented.

The Kogi state government while expressing its appreciation to the Foundation recalled the intervention extended to the state during the deadly flooding across some states for which the state was given money relief items to cushion the effects on the victims.

Acknowledging the Dangote Foundation’s philanthropic gesture across the country and even internationally, the Kogi government enjoined other rich Nigerians to emulate Dangote and share part of their wealth with the masses.

In his own comment, Lagos state government said Alhaji Dangote’s decision to share his wealth with the people is an indication of his love for the people and should be emulated. “He has decided to support our programme of regeneration in Lagos state, we are grateful to Dangote Foundation. “This empowerment programme will cover all deserving in the 20 LG and 37 Development Areas in the state.

–Okoro works with Dangote Group.

We will ensure that nobody is denied this grant not minding the political or religious leaning. We will continue to give the required environment to make business thrive in Lagos.”

However, a new dimension has been added to the disbursement in Lagos as beneficiaries are also provided with free customized hand held phones, thorough which they receive alert for the disbursement.

At Somolu local government in Lagos, one of the beneficiaries, brought to the venue in crutches, Mrs. Moronkeji Oshikoya, on receiving alert for the grant, described the grant as life-saving and profusely prayed for Dangote Foundation and its Chairman, Alhaji Dangote.

Another beneficiary, Mrs. Augustina Chukwu, said they did not believe it initially but were surprised it was true. “We thought it was a joke, because when they mentioned Dangote he is the one who wanted to give us money. We said it was a lie because he is not a politician, so why would he give us money. But now we have seen that he is a man of God. He just pitied us and our condition and decided to give us from what God has given him; God will continue to add to his wealth. Tell others too to help the poor.”

Speaking on the micro grant and other activities of the Foundation, the Chief Executive Officer, Zouera Youssoufou, said the Dangote Foundation was concerned about the plight of the Nigerian women who are most vulnerable under the present economic quagmire and therefore the decision to empower them to compliment the various poverty alleviation programmes of state governments.

She explained that the research carried out by the foundation showed that women who are always at the receiving end, when empower are capable of quickly turning around the economies of the family, pointing out that the micro grant scheme was designed for women who need little amount to be back to business.

Mrs. Youssoufou explained that the state government have been very helpful in partnering with the Foundation to identify women who really need to grant to work. She stated that the addition of handset was a new development that makes the disbursement easier and that it started with Lagos and would subsequently done in the remaining states.

“We engage the services of some agencies and a leading telecommunication company to provide the phones, SIM cards, register it and send alert to the beneficiaries immediately rather than giving cash.

The beneficiaries can then decide to withdraw the money at the most convenient time so as not to expose them unduly. All charges are borne by the Foundation, so the beneficiaries receive the exact amount,” she explained.

 

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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Crude Oil

Fed’s Decision to Hold Rates Stalls Oil Market, Brent Crude Slips to $82.17

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices faced a setback on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain interest rates dampened investor sentiment.

The Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday indicated a reluctance to initiate an interest rate cut, pushing expectations for policy easing possibly as late as December. This unexpected stance rattled markets already grappling with inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, saw a drop of 43 cents, or 0.5% to $82.17 a barrel, reflecting cautious investor response to the Fed’s cautious approach.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil also slipped by 46 cents, or 0.6% to settle at $78.04 per barrel.

Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil, commented on the Fed’s decision, stating, “In the Fed’s view, this is the price that needs to be paid to achieve a soft landing and avoid recession beyond doubt.”

The central bank’s move to hold rates steady is seen as a measure to balance economic growth and inflation containment.

The Energy Information Administration’s latest data release further exacerbated market concerns, revealing a significant increase in U.S. crude stockpiles, primarily driven by higher imports.

Fuel inventories also exceeded expectations, compounding worries about oversupply in the oil market.

Adding to the downward pressure on oil prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a bearish report highlighting concerns over potential excess supply in the near future.

The combination of these factors weighed heavily on investor sentiment, contributing to the decline in oil prices observed throughout the trading session.

Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East continued to influence market dynamics, with reports of Iran-allied Houthi militants claiming responsibility for recent attacks on international shipping near Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

These incidents underscored ongoing concerns about potential disruptions to oil supply routes in the region.

As markets digest the Fed’s cautious stance and monitor developments in global economic indicators and geopolitical tensions, oil prices are expected to remain volatile in the near term.

Analysts suggest that future price movements will hinge significantly on economic data releases, policy decisions by major central banks, and developments in geopolitical hotspots affecting oil supply routes.

 

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Crude Oil

Nigerian Oil Loses Ground to Cheaper US and Russian Crude

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Nigeria’s once-thriving oil industry is facing a significant challenge as traditional buyers increasingly turn to more affordable alternatives from the United States and Russia.

This shift has led to France emerging as the leading buyer of Nigerian crude, marking a significant change in the global oil market dynamics.

Top Nigerian crude grades like Bonny Light, Forcados, and Brass have long been favored by refineries in Europe and Asia due to their low sulfur content.

However, the country’s primary customers, including India and China, are now opting for cheaper US and Russian oil.

This trend poses a substantial risk to Nigeria, which relies on oil exports for more than half of its foreign exchange earnings.

Data from BusinessDay reveals a stark decline in India’s purchase of Nigerian crude. In the first quarter of 2024, India bought N1.3 trillion worth of Nigerian oil, a significant drop from the average of N2 trillion purchased between 2018 and 2021.

“Buyers are increasingly turning to cheaper alternatives, raising concerns for the country’s revenue stream,” said Aisha Mohammed, a senior energy analyst at the Lagos-based Centre for Development Studies.

The latest tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg indicates that India is buying more American crude oil as Russian energy flows dwindle amid sanctions.

India’s state-owned oil refiners and leading private companies have increased their imports of US crude, reaching nearly seven million barrels of April-loading US oil. This shift is the largest monthly inflow since last May.

Russian crude flows to India surged following the invasion of Ukraine, making Russia the biggest supplier to the South Asian nation.

However, tighter US sanctions have stranded Russian cargoes, narrowing discounts, and prompting India to ramp up purchases from Saudi Arabia.

“Given the issues faced with importing Sokol in Russia, it’s no surprise that Indian refineries are turning toward US WTI Midland as their light-sweet alternative,” explained Dylan Sim, an analyst at industry consultant FGE.

As a result, France has overtaken the Netherlands to become the biggest buyer of Nigerian crude oil, purchasing products worth N2.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2024.

Spain and India occupied second and fourth positions, with imports valued at N1.72 trillion and N1.3 trillion respectively, as of March 2024.

The sluggish pace of sales for Nigeria’s May supplies highlights the market’s shifting dynamics. Findings show that about 10 cargoes of Nigerian crude for May loading were still available for purchase, indicating a reduced demand.

Rival suppliers such as Azeri Light and West Texas Intermediate have also seen price weaknesses, impacting Nigerian crude demand.

“We’ve got much weaker margins, so Nigeria’s crude demand is taking a hit,” noted James Davis, director of short-term oil market research at FGE.

Sellers seeking premiums over the Dated Brent benchmark have found the European market less receptive, according to Energy Aspects Ltd.

“May cargoes were at a premium that didn’t work that well into Europe, but lower offers have seen volumes move,” said Christopher Haines, EA global crude analyst. “Stronger forward diesel pricing is also helping.”

Some Nigerian grades are being priced more competitively, including Qua Iboe to Asia and Bonny Light to the Mediterranean or East, with the overhang slowly reducing, according to Sparta Commodities.

However, the overall reduced demand could lead to a decrease in revenue from oil exports, a major source of income for the Nigerian government.

“Reduced demand could lead to a decrease in revenue from oil exports, a major source of income for the Nigerian government,” warned Charles Ogbeide, an energy analyst with a Lagos-based investment bank.

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Commodities

Refiners Predict Petrol Prices to Fall to N300/Litre with Adequate Local Crude Supply

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The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, could drop to N300 per litre once local production ramps up significantly, according to operators of modular refineries.

This projection hinges on the provision of sufficient crude oil to domestic refiners, which they say would undercut the exorbitant costs currently imposed by foreign refineries.

Speaking under the aegis of the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria (CORAN), the refiners stressed the urgency for the government to ensure a steady supply of crude oil to local processing plants.

They argue that the reliance on imported petroleum products has been economically disadvantageous for Nigeria.

Eche Idoko, Publicity Secretary of CORAN, emphasized that the current high costs could be mitigated by boosting local production.

“If we begin to produce PMS in large volumes and ensure adequate crude oil supply, the pump price could be reduced to N300 per litre. This would prevent Nigerians from paying nearly N700 per litre and stop foreign refiners from profiting excessively at our expense,” Idoko stated.

The potential price drop follows the model seen with diesel, which experienced a significant price reduction once the Dangote Petroleum Refinery began its production.

“Diesel prices dropped from N1,700-N1,800 per litre to N1,200 per litre after Dangote started producing. This is a clear indication that local production can drastically reduce costs,” Idoko explained.

In a previous statement, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, affirmed that Nigeria would cease importing petrol by June 2024 due to the Dangote Refinery’s capacity to meet local demand.

Dangote also expressed confidence in the refinery’s ability to cater to West Africa’s diesel and aviation fuel needs.

Challenges and Governmental Role

However, achieving this price reduction is contingent on several factors, including the provision of crude oil at the naira equivalent of its dollar rate.

CORAN has advocated for this approach, citing that it would bolster the naira and reduce the financial burden on refiners who currently buy crude in dollars.

The Nigerian government has shown some commitment towards this goal. Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), confirmed that a framework has been developed to ensure consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries.

“We have created a template for the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation to foster seamless supply to local refineries,” Komolafe stated.

Industry Reactions

Oil marketers have welcomed the potential for reduced petrol prices. Abubakar Maigandi, President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), expressed optimism about the Dangote Refinery’s impact on petrol prices.

“We expect the price of locally produced PMS to be below the current NNPC rate of N565.50 per litre. Ideally, we are looking at a price around N500 per litre,” Maigandi noted.

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