- Low Purchasing Power Limits Sale of Agro Products
Escalating prices and low purchasing power of consumers are leading to poor sales and capacity utilisation in the agriculture sector of the economy.
An entrepreneur in the sector, Mr. Abiodun Oladapo, told our correspondent that the cost of production had become so high that farmers were being forced to increase prices while those who could not cope had decided to withdraw from the sector completely.
According to him, the result is that prices of farm produce and livestock have risen so high that they are becoming unaffordable for many consumers.
For instance, he said, “The cost of a bag of fertilizer is N10,000 against the N2,000 that it was sold last year. Last year, corn used in poultry feed cost N50,000 per tonne, now it sells for N150, 000 per tonne.
“Prices have become so high that people no longer patronise farmers. Also, a good number of people have withdrawn from the sector.”
Oladapo added that while there was a lot of emphasis on the export of agricultural produce, the cost of production had made it difficult for practitioners to compete in the export market.
“The cost of producing cassava chips in China is less than the price of chips in Nigeria. How then can we export cassava chips to such a country?
According to him, in addition to high prices, exporters are also faced with indiscriminate port charges and multiple government agencies making the business of exporting a nightmare.
“There is too much regulation. You have the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the rest of the agencies. They are not there to help the exporters but to make things more difficult for them,” he said.
As a way of addressing the food crisis, Oladapo advised the government to encourage local production of fertilisers instead of leaving it in the hands of importers.
“It is only in Nigeria that government leaves food security in the hands of private individuals. That is not what obtains in advanced countries and other African countries,” he said.
Speaking on the scarcity of fertilisers, the Senior Special Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleke, attributed the development to the insecurity situation in the country and efforts by the government to ensure that fertilisers did not get into the hands of terrorists.
He said that since it was established that terrorists were using fertilisers to manufacture explosive devices, there had been close checks on both the distributors and buyers of the product to ensure that they did not supply same to terrorists.
Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year
Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.
The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.
In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.
Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.
However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.
Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.
He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.
Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.
The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.
South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Predicts Return of Major Players to Nigeria Despite Recent Exodus
South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains optimistic about Nigeria’s economic prospects, predicting the eventual return of major players despite a recent exodus from the West African nation.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese explained that it is impossible to ignore Nigeria’s large and growing population, “how do you ignore an economy like this?”
Wiese, the former chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd., acknowledges the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, where recent currency woes and policy missteps have contributed to an exodus of international companies.
Procter & Gamble Co. and Shoprite are among the global conglomerates that have announced their departure from Africa’s most populous nation.
However, Wiese sees the recent exits as temporary setbacks rather than a long-term trend. He believes that the allure of Nigeria’s vast consumer market and its economic potential will eventually draw major players back.
Despite the current uncertainty, Wiese remains confident in Nigeria’s future, emphasizing the need for governments to adopt correct policies and for investors to exercise patience.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s single-commodity economy vulnerabilities, Wiese highlights the resilience of the nation’s economy and its potential for growth and development.
He suggests that foreign investors, including South African ones, are adopting a wait-and-see approach, anticipating a time when the economy stabilizes and favorable policies are in place.
Seplat Energy Names Udoma Udo Udoma as Independent Non-Executive Chairman, Bello Rabiu as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Seplat Energy, a prominent Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has made significant changes to its board leadership.
In a recent announcement, the company revealed that Udoma Udo Udoma has been appointed as the new Independent Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Basil Omiyi, who is set to retire on March 31, 2024.
Udoma Udo Udoma, a distinguished lawyer and seasoned board administrator, brings a wealth of experience to Seplat Energy.
He holds degrees from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has had a remarkable career spanning various sectors, including petroleum, energy, and natural resources.
Udoma has served on numerous large-sized company boards, including UAC Nigeria Plc and Union Bank Plc, and held key public sector appointments, such as Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission and Minister of Budget & National Planning.
In addition to Udoma’s appointment, Seplat Energy announced the selection of Bello Rabiu as the new Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2024.
Rabiu, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the petroleum industry, holds multiple degrees and has served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The appointments come as part of Seplat Energy’s commitment to upholding strong corporate governance practices and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.
Both Udoma Udo Udoma and Bello Rabiu are expected to play pivotal roles in guiding Seplat Energy as it continues to expand its operations and consolidate its position as a leading energy company in Nigeria and beyond.
In a statement, Basil Omiyi, the outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, expressed confidence in the newly appointed leaders, emphasizing their capabilities to steer the company towards further growth and success.
The appointments underscore Seplat Energy’s dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the energy sector while meeting the evolving needs of its stakeholders and contributing to Nigeria’s energy transition efforts.
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