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CBN Disburses N3m to Rice Farmers in River



  • CBN Disburses N3m to Rice Farmers in Cross River

As part of efforts to encourage rice production in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), has disbursed about N3 million to farmers in Cross River State Government, who are involved in rice farm cultivation.

This was revealed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who was on assessment visit with the Presidential Taskforce on Wheat and Rice Production to one of the rice farm in the state recently. He noted that it was to ensure that the country becomes self-sufficient in rice production and be able to produce rice, tomato, wheat and other Agricultural products to feed the people.

According to him, I want to thank the Cross River State, particularly the governor for joining the train to say, let’s feed our people. I’m very delighted to be here and I say, we will do well; we just need to be patient.

“I was reading in the paper where someone said that it will take us five years to be able to become self-sufficient in rice, I’m going to tell him that it’s a bad news that, that person has because, in the same paper, the Rice Farmers Association themselves came out to say that economy sabotage are in rice production and that we all need to stand and rise against them.”

Emefiele stated that for the Cross River State Government, the CBN has disbursed close to about N3 billion Naira, which is meant to support the Anchor Borrowers farmers, who are involved and which rice farm cultivation we are commissioning.

He said: “And I am going to tell you that we are going to rise above all these and we are going to be able to produce rice, tomato, wheat and other Agricultural products to feed our people. We don’t have a choice but to move in this direction.”

He further explained that the federal government has not stopped the Importation of rice into the country but, “You see, the truth is that, not that we stopped the Importation of rice because we cannot say that we are stopping it but, what we have done is that, we have restricted foreign exchange allocation for those who wants to import rice and as a result of that restrictions, it has given a lot of encouragements to our farmers and not just through the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

“There are people who were into rice farming before Importation flooded our country. Now, everybody is beginning to jump into the game and they have beginning to see now that they can also be wealthy been rice farmers and that is the message we are trying to pass across.”

Speaking also, The Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Wheat/Rice Production, and Governor, Kebbi State, Sen. Atiku Bagudu in while commissioning one of the rice farm said, I’m quite honoured to be in Cross River as part of the tour to see the effort been undertaken by the different states and how to be self-sufficient in rice production.

Atiku disclosed that, “Last year in November 17, President Muhammadu Buhari graciously launched the Anchor Borrowers Programme which is the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Assisted Initiatives to provide adequate financing to our Agricultural sector so that we can be self-sufficient in some crops so that we can even begin to export them especially those for which we utilise foreign exchange to import.

According to him, “A number of states, Anambra, Niger, Kebbi and today; Cross River. Cross River is home to me because, Prof. Ben Ayade, the Executive Governor and I, we are in the Senate together and we are friends and what we saw here is quite impressive and I am not surprised because I know when President Muhammadu Buhari came to Cross River, he has a disciple in Prof. Ben Ayade and he called and that he called for us to feed ourselves, I know, Cross River is one of those States that took that very seriously and what we are seeing here is an evidence of that.”

Responding, the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade said, for me, it is a great opportunity to work with my brother, his excellency, the executive governor of Kebbi State, Sen. Atiku Bagudu and my brother, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor.

“He has been a great inspiration to me. Traditionally, I have not been a rice farmer but, I know that my people do rice. Having listened to them, and having seen what the county’s roadmap is like and having listened to President Muhammadu Buhari, I was in Kebbi when the first launched took place and having listened to Sen. Bagudu, the governor of Kebbi State who has come along way and having lay their hands on it, i know it was in a right direction.

Ayade hinted that, “Cross River State is really focused and ensuring that this happened and that is why the N3 billion that the CBN Governor has given to the Cross River State has been set aside to setup a very wonderful and fantastic mill. A mill that will for the first time have a provision for vitaminized rice so that the broken pieces can be vitaminized and be given to children so that they can grow tall and healthy.

“So, Cross River State will not just have the 78,000 farmers that we are proposing and that are already on ground, but will also have a mill which will serve as an off-take for all the rice that they will be harvesting. That, way, everything will be rehearsed within Cross River State. I believe that we are in the right direction and success is on our way.

He explained further that under, the Anchor, “we deal with farmer, one hectare. As we speak, there are farmers on their own that has gone beyond one hectare. What we expect from a farm like this is a whole yield not less than five tons per hectare.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Merger and Acquisition

Reactions as Equinix is Set to Acquire Nigeria Based MainOne in a $320 Million Deal



Equinix, yesterday, announced its intended acquisition of MainOne, a leading West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider, with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The acquisition has been pegged at $320 million.

The acquisition is expected to close Q1 of 2022 subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals.

Following the announcement, several people are already expressing their views about the intended acquisition.

Aside from the many congratulatory messages and accolades showered on the Funder of Mainone, Mrs Funke Opaka, some believe that there are suspicions in the deal.

A Twitter user Osamarine Victor Asemota said “who wants to do a Twitter space conversation about the MainOne deal tonight? We should do more analysis of these things more often. Something doesn’t quite sit right with me on it. Was it competition they were afraid of? Why not sell to Google or Facebook?”

Subsidy? If mainOne has at least 3 fibre termination in every state, lots of folks like me would walk around last-mile coverage, if their bandwidth cost would be reasonable. At supposedly less than 20% capacity utilization, deeper penetration would be the deal-breaker,” another Twitter user wrote.

“I am actually shocked to read about the deal just this morning. There was no indication that it was going to happen. And to be selling to a relatively unknown buyer again! I remember stories about the owner in the papers about some management issues, maybe that contributed to it,” Adewale wrote.

Mainone had $200MM in debt financing right? They weren’t making enough to make a dent on those debts in the last 8 years. Their valuation isn’t that low.”

“You only know the true story of a company when you have access to their financial records. Most stories on Internet about companies’ successes are half-truths,” Francis wrote.

MainOne was founded in 2010. The company has enabled connectivity for the business community of Nigeria and beyond. MainOne’s assets include:

Three operational data centres, with an additional facility under construction expected to open in Q1 2022. These facilities will add more than 64,000 gross square feet space to Platform Equinix, in addition to 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.

An extensive submarine network extending 7,000 kilometres from Portugal to Lagos, Accra and along the west African coast, with landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

A terrestrial network of more than 1,200 kilometres of reliable terrestrial fibre in Lagos, Edo and Ogun States. Connectivity to terrestrial sites extends across 65 PoPs (points of presence) in cities across Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

Access to key internet exchanges enabling low latency to key global networks, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook.

An estimated 800+ business-to-business customers, including major international technology enterprises, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service companies and cloud service providers.

Nearly 500 employees and a management team with a deep understanding of local and international markets.

The acquiring company, Equinix, on the other hand is comprised of 237 data centres across 65 metros and 27 countries, providing data centre and interconnection services for over 10,000 of the world’s leading businesses.

In a statement released yesterday MainOne founder, Mrs Opaka, expressed her delight with the acquisition. “Equinix will accelerate our long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa. I thank our founding shareholders led by Mr. Fola Adeola, MainStreet Technologies, AFC, PAIDF, FBN, Polaris and AfDB for investing in the MainOne vision to bridge the Digital Divide in Africa. With similar values and culture to what we have jointly built in twelve years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey. The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition, and we look forward to building our next chapter together,” she said.

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Meet the New Ecobank Managing Director Designate, Mr Lawal Jubril



Lawal Jubril

Ahead of the retirement of Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, the current MD of Ecobank, Mr Jubril Lawal has been announced as the new managing director designate of Nigeria operation and regional executive of Ecobank. He is to replace Mr Akinwuntan come January 2022 when his retirement will be due.

Meanwhile, the appointment is still subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Bank said in a statement on Monday.

Speaking of his expertise in the banking sector, the Monday statement intimate that Jubril Lawal joins Ecobank having been a versatile senior banking executive and digital transformation specialist for over 28 years with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. He has deep involvement and experience in digital and retail banking, corporate and commercial banking, credit risk management and corporate finance.

Mr Mobolaji Lawal holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and a B.L. from the Nigerian Law School. In addition to this, he possesses a Master of Business Administration from Oxford University, United Kingdom.

Similarly, to his credit, he has several completed management and banking developmental programmes. He is a trained management expert at institutes such as Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business among others.

Apart from his certifications and academic qualification, he was an Executive Director at GTBank Plc Nigeria, and Non-Executive Director at both GTBank Ghana and Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems Plc.

He is reputed to have led the team that envisioned and implemented GTBank Plc’s retail and digital banking strategy to achieve industry-wide leadership over a ten-year period. He has introduced new products and solutions that have helped to deepen payments and access to digital financial services in Nigeria

Upon the announcement, several positive and assuring comments have been rolling in for the new MD. From the CEO of Ecobank Group to the Chairman of the bank’s board, it has all been extortion and expression of their strong belief and confidence that Mr Lawal coming on board is a great decision.

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Merger and Acquisition

MainOne to be Acquired by America’s Equinix in a $320m Deal



MainOne - Investors King

Nigerian and West African data centre and cable service provider, MainOne is close to being acquired by an American internet company in a deal that is touted to have a value of $320 million.

In a release by Equinix, the $320 million deal is expected to be sealed and signed in the first quarter of 2022, pending the satisfaction of conventional closing conditions, including the required regulatory approvals.

A Public Relations personnel from MainOne confirmed the deal, but stated that he had access to limited information. He was however convinced that the deal would be a total buyout.

MainOne was founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, a Nigerian. The company has over 1,000 kilometres of reliable terrestrial fibre networks across the southern region of the country, while also owning and operating a subsea network from Nigeria to Portugal (in Europe).

The company also has digital infrastructure assets including three data centres (which are operational) across the western area of Africa. It also has another facility under construction, which is set for a launch in Q1 2022. These facilities have helped the company enable connectivity for Nigeria’s business community.

Equinix, on this background believes that MainOne is one of the most thrilling tech businesses to come out of Africa. Charles Meyers, the CEO and President of Equinix which has its headquarters in California, stated that the acquisition of MainOne would be the first step in the company’s strategy to become a leading African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company in the long term.

Meyers said that MainOne’s leading position in interconnection and its experienced management team are critical assets in Equinix’s bid to become the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure across Africa.

Meyers noted that the growth in data consumption in Africa is one of the fastest in the whole world, and MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships and operating capability will extend Equinix’s reach and boost opportunities for customers based in Africa and other parts of the world.

It was agreed in the deal that all members of the MainOne management team, including the CEO will continue in their respective roles. Equinix will also take on MainOne’s about 500 employees, but it is unclear what will happen to them under the new dispensation.

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