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Stakeholders Lament Neglect of Cocoa Industry

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  • Stakeholders Lament Neglect of Cocoa Industry

Worried by the myriads of problems facing their operations, indigenous cocoa manufacturers has urged the Federal Government to reduce the cost of borrowing in Nigeria, and embark on massive rural infrastructure development to enhance productivity in the country.

Indeed, the stakeholders who spoke in an interview argued that the cocoa industry in Nigeria has remained the most neglected sector of the economy, despite its position as one of the most viable agro-allied industries in the world.

Production of sustainable cocoa significantly impacts the economies of many developing countries and provides livelihood for an estimated 40 to 50 million people globally.

The product, if well managed could be a support to the manufacturing sector by providing the raw material needs of the industrial sector, as well as providing employment to the people, especially in the rural areas.

Among the factors identified, as setbacks to the sector are high cost of borrowing, deregulated environment, inconsistent government policy and slow implementation of policies.

Citing the recent export stimulation facility initiative introduced by the government to drive exports in Nigeria, the stakeholders, who are currently besieged with intense hardship, lamented that no exporter has been able to access the funds for almost one year of its pronouncement.

Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc, Akin Laoye, explained that the deregulated environment is impeding the growth of the processing sector, adding that cocoa sector needs some degree of regulation.

He said: “One of the major challenges the industry is facing is inconsistent government policy. Typical example is the one step forward and three steps backwards policy on the export expansion grant.

“ It jeopardises planning and growth. Whatever be the problems of implementation is within the powers of the government to control. It is unhealthy to throw the baby and the birth water away.

“ To deepen Nigeria’s industrial base, it is counter productive to allow agricultural raw materials to be exported without adding value. Value addition will grow the industrial sector, generate employment, and enhance value of the revenue from export.

He added, “Another challenge is high cost of borrowing in Nigeria and non- accessibility to funds. The industry will do well if operators can easily access single digit credit rates.

He urged government to stop dithering on policies and do everything within its powers to find a lasting solution to tackle the ongoing recession for a brighter 2017.

Another industrialist, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, noted that giving the strategic importance of cocoa, it is imperative that the national precarious over difference on cocoa importation should have been checked.

According to him, Nigeria has the potential of becoming a net exporter of cocoa if the capacity of the existing plantation and factories are enhanced, new ones established, and cocoa farmers encouraged and supported through the provision of credit facilities.

“The cocoa industry is one of the biggest industry in terms of its socio-economic impact in the country. Cocoa industry employs more people than the crude oil industry, but unfortunately, the industry have been treated very badly over the years.

“Government must pay particular attention in ensuring the survival of this industry because its survival is the survival of many families who have been impoverished and poor.”

Osunkeye, who was the former Chairman of Nestle Food Plc, also pointed out that Nigeria has the capacity to produce enough cocoa to meet local demand and even export massively to other countries.

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

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How to Check Your Nirsal Loan Approval

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Loan - Investors King

Here is a step-by-step walk-through on how you can check your NIRSAL COVID-19 loan approval by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.

How to Check NIRSAL Loan Status

To check your NIRSAL loan approval or access the NIRSAL loan portal, you must have applied for the COVID-19 relief loan for small businesses and individuals when the application was on. If you applied, carefully go through your email address to check if you received an email from NIRSAL Microfinance Bank indicating you have been approved for the loan.

Do not be panic if you could not find the email sent to successful applicants as you can still check by clicking here or copy https://covid19.nmfb.com.ng/ to your browser.

Then select the category you applied for, SME or Households loan. The next stage is to input your Bank Verification Number (BVN).

How to Check NIRSAL Loan Approval With BVN

All applicants are required to verify their accounts by entering their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs). After inputting your BVN, a window will pop up showing you the amount you were approved for if your application was successful.

The next step is to claim your loan by providing your bank account information in the correct format as specified on the portal.

Please proceed to the final step and read the terms and conditions of the loan you just secured. The name of the director in charge of your payment, his/her details and repayment procedure will be clearly stated.

Please note that 5 percent of the total amount will be deducted from the loan before disbursement and you are expected to pay it back, contrary to popular notion.

Ensure not to default on repayment, make sure repayment is done within the stipulated three-year time frame. Finally, note that since your BVN is linked to all your accounts, if you fail to repay, you will be continually debited monthly until you pay the complete amount.

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Dangote Cement Boosts Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Development

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Dangote Cement - Investors King

Operating in 10 African countries, Dangote Cement has significantly boost Sub-Saharan Africa Economic Development and play major roles in attracting Investors and job creation.

Sub-Saharan Africa is populated by more than half a billion people, and rapid urbanisation is creating challenges in the areas of housing, roads, railways, power supply, dams and water pipelines – aspects of infrastructure that are critical to the well-being of the population.

This situation indicates that cement and concrete will play a major role in construction technology in Africa, an aspect that makes the continent an attractive destination for investors.

The Dangote Group has taken cognizance and advantage of the cement demand in Africa by investing in 10 sub-Saharan counties like Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Congo, and Sierra Leone.

Remarkably, the Dangote Cement plant has successfully operated in Senegal in the last five years, producing 32.5 and 42.5-grades, thereby offering the domestic market higher-quality cement at competitive prices.

The company’s 1.5Mta factory located in Pout, about 60km from Dakar, was commissioned at the end of December 2014 to take advantage of the geographical strategic location, strong demand and abundant limestone deposits.

Country Manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Luk Haelterman, said: “before our entry, the domestic market was almost entirely made up of 32.5-grade cement. Our plant produces 42.5-grade cement, thereby offering the market higher-quality cement at a competitive price, which the construction industry urgently needs.”

Dangote Cement Senegal’s integrated plant is modern, fuel-efficient that uses the latest technology to produce high-quality cement. This enables the company to compete very effectively in a Sub-Saharan cement industry that is fragmented and characterised by smaller-scale operators with older technologies.

Haelterman described Dangote Cement’s investment in Senegal as one of the biggest foreign direct investments by an African company, which is an indication of its strong belief in the future growth of its economy.

He said the market has potential for growth for both local consumption and export, despite being saturated by other cement brands, saying, “apart from capturing the local market in Senegal, we also now export cement to neighbouring countries of Mali, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.”

Haelterman attributed the company’s outstanding performance in Senegal to stringent quality assurance processes, which were deployed to ensure that customers get high-quality products that meet all the required technical standards.

According to him, Dangote’s introduction of the 42.5-degree brand of cement to the major market in Senegal upon entry has enabled the company to gain the desired market share in the country.

Luk also disclosed that Dangote Cement Senegal has developed a culture of supporting local employees and prioritising local hiring, which allows local country employees have the necessary knowledge, experience, and support to take up key roles within the company.

He said the policy aims to gradually reduce the number of expatriates employed by the business by enhancing the skills and capacity of Senegalese employees to take up leadership positions.

“We have ensured that our image has been aligned with two key principles from day one: maintaining high quality, and taking a local approach in everything that we do,” he said.

Human resources manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Waly Diouf, said the company takes training and development of employees as a priority. “Today, Dangote Senegal has about 800 employees. We make sure that we invest heavily in the training and development of employees. We have a programme, which enables us to boost the skills of local staff at all levels. Dangote Cement Senegal is one of the best plants in Africa. This consistent training of indigenous manpower has made our plant one of the best in Africa ” he disclosed.

Chief finance officer, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Ousmane Mbaye, said the company has contributed significantly to the development of Senegal’s economy, saying, “Dangote Senegal started operation in Senegal in 2015, and between 2015 and 2019, the company has contributed heavily into the Senegalese government treasury, thereby assisting in economic development.”

Head of mines, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Leyti Ndiaye added that “our job is to supply raw materials to the plant and make sure that blending of the limestone is done correctly. We operate under very strict environmental regulations. As a company, we have a sustainable environment management plan so as to reduce environmental degradation during operation as well as restoration of degraded lands after final mine closure.”

Chief executive officer, National Sector Mining Company, Ousmane Cisse commended Dangote Cement for investing massively in the Senegalese economy. “I am very proud to have Dangote Cement in Senegal. Dangote has been able to satisfy the Senegalese cement market since its inception in 2015. When Dangote arrived here, there were two players in the market. Dangote brought quantity and quality products through the introduction of 45.2R. Dangote has helped cement consumers in Senegal to access quality cement products.

“The company is also satisfying markets in the surrounding countries. When you visit Dangote, you will discover that most of the employees are Senegalese. The company has employed Senegalese and ensure adequate capacity building for everybody,” he stated.

The best practices adopted by the Dangote Cement Senegal Plant over the past five years have boosted its production process and quality of its products, with a corresponding positive impact on the economy of the country, Sub-Saharan Africa and the continent as a whole. This is a plus for development.

Dangote Cement has a production capacity of 48.6 million tonnes per year across 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group has integrated factories in seven countries, clinker grinding plant in Cameroon, and import and distribution facilities for bulk cement in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Together, these operations make the Group the largest cement producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Based in Nigeria, the Group operates in many of Sub-Saharan Africa’s key cement markets, helping the continent become self-sufficient in this basic commodity. In 2020, it started shipping clinker to West and Central Africa from Nigeria. Its regional strategy stated that it look for markets that have ample limestone, thriving economies, growing populations, and a pressing need for housing and infrastructure.

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Arla Food To Set Up Dairy Farm In Nigeria, Train 1,000 Dairy Farmers

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Arla Foods- Investors King

Arla Foods, makers of Dano Milk, has announced that it will build a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria where it plans to train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers as part of its long-term commitment to developing the Nigerian dairy sector.

The 200-hectare farm, scheduled to open in 2022, will have housing for 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grasslands and living facilities for 25 employees.

The firm said the farm is expected to produce over 10 tonnes of milk per day to supply locally produced dairy products to Nigerian consumers.

Managing Director, Arla Foods, Peder Pedersen said “there was a great need for nutritious food and dairy products to satisfy the growing demand from Nigeria’s fast-growing population.”

“This requires a complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensuring food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria,” Pedersen said.

In 2019 Arla scaled up its commitment to developing a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria with a new public-private partnership with the Kaduna State government.

It is the first of its size and offers 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers permanent farmlands. Arla is the commercial partner that will purchase, collect, process and bring the local milk to market.

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