- Nigeria Becoming Self-sufficient in Rice Production
The Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria, Awka, Mr. Chuks Sokari, on Wednesday said the country was gradually becoming self-sufficient in rice production going by its availability during the Yuletide.
Sokari said this during a town hall meeting in Awka with stakeholders involved in the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme for rice production in Anambra.
He said the key role played by stakeholders in the country, especially in the state, contributed largely to the increase in rice yield in 2016.
He said, “I am confident that through this CBN programme, rice production will double in this country.
“By extension, this is sure to reduce poverty among small-holder farmers.’’
The branch controller said the state had accessed N2bn as at December 2016 from the programme’s funds.
He said that farmers could access the funds as a group of between five and 20; but they must open an account with any of the participating banks in the state.
He said, “From what is in the programnme, each state is expected to bring up a crop that has some production advantages.
“On the basis of that, they can approach the CBN through the participating institutions for funding.
“However, the loans must be repaid within five months through the produce.”
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export, Mr. Afam Mbanefo, said the CBN funds would scale up activities in the state’s agricultural sector.
Mbanefo, who was represented by Mr. Jude Nwankwo, said the ministry had concluded plans to double yields this year for export which would also conserve foreign exchange.
The Branch Head, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Cooperative, Mr. Andrew Oseloka, urged farmers to indemnify their farms against damages like fire, flood, drought, pests and rice diseases for quick recovery.
In his remarks, the State Coordinator, IFAD-assisted Value Chain Development Programme, Mr. Emmanuel Agwuncha, said 10, 000 rice farmers would be registered for the CBN initiative in 10 local government areas.
Agwuncha said the farmers would be trained on good agronomic practices, business management and cooperative principles and dynamics in rice farming.
According to him, the town hall meeting is aimed at sensitising stakeholders on the modalities and approaches required of them to access funds from the CBN anchor borrowers programme.
COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020
Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.
In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.
The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.
Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.
She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.
She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.
Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.
“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.
Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday
Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.
Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.
The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.
Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
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