- FG Seeks N2.98bn to Fight Army Worm Infestation
The invasion of army worm and its resultant destruction of crops in farmlands across the country is a major national catastrophe, the Federal Government has said.
Army worm is a pest that mainly attacks and destroys maize, but according to the government, the pest has extended its reach to other crops like cocoa, sorghum, tomato, ginger, cotton and rice, among others.
Speaking at a meeting with commissioners of agriculture from the 36 states of the federation in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said it was important to respond swiftly in managing the fast expanding reach of the pest in order to avoid a major food crisis.
He said state governors must respond urgently by purchasing recommended pesticides for local farmers, adding that about N2.98bn was needed to effectively tackle the menace.
Ogbeh said, “If farmers lose their farms and they refuse to farm, this country will be in trouble. We will write to your governors and make them understand why they should do this, while we see how we look for funds.
“As you have heard, about N2.98b is needed to fight this army worm in at least 700,000 hectares of land across board, especially in those areas where the case is more pronounced. We also have huge amount of money to pay poultry farmers as compensation. Now, we have no money, with the budget not signed into law.”
Ogbeh told the commissioners that it might be difficult to get the fund as the 2017 budget had yet to be assented by the President, adding that he might have to persuade Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance to help provide the needed funds.
A director in the ministry’s Department of Pest Control, Dr. Kalu Mike, said about 700,000 hectares of maize farms in five geo-political zones of the country had already been invaded by the pest.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Repays N51.64 Billion Series 2 Commercial Paper
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) has successfully repaid its N51.64 billion Series 2 Commercial Paper as revealed in a statement issued by the company.
This follows the earlier repayment of its N13.33 billion Series 1 Commercial Paper in August 2023.
Both the Series 1 and Series 2 Commercial Papers, totaling N64.97 billion, were initially issued on February 22, 2023, under FMN’s N200 billion Commercial Paper Programme.
The Series 1, with a yield of 13.0%, raised N13.3 billion, while the Series 2, with a yield of 14.0%, raised N51.64 billion.
FMN had launched its N200 billion Commercial Paper Programme on February 10, 2023, reflecting the company’s strategic financial planning.
The Group Chief Finance Officer, Mr. Anders Kristiansson, expressed satisfaction with the timely and successful repayment of the Series 2 Commercial Paper.
He emphasized FMN’s commitment to financial prudence and acknowledged the confidence placed in the organization by the investing public.
Kristiansson expressed gratitude to stakeholders for their continuous support, reiterating FMN’s dedication to delivering sustainable value and upholding the highest standards of corporate governance.
In addition to the successful repayment, FMN tapped into the market for its Series 3 Commercial Paper in June 2023, with subscriptions from banks and Pension Fund Administrators, contributing 39.7% and 40.8%, respectively.
The transaction was managed by FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited as the Lead Arranger, with ChapelHill Denham Advisory Limited, FCMB Capital Limited, and United Capital PLC serving as Joint Arrangers.
African Airlines Projected to Cut Losses to $400m in 2024, Says IATA
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecasted a reduction in losses for Nigerian and other African airlines from $500 million in 2023 to $400 million in 2024.
The Switzerland-based IATA made this projection while presenting the global airline industry outlook in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, shared the outlook, stating that global airlines are expected to generate approximately $964 billion in revenue in the coming year.
The report indicated that airline industry net profits are anticipated to reach $25.7 billion in 2024, reflecting a slight improvement over the projected $23.3 billion net profit for 2023.
Despite the challenges faced by the aviation industry in recent years, IATA sees the $25.7 billion net profit in 2024 as a testament to aviation’s resilience.
Walsh acknowledged the impressive speed of recovery but emphasized that the net profit margin of 2.7% remains below industry expectations.
IATA estimates that around 4.7 billion people will travel in 2024, surpassing the pre-pandemic level of 4.5 billion recorded in 2019.
However, Walsh highlighted ongoing challenges, including regulatory burdens, fragmentation, high infrastructure costs, and a supply chain populated with uncertainties.
He emphasized the need for the industry to build a resilient future, given its significant contribution to global GDP and livelihoods.
Fuel prices are expected to average $113.8 per barrel in 2024, accounting for 31% of all operating costs, totaling $281 billion.
Walsh concluded by expressing optimism about more normal growth patterns for both passenger and cargo in the post-pandemic era.
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