- Rice Smuggling Thrives in Lagos, Ogun, North
Rice smuggling through land borders is still high despite its ban, a report has shown.
The commodity, which is a staple food in the country, is being brought through the land borders in Lagos, Ogun and part of the North.
From Idi-Iroko to Owode, Alapoti, Atan and Sango Ota, all in Ogun State, smugglers use bush paths to convey the commodity.
The smugglers, sources said, are cashing in on the high price of rice to bring it at a cheaper rate.
Rice is sold for N14,000 per bag. But the smuggled product goes for between N12,500 and N13,000 per bag.
The smugglers are said to be conniving with some Customs officers.
The smuggled rice is transported with motor cycles, buses and specially-refurbished vehicles.
A trader at the popular Lusada Market in Ado-Odo,Ota, Ogun State, who refused to give her name, gave reasons why the trade is booming.
“I lost a lot of money when the vehicle bringing my rice to Lagos was impounded by Customs in April, along Seme border. The period was very bad for me. But in June, my friend introduced me to a man who will help me in the rice business through the Ado-Odo area and I decided to try it. My experience is that there is not much Customs attention on rice in this area, and the profit we make is higher.
“If you use Seme axis, the highest profit anybody can make on rice is between N200 and N250 per 50kg bag, while we make between N500 and N600 on 50kg bags of rice through Lusada,” she said.
She said the demand for rice is high, adding that “business people” continue to travel long distances from inland towns and risk being arrested to smuggle rice.
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, she said men and women flock to Cotonou and other neighbouring countries to buy rice and smuggle them in, mostly on Sundays.
Investigation revealed that there are no Customs’cheek-points between Agbara and Atan and from Lusada to Alapoti and Ado-Odo Ota.
There is no effective policing of the paths leading to the border by Customs to check the menace.
The Customs, it was learnt, must strengthen its patrol to track down the smugglers.
NCDMB and NEXIM Sign $30 Million Agreement to Support Oil and Gas Services Firms
The Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) yesterday signed a $30 million agreement on working capital and capacity building fund to support oil and gas services firms.
Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB and Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello, signed the funding agreement at the Abuja office of the Nigerian content monitoring agency.
Wabote said the Oil Producers Trade Section, Independent Petroleum Producers Group and Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria had raised concerns over funding challenges confronting oil services firms, as this had made most of the companies to consider downsizing their staff.
He said, “The OPTS and IPPG had at some point raised before the NCDMB the inability of most indigenous contractors to provide services to them due to challenges of funding.
“This was especially when we got struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. I recall receiving several letters particularly from IPPG trying to see how we can support this.”
He added, “I also recall receiving similar letters from PETAN when the COVID-19 struck and most of their members had nothing to do anymore.
“This is because companies were shut down and their members were threatening on how to downsize and take Nigerians off their payrolls.
“Based on this, we then set up a committee to say how do we support these firms with the provision of working capital.”
Wabote noted the roll-out date for the fund would be July 1, 2021 and that the fund size of $30m would be boosted by matching funds of the same amount to be provided by NEXIM in naira (to be converted at prevailing official exchange rate).
“The scheme shall cover loans for working capital support and capacity building, oil service contracts, invoice discounting including acquisition of low-end equipment to service short-term contracts/service obligations,” he stated.
He said the target market comprised Nigerian oil service providers which belonged to a professional association in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and commercially viable with a business relationship with either an international oil company or a major Nigerian oil firm.
“Maximum amount that can be borrowed by a single obligor is $1m or its naira equivalent at the official exchange rate prevailing at the time of borrowing,” Wabote said.
He added, “Tenor shall be up to 12 months for working capital loans and up to three years for capacity building loans with moratorium of up to 12 months.
“The applicable interest rate shall be five per cent per annum all-in for dollar-denominated loans and eight per cent all-in per annum for naira-denominated loans and the rate shall be fixed throughout the tenor of the loan.”
LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Appoints Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as Company’s Secretary
LivingTrust Mortgage bank has appointed Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as company secretary/head of legal services.
The bank disclosed in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Omuku, the Finance Officer/Head, Investor Relations, LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc.
The statement reads “We wish to notify The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public of the appointment Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as Company Secretary/Head, Legal Services of LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc.
“Mr. Gbadeyan is a consummate corporate attorney with experiential background in deals advisory, real estate finance, facioring, general commercial transactions, corporate governance, company secretarial services and regulatory compliance. Until his appointment, he was the Head of Legal Services of Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc.”
Farmforte, Others Signs MoU To Strengthen and Sustain Growth in Agricultural Sector
Farmforte Limited has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with the Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria; HYBR, a pan-African innovation firm; and ALTS, a consulting and strategy development firm.
The firm said in a statement on Sunday that the partnership would strengthen common interest cooperation and stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth within the agricultural sector, by capitalising on the synergy and comparative advantage offered by each organisation.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Farmforte Co-Chief Executive Officer, Osazuwa Osayi, said, “Our mid to long-term strategic goals are further reaffirmed, as this partnership will facilitate the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and expertise across the agricultural sector.
“We will collectively address initiatives and approaches concerning agricultural investments, food security, and the overall robustness of the value chain.”
He said the collaboration would also unlock the full potential of the sector and place it on a renewed path for success, especially within a post-pandemic economy.
The President of AFGEAN, Tajuddeen Dantata, said, “By creating dialogue and fostering investment in the horticulture sector, this partnership will endeavor to support Farmforte in its exporting efforts by improving operational efficacy and cost-savings, while ultimately driving socio-economic growth in the country.”
The Chief Executive Officer, HYBR, Charles Ojei, said to drive inclusion, sustainability, job creation, and Nigeria’s overall economic growth, the optimisation of the agriculture value chain was critical.
“This collaboration is a fusion of the complementary capabilities of all partners to move a bigger agenda forward.”
The Managing Partner, ALTS, Akintunde Sawyerr, said, “The goal of this partnership is to support Farmforte’s vision of becoming the largest agribusiness by 2035 via scalable and world-class innovation across its enterprise.”
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