- Nigeria Must Export to Survive
The president of Federation of Agriculture Commodities of Nigeria (FACAN), Victor Iyama, in this interview with Bukola Aroloye talk about the plight of farmers, his view on recapitalisation of Bank of Agriculture and what government should do in the sector.
What is your view about the recapitalisation of Bank of Agriculture; how effective has it been?
They are still in the process and by the time they finish the reconstruction of the board and the recapitalisation it will surely benefit the stakeholders. They just constituted an interim board and we can’t start assessing them.
How are the farmers been able to access money?
Farmers generally still have problems with access to fund and you know that all the intervention which would bring the interest quickly is not easy to access except of those who are sometimes lucky to be involved in contract farming. Before then, they were providing collaterals and all that to the principal. The issue of access to funding is still a problem. How many people can do anything meaningful without fund, even with prohibitive high interest regime? As far as I am concerned, I strongly believe until CBN starts changing policy in this country where the MRRA take over around 14.5% and where the central bank is selling treasury bill at about 18.5% to twenty percent, how can people have access to fund to do anything meaningful? Because if I were bank myself why should I give out money even at 28%, take all the risk when I can easily jump into CBN in the name of treasury bill and be earning 18.5% to 20%? We are not encouraging anything in this country. They are quick to compare with China and Japan. In all these places, what is MRRA in Japan? What is MRRA in China? Look at all those countries and yet they will be talking of farming, small scale industry, even industrialisation. Take Nigeria back to the early 70s when we really had industrial growth, when we had Bata, Lennnard, and Dunlop when most of these were agric -based industry. Where are they today? But then MRRA in Nigeria is about 2% to 2.5% and lending rate about 7.5%, so take Nigeria back to those days and what it is now. No infrastructure.
What are the things your federation is doing to make government and farmers get the policy of exporting foods outside, especially yams? Isn’t government going to be the sole beneficiary of the gains?
Well, export generally is of benefit to everybody both individual and government. Even the countries we are on the same level are doing far better in export than us which would not have been so if they had followed what we have been preaching for years. But today, we are talking of oil. I remember in 2004, 2005, I made a representation telling them that it was time to develop the non oil sector especially agriculture, especially when we had excess crude money that they were flushing away. We suggested to them that they should put it back into agriculture. If they had done that, by now we would have become the next exporter of rice, fruits and vegetables.
People have been shouting about yam and we are still the largest producer of yams in the world, but we could have multiplied our production by now. We must export to survive, because if we give oil five years or 10years it would be consequential. Land would never finish, especially our fertile land in Nigeria, as far as I am concerned, some people are saying how can we be exporting yam? More people will come into the business. As long as we have good infrastructure and all that to back it up. People keep talking, youths are not ready. Youths are now ready for farming because they now know there are no jobs. We have been preaching to them youth are ready, but they cannot do things like cocoa for now because it takes long time to grow, but crops like sweet potatoes, rice, beans, sorghum, cassava, vegetables, all these can also be taught in school. I am happy with what is happening in oil and gas now because our government is begin to think and diversify and we need to go back to our real goldmine which.
What more can the government do to get other stakeholders to make Agriculture the cornerstone of our economy?
The government needs to involve the stakeholders in the bank which is a welcome decision and we are waiting for it. We know that before the end of their first tenure, they will ensure everything will be done. I am looking at between now, January, February, we would have seen the bank to have been fully restructured. And that is all we are waiting for because we need a special bank to fund Agriculture. It is the bank the farmers will go to, and know that they can get money for 5%. Because in Japan they can get for 1%, in China they can get for 2% but we are not even looking at that even in some cases in Japan they can even give you at 0%. as long as it is agriculture Government also has to strengthen the insurance scheme in Agriculture too, because we really need it . If the insurance scheme is well strengthened, the farmers will not have to take their great grandfathers’ properties to use for collateral before they can borrow money.
Transcorp Hotels Expand into Marketplace, Launches Aura to Connect People, Hoteliers, Others
Transcorp Hotels Plc, on Thursday, announced it has launched a new digital platform, Aura, through which people can book accommodation, restaurants and experiences.
Aura, Transcorp’s first in the alternative accommodation segment, is part of the company’s asset-light model, leveraging technology to deliver true hospitality, exciting experiences, and drive shareholder value.
“It’s a new dawn in the hospitality industry! I am thrilled to introduce you to Aura by Transcorp, the digital platform we are using to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc. Dupe Olusola said.
“For more than 30 years, Transcorp Hotels Plc has been at the forefront of creating a superior guest experience at our locations. Today, our commitment to innovation has offered us an opportunity to extend this beyond the hotel premises,” Olusola added.
The launch of Aura by Transcorp is one of the most significant developments in the company’s history as it seeks to transform the travel and tourism industry in Africa by focusing on three important components of travel, whether for leisure or business — where you stay, what you eat and how you spend your time. With its people-driven hospitality model, Aura is set to revolutionise travel and help remind Africans of our deep history of hospitality.
Speaking on the launch of Aura, Obong Idiong, Chief Executive Officer at Africa Prudential Plc, Aura’s technology partners, expressed his excitement. “Finding the right accommodation when you travel can be incredibly complex. Options available for the right prices are often limited, and travellers sometimes end up with accommodation that taints the travel experience. Transcorp Hotels Plc has been able to fix that with Aura and we are proud to be associated with them.”
“To ensure topnotch user experience, we built a solution to drive digital transformation through the adoption of shared living spaces for the Aura business. With an advanced search algorithm powered by artificial intelligence, Aura determines the relevance of locations taking into consideration, the customers’ preferences and requirements to meet them at the point of their needs,” Idiong added.
Priscilla Adeboye, a travel enthusiast and early adopter of Aura, said the global pandemic has pushed international travel down her list. “But I still want to be able to take some time off work or spend a weekend away from home with the family. I have found incredible homes on Aura that meet my need for space and privacy.”
Siemens Energy Nigeria Appoints Seun Suleiman as Managing Director
Seun Suleiman is the New Managing Director of Siemens Energy Nigeria
Mr. Seun Suleiman is the new managing director of Siemens Energy Nigeria, the company announced on Wednesday.
According to the statement released by the energy company, Suleiman will be responsible for the entire management of operations and decisions on business policies and corporate strategy.
Commenting on his appointment, Suleiman said, “It is an absolute honor to lead the business for Siemens Energy Nigeria and I look forward to delivering on the brand’s promise of excellence.”
Suleiman joined Siemens Energy in 2014, bringing over 15 years’ experience and deep expertise in the private sector across Europe and West Africa.
The statement said, “He is an accomplished business strategist and success-driven leader with strong business acumen. Suleiman has also been a core member of the executive management team at Siemens Energy serving in roles as Sales Director West Africa – Service Distributed Generation Oil & Gas and Vice President Service & Digital.
“Prior to this, he also held various functional and managerial positions with ABB Ltd UK, ABBNG Nigeria, Schneider Electric Nigeria and Dresser-Rand Nigeria Ltd.”
It added that Suleiman was experienced in establishing operational excellence with specific competence in the power, oil and gas sectors.
FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations
FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations
The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.
The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.
However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.
On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.”
I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth. 🇳🇬🙏🏽🇳🇬
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) March 1, 2021
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