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‘10,000 Farmers Can’t Access N350m Donor Fund’

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Farmers Market
  • ‘10,000 Farmers Can’t Access N350m Donor Fund’

Ten thousand farmers in Edo State cannot access the N350 million donor fund, Edo North Coordinator of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Alhaji Mohammed Oshiobugie has said.

Oshiobugie, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin, said the government failed to pay the N94 million counterpart fund for Fadama III and Rural Finance Institution Project (RUFIN).

He noted that while other states enjoyed additional financing from FADAMA III , this doesn’t apply to Edo.

The AFAN coordinator said a similar thing applied to RUFIN where government had not remitted the N12 million counterfund.

“The challenge this poses to farmers is that they have been denied access to about N350 million.

“The effect of this is that 10, 000 farm families have been left on their own.

“I wonder if this is the government’s plan for farmers; its plan to create 200,000 jobs in next four years,” he said.

According to Oshiobugie , majority of those being planned for employment are from the agriculture sector.

He said farmers did not understand the policy direction of the government, as it concerned agriculture.

The coordinator urged the government to involve farmers in agric policies, to give farmers a sense of purpose.

He noted that most agricultural policies failed due to non-involvement of farmers.

Oshiobugie said the government must adopt present trend of agricultural implementation; the Community Demand Driven (CDD) approach, same as the Bottom Top approach.

“This enables farmers to be at the driver’s seat of agricultural programmes and project implementation.

“This system ensures quality implementation and success of any proposed agricultural policy.”

He lamented that the government is yet to inaugurate this year’s farming season and make fertilisers available to farmers.

“As I speak with you, no farmer can boast of fertiliser in Edo. The government has kept us in the dark when and where fertiliser will be available.

“It is regrettable that as the previous administration, agricultural policies seem to be announced on pages of newspapers and in the television. There is nothing to show on ground.”

On the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the coordinator said months after farmers registered and opened accounts with the Bank of Agriculture, the government had been inactive.

He said the government was silent on the scheme being embraced in other states.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mr. Bashir Kadir denied the allegations.

Kadir, in a telephone interview with NAN in Benin, said the administration did not deliberately refuse to pay counterpart fund for agricultural programmes, but was taking its time to get things right.

He said the programmes were being reviewed to see if they would benefit the people, adding that if not, government will take action to change the situation.

“These programmes are old; running for years. We have a new programme, the Agricpreneur, where we’ll produce millionaires for the sector.

“We are reviewing Fadama and RUFIN programmes with the new one we have developed.

“It is not a closed door situation. If the benefit from these programmes that have been running is okay by the government, we will continue with them,” the permanent secretary said.

As for the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, he said the government was trying to satisfy conditions set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“We are carrying out integrity test on the data before us. We want to ensure that besides recouping loan, we are dealing with real farmers.”

Kadir said 35,000 farmers had been captured, with about N5 billion facility being the target for it.

He said the ministry was working with stakeholders in the agricultural sector, including AFAN, as regards policy direction and implementation.

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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Energy

Egbin Decries N388B NBET Debt, Idle Capacity

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Egbin-Power-Plant - Investors King

Egbin Power Plc, the biggest power station in Nigeria, has said it is owed N388bn by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc for electricity generated and fed into the national grid.

The company disclosed this on Tuesday during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee on Privatisation, led by its Chairman, Senator Theodore Orji, to the power station, located in Ikorodu, Lagos.

The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells it to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.

The Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Mr. Kola Adesina, told the lawmakers that the total amount owed to Egbin by NBET included money for actual energy wheeled out, interest for late payments and available capacity payments.

Egbin is one of the operating entities of Sahara Power Group, which is an affiliate of Sahara Group. The plant has an installed capacity of 1,320MW consisting of six turbines of 220 megawatts each.

The company said from 2020 till date, the plant had been unable to utilize 175MW of its available capacity due to gas and transmission constraints.

Adesina said, “At the time when we took over this asset, we were generating averagely 400MW of electricity; today, we are averaging about 800MW. At a point in time, we went as high as 1,100MW. Invariably, this is an asset of strategic importance to Nigeria.

“The plant needs to be nurtured and maintained. If you don’t give this plant gas, there won’t be electricity. Gas is not within our control.

“Our availability is limited to the regularity of gas that we receive. The more irregular the gas supply, the less likely there will be electricity.”

He noted that if the power generated at the station was not evacuated by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, it would be useless.

Adesina said, “Unfortunately, as of today, technology has not allowed the power of this size to be stored; so, we can’t keep it anywhere.

“So, invariably, we will have to switch off the plant, and when we switch off the plant, we have to pay our workers irrespective of whether there is gas or transmission.

“Sadly, the plant is aging. So, this plant requires more nurturing and maintenance for it to remain readily available for Nigerians.

“Now, where you have exchange rate move from N157/$1 during acquisition in 2013 to N502-N505/$1 in 2021, and the revenue profile is not in any way commensurate to that significant change, then we have a very serious problem.”

He said at the meeting of the Association of Power Generation Companies on Monday, members raised concern about the debts owed to them.

He added, “All the owners were there, and the concern that was expressed was that this money that is being owed, when are we going to get paid?

“The longer it takes us to be paid, the more detrimental to the health and wellbeing our machines and more importantly, to our staff.”

Adesina lamented that the country’s power generation had been hovering around 4,000MW in recent years.

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Crude Oil

Oil Rises on U.S. Fuel Drawdowns Despite Surging Coronavirus Cases

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U.S. Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices climbed on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude and product inventories fell more sharply than expected last week, reinforcing expectations that demand will outstrip supply growth even amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 48 cents, or 0.7%, to $72.13 a barrel, reversing Tuesday’s 0.4% decline.

Brent crude futures rose 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.82 a barrel, after shedding 2 cents on Tuesday in the first decline in six days.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group showed U.S. crude stocks fell by 4.7 million barrels for the week ended July 23, gasoline inventories dropped by 6.2 million barrels and distillate stocks were down 1.9 million barrels, according to two market sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That compared with analysts’ expectations for a 2.9 million fall in crude stocks, following a surprise rise in crude inventories the previous week in what was the first increase since May.

Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday to confirm the drop in stocks.

“Most energy traders were unfazed by last week’s build, so expectations should be high for the EIA crude oil inventory data to confirm inventories resumed their declining trend,” OANDA analyst Edward Moya said in a research note.

On gasoline stocks, analysts had expected a 900,000 barrel decline drop in the week to July 23.

“The U.S. is still in peak driving season and everyone is trying to make the most of this summer,” Moya said.

Fuel demand expectations are undented by soaring cases of the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus in the United States, where the seven-day average for new cases has risen to 57,126. That is about a quarter of the pandemic peak.

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Crude Oil

Oil Price Rises To $74.70 Despite Delta Variant

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Oil prices - Investors King

Oil price inched higher on Tuesday despite the fast spreading COVID-19 Delta variant. Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced gained, $0.20 or 0.27 percent to $74.70 per barrel on Tuesday at 12:05 am Nigerian time.

Delta variant is spreading in China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, forcing crude oil investors to start cutting down on their oil demand projections.

The Delta variant is still spreading and China has started to clamp down on teapots, so their import growth would not be that much,” said Avtar Sandu, a senior commodities manager at Singapore’s Phillips Futures, referring to independent refiners.

Strong U.S. demand and expectations of tight supplies have helped crude oil to recover from a 7 percent slump recorded last Monday to mark their first gains in two to three weeks last week.

Global oil markets are expected to remain in deficit despite a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, collectively known as OPEC+, to raise production through the rest of the year.

There is seemingly a battle within the energy complex between the prevailing supply deficit engineered by OPEC+ and the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant in regions with low vaccination rates,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.

The slow take-up of vaccinations will continue to limit some upside in oil demand in those regions, and there will be intermittent spells in the recovery in the coming months.

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