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Food Fortification: FG, BMGF, Dangote, Others Intensify Efforts



Billionaire Aliko Dangote
  • Food Fortification: FG, BMGF, Dangote, Others Intensify Efforts

Following the global campaign for the fortification of all food products with micronutrients, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has collaborated with the Federal Government, the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc as well as chief executives of food processing companies in the country to intensify efforts on fortifying all food and food products on sale in Nigerian markets.

The World Health Organisation and the World Bank Group Joint Child Nutrition estimated that 41 per cent of Nigerian children under the age of five were stunted in 2017, while the United Nations Children’s Educational Fund has revealed that 10,235 children under the same age range were stunted in 2015.

Speaking in Lagos on Thursday night during the Nigeria Food Processing and Nutrition CEOs Forum, the President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, called on the Federal Government to remove the import duty on micronutrient premixes used by processors to fortify food products.

He also urged the appropriate agencies of government to intensify efforts at curbing smuggling across the borders, noting that most of the food products smuggled into the country were not fortified.

Dangote stated, “We have agreed that if the agencies of government enter our markets and find food products with less nutrients than needed or that are not fortified at all, the firms producing them need to be shut.

“More than 10 million children are currently malnourished and we are making efforts to see how to save our children from malnourishment. We are more committed to fortification now and the regulatory agencies – the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control – have agreed that they will be more aggressive in implementing the policy.”

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said that it was a government policy that all foods must be fortified.

She stated, “There is a health issue. All our children have been suffering and fortified food strengthens them and gives them a better future. This meeting today is to ensure that everybody is on board.

“We had meetings with the CEOs and they have committed to fortify their food products and the government will also commit to addressing any challenge they have, such as making sure that the cost of production in terms of premix and their nutrients is brought down.

“There will be a meeting next year to review the agreement and what we all need to do. Government will review and see what can be done about the tariff on premix, because we are told that other countries have gone down to zero although that depends on each country and its circumstances.”

The Director, Nutrition Programme, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Shawn Baker, remarked that Nigeria had some of the biggest burden of malnutrition in the world.

He said, “You really cannot talk about reducing malnutrition in the world unless you also make significant progress in Nigeria.

“Two of our significant programmes are large-scale food products fortification and optimal breastfeeding. Only 17 per cent of mothers breastfeed exclusively within the first six months and that is when the child needs all the nutrients.

“Large-scale food fortification is important because if a child does not have the essential vitamins in their diet, they lack the essential nutrients for brain, immune system, eyesight development and for building adequate blood supply.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre



Petrol Importation

Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

Businesses have started feeling the negative impact of the rising price of Automotive Gas Oil, known as diesel.

A single litre now goes for N250 in some parts of Lagos, with businesses taking a beating on the back of rising energy costs.

Our correspondent observed that some filling stations in Lagos had increased the price of the product to N250 per litre, while many others sold it at between N220-N245.

Northwest Petroleum along the Oshodi-Apapa road increased the pump price of diesel to N250 per litre; AP (Ardova Plc), along Airport road, Ikeja, N248; and Oando, along Acme Road, N240.

The National Bureau of Statistics, in its AGO price report on Tuesday, said the average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.22 per cent to N224.86 per litre in January 2021 from to N224.37 in December 2020.

It said states with the highest average price of diesel were Adamawa (N268.33), Zamfara (N262.78) and Kebbi (N257.50).

“States with the lowest average price of diesel were Osun (N194.60), Anambra (N195.83) and Enugu (N198.24),” the NBS added.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petroleum products, and the deregulation of the downstream oil sector by the Federal Government means that the pump prices of the products will reflect changes in the international oil market.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, has risen by more than 25 per cent this year from the $51.22 per barrel at which it closed last year. It rose to $65.25 per barrel as of 6:30pm Nigerian time on Tuesday.

Diesel is mostly used by businesses to power their generators amid a lack of reliable power supply from the national grid.

The President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Mr Femi Egbesola, lamented that the recent increase in the price of diesel was taking a heavy toll on businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises.

“The cost of diesel and raw material is giving us a nightmare. The price of diesel has been skyrocketing in a way that creates fear in particularly manufacturers,” he told our correspondent on Tuesday.

According to him, it is difficult for businesses to factor all the increase in diesel price in their final product prices.

Egbesola said, “That is why a lot of companies are downsizing and are making sure that they only produce products that they are so sure will sell in the market.

“Many companies have reduced their product lines significantly just to be able to cope. And that is not good for us because by the time this goes on, unemployment will increase. I believe government should be able to do something about this.”

He said although the downstream petroleum sector had been deregulated, there should be checks and balances.

Egbesola said many small businesses’ savings had been eroded already because ‘we keep spending our savings to make sure we don’t close shop’.

He said, “If things continue this way, there is no way we are not going to close shop. We are still struggling with the recent increase in electricity tariff.

“Many small businesses still depend so much on diesel generators because there is no alternative power supply. It is only the big players that have the facilities to use gas. And we cannot use solar installation because it is very expensive.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.

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United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications




United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications

United Capital Plc has been appointed, Tolu Latunji as its Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications.

In the new role, he is expected to drive a strategic communications, marketing and brand management programme for the investment banking group.

Latunji is a communication and marketing expert with 12 years’ experience in products development, marketing, brand & franchise building, effective management and communication of strategic objectives whilst ensuring adequate visibility for both organisation and product/service offerings through product, content and brand initiatives.

“With a 360 degree knowledge of communications and marketing, which includes but not limited to – brand management and initiatives, corporate affairs, internal and external affairs, product and brand marketing, event management and experiential marketing, cluster/segment marketing, Tolu has served at various capacities on government constituted sub-committees on financial inclusion,” a statement explained.

Prior to joining United Capital Plc, he was the Managing Partner of Ten & Square Media Co., a bespoke creative ideation and brand/crisis management firm, based in Lagos, Dakar and London.

Latunji was recently the Strategic Communications lead at FMDQ Securities Exchange, Nigeria’s first integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI), where he had the responsibility of effectively positioning the group, together with its subsidiaries, as the most sophisticated and technologically driven securities exchange in Africa.

Prior to that, he worked in Guaranty Trust Bank for nine years with roles in brand management & monitoring, events and experiential marketing, products and content marketing and user experience.

He led the marketing team to the successful development and launch of various retail, SME and corporate products. He was also instrumental in curating and developing the bank’s social footprints. Outside the corporate environment, Tolu engages in various humanitarian activities with food banks and empowerment programmes. He holds a B.Sc. Economics from University of Lagos.

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Firm to Train 100 Nigerians in Solar Installation



300MW Solar energy

Firm to Train 100 Nigerians in Solar Installation

A learning institute, GreCo Academy is seeking to train 100 Nigerians on solar installation in Nigeria.

The trainees are expected to undergo a 90- day intensive vocational training after which successful candidates will be rewarded with a three-month paid internship with a renowned Renewable Energy Company in Nigeria, according to a statement by the firm.

The training will consist of 80 days virtual engagement and 10 days physical engagement.

This initiative, according to the firm is aimed at giving the trained candidates hands-on practical experience in their journey to becoming professional solar installers in the country.

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