- Imported Rice Not Good for Consumption, Says FG
The Federal Government has raised the alarm that rice being imported into the country is not good for human consumption.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, during a media briefing in Oro, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State on Tuesday, also said the imported rice was meant to feed cattle in their countries of origin.
According to him, imported rice is cheaper than locally produced ones, because it is being dumped in Nigeria.
He advised Nigerians to consume locally produced rice, which he noted was healthy and fresh.
Mohammed stated that the Federal Government was making concerted efforts to continue to support rice farmers in the country to boost their production.
He said, “People may say that imported rice is still cheaper. Oh yes, for three reasons: One, the ones being imported is rice that is no longer fit for human consumption. They are dumping it here. The rice is sub-standard. They even give the rice on credit for people to buy, because they know that the rice they are exporting should be given to cattle. That is why we have embarked on the campaign in the mass media that Nigerians should buy made in Nigeria rice.
“The government is making efforts to ensure that we subsidise our rice so that it will become cheaper. We are very confident that in the next couple of years, we would have achieved self-sufficiency in rice as in other products. It will take about the next one and half years for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice. What we have today is a far cry from what we had before. In 2015, we were doing about three million metric tonnes of rice; but today, we are doing about five million metric tonnes of rice.”
Mohammed added, “Why imported rice is cheaper is that it is not fit for consumption. It is being dumped. It is rice that has been kept in silos for years that is being unleashed on Nigerians; but because it is not coming through the proper channels, it is being smuggled.
“Many of the imported brands of rice will not pass the NAFDAC test; that is why we have continued to campaign that Nigerians should patronise Nigerian rice, because it is the only healthy rice. No Nigerian rice is older than one year.”
He also stated, “But you have rice coming from other countries that has been produced for five or six years, which normally they will feed to their cattle in their countries, which they are feeding us with today. But gradually, I can assure you that with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, more support will be given to our farmers in the next couple of years; not only that we are going to be self-sufficient in rice production, it will become cheaper.
“When we came in, there were five million rice farmers. Today, we have in excess of 11 million rice farmers. Our rice import has been cut by over 80 per cent. These didn’t happen by accident. They were as a result of our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. There are more millionaire farmers today than at any other time in the history of our nation. Today, Nigeria is closer to achieving self-sufficiency in rice than at any other time in the history of our country.”
The minister said that grazing reserves would greatly reduce incessant clashes between farmers and herders, adding that they would make the cows to be bigger, produce more milk and increase the profit of the herders.
He, however, noted that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari would not impose grazing reserves on the states, adding that some state governors had embraced grazing reserves for their states and said he was hopeful that many others would appreciate the advantages of grazing reserves and accept the implementation.
Mohammed said 2019 would be a year for Nigerians to make a critical decision to choose between retrogression and progress.
He stated that the Buhari’s administration inherited a $23.7bn foreign reserves, adding that currently, Nigeria had about N47bn in foreign reserves, and claimed that inflation had consistently reduced.
Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others
The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Morocco have signed five strategic Memoranda of Understanding that will foster Nigerian-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco, according to a statement by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and use it to produce blended fertiliser for the local market and export.
The statement said Nigeria would also produce ammonia and export to Morocco.
“As part of the project, the Nigerian Government plans to establish an ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State,” it said.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, were part of the delegation and they confirmed that their organisations would take equity in the ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision would be taken, the statement said.
Sylva said the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people.
He added that the project would also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.
He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and it agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.
“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.
According to the statement, the MOUs were for the support of the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; Shareholders Agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas.
Other agreements are term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.
The NCDMB boss described the bilateral agreement as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through establishment of the ammonia plant in the country.
The agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco, he added.
Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring them that the NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.
He canvassed for the setting up of a project management oversight structure to ensure project requirements and timelines are met.
“There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex,” he said.
Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021
Dangote to Sells Petrol in Naira, Plans to Commence Urea Shipment in March 2021
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Dangote Fertiliser Plant will commence shipment of Urea in March 2021.
The CBN governor disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.
Emefiele further stated that Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it starts production.
This he said would save the country from spending 41 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products yearly.
“Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira,” Mr Emefiele said.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.”
Emefiele explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s petroleum products affordable and cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.
UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?
Rishi Sunak’s Budget will encourage higher earners to consider their “international financial options” and will drive businesses away from the UK, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Chancellor delivered his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons, his second since he took on the role.
Mr Green says: “The Chancellor has got an extraordinarily difficult hand to play as he tries to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic, support jobs and businesses and, crucially, rebuild the public finances.
“Whilst Mr Sunak is being hailed a hero for the continued and unprecedented levels of support, it should also be remembered that he is – in a stealth move – dragging more people firmly into the tax net.
“He is raising taxes under the radar.
“Yes, there is no income tax rise. However, he is freezing personal tax thresholds, meaning as incomes rise and thresholds don’t, he is able to raise money by fiscal drag.”
Earlier this week, the deVere CEO noted: “Those most impacted by this stealth move will be looking at the financial planning options available to them, including international options, in order to grow and protect their wealth.”
Rishi Sunak also confirmed that corporation tax will increase to 25% from 2023, up from the current level of 19%.
Of this tax hike, Mr Green goes on to say: “Lower corporation tax helps job and wealth-creating business to survive and thrive. It also helps attract business to move and invest in the country.
“Instead of increasing taxes, Mr Sunak should have relentlessly focussed on growth and stimulus policies for businesses. This would have been of greater help to firms, the economy, jobs and, ultimately, the Treasury’s coffers.”
He adds: “Again, this corporation tax hike is likely to serve as a prompt for businesses to consider their overseas financial options.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “The Chancellor had to perform a tough juggling act. But stealthily dragging more people into the tax net and raising corporation tax might have negative, unintended consequences for the Treasury’s bottom line.”
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