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Nigeria Producing 60% of Seeds in West Africa, Others – NASC

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  • Nigeria Producing 60% of Seeds in West Africa, Others – NASC

Nigeria accounts for over 60 per cent of seeds traded and used in West Africa and some parts of East and Central Africa, the National Agricultural Seeds Council has said.

According to the council, additional 158 new seed entrepreneurs have been added to the existing players in the Nigeria’s seed sector in order to bridge the country’s seed supply gap.

The Director-General, NASC, Phillip Olusegun, who disclosed this at the head office of the council in Abuja, also stated that the seed industry was experiencing tremendous growth.

He said, “We continually dominate and extend our share of the seed landscape in the sub-region. Nigeria’s seed industry accounts for over 60 per cent of seeds traded and used in the West African sub-region and some parts of East and Central Africa.”

On the new seed entrepreneurs, Olusegun said, “The governing board of the NASC has approved the licensing of 158 new seed entrepreneurs of different categories to add to the existing 156 already in operation.

“Why additional entrepreneurs? The question may arise in the minds of watchers of the industry. But I want to assure you that this is borne out of the determination to allow many qualified entrepreneurs to explore the budding liberalised landscape of the seed industry.”

He explained that presently the seed supply-demand gap was still wide and there were more calls from neighbouring countries that look up to Nigeria for their seed supply.

“This underscores the point that the industry is not yet saturated as some may think,” he added.

Olusegun said the governing board of the NASC was not just concerned about the numbers but the quality, adding that the council was very critical of the quality of seed being churned out to farmers.

He said, “In view of this, we conducted a recertification exercise. This is done periodically for all initial 156 companies in a bid to evaluate and assess their infrastructure, personnel and capability, production capacity and operational efficiency to ascertain if they still meet up their status or rating.

“The result of this exercise led to the upgrading of six companies that had improved their infrastructure, quality assurance systems, and personnel while 75 were downgraded.”

Olusegun said the downgrade, which could be traced to the lull in the seed industry, owing to a backlog of debts owed to the companies, did not mean weakness in the industry but was strategic.

“It is to checkmate the activities and promote desire for quality and healthy competition among entrepreneurs,” he said.

He also said most of the newly licensed companies were not entirely new in the business but were mostly out-growers, with long years of experience, and had acquired necessary facilities in the relevant categories they had been classified into after due assessment by the NASC.

The NASC boss said, “With these new entrants, the board has approved 16 new small-scale companies, 133 producer and seller entrepreneurs and nine seed dealers.

“In all, the country now has 314 seed entrepreneurs, made of four large-scale, seven medium-scale, 39 small-scale, 223 producer sellers, and 20 seed dealers.

“Also worthy of mention is the fact that during the last recertification exercise, 21 seed entrepreneurs were approved by the board to be classified as inactive. This means they cannot participate in seed-related activities until the council reassesses and recertifies their facilities.”

This, according to Olusegun, does not mean their licences have been revoked, hence their inclusion in the number of companies.

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.

Business

Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

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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

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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

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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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