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Nigeria Faults US Report on Rice Importation

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  • Nigeria Faults US Report on Rice Importation

The Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu has faulted a report by the United States Department for Agriculture which suggests that the nation had imported rice to the tune of about three million tonnes, saying it was inconsistent with available facts.

Bagudu, whose state is one of the largest rice producers in Nigeria, told the National Food Security Council presided by President Muhammadu Buhari that he made contact with the US agency to establish the basis for the report, because it was worrisome.

He said, “The US authorities responded by saying that their assessment was based on satellite imaging of flooded areas and consideration that we are about to enter electioneering period and that demand for rice by politicians or for political purposes will increase. Thirdly, that most West African countries depend on Nigeria, and because of the flooding, they concluded on those assumptions that Nigeria will import more.

“Certainly, that is an erroneous report, even in spite of the fact that flooding of upland rice production has been quite much this year. Even though prices have increased in response to flooding, we still have adequate paddy rice in Nigeria.”

The Governor explained that, “The official importation in Nigeria is about 4,000 metric tonnes of rice. Secondly, the biggest exporter of rice, Thailand exported 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice to West Africa between January and October this year, and India exported 4.02 million metric tonnes of rice to West Africa from January to the end of July this year. That is a total of 1.5 million metric tonnes. Even if all of it was smuggled into Nigeria, that was the total amount of importation one could attribute to Nigeria.”

Bagudu has said repeatedly that his state was working towards achieving a price of N10,000 per bag of local rice.

Also addressing the Security Council, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, harped on the need to place a ban on NPK 151515 fertiliser on the grounds that it was not useful to crop or soil in the country

He told journalists: “We called for the ban of fertiliser NPK 151515 which has been used in the country for many years but recent research revealed it was not useful for any crop or any soil; soils differ and so does crop.”

According to Ogbeh, “To believe there is one uniform fertiliser you can spread for every crop is a fallacy. And it is because we have done soil test and change the formulations of fertilisers. Some of the yields we are getting now are rising from two tonnes per hectares to five and six. So, the President is looking into that to see how we can deal with it.”

He also hinted that the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) was about to restructure the Bank of Agriculture such that farmers would be able to buy shares in the bank, adding that “eventually it will become the farmers’ bank. And we hope in the process that it will bring down interest rates reasonably maybe to five per cent or a little higher, so that agriculture will become attractive and people can raise capital to invest.”

On herdsmen/farmers clashes, the minister said: “We are putting in place a programme now to see if we can aggregate all the wastes from harvest – from maize stock, rice stock, sorghum, Millets, beans, process them, add molasses and feed the cows instead of letting them roam around and getting to the point of conflict with the farmers.

“We also announced a decline in foreign exchange expenditure on food items in the last five years. The items are sugar, milk, Rick, tomato and wheat. In 2013 we spent $1,424,968.1 importing these five items, the figure dropped to $1.280 billion in 2014. These are figures from the CBN as at Monday this week. In 2015 the figure dropped further to $971 million and to $780.792 million and in 2017 the figure is now $628,643 million. The figure for the 2018 will be ready next year. You can see the decline in our importation of food.

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.

Economy

Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others

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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.

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Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021

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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.

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Economy

UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?

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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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