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Infrastructure, Quality Control Threaten Nigeria’s Yam Export Drive

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yam production
  • Infrastructure, Quality Control Threaten Nigeria’s Yam Export Drive

Nigeria’s ambition to be a yam exporting country may be threatened by poor infrastructure and quality control, our correspondent has learnt.

Yam does not feature among the list of major traded agricultural products for 2018, or the previous years.

An attempt to export 72 tonnes of yams from Nigeria to Europe and the United States of America in June 2017 failed as the produce arrived their destination in a bad shape, leading to their rejection.

But the country is set to take another leap into the yam export space.

The Technical Committee on Nigeria’s Yam Export Programme said it had concluded plans to export yams this quarter.

Chairman of the committee, Prof Simon Irtwange, said the country would take possession of the Ikorodu terminal to facilitate the yam exports.

According to him, the terminal has been officially designated as a base for the exportation of yam and other agricultural produce.

“This means that all vehicles and trucks carrying yams for export will head towards the Ikorodu terminal, instead of the Apapa Ports.

“At least, it will go a long way in helping the vehicles to avoid the Apapa gridlocks, save the time the produce gets to the ships and reduce the number of wastages through spoilage; the News Agency of Nigeria, quoted him as saying on Thursday.

He added, “With reduced time and spoilage, farmers will be encouraged to bring in more produce for export.”

But a senior economic analyst and a director at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Vincent Nwani, dismissed the ambition, saying that Nigeria was not ready to export yam or any agricultural produce.

He said, “I am not sure Nigeria is ready for yam or agricultural exports. We need to go back to the drawing board.

“Yam is perishable. We don’t have the right storage facility in our ports to keep the produce while waiting for the ship to load. And it takes three months or so for the yams to get to Europe.

“The soil that we plant the yam in Nigeria, is it treated, for the yam to be accepted where it is going?

He said the specie of the yam, the quality control and logistics around the nation seaports were also issues to be put into consideration.

He added, “Another thing is export processing. Nigeria does not have an export processing structure. That is why it takes 33 signatures and 23 agencies to get exports out. It is easier to import than export.

“We need to start asking the countries we want to export to what type of yam they need, what type of soil they want us to plant the yam and how they want us to harvest and store them.

“Until these questions are answered affirmatively, anybody talking about yam export may likely get hurt.”

Asked if exporting through Ikorodu port would present some advantages, Nwani replied that Ikorodu port was a Roll-on/roll-off port.

He said, “Ikorodu port is not a deep seaport. It cannot take vessels. It is just a transit port. Even if you are pushing the export through Ikorodu port, you still have to get to Apapa before you can export, and if you don’t solve the problem of Apapa, Ikorodu port cannot function.

A haulage and transportation firm owner and the Chief Executive Officer, Starlink Global and Ideal Limited, Adeyemi Adeniji, also emphasised the importance of quality control and efficient port system.

He maintained that there must perfect logistics at the port to make export seamless, while there must be quality assurance.

He said that the transit period of the yams was also important.

Yam has been found to generate a lot of revenue for Ghana which currently accounts for 94 per cent of the total yam exports in West Africa, covering markets in the USA, Canada, UK and Europe.

Between 2005 and 2010, yam production in Ghana contributed about 16 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Director-General, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr Osita Aboloma, said due to the global acceptance of yams from Ghana, Nigerian yams are usually relabelled Ghana yams and exported to the US from Ghana.

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.

Appointments

FBNHoldings Renews Adesola Adeduntan Tenure, Appoints Nnamdi Okonkwo as GMD

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO - Investors King

The Board of FBN Holdings Plc (FBNHoldings) has appointed the immediate past Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc., Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo as its Group Managing Director.

Okonkwo’s appointment takes effect from January 1, 2022.

His appointment followed the retirement of Mr. U.K. Eke, who has completed his two-term tenure.

Uke, according to the board, tendered his Notice of Retirement on August 10, 2021

The Board further announced the renewal of the appointments of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan and Mr. Gbenga Shobo as the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of FirstBank respectively, for another term.

In the same vein, the Board announced the renewal of appointments of Mr. Kayode Akinkugbe and Mr. Taiwo Okeowo as the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited respectively, for another term.

“Uke’s retirement takes effect at the end of the current Financial Year on December 31, 2021. Mr. Eke’s retirement follows from a 35 years’ career in financial services, strategy, auditing, consulting, taxation, process reengineering and capital market operations.

“FBNHoldings Board has also announced that Eke will be succeeded by Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, a focused and result-oriented top banker, who will assume office as Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings Plc effective January 1, 2022,” Seye Kosoko, the Company Secretary said

Okonkwo, the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, brings to bear on the Board of FBNHoldings more than 30 years unbroken banking career spanning local and international experience. He has a wealth of experience in transformational leadership, business strategy development and visioning, innovative corporate governance and risk management.

He has led the transformation of banks, with the most recent being Fidelity Bank, where he led the management team for seven years to achieve remarkable results culminating in tripling profit and shareholder value.

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Business

Are There Better Ways to Help Consumers Tackle Social and Environmental Problems?

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Consumers - Investors King

Techniques used by online microfinance platforms to spur user involvement could be useful in helping organisations to persuade people to behave in ways that benefit both society and environment.

Microfinance platforms have popularised the idea that ordinary people can become bankers to the poor. Communities of lenders get together every day to crowdfund microloans to disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs by investing small sums of around only 25 dollars.

A new study digs into the universe of these microloan platforms to investigate how they manage to attract investors and perpetuate their enthusiasm for responding to social problems such as poverty.

Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Southern Denmark have identified two major ways through which platforms maintain and potentiate lending. Their findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Firstly, the platforms assemble resources that function as an ‘apparatus of affirmation’ – providing first-hand evidence of impact that help consumers imagine the benefits of their actions, thereby creating a sense of empowerment.

Secondly, the platforms translate complex and distant social problems, such as poverty, into personal encounters between lenders and borrowers – creating a sense of connection and familiarity via photographs, stories and loan updates. This set of techniques is theorised as the ‘apparatus of relatability’.

Co-author Dr Pilar Rojas-Gaviria, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Birmingham, comments: “Organisations such as microlending platforms, which strive to mobilise responsible consumers, face two key challenges – overcoming the powerlessness felt when facing daunting problems, and removing a sense of disconnection from ‘faraway’ problems.

“Supplementing the power of ideas and knowledge with personal stories that inspire hope and aspiration, affinity and connection are powerful techniques that could be useful in inspiring consumers to more actively participate in efforts to tackle social and environmental problems, such as climate change.”

Through storytelling, imagery, platform design and communication, the researchers note that online microlending platforms nurture a feeling that genuine change is possible through affordable actions. They also develop a sense of affinity and empathy among potential investors with aspiring micro-entrepreneurs, particularly those from Low-and Middle-income Countries (LMIC).

For example, the platforms publish loan requests to showcase individual borrowers with first names, photographs, and short biographies. This personalised strategy effectively frames microlending as a virtual encounter with a borrower and their story of micro-entrepreneurship. Celebrities, such as actor Natalie Portman, have over the past years helped the microfinance industry to promote microloans as an act of hope that empowers resourceful poor in their efforts to escape poverty.

Co-author Domen Bajde, from the University of Southern Denmark comments: “The advent of online microlending has expanded the pool of potential investors to anyone with internet access and $25 to spare.

“After learning that lenders were more interested in ’emotional returns’ rather than financial profit from their loans, platforms began to dramatise microlending as an act of aspirational hope and affinity toward the entrepreneurial poor.”

The research is also significant for charitable giving, noting that donors are more likely to contribute when they see their donations as a way of empowering the disadvantaged and when donations are experienced as impactful investments.

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Company News

Tunde Hassan-Odukale is FBN Holdings Largest Shareholder, Not Femi Otedola, FBN Holdings Clarifies

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Tunde Hassan Odukale - Investors King

In response to the questions asked by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), FBN Holdings has said Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, a Director of First Bank of Nigeria Limited is FBN Holdings Plc’s largest shareholder and not billionaire Femi Otedola.

In a statement signed by Seye Kosoko, Company Secretary, FBN Holdings Plc and released via the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Wednesday, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale directly holds 26,231,887 shares or 0.07 percent.

However, his indirect holdings stood at 1,897,280,212 shares or 5.29 percent of FBN Holdings’ total issued shares.

Breaking down Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale indirect holdings, the director holds 755,959,459 or 2.11 percent shares through Leadway Assurance Company Ltd.

Another 486,605,478 shares or 1.36 percent via ZPC/Leadway Assurance Prem & Inv Coll Acct. He acquired 0.04 percent or 13,229,148 shares through Haskal Holdings Ltd. Mr. Hassan-Odukale also purchased 1,004,528 shares through Leadway Capital & Trust Ltd.

He then bought 112,552 shares through LAC Investments Ltd; 112,237 through Leadway Properties & Investment Ltd; 211,290,798 or 0.59 percent via Leadway Holdings (Holdco); 53,771,413 or 0.15 percent through OHO Investment and finally acquired 375,194,599 or 1.05 percent through Leadway Pensure PFA.

Therefore, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale direct and indirect holdings in FBN Holdings Plc stood at 26,231,887 or 0.07 percent and 1,897,280,212 or 5.29 percent, respectively. In totality (Direct and Indirect), he holds 1,923,512,099 or 5.36 percent shares in FBN Holdings.

This is more than the 10,000,000 or 0.03 percent shares directly owned by Mr. Olufemi Peter Otedola and another 1,808,551,625 or 5.04 percent he acquired via Calvados Global Services Limited. Mr. Otedola total stake’s in FBN Holdings now stood at 1,818,551,625 or 5.07 percent. Making him the second-largest shareholder in the company.

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