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Fertiliser Imports Rise by 84% to N117b

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Despite various measures to encourage local production, a total of about N117 billion (or $247.91 million) was expended on fertiliser importation in the past year.

Fertiliser imports increased by $37.71 million in 2019 to $247.91 million last year, representing an increase of 84.4 per cent.

Data by the International Trade Statistics (ITS) on imports showed breakdown of imports, according to country of origination to include Morocco, $128 million; Russia, $83.37 million; China, $17.15 million and Germany, which exported $11 million.

During the period, data by the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) shipping position shown three vessels offloaded 64,255 metric tonnes of fertiliser at the Lagos Port Complex.

The bulk of fertiliser was offloaded by at Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) and ENL Consortium terminal at Lagos Port Complex by three vessels.

At ENL terminal, MV Saros B offloaded 11,255 tonnes of the input, while Wariya Naree and Cengiz Bay discharged 42, 000 tonnes and 11,000 tonnes at the port.

In 2017, Nigeria imported 957,000 metric tonnes of the products through the ENL Consortium Terminal at the Lagos Port and JosepDam Terminal in Tincan Island Port.

The Federal Government had planned to save $1.2 billion yearly when it was discovered that the country’s plants have the capacity to produce over four million tonnes of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) fertiliser yearly, while highest quantity being utilised by farmers was 1.5 million tonnes.

However, only N164 billion (or $350 million) had been saved from payments on subsidy and import substitution through the implementation of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI).

Managing Director, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji, said the Presidency had approved the restructuring of PFI, starting in this year’s cycle with various modifications, following the successes recorded over the past four years.

Under the modifications, the NSIA was transitioned to an upstream player, thereby limiting its involvement to importation, storage and the wholesale of raw materials to blenders.

According to him, blenders would no longer be paid blending fees by NAIC-NPK, noting that they would recover their costs from selling the fertiliser to the market.

The blending plants are expected to provide bank guarantees to cover requisitioned raw materials demand that are appropriated for their respective production volumes.

Also, in line with the Presidential directive, the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are expected to engage commercial banks to facilitate lines of concessionary credits to blending plants for the purchase of raw materials and other equipment necessary for its production.

He stressed that 41 blending plants had been resuscitated from the initial four plants at project inception.

In addition, Orji said an estimated 250,000 direct and indirect jobs had been created across the agriculture value chain, including in logistics, ports, bagging, rail, industrial warehousing and haulage.

It would be recalled that in 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had warned that no foreign exchange should be made available for funding fertiliser imports, noting that any company that imports the product would be sanctioned.

In the memo dated January 30, last year, signed by Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Mr. A. S. Jibrin, the apex bank reminded authorised dealers and the public that the ban on NPK fertiliser and any other variant remained in force.

When the order to ban importation of NKP to encourage local blending plants was introduced, the country in the immediate year saved N104.3 billion (or $285.9 million) in 2019.

Indorama Eleme Fertiliser and Chemicals and Dangote Petrochemicals and Fertiliser have already invested $4.5 billion to improve and boost the country’s fertiliser industry.

Dangote is expected to boost production by 2.8 million tonnes of fertiliser, while Indorama anticipated to produce1.4 million tonnes.

In 2016, Nigeria and Morocco had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to help the former revive its ailing fertiliser industry through the supply of phosphates for local blending.

The MOU was consummated in 2018 during the visit of President Buhari to Morocco and had helped to revive 28 of the country’s comatose companies, which were primed to increase Nigeria’s production capacity.

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.

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NCDMB and NEXIM Sign $30 Million Agreement to Support Oil and Gas Services Firms

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The Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) yesterday signed a $30 million agreement on working capital and capacity building fund to support oil and gas services firms.

Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB and Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello, signed the funding agreement at the Abuja office of the Nigerian content monitoring agency.

Wabote said the Oil Producers Trade Section, Independent Petroleum Producers Group and Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria had raised concerns over funding challenges confronting oil services firms, as this had made most of the companies to consider downsizing their staff.

He said, “The OPTS and IPPG had at some point raised before the NCDMB the inability of most indigenous contractors to provide services to them due to challenges of funding.

“This was especially when we got struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. I recall receiving several letters particularly from IPPG trying to see how we can support this.”

He added, “I also recall receiving similar letters from PETAN when the COVID-19 struck and most of their members had nothing to do anymore.

“This is because companies were shut down and their members were threatening on how to downsize and take Nigerians off their payrolls.

“Based on this, we then set up a committee to say how do we support these firms with the provision of working capital.”

Wabote noted the roll-out date for the fund would be July 1, 2021 and that the fund size of $30m would be boosted by matching funds of the same amount to be provided by NEXIM in naira (to be converted at prevailing official exchange rate).

“The scheme shall cover loans for working capital support and capacity building, oil service contracts, invoice discounting including acquisition of low-end equipment to service short-term contracts/service obligations,” he stated.

He said the target market comprised Nigerian oil service providers which belonged to a professional association in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and commercially viable with a business relationship with either an international oil company or a major Nigerian oil firm.

“Maximum amount that can be borrowed by a single obligor is $1m or its naira equivalent at the official exchange rate prevailing at the time of borrowing,” Wabote said.

He added, “Tenor shall be up to 12 months for working capital loans and up to three years for capacity building loans with moratorium of up to 12 months.

“The applicable interest rate shall be five per cent per annum all-in for dollar-denominated loans and eight per cent all-in per annum for naira-denominated loans and the rate shall be fixed throughout the tenor of the loan.”

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LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Appoints Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as Company’s Secretary

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LivingTrust Mortgage bank has appointed Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as company secretary/head of legal services.

The bank disclosed in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Omuku, the Finance Officer/Head, Investor Relations, LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc.

The statement reads “We wish to notify The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the investing public of the appointment Mr. Timothy Olorunsogo Gbadeyan as Company Secretary/Head, Legal Services of LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc.

“Mr. Gbadeyan is a consummate corporate attorney with experiential background in deals advisory, real estate finance, facioring, general commercial transactions, corporate governance, company secretarial services and regulatory compliance. Until his appointment, he was the Head of Legal Services of Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc.”

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Farmforte, Others Signs MoU To Strengthen and Sustain Growth in Agricultural Sector

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Farmforte Limited has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with the Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria; HYBR, a pan-African innovation firm; and ALTS, a consulting and strategy development firm.

The firm said in a statement on Sunday that the partnership would strengthen common interest cooperation and stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth within the agricultural sector, by capitalising on the synergy and comparative advantage offered by each organisation.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Farmforte Co-Chief Executive Officer, Osazuwa Osayi, said, “Our mid to long-term strategic goals are further reaffirmed, as this partnership will facilitate the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and expertise across the agricultural sector.

“We will collectively address initiatives and approaches concerning agricultural investments, food security, and the overall robustness of the value chain.”

He said the collaboration would also unlock the full potential of the sector and place it on a renewed path for success, especially within a post-pandemic economy.

The President of AFGEAN, Tajuddeen Dantata, said, “By creating dialogue and fostering investment in the horticulture sector, this partnership will endeavor to support Farmforte in its exporting efforts by improving operational efficacy and cost-savings, while ultimately driving socio-economic growth in the country.”

The Chief Executive Officer, HYBR, Charles Ojei, said to drive inclusion, sustainability, job creation, and Nigeria’s overall economic growth, the optimisation of the agriculture value chain was critical.

“This collaboration is a fusion of the complementary capabilities of all partners to move a bigger agenda forward.”

The Managing Partner, ALTS, Akintunde Sawyerr, said, “The goal of this partnership is to support Farmforte’s vision of becoming the largest agribusiness by 2035 via scalable and world-class innovation across its enterprise.”

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