The Federal Government said it has created an online portal to register about 10 million farmers, adding that process will enable it to capture their biography, geographical information of their farmlands, crops, and volumes of what they produce in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, disclosed this during the opening ceremony of the 44th council meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), yesterday, in Abuja.
Nanono said: “Although we initially set out to capture the data of 2.4 million farmers across the country, the results from the exercise have encouraged the economic sustainability plan team to expand the data capture to 10 million farmers.
“The database will be a platform for the Federal Government interventions going forward, putting an end to ghost schemes and other unscrupulous practices in the agricultural industry.
“A major hallmark of our agricultural interventions is inclusiveness. We have catered for the youths, women, and many demographic considerations in our implementation strategies.”
The Minister highlighted the outbreak of COVID-19, floods, and insecurity as some of the hiccups bedeviling the agricultural sector, which, however, prompted the government to set up a structural mechanism to address the problems.
According to him, the NCARD will promote the existing policies, programmes and projects at the national and sub-national levels for the purpose of entrenching synergy, best practices, entrepreneurship, livelihood and growth in the sector.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, hinted, that “Nigeria economy has its GDP contracted for two consecutive terms of the second and third quarter in 2020; leading to recession.”
ICRC Incorporates 158 Projects Into PPP Pipeline in 2020 – Report
The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) said 158 projects from different sectors were incorporated into the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project pipeline in 2020.
This is according to the 2020 Annual Report and Accounts of the organisation.
According to the report which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, the projects went through various stages of development, procurement and implementation.
It also said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave approvals for some vital projects, which were earlier granted the Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificates by the commission to pave way for eventual contract signing and commercial close.
The projects included the development of the Bonny Deep Seaport in Rivers, the development of Ibom Deep Sea Port in Akwa Ibom and an automated ticketing portal for the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Others were upgrading, expansion and operation of the Nigerian Correctional Services shoe/garment/leather factories in Aba-Abia and Janguza-Kano State and renovation of the students’ hostel at Kaduna Polytechnic.
It also said that Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificates were granted for some key projects in the transport sector of the economy, adding that some of them had proceeded to the procurement stage while others would soon follow.
They were the development of the Truck Transit Parks in Obollo-Afor, Enugu State; Aviele and Benin Bye-Pass, Edo; Lokoja, Kogi; and Illela, Sokoto State.
Others were concession of the four International Airport Terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) for 12 selected routes.
The ICRC said that within the year under review, it began the process of regularising all PPP projects by whatever name they were called and brought them under the commission’s custody to enable their subjection to its regulatory oversight.
“An important reason for the regularisation is to ensure revenues accruing to the government go into a Special Concession Account (SCA) set up for this purpose.
“The approval for the implementation of the SCA was given through a circular issued by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning in June 2020.
“Already, N2.4 billion has accrued to the government as the concession fee for the development of the Gurara Dam II Project.”
The report, however, identified a lack of dedicated funding to develop, promote and implement PPP projects as a setback that slowed the development of some projects.
It also said that strong political will and commitment were needed to strengthen the PPP framework and ensure the process was not undermined or truncated due to adverse interests.
The report also said there was a lack of adequate enforcement powers over PPP contract agreements and disputes.
It added that there was a bill to address identified gaps in the existing law of the commission pending before the National Assembly.
“The proposed amendment seeks to rename the ICRC as PPP Regulatory Commission to accommodate other forms of PPP and expand its powers to impose appropriate sanctions to ensure compliance with provisions of the Act and regulations thereof.
“The urgent passage of the bill will help ICRC to establish its independence, improve its regulatory oversight and exercise adequate control over the process.”
While proposing to ensure accountability in PPP revenue in 2021 through the SCA, the commission said it would effectively monitor revenue accruing to the government from PPP projects and add more projects to the PPP pipeline.
It would also strengthen the capacity of PPP units of government agencies to structure transactions and monitor the progress of projects which were awarded or completed to ensure that contractual obligations were being met.
NAN recalls that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria to address the physical infrastructure deficit which hampered economic development.
WTO Chief, Okonjo-Iweala Tasks Nigerians In Diaspora To Find More Ways To Support The Economy
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said the contributions of Nigerians at home and abroad could positively impact the nation’s economy to bring about peaceful coexistence.
The DG said this at a webinar to celebrate the National Diaspora Day on Sunday, in Abuja, organised by the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to commemorate its establishment and its achievements so far.
Okonjo-Iweala applauded the Diaspora for their huge contributions to the nation’s economy, citing in particular how their remittances had brought about the development of the rural areas and the sustenance of the economy.
”Let me applaud fellow Nigerians in the Diaspora because they are contributing so much, in many ways; the remittance that the Diaspora send home is in millions of dollars which have contributed to sustaining our economy.
“It helps people living in the rural areas to get resources to send their children to school, take care of their health, build and run businesses, but we can do more wherever we are in the Diaspora, for there’s no place like home.
“So, what we should be thinking of is how we can help to make things better wherever we are, be it in the village or the town to make things better at home, either through creating employment, business, a civil society organisation, or helping to support what the local government is trying to do.
“This is what helps to create peace and I am not saying that is all of it, but the fact remains that there are so many young people who do not have jobs and the COVID-19 situation had made that worse with the lockdown.
“I think we should be thinking of what we can do to help improve the economic situation of people at home because that’s what helps to bring peace.
“If we did not have so many disoriented and disorganised unemployed youths, some of the activities that we see at home that are detrimental towards peace and security might not happen,” the WTO Dg stated.
Speaking earlier, Zubairu Dada, the Minister for State for Foreign Affairs, stated that the Federal Government was willing to create an enabling environment that would encourage direct investment by the diaspora.
Dada added that Nigerians in the Diaspora had continuously shown great dedication, with their time, skills, talents, resources and global exposure, to the development of the country.
“The theme of this year’s event encapsulates the intention of Nigeria in high engagement with her diaspora, especially in these times when we badly need peace, if any development is ever to take place.
“This celebration is also a networking event intended to showcase the achievements of Nigerians in the Diaspora, particularly our internationally acknowledged surgeons, educationists, world-class athletes, engineers, lawyers and scientists, among others.
“Men and women who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers for their huge contribution to the peace and progress of their host countries and humanity in general.
“I wish to assure you that the federal government of Nigeria will provide an enabling environment, through policies and programmes tailored to support you and your wellbeing, and in turn encourage you to give back for the upliftment of your country,” he said.
He added that the government had taken a further step by approving and adopting the National Diaspora Policy 2021 and its Action Plan, for a more holistic approach to the nation’s engagement with the diaspora.
Africa Business Heroes Announces Top 50 Finalists; 12 Nigerians Qualifies
The Top 50 finalists have been chosen from 12,000+ entries, selected by a prestigious pool of 233 judges; 16 countries from Africa represented in the Top 50; 38% of Top 50 candidates are female entrepreneurs; 10% are Francophone; Top 50 finalists will progress to an ABH virtual boot camp and further judging. Top 20 to be announced in August.
Among the 50 finalists, 12 Nigerians qualified are Adebowale Odulana of Doctoora E-Health Ltd, Ebinabo Ofrey of GeroCare Solutions Ltd, Oghenetega Iortim of Gricd, Abiodun Adereni of HelpMum, Olorunishola Aje of IDEAS IN FUSION LIMITED, Leslie Emenalo of Kobopay, Ige Atiba of Laughkord Consult and Resources Limited, YETUNDE OYALOWO of Market Doctors-Social Enterprise, Chidi Nwaogu of Publiseer, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf Marketplace Nigeria Limited, OLAGOKE BALOGUN of So Fresh Neighbourhood Market Limited, and Godwin Benson of Tuteria.
Africa’s Business Heroes the flagship philanthropic program for the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa has announced the top 50 finalists for the 2021 ABH prize competition.
These 50 African entrepreneurs are in the running to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding and will gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their Africa Business Heroes journey.
Since applications closed in early June, a prestigious pool of 233 judges has been reviewing thousands of applications from entrepreneurs across every country in Africa.
During this first round, judges were looking for visionary entrepreneurs who are providing innovative, robust solutions to problems in their communities. They were focused on identifying passionate professionals that demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, financial sustainability and growth potential.
Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation noted, “in the face of incredibly difficult conditions over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurs have shown incredible resilience and innovation.
The top 50 of the 2021 Africa Business Heroes competition are a true testament to this, and we are excited to support these talented entrepreneurs as they continue to grow and generate positive impact.”
Sixteen countries are represented in the Top 50, 10% of which are Francophone. They include Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Nigeria has the largest cohort with 12 in the Top 50. Women are well-represented, making up 38% of the Top 50.
There is an enormous diversity in the type of businesses, with sixteen different sectors, represented including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education, energy, environmental protection, financial services, F&B, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, retail and transportation.
From here, the Top 50 will participate in an ABH virtual boot camp to engage with and learn from business leaders as well as previous ABH winners.
The boot camp will prepare them for the next round of interviews with the Round 2 judges, after which the Top 20 will be identified and announced in August.
The Top 10 will be announced in late September before they go on to the grand finale where they will pitch live to global business legends and secure their share of the USD 1.5 million prize pool.
For more information on 2021 Top 50, please visit the dedicated section on the Africa Business Heroes official website. To join these dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs on their ABH journey, visit here.
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