The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, received a high-level Nigerian delegation led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar on Monday.
The meeting follows on the heels of an address by Dr. Adesina last week at a mid-term ministerial retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Adesina and the Nigerian minister discussed means of tackling growing concerns about the country’s food security.
Adesina said the Bank’s strategic support for Nigeria’s food production would be hinged on five factors: support, scale, systemic, speed, and sustainability.
He added, “I want to assure President Buhari that the African Development Bank will provide his government with very strong support to tackle the country’s food security challenges.”
“Inflation in Nigeria is high, at 16% or more. Of course, the biggest share of the consumer price index is the price of food, at almost 65%. So, if we can drive down the price of food, of course, we can drive down inflation.“
Adesina urged the Nigerian minister to concentrate on building the correct team and tactics to optimize the country’s farming seasons. He said that dramatically increased food output will result in lower food prices, which will in turn lower inflation rates.
Abubakar said his consultative mission to Abidjan was at the instruction of President Buhari.
“Our mission is to examine ways Nigeria could enhance food production, lower food prices, and create wealth,” the minister said.
Abubakar welcomed the Bank’s proposed strategy and described it as a landmark one that would spur Nigeria’s food supply production. “It will reverse the ugly trend of a sharp increase in prices of food in the country. I am pleased with the Bank’s strategy to facilitate the production of 9 million metric tons of food in Nigeria and to support us in raising self-sufficiency. The Bank’s Special Agro-Processing Zones initiative is a laudable one and Nigeria is grateful.”
Citing successes in Sudan, Adesina explained how the African Development Bank had supported the country with 65,000 metric tonnes of heat-tolerant wheat varieties, cultivated on 317,000 hectares.
“It took two seasons to do this,” he said. “Change will not happen in years. You will see changes in seasons. Sudan now produces 1.1 million metric tons of wheat. The same thing happened in Ethiopia in just two seasons with the production of 184, 000 hectares of wheat,“ he added.
In response to Bank successes in Sudan and Ethiopia, Abubakar said: “This gives me an additional measure of confidence. If you can do it in Sudan, you can equally do it in Nigeria. Not just in wheat, but also rice, maize, and soybeans.”
The African Development Bank will provide Nigeria with support through input delivery, including highly improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, and an integrated input delivery platform.
Extensively discussed at the meeting was the Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone initiative as an effective medium-term plan for revolutionizing Nigeria’s agriculture value chain.
Adesina said: “The task, responsibility, and challenge of feeding Nigeria rests on your shoulders. You will receive maximum support from me, and the African Development Bank for the responsibility that President Buhari has given you. You will not be alone.”
He added: “The Bank stands ready to fully support and help Nigeria in the next farming seasons. So, we must make sure things turn around. The president must succeed, and Nigeria must succeed. Agriculture must succeed.”
Abubakar thanked the African Development Bank for its support and said the meeting gave him reassurances of what Nigeria can achieve with the Bank’s support in the farming seasons ahead.
The minister also called for the Bank’s support to recapitalize the country’s Bank of Agriculture. Both parties set up a task force team to develop a plan for accelerated implementation within the next 60 days.
Also at the meeting were a member of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Hon. Munir Baba Dan Agundi, Chair of the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions; the African Development Bank’s executive director for Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. Oyebode Oyetunde; Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford; Senior Special Advisor to the President of the Bank on Industrialization, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran; Director General of the Bank’s Nigeria Country Office in Abuja, Lamin Barrow; the Bank’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industries, Martin Fregene; the Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Atsuko Toda; and senior officials from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
85.51 Million Nigerian Bank Customers Face Withdrawal Freeze Over NIN, BVN Deadline
As the March 1 deadline looms, an estimated 85.51 million Nigerian bank customers are facing the possibility of frozen accounts due to their failure to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) and/or Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to their accounts.
Recent findings reveal the potential scale of the impending banking crisis.
Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that Nigeria had approximately 146 million active individual bank customers as of December 2022.
However, by January 26, 2024, only 60.49 million BVNs were recorded on the NIBSS portal, leaving a significant portion unlinked.
Meanwhile, about 104 million NINs had been issued by December 2023, highlighting the disparity between NIN issuance and BVN linkage.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier issued directives to banks, mandating them to restrict transactions on accounts lacking linked NINs and BVNs, with effect from March 1, 2024.
Any accounts found non-compliant risk being designated as ‘Post no Debit,’ rendering them unable to process further transactions.
Responding to the impending crisis, the Director-General of the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), Abisoye Coker-Odusote, emphasized the need for the revalidation of Front-End Partners (FEPs) to ensure the integrity of the identity database.
She underscored the importance of NIN registration and urged collaboration with various stakeholders to expedite the process.
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, reiterated the significance of linking NINs to SIM cards to enhance national security.
Telecom subscribers were urged to comply with the NIN-SIM linkage directive to avoid service disruptions.
Meanwhile, financial service providers like Opay have issued reminders of the impending restrictions, urging customers to comply with the linkage requirements.
Amidst concerns, some customers contemplate transferring funds to compliant accounts to avoid potential financial setbacks.
As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are intensifying efforts to mitigate the impact of the impending banking crisis on millions of Nigerians.
Central Bank of Nigeria Injects Over $300 Million to Stabilize Naira-Dollar Exchange Rate
In a bid to mitigate the continuous depreciation of the naira against the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected over $300 million into the foreign exchange market.
This move comes amidst concerns over the instability of the naira-dollar exchange rate, which has seen rates soar as high as N1850/$ in recent trading sessions.
The Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria revealed the CBN’s intervention in an advisory memo to its members, highlighting the significant injections made over the past two weeks.
The memo underscores the urgency to address the steep decline in the value of the naira, which has posed challenges to businesses and individuals alike.
The CBN’s proactive measures signal a concerted effort to stabilize the forex market and restore confidence in the domestic currency.
The injection of funds aims to provide liquidity and alleviate pressure on the naira, which has experienced rapid depreciation in recent weeks.
Market analysts anticipate that the CBN’s intervention will help mitigate the volatility of the naira-dollar exchange rate, providing relief to businesses and consumers grappling with the economic uncertainties.
The move reflects the CBN’s commitment to maintaining stability in the forex market and fostering economic growth amidst challenging times.
FBN Holdings Surpasses GTCO, Zenith Bank to Become Nigeria’s Most Valuable Bank
FBN Holdings has emerged as Nigeria’s most valuable bank, surpassing Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) and Zenith Bank in terms of market capitalization.
At the close of trading on Monday, FBN Holdings achieved a market capitalization of N1.22 trillion, solidifying its position at the forefront of the banking sector.
The bank’s market cap is now higher than GTCO’s N1.16 trillion and Zenith Bank’s N1.11 trillion.
The surge in FBN Holdings’ market capitalization represents a 56.68% increase since Femi Otedola assumed the role of chairman on January 31st.
Otedola’s stewardship has been instrumental in driving FBN Holdings’ exponential growth.
Since he was appointed a non-executive director in August 2023 and subsequent ratification by shareholders, his leadership has been characterized by strategic decision-making and investor confidence.
Holdings’ shares have risen from N21.70 to N34 under his chairmanship, representing a significant boost for investors and shareholders.
The market’s positive response to Otedola’s leadership underscores the importance of effective governance and visionary leadership in driving financial performance and investor value.
Minority shareholders have expressed optimism about Otedola’s impact on dividend payments and capital appreciation, highlighting his track record of prioritizing shareholder interests in his previous roles.
FBN Holdings’ ascent to the top spot signals a new era of growth and stability for the bank, setting the stage for continued success in Nigeria’s dynamic financial landscape.
As the banking sector navigates evolving market conditions, FBN Holdings’ position at the pinnacle reflects its resilience and adaptability in driving sustainable value for stakeholders.
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