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FG Confident that Wacott Rice Investment will Boost Food Security, Jobs

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  • FG Confident that Wacott Rice Investment will Boost Food Security, Jobs

The food security and youth employment goals of the federal government is receiving major support with the establishment of a rice processing mill with 120,000 metric tonnes capacity in Argungu, Kebbi State by WACOT Rice Limited, a member of the TGI Group. The rice mill is part of WACOT’s expansion plan, which targets a capacity increase with additional rice plants to overall 500,000 metric tonnes in the next years.

Located in Argungu Local Government Area, along the Argungu-Sokoto road, the rice processing plant is the first rice mill to be conceptualised, executed and to be commissioned during the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Work started on the Mill in February 2016 and is scheduled to be formally commissioned in May, 2017.

During a pre-commissioning visit to the 120,000 metric tonnes mill on Thursday, the Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, commended the Board and Management of WACOT Rice Limited for keying into the ‘self-sufficiency in rice production’ goal of the federal government.

While conducting the special visitors round the N10 billion state of the art Mill, the Group Managing Director of TGI Group, Mr. Rahul Savara disclosed that the Mill will produce top quality rice, and that it will generate direct and indirect employment for 3,500 people, adding that over 50,000 farmers will have ready market for their produce. WACOT’s Managing Director, Mr. Ujwalkanta Senapati, adds that “WACOT views farmers as partners with whom we work hand-in-hand to improve agricultural production.”

Savara further revealed that the Mill is “the first rice plant in Nigeria with captive power co-generation facility and that it will generate 1 MW electricity from rice husks, thereby ensuring that all by-products and waste products are fully consumed and the environment is protected.

While commending the management of WACOT for locating the mill in his State and for completing it within a short period, the visibly elated Governor Bagudu said, “what WACOT has done shows that Nigeria has friends and a friend in need is a friend indeed”, adding, WACOT is investing in Kebbi because we have created the enabling environment for business to thrive”.

The Governor also declared that once the WACOT Mill starts full operation, a large part of the rice cultivated in the State will be processed within the state, instead of being taken elsewhere for milling. He also used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that Kebbi state is endowed with massive arable land, fit for production of rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, groundnut etc.

Also, speaking during the visit, Chief Ogbeh stated that the Federal Government will continue to encourage and support organisations such as WACOT, in its efforts to enhance and stabilise food production in the country. He commended WACOT for having faith in Kebbi State and Nigeria.

While applauding the focus of the Kebbi State government on Agriculture, the Minister said that it is anticipated that more state governments will embrace this laudable path, in order to promote food sufficiency and economic development in the country. He added that for the country to have lasting security, there must be concerted effort by all tiers of government to tackle the twin issues of food security and unemployment, as youth unemployment could be a time bomb for the country.

The Minister concluded by saying that “a time is coming when the most important person in Kebbi State will not be a politician but a farmer”.

On his part, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele lauded WACOT Limited for the feat, adding that the mill will save the country substantial amount of foreign exchange that would have gone into rice importation. He also assured the farmers that government will continue to do everything to ensure that their products are sold.

Stallion Group Bags Special Agric Sector Awards

Stallion Group has been awarded the prestigious IBCA-Outstanding Projects and Business Leader of the Year Award.

The award was bestowed on the Popular Farms and Mills Limited, a company under license of the Stallion Group.

The Popular Farms and Mills Limited, said in a statement on Sunday that the Stallion Group “would like to acknowledge the quintessential and impeccable leadership qualities and magnanimous approach of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh in the agriculture sector and their pathfinder initiative of the change agenda.”

The statement further thanked the “IBCA for creating this platform to acknowledge the real positive change makers in the agriculture sector and OPAL nomination committee for nominating and rewarding Stallion Group for the Business Leader of the Year and Outstanding Project awards.”

According to the statement, “these awards are testimonials to our efforts at expanding operations in Nigeria’s fully integrated rice value chain, resulting in a boost of 430,000 metric tonnes of rice production per annum.
“The Group is targeting production of 1.5 million tonnes of rice in Nigeria through the setting up of more milling capacities and structured farming activities.

“Stallion has established fully integrated agricultural operations including world-class rice mills at strategic locations, with the aim of promoting milling and paddy cultivation in the captive areas, thus creating a catalyst for increased local production of paddy and, ultimately, Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production.

The Group’s Director, Mr. Harpreet Singh commenting on the awards said that “sensing the need for local self-sufficiency and government’s ambitions for food security, Stallion pioneered investments into backward integration, creating a fully integrated value chain.

“We are working tirelessly to improve farm yields and bring in sustainable and scalable growth to farmers,” Singh said.

To energize its backward integration value-chain chain, Stallion Group embarked on an initiative to include local manufacturing facilities for packaging and countrywide distribution infrastructure designed to meet the demands of the Nigerian people across the various states.

Consequently, the company has also established several collection centres spread across rice producing states of Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi.

The statement noted that the countrywide distribution centre initiative is driven towards not only assisting farmers in understanding modern rice farming techniques, but also focuses on distributing farm inputs and forming associations with various farmers cooperatives to lead the Nigerian rice revolution.

“It is on the imperative of this initiative that Stallion Group came up with extension services such as the Village School (a farmer’s training model) and ‘On Farm Trials’(practical demonstrations) that are being executed to import technical know-how to promote advanced rice farming.

“The major focus of Stallion has been to strengthen the farmers and their rice farming knowledge in order to bring in a rice revolution into the country. It is a multi-leveled approach not only to increase the area but also to transform the rice farm business sector through quality rice produce and farm productivity.”

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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FG Bonds’ Investors to Reap N160bn Interest Payment in 2 Weeks

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Investors to Get N160bn Interest Payment in 2 Weeks

Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) bonds’ investors are expected to reap N160 billion as interest (coupon) payment in two consecutive weeks even as the Debt Management Office (DMO) auctions N145 billion worth of bonds on behalf of the federal government.

Checks revealed that FGN bond investors last week received N142 billion as coupon payment from the federal the government investment instrument and will this week receive another N18.2 billion, hence coupon payment of N160.2 billion in two weeks. Further analysis showed that the N160.2 billion represents 68 percent of the N234 billion investors received as coupon payment in the second quarter (Q2’2020), and 33 percent of the N488.9 billion received in the first quarter (Q1’2020) according to the DMO.

Data from the debt agency showed that investors in FGN bonds received N723 billion as coupon payment in the first half of the year (H1’2020).

The DMO also showed that FGN bond coupon payment constituted 78.5 percent of the N921.9 billion spent by the FG on domestic debt service in H1’2020.

Meanwhile the DMO will this week offer N145 billion worth of FGN bonds to investors during its September monthly auction to be conducted on Wednesday. According to the agency, the bond auction comprises N25 billion worth of 10 years bonds, N40 billion of 15-year bonds, N40 billion worth of 25-year bonds and N40 billion worth of 30 years bonds.

At the last auction conducted in August, the DMO sold N116.65 billion worth of bonds. This was in spite of the N242.23 billion worth of bonds demanded by investors, representing 86 percent oversubscription when compared to the N130 billion worth of bonds auctioned by the DMO.

Also in a bid to further lower FG’s borrowing cost, the DMO slightly reduced the stop rate on the 15-year, 25-year and 30-year bonds by 15 basis points (bpts), five bpts and five bpts respectively to 9.35 percent, 9.75 percent and 9.9 percent in August from 9.5 percent, 9.8 percent and 9.95 percent in July, while the stop rate on the 10-year bond was raised by seven bpts to 6.7 percent from six percent in July.

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Check Your Financial Plans Are You ‘Negative Interest Rate Ready’: deVere CEO

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Negative Interest Rate is Coming, Review Your Financial Plans, Warns Green

Personal financial strategies should be reviewed to ensure they are ‘negative interest rate ready’, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The comments from Nigel Green, the founder and chief executive of deVere Group, come as the Bank of England voted unanimously on Thursday to leave UK interest rates at their current record lows, at 0.1% – but keep negative interest rates in its “toolbox” of possible measures.

The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it will likely keep its key interest rate near zero until the economy reaches full employment and inflation runs “moderately” above its 2% goal for “some time,” a pledge that is likely to keep rates ultra-low for at least five years.

Mr Green says: “Struggling to ease the economic pain of the pandemic, central banks have ushered us into an era of almost zero interest rates – with some experts saying that the U.S. Federal Reserve and the UK’s Bank of England, amongst others, could be on the brink of implementing negative interest rates as other central banks have already done across the eurozone and in Japan.

“This would have been unimaginable even a few months ago. But the shifts have been seismic this year.”

This is why he believes that more than ever “serious, joined-up financial planning strategies” are essential for those who are committed to growing and protecting their wealth.

He continues: “In an almost zero interest rate era – or perhaps a wide negative interest rate era looming – it’s not enough to think that you can rely on the strategies of before.

“For instance, so-called low-risk bonds, such as U.S. Treasuries, once the bedrock of investment portfolios are not providing the returns they once did. Indeed, yields have been at historic lows, prompting many experts to openly question their value.”

The deVere CEO goes on to add: “Cash is certainly ‘not king’ at the moment either. Cash sitting in accounts is most likely earning you almost nothing. It will definitely not be generating decent income.

“Meanwhile, investing in stocks offers its own complexities.

“Global stock markets have, in general terms, been on an impressive rally in recent months. But delve into the picture and all is not what it seems. A handful of firms in a handful of sectors are bringing up entire indexes.”

He concludes: “Personal financial strategies should be assessed to make sure they are suited to a new era of likely permanently ultra-low or even negative interest rates.”

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Despite COVID-19 Pandemic, Africa Still a Prime Investment Destination

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Africa Still a Prime Investment Destination, Says Participants at African Development Bank (AfDB) webinar for Asian Audiences

Participants at a webinar to present the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook Supplement to Asian audiences on Monday have endorsed the report as critical for post-COVID-19 Africa.

The supplement revises the growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021 and highlights the impact of COVID–19 on Africa’s socio-economic landscape. It recommends policy responses to safely reopen economies and accelerate growth recovery.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, investment opportunities still abound in Africa,” said Tetsushi Sonobe, the Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). “Global markets are shifting to South Asia and Africa. In a sense, Africa is not very far for Asian investors who might be interested in the investment opportunities on the continent.”

Around 350 participants attended the virtual event, which was co-hosted by the Asia External Representation Office of the African Development Bank. The audience included government officials, representatives from the African diplomatic corps in Asia, development professionals, representatives of civil society, academics and think tanks, students, journalists, and the general public

Sonobe observed that Africa’s GDP growth is projected to quickly rebound in 2021 following steady growth before COVID-19.

Sonobe identified some of the potential opportunities highlighted in the African Economic Outlook Supplement: “A large market with a very talented youthful population; a three-trillion-dollar market opportunity through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements; greater manufacturing potential as low-cost manufacturing opportunities continue to move to Africa; improved business environment; and improving macroeconomic governance.”

Khaled Sherif, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery said despite the pandemic affecting all African economies, its magnitude will vary considerably from country to country, depending on the economic characteristics and initial conditions of the countries.

“This urges us to avoid the one-size-fits-all solution to address the effects of COVID-19 in Africa. For that, the AEO Supplement notes that the continent will need the support and expertise of all. This is an opportunity to enrich the debate on what appropriate measures are needed to support African countries to recover from the pandemic, drawing particularly from Asian experience,” Sherif said.

The webinar noted that the policy recommendations of the African Economic Outlook Supplement could be regarded as important opportunities for investments. Participants also observed that although Africa is human-resource-rich, Africa will need to work on closing its infrastructure gap – an issue the African Development Bank has made one of its top priorities.

The African Economic Outlook Supplement underlines the urgency to build the resilience of Africa’s healthcare systems and economies to improve countries’ preparedness for future shocks. This means that African countries will need to rethink their current development strategies and priorities, which have clearly shown their limitations.

“Policymakers must seize the new and real opportunities for participation in global value chains, particularly with Asia and within Africa and build the infrastructure needed to encourage large-scale teleworking, e-health, and distance learning architectures for a rapid, resilient, and sustainable recovery in a post-COVID-19 digital world,” said Chuku Chuku, Officer in Charge of the Bank’s Macroeconomic Policy, Debt Sustainability and Forecasting Division.

“The pandemic notwithstanding, Africa is open to business and we look forward to working with our Asian partners.”

Released annually since 2003, the African Economic Outlook provides compelling up-to-date evidence and analytics to inform and support African decision-makers.

 

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