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Fix Dilapidated Infrastructure to Improve Employment Rate, Awe Tells FG

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Fix Infrastructure to Reduce Unemployment Rate

Abel Awe, a University Professor, has advised the Federal Government to fix the nation’s dilapidated infrastructure in order to reduce the high unemployment rate in the country.

On Friday, the National Bureau of Statistics in its ‘Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report’ stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased from 23.1 per cent recorded in Q3 2018 to 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

According to the report obtained by Investors King, the total number of people working during the period under review rose from 22.8 percent to 31.5 percent. A break down showed 58,527,276 people were in employment. Out of which 35,585,274 were in full-time employment — those that worked 40+ hours per week — while 22,942,003 were under-employed — those that were working between 20-29 hours per week.

The NBS said, “For the period under review, Q2 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34 years) was 34.9 per cent, up from 29.7 per cent, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2 per cent from 25.7 per cent in Q3 2018.

Prof. Abel Awe, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, Ekiti State University, noted that many Nigerians youths who were ready and willing to work were unable to find a job while most of those who do find a job were working below their qualifications or expertise –underemployment.

He said, “That shows that these people are not part of those who should be contributing to productive base of the economy.

“That means that the economic growth of Nigeria is not inclusive.

“We are not saying that all of them should get whitecollar jobs, but where are the industries?

“The infrastructure is not there for them to work if they want to work even as artisans.”

Awe, therefore, urged the government to fix infrastructure to enable a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

Finance

TAJBank Wins Best Islamic Bank for Marketing & Growth Strategy at the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2020.

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TAJBank has won the award for Best Islamic Bank for Marketing & Growth Strategy at the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2020.

Receiving the award on behalf of the bank, the Managing Director, Norfadelizan Abdul Rahman noted “We are honoured to be recognised as the Best Islamic Bank for Marketing & Growth Strategy at GIFA. Our vision at TAJBank, is to be the leading African financial institution with a reputation for excellent customer service and innovative solutions. This goes well beyond the recognizance in earnings and returns on equity, but also in ensuring that we sustain world class corporate governance standards and continually raise the bar in exceptional customer service delivery.

“As such, awards like this clearly reflect our sustained commitment towards this vision. and motivates us to continuously deploy innovative financial products that wholly empower our customers and serve their needs.”

TAJBank, widely regarded by industry watchers as a trailblazer, has maintained consistent growth since its inception into the market due to its various innovations in digital and financial services.

Recently, the bank commissioned its 4th office in Sokoto State and also established Nigeria’s first ethical mall, TAJMall, which focuses on providing products and services to meet the evolving needs of its customers.

The Global Islamic Finance Awards celebrates leading financial institutions within the global banking sector who are setting new industry standards and driving innovation in financial services within their various countries.

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Banks to Improve Credit to Agriculture Sector, Says CBN

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CBN Says Deposit Money Banks Must Improve Credit to Agriculture Sector by 6 Percent to 10 Percent

The Central Bank of Nigeria has said deposit money banks should increase credit facilities to the agriculture sector to better stimulate growth and further economic productivity.

The apex bank said it is important to support growth in sectors that have significant growth potential and can improve the nation’s resilience in the face of external shocks.

Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the central bank, said the banking sector should strive on how to improve loans from 4 percent to 10 percent for the agriculture sector in the next four years.

The governor said “It is imperative from an economic as well as a security perspective, that our banking and financial system works to support growth in sectors that have significant growth potential, and can enhance the resilience of the Nigerian economy, in the face of external shocks.

“Over the next 4 years, the banking sector should consider ways under which it could increase its loans to the agriculture sector from 4 percent to 10 percent by 2024.

“With declining foreign exchange earnings from crude oil, banks should consider supporting agro processing companies that are export oriented.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a CBN led Infrastructure Company. In partnership with the Africa Finance Corporation and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

“Infra-Corp would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investments that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.

“The Central Bank is seeking to leverage ICT in order to improve access to finance for Nigerians. Improved access to finance through deployment of an inclusive and interoperable payment system would help to reduce the cost of payment services for individuals.

“It is important that we leverage ICT as an enabler for growth in key sectors of the economy. ICT start-ups are emerging to support SMEs, farmers, and in providing quality learning to students affected by the shutdown in schools.”

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United States and PepsiCo Egypt/Chipsy for Food Industries Renew Partnership in Egypt to Improve Farmer Livelihoods

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The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Chipsy for Food Industries, a PepsiCo Egypt company, renewed a partnership that boosts the productivity of farmers and builds a more transparent and sustainable potato supply chain.

U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, PepsiCo Egypt CEO Mohamed Shelbaya, USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed, and PepsiCo Regional Manager for Sustainable Agriculture Reuben Blackie participated.

The partnership empowers Egyptian smallholder farmers to establish reliable market linkages, increase crop quality and yields, and progress toward internationally recognized standards for sustainable agriculture.  During the first year of the partnership, farmers received training and technical recommendations on good agricultural practices, such as targeted use of irrigation and fertilizer.  As a result, in the 2019/2020 growing season, hundreds of farmers in Beni Suef significantly increased quality and yield and cut costs, tripling profits.

U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen noted: “This partnership is helping farmers to increase their incomes and improve the well-being of their families.”

Over the next two years, USAID and Chipsy for Food Industries will expand activities to farmers in the Menoufia and Minya governorates and plan to reach 2,500 farmers by 2023.  Ultimately, Chipsy plans to use this model throughout its entire smallholder supply chain in Egypt.  PepsiCo Egypt also positively impacts Egypt’s farming communities through initiatives such as its locally grown seeds program, which enables the company to produce 100% locally sourced potato chips.

Mohamed Shelbaya, CEO of PepsiCo Egypt said: “For 70 years, developing the agricultural sector has been, and will continue to be one of our top priorities.  We have been working closely with the smallholder farmers who are the cornerstone of our agriculture business to develop their capabilities to meet global standards of quality and productivity.  Today, we are honored to renew our cooperation with USAID to improve the livelihoods of the smallholder Egyptian farmers by providing them with the technical know-how and the sustainable agriculture practices, to include these farmers in Chipsy’s supply chain.”

This partnership is part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support to Egypt’s agricultural sector, which is helping farmers in Upper Egypt become more self-reliant by establishing connections to domestic and international markets, gaining access to finance, and increasing adherence to food and safety practices.

Since 1978, the American people have invested over $30 billion to further support Egypt’s economic development.

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