- Nigeria Utilising Below 10% of 900 Dams – Minister
Out of the 900 dams in the country, less than 10 per cent have been utilised, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said.
Ogbeh said this in an interview published in the 2017/2018 Nigeria Outlook, an investment and governance journal, obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.
The minister also stated that the Bank of Agriculture was struggling to recover N30bn owed it by farmers.
Reservoirs created by dams are used to suppress floods and provide water for irrigation, human consumption, industrial use and aquaculture.
Ogbeh stated that the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Water Resources had constructed about 900 dams, out of which less than 10 per cent had been put into use.
He said, “We work together (both ministries); we do big and large dams, close to 900. But believe me, less than 10 per cent, maybe five per cent, have been used. Some of the big ones have been there since the Second Republic, wasting away, just full of sand but we are working together now with the Ministry of Water Resources to utilise those resources for irrigation.
“We need irrigation. One of the dangers facing us is that of the possibility of a drought. It comes once in a while in many countries. It has been in Central Africa for nearly seven years now. It’s in East Africa and we fear it might happen. We are going to intensify the irrigation and build the partnership between us and the Ministry of Water Resources to go to the level where when they finish the dam, we can join hands with them and lease it out to farmers.”
Speaking on efforts to restructure the Bank of Agriculture, Ogbeh said one of the problems that had been encountered in the process was that the operations of the lender had been manual, adding that efforts were being put in place to digitise its operations.
He said another challenge that had been witnessed in the process was the collection of the N30bn owed the bank by farmers.
The minister said that the government was giving the farmers who were indebted to the bank more time to pay up since they were making more money through the sale of their produce.
AfCTFA to Cushion Negative Effect of Covid-19, Boost Regional Income by 7%- World Bank
World Bank Says Successful Implementation of Trade Pact Could Increase Africa’s Income by $450 Billion
A recent report by World Bank has revealed that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will avail African countries the opportunity to boost growth, reduce poverty, widen economic inclusion and increase regional income by 7 percent or $450 billion.
The multilateral financial institution further stated that the successful implementation of the trade pact could cushion the negative effect of the global health pandemic, lead to a surge in wage growth for women and lift over 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.
Given the economic damage caused by Covid-19, the report suggested that AfCFTA’s income gain would likely come from simplified customs procedures, tariff liberalization and reduction in non-tariff barriers. Also, putting in place trade facilitation measures that cut off the red tape, reduce compliance costs for businesses, improve ease of doing business in Africa and broaden the continent’s global supply chains would bolster income gains.
World Bank explained that the AfCFTA agreement would help cushion the negative effects of COVID-19 on Africa’s economy — by supporting regional trade and value chains through the reduction of trade costs. In the longer term, AfCFTA would provide a path for integration and growth-enhancing reforms for African countries by replacing the patchwork of regional agreements, streamlining border procedures, and prioritizing trade reforms, AfCFTA could help African countries increase their resiliency in the face of future economic shocks.
The World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, said, “The AfCFTA is expected to lift around 68 million people out of moderate poverty and make African countries more competitive. But successful implementation will be key, including careful monitoring of impacts on all workers –women and men, skilled and unskilled—across all countries and sectors, ensuring the agreement’s full benefit.”
“The African Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to increase employment opportunities and incomes, helping to expand opportunities for all Africans,” he further stated.
According to the report, the trade pact would reshape markets and economies across the region, leading to the creation of new industries and the expansion of key sectors.
AfCFTA would also significantly boost African trade, particularly intra-regional trade in manufacturing. Intra-continental exports would increase by 81 percent while the increase to non-African countries would be 19 percent.
Oil Marketers: Panic Buying Ahead of Possible Increase in Pump Price
Oil Marketers in Panic Buying Mood Ahead of Possible Increase in Pump Price
A new finding has shown that filling station owners are presently in panic buying mood ahead of a perceived increase in pumping price of petrol in August.
Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency during the weekend said pumping price could rise due to the surge in oil prices in recent weeks.
According to experts, pumping price could hit 150 per litre this month, especially after comments from the president of the agency validated that possibility.
Billy Gillis-Harry, the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, said “There is panic buying and it is because of the worry that prices will be reviewed either downwards or upwards. But because of the marginal rise in crude oil prices, the calculation is that petrol price could go up.”
He added, “That is the situation and this was why we requested that there should be a stakeholders’ engagement every month or quarterly so that we can be sure of what to expect.”
He, however, said a lot of marketers have said they are not going to hike price immediately, particularly if there was an increase in the price of petrol in the month of August.
The PETROAN president said, “Many of our members have been buying products since (July) 22nd and now they have products lined up, hoping that if PPPRA increases price, they will manage the cost in a way that Nigerians will know that we are not out to profiteer.
“We are out there to give service. So if we got products at this current rate of about N143 and they are ready to shoot the price up to N155, which is what is being anticipated, we will still sell at N143.”
NNPC Refutes Samano Sa De CV Theft Claim, Says no 48m Barrels Missing
NNPC Says no 48m Barrels Missing, Called Samano Sa De CV Blackmailer
Following Samano Sa De CV publication that 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at an estimated $2.06 billion was illegally moved in 2015 from the country to China and eventually sold despite the company informing the then Chief of staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari and other top government officials. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has now denied any knowledge of such theft.
In a letter signed by Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), NNPC’s lawyer from Afe Babalola & Co., and addressed to Samano Sa De CV’s counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Ogunwumiju claimed that the letter sent to the corporation was “not only unfounded but frivolous”.
He described the whole whistleblowing of Samano Sa De CV as “a gold-digging scheme” aimed at “blackmailing and extorting money from our client and the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
The NNPC’s lawyer stated, “We wish to emphatically and unequivocally state for the record that our client vehemently denies your client’s claim that it provided any information to NNPC or the Federal Government of Nigeria which information led to the identification and/or recovery of 48 million barrels of stolen Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil stored in the People’s Republic of China.
“Accordingly, it is our client’s position that your client is not entitled to the payment of five per cent of the value of the allegedly stolen crude or any amount whatsoever as compensation for information it purportedly gave to the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of the said stolen crude stored in the People’s Republic of China.”
He also stated that “it was impossible to ship 48 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria to China without any record or trace of same” especially because, “as of 2015, the daily production of crude ml in Nigeria was below 1.6 million barrels.”
Ogunwumiju added, “Therefore, 48 million barrels of crude oil would have been the total production capacity of the whole country for a month.
“It is simply impossible that one-month crude oil production would disappear without any record or trace.”
According to him, notwithstanding the firm’s failure to provide evidence to support its claims, “relevant officials of the government were mandated to proceed to China to verify the claims of the existence of the said stolen Nigerian crude oil.”
He stated, “The said delegation discovered that the Samao’s claim was false and baseless. Consequently, the government severed communications with the syndicate.
“Miffed by this, Messrs Ramirez and Jose Salazar Tinajero, acting as agents of Samao, resorted to blackmail and intimidation of key officials of the government and the NNPC, threatening to make public information that the said 48 million barrels of oil had been recovered, sold and the proceeds therefrom, looted by some government officials and the NNPC when it was aware that this was untrue.
“They also demanded $125,000,000 from the said government officials, which was conveniently and rightfully ignored.
“Thereafter, NNPC reported this case of attempted blackmail to the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force.”
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