- Rice Farmers Smiling to Bank as Demand for Local Brands Surge
Local rice farmers and millers are smiling to the bank as border closure bolstered demand for local rice, research has shown.
The inability of importers and smugglers to access the Nigerian market following the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to close the nation’s land borders has led to the surge in the price of foreign rice and eventually forced many Nigerians to shift preference to more pocket-friendly local rice.
“A whole lot of rice farmers are increasing their production areas because there is a huge market for paddy since the border closure,” Aminu Goronyo, national president, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria.
The price of local rice has declined by 19 percent in the last 10 days due to the unusual heavy harvest by farmers struggling to meet growing demand.
“This is because millers are patronising rice farmers now and off-taking all that the farmers produce immediately,” stated Goronyo.
According to Goronyo, prior to border closure, farmers were holding more than 20,000 tons of paddy as millers were not buying due to weak demand. Largely because of Nigerians preference for imported rice.
However, the surge in the price of foreign rice after land borders were closed has paved way for paddy. While the price of a 50kg local rice like Mama Pride, Umza, Classic, Mama Choice, Lake Rice, Three Brothers, Al Hamsad, among others, that rose as high as N24,000 has started moderating in the last 10 days and currently selling for N19,500.
The Chairman of Integrated Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Abubakar, said: “Yes, the prices of rice went up immediately after the border closure. The prices have peaked and are now coming down.”
“We would be able to meet demand and Nigerians have no need to worry about Christmas demand. Our members are already increasing their capacity,” Abubakar added.
Farmers are now shifting to rice cultivation because of the growing demand for local rice.
Muhammed Augie, chairman, Rice Farmers Association, Kebbi chapter, said: “Since the surge in prices, farmers who have abandoned growing rice have returned and even other farmers are shifting to rice cultivation because the market is there.”
“A bag of paddy rice now costs N8,500 as against N10,000 sold two weeks ago. This is because we are growing more and the harvesting season just commenced,” Augie said.
Illegal Withdrawals: Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over $1.05bn
Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over Illegal Withdrawal of $1.05bn from NLNG Account
The Nigerian House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the account of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The decision followed the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC’ moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday.
The House adopted the motion and mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”
Elumelu said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.
“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05bn was spent.
“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”
FG Gives Radio, Tv Stations Debt Relief, Writes Off 60 Percent Debt
FG Reduces Tv, Radio Stations Licence Fee by 30%, Writes Off 60% Debt
The Federal Government has reduced the existing licence fee paid by all open terrestrial radio and television stations by 30 percent.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
He said the Federal Government has also decided to write off 60 percent of the N7 billion loan owed the government by television and radio stations.
He explained that the N7 billion is the total outstanding from television and radio stations on the renewal of their operating licences.
Mohammed, however, said for any station to benefit from the 60 percent debt relief, such a station must be ready and willing to pay the remaining 40 percent within the next three months.
According to him, the debt relief offer would open on July 10th and close on the 6th of October.
Mohammed said, “According to the NBC, many Nigerian radio and television stations remain indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of N7bn.
“Also, many of the stations are faced with the reality that their licences will not be renewed, in view of their indebtedness.
“Against this background, the management of the NBC has therefore recommended, and the Federal Government has accepted, the following measures to revamp the broadcast industry and to help reposition it for the challenges of business, post-COVID-19:
“(a) 60 per cent debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country; (b) the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for debtor stations to pay 40 per cent of their existing debt within the next three months.
“(c) Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 per cent indebtedness within the three-month window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.
“(d) The existing license fee is further discounted by 30 per cent for all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10, 2020.
“(e) The debt forgiveness shall apply to functional licensed terrestrial radio and television stations only. (f) The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria.”
Nigeria’s Inflation to Average 12.2 Percent in 2020 Says PwC
PwC Says Inflation Will Average 12.2% in 2020
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has predicted that the nation’s inflation rate will average 12.2 percent in 2020.
In the report titled ‘Demand and supply shocks from COVID-19 keep inflation higher for longer’, the company based its projection on the rising cost of goods and services due to the supply shocks to commodity and the COVID-19 negative impacts on the economy.
The report explained that the supply disruption brought about by lockdown measures put in place to mitigate COVID-19 spread pushed headline inflation to its highest in 23 months in the month of May 2020.
Nigeria’s headline inflation rose by 12.4 percent year-on-year in the month of May. Its fastest pace of increase in 26 months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
However, PwC said because of the growing global uncertainty due to the projected second wave of COVID-19 and declining household incomes, headline inflation will increase from the average of 11.4 percent recorded in 2019 to average 12.2 percent in 2020.
“Barring a second wave of the pandemic, which could further threaten outlook for global economic growth, coupled with the absence of major shocks to food supply in Nigeria, inflation outlook for rest of the year could be influenced by two factors. Firstly, the elevated base effect, and secondly, waning household incomes. The first factor is likely to have a greater impact.”
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