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Zero Interest Financing to Over 2M Farmers -FG

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FG to Provide Over 2 Million Farmers Zero Interest Loan

As a measure to mitigate the effect of the global health pandemic, the federal government announced zero-interest financing to over 2 million farmers nationwide.

This statement was made on Tuesday at Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the president on Agriculture, Mr. Andrew Kwaseri.

He said the project would run under Agric for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP) which would last for 12 months with two million hectares of land to improve productivity.

The presidential aid said trained enumerators have been assigned the task of identifying farmers and farms which qualified as beneficiaries of the program.

He said this would allow proper registration and identification of the farmers and their farms resulting to a comprehensive database that will be used in accessing the financing facilities.

Mr. Andrew also said that the project is futuristic as it would ensure food security in the post-COVID-19 era and eliminate post-harvest loss, thereby, positioning the farmers as drivers of economic growth.

He said “This joint venture between Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), state governments and other relevant stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is aimed at increasing locally grown food supply.

” It will simultaneously create employment opportunities in the agricultural sector,” he added.

The presidential aide pointed out that the priority crops and livestock targeted by the AFJP for local markets were rice, maize, sorghum, soybean and groundnut.

Others are cowpea, cassava, millet, livestock, horticulture, palm kernel and cotton, while sesame seeds, cocoa, hides and skin as well as horns and hoofs are targeted for export market

Mr Kwaseri confirmed that the Agricultural sector is important and cannot be neglect in the battle to reduce the negative impact of the global health pandemic in the country.

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Stanbic IBTC Appoints Mrs. Sola David-Borha as Non-Executive Director

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Stanbic IBTC Bank

Mrs. Sola David-Borha is Stanbic IBTC Non-Executive Director

Stanbic IBTC board on Thursday announced the appointment of Mrs. Sola David-Borha as a non-executive director effective from 24 September 2020.

The lender disclosed this in a statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

In the statement signed by Chidi Okezie, Company Secretary, Stanbic IBTC, the lender said the appointment is subject to regulatory approvals.

According to the bank, “Mrs. David- Borha is currently the Chief Executive, Standard Bank (Africa Regions). Prior to that, she served as Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC (2012-2017) as well as the Bank (2011-2012), after holding various executive positions in Corporate Banking; Corporate & Investment Banking; and Investment Banking Coverage for Africa (excluding South Africa). She is also an Independent Non-Executive Director on the Board of CocaCola Hellenic Bottling Company.

“Mrs. David-Borha has had an extensive career in the financial services industry, which has spanned over 30 years. Her executive educational experience includes the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School and the Global CEO Program of CEIBS, Wharton and IESE. She is an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and winner of the CNBC African Woman of the Year Award for 2016.

“The Board is pleased to welcome Mrs. David-Borha back to the Board of the Company and will undoubtedly continue to benefit immensely from her wealth of experience.”

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Lagos Introduces Fuel Station on Inland Waterways to Enhance Ferry Operations

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Lagos State Waterways Intrdouces Fuel Station for Ferries Operators

The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) on Tuesday said it has introduced the first-ever fuel state on the Lagos inland waterways.

The fuel station was introduced to boost activities across Lagos waterways and increase transportation activities, according to a statement released by Nkechi Ajayi, the Public Relations Officer, LASWA.

Speaking at the five cowries terminal in Lagos during an event, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, the General manager, LASWA, lauded the fueling station project, adding that it would boost ferry operators’ activities and help them expand.

Emmanuel was quoted as saying “This project is significant to us at LASWA being a responsible agency of government.

“We are concerned about the hardship and occasional harassment usually faced by ferry operators while using jerry cans to get fuel from filling stations to run their boats.

“With the opening of this fuel pump unit to serve both commercial and private boat owners, the safety of lives and property on the Lagos waterways will be greatly enhanced.

“To further promote the safety of all waterways users, we urge boat operators to desist from moving fuel with kegs.

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Why N-power Beneficiaries Should be Retained Permanently

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N-power Beneficiaries Must and Should be Retained Permanently

Poorly paid with little to zero job securities and economic provisions, thousands of Nigerian graduates and non-graduates continue to enroll for the social investment program, N-power, established by the Federal Government in 2016 to alleviate poverty and support the vulnerable.

However, two years later the program is experiencing a downturn with the government planning to throw beneficiaries (batches A and B) of the program back into the street despite the nation’s unemployment rate at a record high of 27.1 percent.

Participants, proudly referred to as beneficiaries by the government and its agents, have had to endure delays in inhumane stipends that can barely meet their daily needs to undefined or uncertain exit package plans for the participants of the program.

Despite all the limitations faced by volunteers, supervisors in schools and other places of assignments have said N-power beneficiaries played key roles in addressing a lot of their existing challenges and on numerous occasions and they have occasioned a new growth direction.

According to a Senior Special Adviser to the President on job creation, “What we have found out is that they are filling a lot of gaps in some places like schools, where they do not have enough teachers.In some schools where the N-Power are posted to, you discovered that it is only the principal and some NYSC members that are teaching students, the Npower teachers have helped to compliment their efforts.”

In Ekiti, a 34-year-old veteran teacher explained that “If not all of them, a majority of the N-Power teachers have mastery of the subject matter. They have not been found wanting also in the theoretical aspect of teaching. Especially the way they make use of teaching aid in classes; and that is actually very impressive.

“There is one of them who is a Physics teacher now, we have to keep deploying from one class to the other just because we don’t have adequate teachers to cover those classes.

“The one that is taking Christian Religious Knowledge is a born teacher, who is very efficient and very punctual in her classes.”

Another principal of Government Secondary School in Daurawa, Kano, Haliru Inuwa, said the eight N-power teachers posted to his school since December 2016 have been saving grace for both himself and the students.

He said “We have eight beneficiaries of N-Power posted to my school here.” 

“Most of them are handling core science subjects which most of the schools in Kano state are lacking generally. Yes, subjects like Mathematics, English etc. To our surprise, and against the earlier concern raised that they might not perform well in teaching, the N-Power volunteer teachers are not only committed to their teaching, but are also punctual,” he added.

These much were achieved in spite of the poor salary and working conditions. Graduates and non-graduates of the N-power program have exceeded expectations and raised the bar of dedication and service to the people.

The Nigerian government, just like the private sector operators, continues to take advantage of the high unemployment rate it created to exploit supposed high demand services. What does one expect? when they have been undermined from the onset as ‘privileged beneficiaries’ even with the pivotal role they played in the economy.

N-power volunteers, Batch A and B, as promised are to be absorbed into permanent job positions and their salaries and working conditions reviewed to further enhance their commitments and impacts across the board.

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