The Sun News

Farmers in 29 states get N43b CBN loan

From Uche Usim, Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, disclosed that the apex bank has so far disbursed about N43 billion to over 200,000 small holder farmers in 29 states, cultivating eight commodities under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) since its launch in November 2015.

Speaking in Abuja at the launch of the presidential initiative on agriculture and youth empowerment programme held at the CBN headquarters, Emefiele said the ABP has so far, achieved tremendous success in terms of outreach and coverage, making the scheme one of the most successful CBN Development Finance initiatives to date.

According to him, though the government targets that each state generated 10,000 fresh jobs from the ABP, there was room to generate up to 130,000 new jobs in every state if they worked hard. 

“The 10,000 target per state is the very least. That is if the state is lazy. Already, Jigawa has generated 56,000 jobs along the agriculture value chain from this programme.

“So, we have looked at it and we know 130,000 new jobs can be generated in each of the 29 states that have keyed into the scheme. It is new jobs and new initiatives. After attaining food sufficiency, the next stage is export to increase our foreign reserves.

“Currently, the success of the programme has culminated in wealth creation for the small holder farmers, who hitherto had been crowded out of the formal financial system, deepening of markets and value addition along the value chain of the various commodities”, he said.

The CBN boss further revealed that the National Food Security Programme (NFSP) was initiated in November 2016 as a Public Private Partnership to complement the ABP by supporting large farms involved in commercial capital intensive operations, to produce on a massive scale, engage in value addition and shore up strategic grains reserve.

“In June 2017, over 30,000 metric tonnes of grains was purchased by the Federal Government from companies participating under this programme and distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Given this track record, I believe we are on the verge of something very significant with the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).

“This scheme has been designed to create an ecosystem with the active participation of both the public sector, state governments in this regard and the involvement of the private sector”, he said. 

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said Nigeria has to produce what she consumes and only import what cannot be produced locally.

“We should not be a dumping ground for all goods. By doing that for many years, we enriched other nations and imported poverty and our youths have no where to go.

“If Mr President did not launch the ABP on November 15, 2015, the rice and wheat production we have today would not have come. In rice, we have moved from 5 million metric tons to to 17 million metric tons. We’re getting all forms of mills. We now produce good quality rice.

“Our population is estimated to hit 450 million by 2050 and that will be the third largest population in the world. If we eat N3,000 worth of food per person daily, multiply that by 450 million. It will give you trillions in exchange of food daily. That’s a lot.

“We’re spreading artificial insemination to increase milk production. We’ve gotten back our universities of agriculture on track. So are our colleges of agriculture. We have a lot to do in agriculture. We are reforming the Bank of Agriculture.

“There’s now a strong synergy between Federal Government and States. The CBN has the cash, states have the land. That is good synergy. Cosharis has rice plantation and also going into cattle production. Imagine Kebbi State that was called the poorest state five years ago, today many millionaire rice farmers are there. It is all good for us”, he said.

FG seeks multi-purpose TV sets for Nigerians

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has challenged the manufacturers of Set Top Boxes/Decoders in the country to produce a multi-purpose television set that will help in transforming the TV experience of Nigerians.

The Minister spoke in Calabar on Thursday when he commissioned the ultra-modern Digital Set Top Box manufacturing plant, owned by the Gospell Digital Technology.

He said the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in the country is aimed at giving Nigerians a total television viewing experience that will transform their lives and change TV viewing forever.

‘’I have continued to reiterate, and the quality of the service we launched goes to confirm, that our objective is not to just move Nigerians from analogue to digital in a simple technical sense, but to improve the viewing experience and give them increased variety of channels and services.

‘’The average home today – in order to have access to the various types of entertainment – will require a television, a Set Top Box and a VCD/DVD player. This era is about to end. I am challenging the industry to move to one device in the home – the television. Give us a TV with a built-in decoder and the requisite middle-ware inside it, being able to access Nollywood releases with or without the internet, and with a remote control that can convert the TV into a computer.

‘’And please not for the rich, but for every Nigerian home. With that we will have succeeded in the reduction of the cost of access to television, information and education,’’ he said.

The Minister hailed Gospell Digital Technology for building the country’s largest electronic manufacturing and assembly plant, saying the investors and the managers of the manufacturing plant have exhibited absolute confidence, ‘’first in the future and economy prosperity of our beloved country, and of course in the Digital Switch Over (DSO) programme.

The plant, situated in the Calabar Export Free Trade Zone, has the capacity to produce 2.4 million Set Top Boxes annually, and has already provided 500 jobs.

‘’Going by its achievements in so short a time, the company’s vision of becoming the leading manufacturer of household electronic video, home entertainment and electrical appliances in Africa is very much within its reach,’’ Alhaji Mohammed said.

Also present at the commissioning were the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade; the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, Senator Suleiman Adokwe; Senator Shehu Sani, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mala, Is’haq Modibo Kawu

Elumelu Foundation hosts 1,300 entrepreneurs from 54 countries

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), on Friday announced plan to host 1,300 African entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers from 54 countries in Lagos.

Mrs Parminder Obe, the TEF’s Chief Executive Officer, who made this known at a briefing in Lagos, said the 3rd Annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum was slated for October 13.

She said the 2017 invitation had been extended beyond the usual 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs to include selected SMEs, media, hubs, incubators, academia and investors from across Africa.

“Assembled SMEs will build networks, share knowledge, connect with investors and link with corporate supply chains. Since launching the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and committing $100 million to empowering 10,000 African entrepreneurs in a decade, we have unleashed our continent’s most potent development force, its entrepreneurs.

“In just three years, our first 3,000 entrepreneurs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated considerable wealth. On October 13 and 14, the global entrepreneurship community will gather in Lagos to build a New Africa, a thriving, self-reliant continent capable of replicating the results of our ground-breaking programme.

“The two-day forum will feature plenary panels, master classes, sector specific networking opportunities and policy-led forums focused on enabling African business growth.

“This is the first year we have opened the forum up to include the full pan-African entrepreneurship ecosystem. In doing so, we are enabling African SME communities to come together and expand the possibilities for intra-African partnerships.

“I am looking forward to welcoming our invited policy-makers and investors to join us at the forum, as we empower the next generation of African business leaders,’’ she said.

Also speaking, Mrs Owen Omogiafo, the TEF’s Chief Operating Officer, said speakers at the forum would include Wale Ayeni of International Finance Corporation, Stephen Kauma, Afrexim Bank and Andre Hue, African Development Bank.

“Others are Stephen M. Haykin, USAID Nigeria, Heikke Reugger, European Investment Bank and Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, United Nations Development Programme,’’ she said.

PICTURES

PIX 1: From left – Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade (left); Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle) and the Group Managing Director of Gospell Digital Technology Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly Company, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, at the commissioning of the production plant of the company in Calabar on Thursday.

PIX 2: From left – Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade (left); Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (middle) and the Group Managing Director of Gospell Digital Technology Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly Company, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, at the commissioning of the production plant of the company in Calabar on Thursday.

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