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GES: FG Targets 20m Farmers

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The Federal Government, says it intends to register 20 million farmers for the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme in the country.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who said this during the official flag-off of the initiative at Saakpenwa, headquarters of Tai Local Government Area, Rivers State, however, noted that only 4.5million farmers have so far been registered on the national farmers’ database.

Represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Ezekiel Onyemoni, he stated that the GES scheme was an initiative aimed at addressing the challenges of past system of inputs distribution and subsidy administration in the agriculture sector, which according to him, had been largely inefficient.

“It is designed to facilitate timely and easy access to seedlings and fertilisers at affordable prices to farmers,” he said, adding that the new arrangement entailed a shift from direct procurement and distribution of seedlings by government, thereby allowing the private sector’s participation in the process.

He commended the Rivers State Government for its “keen interest and support for the development of agriculture in Nigeria and the contribution of the state to the development of the oil palm industry,” and called on farmers in the state to embrace the initiative, which he said was expected to register five million farmers annually.

Speaking, Rivers State Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi, said his administration was focused on job creation for the teeming youths, adding that the GES initiative was in line with the state government’s commitment to fight crime.

The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Engr Tele Ikuru, urged farmers in the state to follow the instructions on the use of seedlings and fertilisers to achieve best results, and lauded the Federal Government for initiating the scheme.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Emmanuel Chinda, had said that the state had been sub-divided into six centres for the distribution of seeds and fertilisers, while 32,879 farmers have been registered for the scheme in the state this year.

Chinda said that the Saakpenwa centre will cover Tai, Eleme, Ogu/Bolo, Okrika, Gokana and Oyigbo local government areas while the Bori centre will cater for farmers from Khana, Andoni and Opobo/Nkoro local government areas.

According to him, farmers from Abua/Odual will take their fertilisers and seeds from Abua Central while those in Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government areas are to take their from Ahoada.

He added that the Degema centre will cover Asari Toru and Akuku Toru local government areas while farmers from Obio/Akpor, Etche, Omuma, Ikwerre, Port Harcourt, Emohua and Bonny local government areas have their centre at Rumuodumaya, headquarters of Obio/Akpor LGA.

The commissioner said that under the scheme, each registered farmer is entitled to two bags of fertiliser, one bag of NPK and a bag of Urea as well as 40kg of maize seeds and 50kg of rice seeds.

According to him, both the federal and state governments will pay 50 per cent of the total cost while each registered farmer is to pay the balance of 50 per cent cost of the fertilisers.

Some farmers who spoke to The Tide in an interview said that the gesture would help to boost food production in the country.

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DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.

The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.

The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”

Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.

“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”

Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.

According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.

He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.

“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.

Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.

He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.

Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.

“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”

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Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment

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Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.

The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.

The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.

Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.

“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.

“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.

The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.

Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).

He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.

Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.

Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,

Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.

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‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’

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A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.

Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.

She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.

Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.

She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.

Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.

Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.

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