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There’s Greater Future In Agric – Atiku

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Former Vice-President Atiku
Abubakar has said there is a future in farming and a greater future in agriculture.
Atiku made this known at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Rico Gado Nutrition, which he co-owns with Rico Gado Nutracao, a livestock feeds company in Abuja on Saturday.
According to him, agriculture will contribute to job creation, technology transfer and a progressive change in the farming culture in Nigeria.
“Despite the doubts about our economy because of current challenges, we are confident about Nigeria’s future and about our future.
“I think I speak for my partners in this joint venture when I say: We know what we are getting into, and we’re doing it because we believe in Nigeria.
“We believe that Nigeria will overcome its current difficulties because we believe our nation will change for the better.
“I believe that agriculture is a key ingredient in our nation’s future fortunes.
“I’m proud that today, we’re taking another small step on our long walk to a more diversified, more productive, and more competitive economy.’’
He expressed optimism that the business would increase agricultural productivity, help farmers adapt to a changing world, feed the population, feed neighbouring countries and ultimately the World.
Atiku said the feed mill was no magic to solving the nation’s problems, but “a small piece in a big puzzle that will make our agricultural sector more attractive and more productive.
“It is a small piece in the even bigger puzzle that will get us over our addiction to fossil fuels, and over our reliance on rent-seeking enterprises.
“Put simply, it will help us get over our dangerous addiction to oil revenues.’’
Also, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, said the house was “looking at laws governing businesses in Nigeria, especially small and medium scale businesses.
“This event speaks to the future of this country. Imagine two million Nigerians employing 40 people each. That will generate employment for 80 million people.
“Big companies do not drive the country but pockets of small companies.’’
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said emphasis had always been on free trade, but never on fair trade.
Ogbeh said all other sectors had been sacrificed on the altar of the oil sector, and that unless people in the rural areas were engaged in agriculture, all the effort would be in vain.
He described as unfair the situation where everything was imported, including “tomato paste, sugar and even toothpick which gulped 80 million dollars per annum.
According to him, for agriculture to be successful we need certain adjustments in policy.
Ogbeh said with the population rate of the country it would be impossible to feed the teeming populace in some years time if farming was not embraced.
João Barreiro da Silva, who spoke on behalf of Rico Gado Nutrition, said the company was a success in Yola, partly because 95 per cent of the work-force and 100 per cent of raw materials were sourced locally.
“These raw materials were tested by reputable laboratories and animal nutritionists in the EU as well as NAFDAC, both certified their nutritional requirements for livestock.
“The Abuja factory is expected to be constructed within 32 weeks. Its capacity will more than double that of Yola thus, producing over 120 tonnes of assorted livestock feeds, per annum, meaning 50 tonnes per hour.
“This is in realisation of the huge potential of the Nigerian economy, which is the largest in Africa,’’ Barreiro da Silva said.
Present at the ceremony were the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, former Head of Service, Yayale Ahmed and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, among others.

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FG To Eradicate Multiple Taxation In Mining Sector – Adegbite

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The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, says the Federal Government is setting in place various measures to eradicate multiple taxation for miners.
At the flagship Forum last Tuesday in Abuja, Adegbite said the ministry was engaging with the three tiers of government to resolve this issue.
He said that this informed the recent webinars and advocacy engagements by the ministry with all stakeholders in the country involved in the mining industry.
He said that though the constitution vested control of mineral resources in Nigeria in the Federal Government, the fund goes into the Federation Account, of which everybody participates.
He added that all the 774 local governments got money from that account but if they cut corners by disturbing the miners with unnecessary local taxes they get discouraged.
“So, it is double jeopardy when you go and do all these illegal taxes, or you go and disturb the miners, when you will benefit from what is derived in your place, you get a 13 per cent derivation.
“You also get your share of the federal accounts as of course laid down statutorily. So, it is a continuous process, we educate everybody and I think we are getting good results.”
The minister said there was a Mineral Resource Committee (MIRENCO) in every state and the chairman was nominated by the governor of that state, so that he would be in the know about everything going on about mining in that state.
He said that the chairman of that committee was to oversee all the activities between the miners, the community, the state government and the Federal Government.
“So, on that committee, the Federal Government has representatives, the local government has representatives, the governor chooses the chairman and then Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders bring in representatives as well.
“So, through this committee, everybody can participate, and make sure that we work in harmony, bake a bigger pie so everybody can share.
“So, it is continuous advocacy, we let them know what we are doing and of course they can also participate, where they do not understand or where the governor has any problem he can always ask the chairman.”
On the issue of rock blasting, he said cities had expanded to meet quarries.
According to him, quarrying is a necessity, because stones are needed to make concrete when building roads and houses.

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Nigeria Lost N53.26bn To Gas Flaring In Two Months – NNPC

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Nigeria lost an estimated N53.26billion in the first two months of this year as international oil companies and local players flared a total of 33.04 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.
The oil companies wasted 17.53 billion scf of gas in February, compared to 15.51 billion scf in January, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
With the price of natural gas put at $3.93 per 1,000scf as of Wednesday, the 33.04 billion scf flared translates to an estimated loss of $129.85million or N53.26billion (using the official exchange rate of N410.13/dollar).
The NNPC, in its latest monthly report, said out of the 206.05 billion scf produced in February, a total of 133.06 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 40.15 billion scf and 92.91 billion scf for the domestic and export market respectively.
It said this implied that 64.48 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 35.52 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.
Gas flare rate was 7.67 per cent in February (i.e. 565.52 million standard cubic feet per day), compared to 7.73 per cent in January (i.e. 554.01 million scfd).
In January, a total of 223.55 billion scf of natural gas was produced, translating to an average daily production of 7,220.22 million scfd.
Out of the total gas output in January, a total of 149.24 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 44.29 billion scf and 104.95 billion scf for the domestic and export markets respectively.
Firms producing less than 10,000 barrels of oil per day will pay a gas flare penalty of $0.5 per 1,000 scf.
The penalties paid by oil and gas companies for flaring gas in the country will be invested to build midstream gas infrastructure in host communities, according to a new provision introduced into the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly.
“Moneys received from gas flaring penalties by the commission (Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission) pursuant to this subsection, shall be transferred to the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund for investment in midstream gas infrastructure within the host communities of the settlor on which the penalties are levied,” the Senate and House of Representatives said in subsection (4) of section 104 of the bill.

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Nigeria To Boost Trade Volume Through ECOWAS TPOs

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Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports following the official launch of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (PTOs).
With Executive Director /CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Segun Awolowo, as the inaugural president of the ECOWAS TPOs, the NEPC is repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP), a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan whose development and implementation is being led by the Vice President.
EEFP is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it’s a spin-off of the Zero Oil Plan developed by Awolowo and approved by the President.
Besides providing financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, EEFP is also going to see the establishment of top-notch warehouses close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to globally competitive standards ahead of their exportation.
The EEFP, in line with the FG’sEconomic Sustainability Plan (ESP), is focused on cushioning the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on non-oil export businesses,thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.
In March, Minister of Industry,Tradeand Investment (MITI), Niyi Adebayo, officially flagged off the EEFP and launched the first online Grant Management Portal (GMP) for non-oil exports.
While the EEFP is being implemented by the NEPC, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is the supervisory body over the agency and its operations.
It was learnt although the programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries, since the launch, it has received over 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which over 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.
Federal Government officials said further details and plans on disbursement to final successful beneficiaries are being awaited.

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