The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, last Saturday said he had cultivated 500 hectares of rice farm in the 2016 and 2017 farming seasons.
Onwe, a British-trained Lawyer and former Senator representing Ebonyi Central at the National Assembly, said that he was determined to be at the forefront of Governor David Umahi’s administration to revolutionise agriculture in the state.
The commissioner said the governor’s agricultural revolution, especially in rice production, made him target the cultivation of 500 hectares in 2018 after cultivating 150 hectares and 350 hectares of rice farm in the 2016 and 2017 farming seasons.
“I own the biggest private-individual rice farm in the south east geo-political zone of the country as anyone in doubt of this claim should prove otherwise.
“I will gladly surrender my entire harvest in the previous two years to charity if it is established that there is a larger individual effort anywhere in the south-east as we have more than 600 metric tons of paddy and 200 tons of milled rice in storage presently.
“I don’t know what is obtained in the South-South or South-West zone of the country but if there are individuals cultivating at such a scale, I am yet to hear about them which tempts me to say that we take the lead in the entirety of southern Nigeria.
“When five people replicate what we are doing in each state across the zone consistently with 10 state governors replicating what Umahi is doing, then self-sufficiency in this foreign exchange guzzler will become a reality in less than five years,” he said.
He promised to diversify into cassava cultivation in the coming years but it would be pertinent to first, establish a high level of expertise and lay proper foundation on rice production.
“The problem with Nigerians is that we are status- obsessed and being a lawyer, I believe agriculture can be practised by individuals regardless of their profession or status in the society.
“The more I am involved in this venture, the more I realise that the sacrifices to be made are huge but there are correlating benefits with the huge sense of patriotism of doing your bit to sustain a nation,” he said. Onwe said rice yield in some areas was modest and very rewarding in others as the farm in Ezillo for instance, was an upland or semi upland farm.
“Rice yields in such area are usually very low, we struggle to make up to two to three metric tons of harvest per hectare while in the swampy fields in Ikwo for instance, we make five metric tons per hectare.
“The returns are directly proportional to the profit one makes as the same level of investment can be made in both the upland and swampy areas.
“In the upland areas of Ezillo for instance, one can make N300,000 but we cultivate in Ezillo because there is a rice variety called Faro 44 which is genetically modified and yields more in such areas.
“We are at least breaking even, do not engage in these most times for the profit but profit making should not be 100 per cent returns at all times.
The Tide source who visited Onwe’s rice farms in Ezillo and Ikwo reported that they covered a large expanse of lands with several workers on them.
Implementation Of Cashless Policy Is In Public Interest –Emefiele
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele says the implementation of cashless policy in six states of the federation is in public interest to promote efficient payment system.
Emefiele stated this while fielding questions from journalists after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting held in Abuja, last Friday.
The CBN had, last Tuesday issued a circular to deposit banks to commence the implementation of the cashless policy in six pilot states across the country.
The apex bank directed that implementation should commence from Sept 18 in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It, however, stated that the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy would take effect from March 31, 2020. The CBN explained that transactions will attract three per cent processing fees for withdrawal and two per cent processing fees for lodgement of amounts above N500, 000 for individual accounts.
Similarly, corporate accounts will attract five per cent processing fees for withdrawal and three per cent processing fee for lodgement of amounts above N3 million.
The CBN’s directive has, however, received knocks from many Nigerians.
Reacting, Emefiele said the policy was not new as it was inaugurated in the country in 2012 and implementation began in 2014 while several engagements were held across multiple stakeholders before its commencement.
He said withdrawal charges had been in place since then, only deposit charges were new now to some people though it was part of it from beginning but later withdrawn.
“The policy says if you deposit money in the bank above a particular threshold which for individual is N500,000 and N3 million for corporate bodies, then you will be charged, same for withdrawal.
“It has been like this but after stakeholders engagement, we agreed that it was too early to begin to charge people who want to deposit money in banks.
“We agreed at that time that they were a lot of cash outside the bank industry and there is no need to penalise the people who want to bring in their money to the banks and then we relaxed the essence of charging on deposit.
“We expected that after five years, that is from 2015 to 2019, all cash kept in peoples’ houses should have been brought to the banks,” he explained. He announced that full cashless policy would commence all over the country by March, 2020.
He stated that the policy was not designed to defranchise hard working Nigerians as perceived by some categories of people.
According to him, a data conducted, revealed that close to 95 per cent of cash deposited and withdrawn fall bellow this threshold.
SON Seeks Media Partnership Against Substandard Goods
The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has solicited active working synergy with journalists and other stakeholders in the fight against substandard goods in the country.
The SON Coordinator in charge of Sokoto and Zamfara states, Mr Wanza Kussiy made the appeal in Sokoto, last Friday.
Kussiy emphasised the need for increased awareness for Nigerians to patronise quality products and services with required valuable standards.
He said SON had the mandate of safeguarding people’s lives through ensuring maximum quality of all categories of goods and services as well as rid the country of substandard goods.
According to the coordinator, fighting substandard goods and services should be collective responsibility of all Nigerians.
“ There is need for increased partnership between SON, law enforcement agencies, media professionals, governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations and community-based groups.
“ SON fights substandard goods to ensure quality assurance of products and services across the country” Kussiy said.
He said officials were always encouraged to provide conducive platforms on collaborations where all stakeholders could contribute toward achieving the mandate.
Kussiy cautioned people against demanding for cheap items, which he described as a dangerous way of encountering with counterfeit products.
He explained that SON had unified measures of certifying quality of products and services comprising imported ones and those produced within the country, and also issue out compliance certificates.
The coordinator urged people to report or register their complaint on items or services suspected to be of substandard quality for immediate action.
He stressed that the aim was to ensure that people obtained goods and services with maximum required value.
Xerox To Partner RSG On Information Management
A leading company in documents equipments and solutions, Xerox H.S Nigeria Limited has said that it would remain focused in providing the modern technology to drive excellence in documentation and information management in public service and the private sector.
General Manager Sales and Marketing of the company, Mr Femi Abidoye, disclosed this during a product exhibition of the company in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He said the company was ready to partner with the Rivers State Government and other stakeholders in documentation and information management, to enhance productivity, “in the face of dynamic, ever changing technological advancement
“It is on record that Xerox has been visibly represented in Port Harcourt (Rivers State) for more than three decades now and their contributions in the state had altered the face of business and official transactions, from documents generation, storage, retrieval and archiving in daily corporate world of business,” he said.
Abidoye said the company has continued to blaze the trail in the changing phase of transaction in business, politics and social devices,adding that the exhibition was to showcase its latest innovations to the company’s customers in Rivers state.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Engr Benson Okwonu, had described Xerox as one of the top centres of business activities in Rivers State , Nigeria and the world at large, leading in documents equipment and solutions with wide range of modern technologies.
Okwonu who is the Executive Director, Engineering, Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) urged the company to maintain its pace in technological advancement and service delivery.
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