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Oil Firm Promises To Prioritise Oil Palm Production

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Total Exploration and Production Nigerian Limited is to give more attention to oil palm production in OML 58 communities through capacity building programmes.
The representative of the company, Mr Philip Israel, said this at Obite in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area while declaring open a Total Exploration and Productions Nigeria Limited farmers training in sustainable oil palm production.
Mr Israel said that the training was to equip the farmers with the necessary information and tools to improve their yields.
He urged the participants to take the seminar seriously as several topics ranging from application of agrochemicals and others have been lined up for them.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Maclyns Global Resources Limited, the facilitating organisation, Mr Ugochukwu Mackintosh, said that the programme was part of the capacity building programmes lined up by the company to improve the capacity of oil palm farmers in its host communities.
Mr Mackintosh said that the fifty participants had also benefitted from the distribution of oil palm seedlings by the company.
He described oil palm business as one of the most lucrative ventures, stressing that with the current high international demand for Nigeria’s palm oil, the farmers were already potential millionairs.
In his own contribution, Mr Dickson Dennis of United Phosphorous Limited stressed the need for massive investments in agriculture by governments of south-south and south-east states.
Dennis, who spoke on safe use of agrochemicals told the farmers to be careful of the type of chemicals they used for their farms and their applications.
Another participant, Mrs Nancy Iheduru, urged them to give more attention to agriculture as the oil palm industry will soon overtake the crude oil industry.

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CRSG To Fund 2021 Budget With $20.4m Grant

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The Cross River State Government is to deploy the $20.4million grant it got from the World Bank funded States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme of the Federal Government into funding its 2021 N281billion budget.
This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr, in Calabar last Friday at a news briefing.
He said since the thrust of the budget was empowerment and employment of youths, especially in the rural areas, the grant would be channelled there.
On how the state got the grant, Ekpenyong said, “Cross River State met the eligibility criteria for the 2019 programme and was accordingly pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified Nigerian states under the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme.”
He said the assessment exercise was conducted in September 2020 by the Independent Verification Assessors from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and JFR Consulting and it showed that the state achieved six Disbursement Linked Indicators out of the nine applicable for 2019, and three out of the three for the 2020 additional financing.
The commissioner said the report noted that Cross River State had strengthened its internally generated revenue collection, implemented biometric verification to reduce payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for increased transparency, strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.

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CBN Issues New Guidelines On e-Payment, Fintech Dev

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued fresh guidelines aimed at strengthening the payment system and development of other disruptive technologies relating to financial services.
The regulatory frame works are contained in two separate documents issued by the apex banks. The documents are created to address challenges in regulatory sandbox and quick response (QR) code payment operations in the country.
The CBN said, “In furtherance of its mandates to ensure the safety and stability of the Nigerian financial system, promote the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system, the Central Bank of Nigeria hereby issues the framework for QR code payments in Nigeria.”
In one of the documents that detailed the operational relationships among issuers, acquirers, merchants, other financial service providers and customers, the Bank spelt out risk management issues and the reporting processes while allocating responsibilities to relevant participants in the value chain, warning that it “shall apply appropriate sanctions to any party that fails to comply accordingly”.
It stated: “Issuers and acquirers shall agree to minimum due diligence guidance for merchant onboarding without prejudice to know your customers/anti-money laundering (KYC/AML) requirements of the Bank Issuers and acquirers shall ensure behavioural monitoring and fraud management systems are implemented to prevent, detect and mitigate fraud and money laundering.
“Issuers shall provide quarterly risk management assessment reports to the Director, Payments System Management Department. The risk management assessment report shall include, among others, fraud reports, vulnerabilities assessment and risk-mitigating measures introduced.”
According to the CBN, participants shall ensure full interoperability of QR code scheme in the country and work towards achieving its seamless operation.
The regulator left the determination of transaction limit to issuers alongside customers. It, however, directed that the threshold should be set based on the outcome of a customer’s risk profile assessment.
Merchants are mandated by the regulatory framework to cooperate with acquiring banks or other participants, as the case may be, to investigate reported fraudulent cases. They are also expected to report all suspicious transactions to acquirers for necessary actions.
“QR code payments in Nigeria shall be based on the EMV® QR Code Specification for Payment Systems. The Bank may also approve the implementation of any other QR Code Standard provided it meets the prescribed security requirements within the framework, demonstrates interoperability with other existing implementation in the industry and/or cost benefits to end-users (merchants and customers),” the apex bank said.
QR code is a type of barcode that could be read by a digital device and which is used for financial transactions. QR code merchant payment is a growing innovation in the payment system. On the other hand, a regulatory sandbox is a formal process where firms conduct live tests of new, innovative products, services, delivery channels or business models in a controlled environment. Regulatory oversight, subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, is an essential component of the process.
The CBN said: “This framework, therefore, defines the establishment, rules and operations of a regulatory sandbox for the Nigerian payment system to promote effective competition, embrace new technology, encourage financial Inclusion and improve customer experience, with a view to engendering public confidence in the financial system.”

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Bayelsa Debunks Participation In N123.34bn 2020 Grant To States

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The Bayelsa State Government has said that the current administration did not participate in the 2020 budget transparency assessment by the Federal Government, and therefore dismissed reports that the state failed to meet set criteria.
Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayiba Duba, told newsmen in Yenagoa that the current administration in the state only came into office on Febuary 14, 2020.
He explained that the state was in transition mode as at January 2020 when the assessment was conducted and could not have participated when its 2020 budget was passed in March 2020,after the assessment had been concluded.
Our correspondent recalls that Governor Douye Diri was sworn in on Februry 14, a day after the Supreme Court sacked the erstwhile governor-elect of Bayelsa , David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.
Lyon’s election was nullified because his deputy submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commision.
Duba, who described media reports that Bayelsa did not meet the eligibility criteria for the funds as erroneous, noted that Bayelsa government gives priority to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
“The report that Bayelsa State did not benefit from the N123.34 billion recently disbursed to thirty-two states under the Federal Governments States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Result because the state did not meet the eligibility criteria was inaccurate and misleading.
“The claim could not have been the truth because Bayelsa did not participate in the selection process.
“It is an open secret that Bayelsa was in transition for the larger part of 2019.
“The administration assumed office in February, 2020 and the budget was not passed until March long after the SFTAS condition for benefiting in the funds had expired.
“It is therefore impossible to have published the budget online in January.
“However, the 2021 budget was passed in compliance with the SFTAS.
“The citizenry is assured that the prosperity administration of Sen. Douye Diri is committed to fiscal transparency and accountability,” Duba said.
On the outstanding pension liability, Duba said the Diri administration has been offsetting the pension arrears since he came on board, had released an additional sum of N500 million in addition to the N150 million for pensions in January.
“Bayelsa State Government is deeply committed to the welfare and wellbeing of its citizenry particularly those who have invested their productive years in the service of our state and will continue to do things that will ameliorate their condition.
“The people of Bayelsa are encouraged to continue to support the prosperity administration of Gov. Douye Diri as the movement on the path of development has commenced,” Duba said.

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