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FG Targets Shea Production To Create Jobs, Boost Export

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The Federal Government says a policy document on Shea butter production will create more jobs and increase exportation of the product.
Mr Sunday Akpan, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, said this in Abuja on Monday.
Akpan, who was represented by the Director, Department of Commodity Produce and Inspectorate (CPI) Mrs Omololu Ope-Ewe, said this during the presentation of the draft policy document on shea butter.
He said that Federal Government was working towards ensuring that Nigeria stopped the importation of Shea-based products like vegetable oil, soap and other cosmetics.
“The country will build a virile Shea hub which takes us to a point where we will be exporting high quality Shea butter and other products instead of exporting the raw nut which yields close to nothing.
“The policy will enable thousands of Nigerians to find new opportunities in Shea business and engage millions in both direct and indirect jobs for wealth creation,’’ Akpan said.
According to him, the country must evolve new strategies towards gaining market access for Shea products.
He said that Nigeria needed to agree on the right method and process that would attract and stimulate new and sustainable investment in the Shea sector.
Akpan said that the National Shea Policy would guide, regulate, protect and support stakeholders in the sector.
“Nigeria accounts for about 57 per cent of global Shea supply, producing about 400,000 metric tonnes annually.
“It is, however, disturbing that more than half of the total quantity produced is unaccounted for owing to poor post-harvest handling.
“Others are lack of modern processing equipment, low investment, lack of innovation, research and development.
Ope-Ewe, who was also represented by Mr Napoleon Abalaka, Deputy Director, Commodities and Products Inspectorate Department, said the challenges of the sector had been non improvement on production and processing methods.
She further listed other challenges as credit for expansion and handicap in producing high quality products for global export.
She said that the document would encourage investors who would be willing to put their hard earned monies in the sector.
Ope-Ewe said most investors were not willing to invest in the sector because of the absence of a protective mechanism and safety net that would meet their expectation in Return on Investment (ROI).
In a presentation of the draft document, Mrs Funmi Ilamah, from Management Strategy Advisory Ltd,said Nigeria lacked a solid structure and plantation to boost the sector.
According to Ilamah, the country produces 75 per cent of Shea while it exports only 10 per cent of it.
She said the sector was faced with issues like lack of domestication and cultivation of Shea trees in Nigeria.
She therefore advocated for improvement on the production of Shea through research and development of resource management.

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MSMEs In Nigeria Rise To 41m

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A recent survey by the National Survey on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in conjunction with the Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS), has revealed that the number of MSMEs in Nigeria has risen to 41,543,028.
The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum who stated this in Abuja yesterday at the presentation of a report and the formal launch of the National MSME Database online portal, said there are limiting factors like the dearth of veritable and useable data on MSMEs.
He said this has also created employment for 59,647,954 people across the country, saying the purpose of the National MSME database is to give a face and identity to a number of players especially within the small and growing businesses.
Katagun said: “The National MSME database is an initiative of SMEDAN. It will also give visibility to all the enablers. I have been informed that the first phase of the database capture of MSMEs in 2018 covered four commercial activities of Kano, Abia, Lagos and Ogun.
“The harvested database of MSMEs from other states and will gradually be uploaded into the national database portal over time as funds are made available.
The Director General, SMEDAN, Dikko Umaru stated that the agency has been burdened with tons of request regarding key information bordering on MSMEs over the years.
The Tide reports that the purpose of the database is to complement on sectoral basis the huge details contained in the national survey on MSMEs jointly conducted by SMEDAN and NBS.

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3,051 Depositors Petition Banks Over Charges,

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About 3,051 depositors have petitioned their banks and other financial institutions over various complaints such as excess/unauthorised charges, fraudulent activities, guarantees, dispense errors and funds transfers in 2018, a report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has indicated.
While 1,439 complaints were lodged to the CBN in the first half of 2018, 1,612 complaints were reported in the second half of 2018.
This was disclosed in a report by the CBN in its financial stability report on complaints management and resolution for 2018.
The report said, “A total of 1,612 complaints from consumers of financial services were received in the period under review, indicating an increase of 173 complaints or 12.02 per cent over the 1,439 received in the first half of 2018.
“Of this number, 1,602 complaints or 99.38 per cent were against banks, while 10 complaints or 0.62 per cent were against OFIs.
“The complaints were in various categories, such as excess/unauthorised charges, fraud, guarantees, dispense errors, funds transfers.”
It added, “A total of 1,496 complaints were successfully resolved or closed in the period under review, compared with 4,723 in the first half of 2018, indicating a decrease of 3,227 or 215.71 per cent.
“Total claims made by complainants during the period amounted to N7.99bn and $1.77m, while the sums of N3.09bn and $1.724m were refunded to customers.”
The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, had earlier said customers should not always be too much in a hurry to let some grievances go away, but should take a further step by reporting to the regulator.
“We have actually helped a lot of displeased depositors to get monies from their banks after they complained,” he said.
According to him, any depositor who felt extorted by his bank, if after complaining and the bank denied should send an email to the CBN.
He said if customers failed to lodge their complaints, it would be impossible for the CBN to go into the banking hall and defend their rights.
“The depositors should lodge their complaints with us. So, please find time to report any wrongdoings by the banks,” he said.
Okorafor noted that there were all manner of complaints, but said that convenient banking services required various levels of investments, which customers must pay for, but only at appropriate rates.
“Banking services are not free anywhere in the world,” he added.
He explained that if a person could sit in his comfort zone to make transactions, it was only made possible because some people invested in the banks.
“It is not government subsidy; some people are paying for it but what the CBN would not do is to allow your banks to rip you off,” he said.
He added that the apex bank had published on its website the appropriate ways to address bank problems.

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NDDC’s Debtors: NASS Lists FG, 17 Oil Firms Says They Owe Agency N1.27trn, $73m

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The Federal Government and 17 local and international oil companies have questions to answer over alleged indebtedness to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the tune of N1.27trillion and $73million, respectively.
The National Assembly on Monday said it would invite some Federal Government officials and 17 oil firms over the alleged indebtedness to the NDDC.
The officials to appear before the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on the NDDC next week Wednesday include the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; and Auditor-General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine.
Some of the oil companies invited are Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, Belma Oil Producing Limited, Aiteo Exploration and Production, Dubri Oil, Conoil Producing, and Continental Oil and Gas.
Others are Nigeria LNG Limited, Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross Exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Munipulo Petroleum Development Company, and Prime Exploration and Production Company.
The Chairman, House Committee on NDDC and Co-chairman of the joint committee, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, confirmed the development to journalists in Abuja on Monday.
He said, “We are expecting the IOCs and other oil companies to come by Wednesday next week to tell Nigerians why they have blatantly refused to abide by the laws of the nation. I can assure, we will recover every dime due to the NDDC.”
The lawmaker stated that records had shown that the affected oil companies jointly owed the NDDC N72billion and $73million, while the Federal Government alone owed N1.2trillion.
Tunji-Ojo said, “These companies we are investigating owe the NDDC huge sums of money, which when remitted, would improve the fortune of the people of the Niger Delta area. By the records we have, a company like Shell Petroleum Development Company owes more than N54.9bn.
”We also have it on good authority that Pan Ocean owes as much as $46.6million, while Allied Energy is indebted to the tune of $43m; and Shebah Express Petroleum owes as much as $23.8million and then, Atlas Petroleum owes $22million.
“The 9th National Assembly cannot afford to sit and watch oil companies deny the NDDC of its statutory revenue from firms operating in the country.”
He added that a technical audit of the NDDC conducted by the 8th National Assembly was very revealing.

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