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FG Approves N3.6bn For Agric Mechanisation

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The Federal Government
has approved N3.6 billion to support the establishment of Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE) nationwide, Agric Minister Akinwunmi Adesina, said.
He said this recently at an interactive session with mechanisation intervention partners in Abuja.
Adesina, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, said mechanisation in an agrarian country like Nigeria must be taken very seriously.
The minister said that the initiative would enable the country to attain the desired height of putting agriculture at the fore front of the economy.
“To kick-start the implementation of this framework, I approved an intervention scheme to serve as a pilot with N3.6 billion released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development towards financing the establishment of the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE).
“The funds in the first phase will make available 400 units of tractors, 500 power tillers, and various harvest and post harvest equipment to set up 80 centres.’’
Adesina said government was aware of the challenges that had bedevilled the mechanisation sector in the past years, in spite of past efforts to subsidise the cost of tractors at 45 per cent.
He said that the small scale farmers that produced 80 per cent of the nation’s food had very little or no access to these subsidised machinery.
Adesina said the second phase would achieve similar results like the first but that the third phase would acquire 250 tractors through the partnership programme.
He predicted that at the end of the first, second and third phases, the intervention scheme would bring in 1050 units of tractors, 1500 power tillers and 2400 units of various harvest and post-equipment such as rice reapers, grain threshers and cassava peelers.
Adesina said also that about 210 units of the equipment would be located in demand driven locations nationwide.
He said that the intervention would also create 6,090 direct jobs, mechanise a minimum of 488,250 hectares of land.
Adesina said that the AEHEs would be run by the private sector, adding that the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) would cover the programme.
In her remarks, Odusote, who was represented by a Director in the minister’s office, Dr Damilola Eniaiyeju, said the success of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) depended on mechanisation.
She said in spite of government’s efforts to mechanise agriculture over the years, it was still at 0.027 horse power per hectare.
Odusote said the dismal state of mechanisation had led to the formation of advisory committee saddled with the responsibility of producing a workable mechanisation frame work to support the agricultural transformation agenda.
She said for a start, government was clearing 6,400 hectares of land nationwide for cassava production, adding that farmers through the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme would access effective tractor services and enable them own their tractors.
Mr Thomas Atsu, who spoke on behalf of the lead-accredited vendor/manufacturers’ representatives, expressed satisfaction with government mechanisation programme.
He said tractor vendors were happy with the programme and urged the banking sector to help finance vendors and farmers to achieved mechanisation.
On his part, the Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, said the bank was known for its positive investments.
He applauded the minister for the intervention, adding that the major challenge facing agriculture in Africa was mechanisation.
Santuraki expressed the determination of the bank to support for the programme, saying ‘’only through mechanisation will agriculture be transformed from a development programme to a business’’.
Highlight of the event was the signing of performance agreement between the ministry and the accredited vendors, manufacturers and representatives.

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CILT Holds Summit In Oct

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The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation (CILT), Nigeria, is billed to hold its summit from October 11 to 12, at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos.
The summit, which is aimed at promoting Nigeria’s Transport and Logistics Sector, is expected to bring together global transport veterans, lawyers, shipbuilders, bankers, academics, and consultants to discuss latest issues in the logistics and transport sector.
It will focus on logistics and transportation chains perspective with renowned experts presenting papers.
Chairman of the event’s planning committee, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, revealed this much during a press briefing in Lagos, saying the event would correct Nigeria’s poor logistics performance index (LPI).
According to Prof. Oyesiku, the summit would have robust participation of transport experts from the academics to veterans in operations as quality research papers and thematic sessions will be held.
The conference themed; “Sustainable Innovations in Global Logistics and Transport”, takes into cognisance the fact that Nigeria’s logistics and transport sector is plagued by a myraid of challenges, Oyesiku said.
“The conference will comprise various technical sessions where subject-matter experts will lead conversations primarily aimed at interrogating the future of logistics and transport operations in Nigeria, especially within the context of a rapidly changing service environment, technological innovations and extensive planning dynamics that characterise logistics, transport and supply chain at the present time”, he said.
The Chairman, who was the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Tai Solarin University of Education, stressed that the conference will attract scores of delegates from within and outside Nigeria, including business leaders, the academia and policy makers.
“This conference will encourage multidisciplinary networks and will provide platforms for academics and professionals to identify and examine the challenges, as well as proffer effective solutions for national logistics and transport operations,” he said.
He observed that LPI of nations is now the yardstick for measuring their economic resilience and competitiveness, noting that nations where LPIs are weak have also been characterised by vulnerable economies with high business risks.
The event will also feature exhibitions of transportation and logistics products from cognate industries and sectors, while availing an opportunity for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for industry stakeholders and providing an excellent platform for networking.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Air Transportation Demand Increases By 103.6% -IATA 

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The world’s apex transport body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has said the global air transportation demand has tremendously increased as at June this year.
The global transportation organisation said passenger data for June 2022 has shown that the recovery in air travel remains strong with a 103.6 per cent rise.
According to the IATA’s research data, which was made available to aviation correspondents, the total traffic in June 2022, which was measured in revenue passenger kilometers, was up 76.2 per cent compared to June 2021.
The report stated that the increase was primarily propelled by the ongoing strong recovery in international traffic in the air transportation.
“Globally, the demand for air transport traffic is now at 70.8 per cent of pre-crisis levels, in the latest research findings”, IATA report stated.
According to the data report, strong improvements in most markets, combined with the easing of some Omicron-related lockdown restrictions in the Chinese domestic market, contributed to the increase in domestic traffic for June 2022, which is reported to be up 5.2 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.
From the report, total  domestic traffic for June 2022 was at 81.4 per cent, as compared to that of the June 2019 level.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said, “Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions, and people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can.”

By: Corlins Walter

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Ticket Racketeers, Touts Resurface In PH Airport

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Flight ticket racketeers, otherwise referred to as touts and fraudsters, that were once flushed out of the Port Harcourt International Airport, have resurfaced with their nefarious activities.
The Tide had initially reported their unwholesome activities when they emerged sometimes last year, which was tackled by the airport’s management.
The phenomenon has taken another bold dimension, as this group of persons carry out their activities more openly right in front of the departure terminal of the domestic wing of the airport.
The Tide observed that some of the old faces known in the act have come back with new recruits. Their slogan has been “I have come to hustle at the airport”.
They usually lead travellers who are not convasant with airport operations away to extort money from them on flimsy issues.
They will, at the first instance, approach their potential victim(s) on the pretence that they will assist in getting travel documents like the boarding pass from the airline, and would make the passenger feel relaxed in the nearby fast food joint, while they make contact with their airline partners for the documents.
Their target is usually to extort the ignorant passenger, as various charges will be hipped on him, like COVID-19 charge, agent fee, and boarding pass charges, which are not official charges of the airline.
The Tide further observed that some innocent passengers who got into their trap sometimes missed or nearly missed their flights, mostly because of argument that would ensue over the alien charges.
When they have succeeded, the money will be shared among them, and the circle continues till the end of the day, after which each of them likely goes home with a reasonable sum.
One of them, fondly called ‘Ime’, who was apprehended by Air-force personnel after he hijacked the sum of N50,000 given to them and ran into the bush, recently, had confessed that he was doing such to hustle for a living.
Although The Tide gathered that his mobile hand-set and other belongings were seised by the Air-force personnel, the said lme was still seen parading himself at the airport.
Meanwhile, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the airport, Mr Kunle Akinbode, could not be reached at the time of filing this report, as he was said to be away for other engagements.

By: Corlins Walter

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