The Edo State Gov
ernment is putting some measures in place to enable it to access the N220 billion Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) fund instituted by the Federal Government.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Osagie Inegbedion, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Benin, recently.
Inegbedion said that states across the federation found it difficult accessing the fund because of stringent conditions attached to it.
He, however, said the state government was taking measures to access the fund, pointing out that a state was entitled to a maximum of N2 billion.
He added that part of the conditions was that states should act as a stop-gap between the bank administering the fund and the SMEs operators.
The commissioner said the conditions put the liability on states.
“A lot of measures have to be put in place by state governments before the funds could be accessed.
“The Edo government has commenced preliminary discussions with relevant authorities on how to access the fund as we have started looking at the provisions and requirements.’’
The commissioner, however, stressed the need for state governments to get the list of genuine and eligible SME operators to prevent the fund from going into wrong hands.
Minister Urges NDDC Board To Be Unique
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has called on the newly inaugurated Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ensure they make a difference for the development of the region.
Umana said this in his keynote remarks, while declaring open the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board and Management retreat in Uyo, at the weekend.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta Region and charged them to live above board in the discharge of their duties.
He urged them to strictly adhere to the rules of due diligence and transparency in line with the Establishment and Public Procurement Acts.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta region, adding that the region, which has suffered neglect and deprivation for so long, needed a new lease of life
The minister called on the board to focus on key areas like the establishment act and public procurement act as Nigerians expect a turnaround of the commission to reflect the core mandate of developing the region.
Umana called on the participants to set a template that would facilitate rapid development of the niger delta and Nigeria in general.
“This retreat is principally to ensure that the new board are properly equipped to provide a new direction for the development of the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, in his address of welcome, said the board was expected to do something differently to take the Niger Delta region to greater hight.
Ogbuku said the new board had a template for sustainable programme for youths and every citizen of the region.
He said the commission would endeavour to create partnership with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other stakeholders through public private partnerships initiative.
He urged participants to evolve ideas, programmes and blueprints towards taking the region to a new level of development.
“We will soon unfold our packages for the development of the region. The Niger Delta Development Commission Board is expected to make great difference this time around,” he said.
The Tide’s source reports that the three-day retreat for NDDC board and management is with the theme; “NDDC: Making a Difference.”
The source also reports that a communique is expected at the end of the retreat to address issues affecting the niger delta region and proffer possible solutions.
FG Trains 50 Farmers On Agroforestry Model In Edo
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has trained 50 coconut farmers and processors on agroforestry system-based plantation model, to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in Edo State.
The capacity building was organised under the coconut value chain of the ministry, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin.
Declaring the training open, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the exercise was part of efforts of the Federal Government to attain food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
Represented by Chukwuemeka Ukattah, a Director in the ministry, Abubakar said President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s economy through agriculture by its unwavering support for farmers and empowerment of women and youths.
He said it was an effort to attain food security, self-sufficiency as well as improve the livelihood of coconut farmers and processors.
“The government, through the coconut value chain, decided to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain a successful coconut plantation.
“We will cover topics such as nursery establishment, field development, harvesting and processing to meet local and international markets standard and demand.
“With the right training, coconut value chain has the potentials to contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP and generate employment,” Abubakar said.
The Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, who welcomed participants to the workshop, said Nigeria’s coconut production was far below the demand.
“I am sure that if the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) works with this agroforestry based plantation model, the value chain will be on a scale to contribute significantly to our economy.
“We suddenly got a huge demand for coconut seedlings in the last three to four years and we were caught napping because we did not prepare for the fact that there was going to be an upsurge in the demand for coconut seedlings,” he said.
Ikuenobe explained that NIFOR was strengthening its capacity to meet the sudden upsurge in the demand for the seedlings.
“We are working to invigorate our coconut gardens in addition to other identified seed trees,” he added.
According to him, in the last two years, “we have replanted our coconut germplasm and in the next five years, there will be enough to provide nuts and materials for the industry.”
Council Re-Proclaims Ekpo Abasi-Otu As Obong Of Calabar
The Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar Palace has re-proclaimed Edidem Ekpo Abasi-Otu V, as the Obong of Calabar.
This was in compliance with the Supreme Court Judgement of January 13, which ordered the Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar’s Palace to conduct fresh selection process for the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
Chairman, Etubom’s Conclave, Etubom Ntiero Effiwat, stated this recently while reading a document signed by 13 of the conclave members before the others at the palace of the Obong of Calabar.
According to Effiwat, Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House, having fully satisfied with candidate qualifications and eligibility, the Etubom’s Conclave therefore, declared him the successor.
“He is hereby on this day, Jan. 18, 2023 been proclaimed as successor to the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
“The qualified Etuboms who fall under this group were communicated to and directed to produce and present their nominee to the Etubom’s Conclave by Jan. 18, 2023.
“The most senior Etubom of Atai Iboku group, Etubom Otu Efa-Otu, presented thier selected nominee for the throne of Obong of Calabar in person of HRH, Ekpo Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House,” he said.
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