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Agric, Solid Minerals Can Pay Nigeria’s Debt – Minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says foreign exchange from agriculture and solid minerals could service the country’s debt and loan profile.
Ogbeh made the assertion on the sideline of the National Agribusiness Youth Training Programme funded by the Federal Government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abuja yesterday.
The minister said that most funds for the training of youths in agriculture were borrowed from the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
He said the Federal Government was designing a strategy through agriculture to enable the country earn enough foreign exchange to service its debt in due course.
According to him, after satisfying our needs in local staples for the grains mainly, we have to design a scheme from which we shall earn enough foreign exchange to settle debts.
He said the Federal Government would soon launch a National Plantation Programme to encourage individuals to farm the smallest part of their unused land to invent their future.
“All these monies for trainings on youth agriculture are borrowed.
“We borrowed from the AfDB and World Bank and if you take a loan, you must think of when and how to pay.
“Some of these loans will be due in 35 to 40 years. Time flies and the question is, how do we pay.
“We are not likely to sell oil for 100 dollars a barrel ever again and even if we do, we are not usually careful,’’ he said.
“We waste the money when it comes, so, agriculture and solid minerals will have to pay the loans and we will pay through exports.
“The average age of a farmer now is between 60 to 65 years and that is why we want the youths to be involved in agriculture.
“There is a programme which we will launch very soon. It is called the National Plantation Programme.
“Everyone with a land somewhere should do a plantation like cocoa, cashew, shea butter, coconut and pigeon pea to make money to recover the image and honour of this country.’’
The minister noted that the Federal Government would re-launch cocoa before the end of the second quarter of the year to also boost the production for exports.
He said the plan was to take the country back to its place of pride as the highest producers of cocoa.
“The only way of controlling tomorrow is by planning for it but we Africans are not very good at that.
“We get caught by the future, we do not remember much of the past,’’ he said.
Ogbeh commended the President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, for his support to the country.

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Aviation Workers Issue Strike Notice To NiMET

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Aviation workers unions have given a 14-day notice of strike to the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) for failure to implement consequencial adjustment wage for its workers.
This, consequently, means another round of disruption in the aviation industry as three workers’ unions have threatened to ground operations at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency over the wages, and failure to implement the minimum consequential adjustment wage.
The unions, which include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees.
The unions in a letter of notice of strike, which was made available to aviation correspondents, gave the agency’s management a 14-day ultimatum to implement the minimum wage adjustment or they would embark in strike action.
This is also coming barely a week after the workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company PLC( NAHCO) downed their tools over wages.
The strike notice to NiMET is also coming up in the sector, irrespective of the recent order given by the ministry of aviation, prohibiting any form of strike in the sector, as aviation industry is viewed as essential service.
The unions have accused the NIMET’s management of ‘wickedness’ over its failure to implement the minimum wage consequential adjustment despite its implementation in other five aviation agencies in the sector, since February 2022.

The letter dated January 26, 2023, was jointly signed by the General Secretary, NUATE, Ocheme Aba; the General Secretary AUPCTRE, Sikiru Waheed; and the General Secretary of ANAP, Abdul Rasaq Saidu, and was addressed to the Director-General of NiMET.

By: Corlins Walter

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New Seme Customs Controller Vows To Sustain Tempo

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The newly deployed Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme Border Command, Compt. Dera Nnadi, has assumed duty with a pledge to sustain and improve tempo of trade facilitation at Nigeria’s busiest land frontier.
Speaking at a brief handover ceremony, Nnadi, who described Nigeria as a strategic economic player in Africa, said schemes like ongoing ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and soon to take off African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would be explored for common good.
According to the new CAC, Nigeria’s economy is central to the West African sub-region with a population of over 200 million, with the country having potentials to contribute to the over 1billion African population through the AfCFTA regime
He urged his operatives, other government agencies, members of the border community and travellers to embrace challenges of trans border trade and comply with the law guiding trans border trade all the time.
Nnadi, who noted that border communities have challenges that are not insurmountable, added that there is need to cover infrastructural gaps that will improve their standards of living and promote lawful sources of livelihood.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, he advised his officers to be polite to travellers and traders using the Seme corridor and be firm in curbing any form of lawlessness.
He said his experience and knowledge from previous assignments across the border and his academic exposures will be deployed to border administration
While promising to interact closely with  traditional rulers and other members of the border area, he solicited closer stakeholder interactions at strategic and operational levels.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Kaduna Refinery Rehabilitation: NNPCL, Daewoo Sign N342bn Deal

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A contract sum of $740.67million has been signed between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and Daewoo Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited for the rehabilitation of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (KRPC).
A release from the NNPCL revealed that the signed contract of $740.67million (N341.48billion as at Friday’s official exchange rate of N461.04/$) was signed at the Abuja headquarters of NNPC, and will last for 21 months.
According to the release, the quick-fix strategy would see to the repairs and re-streaming of KRPC, as well as ensure its operation on a sustainable basis at a minimum capacity utilisation of 60 per cent.
In the released statement, the Executive Vice President of the downstream of the national firm, Adeyemi Adetunji, was quoted as saying that the contract is marked a milestone in the history of KRPC, considering the fact that the last Turn Around Maintenance on the refinery occurred about 15 years ago, and that the project was framed after extensive engagement with Daewoo.
“This project shall be executed in three work packages as a maintenance services contract by Daewoo E&C Nigeria Limited at an estimated maximum cost ceiling of $740,669,600, with a duration of 21 months.
”The quick-fix strategy guarantees the fastest route to re-streaming Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) and KRPC for in-country production of refined petroleum products.
“Restoring WRPC and KRPC back to operation will guarantee energy security for the country, reduce dependence on imported petroleum products in view of near total dependence on supply of imported petroleum products and the impact the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is having on global supply”.
“The proposed quick-fix initiative on KRPC is expected to restore it to a minimum of 60 per cent of its nameplate capacity by fourth quarter of 2024. NNPC Limited is using a combination of Internally Generated Revenue and third party financing to execute the repairs of the refineries”, he stated.
Also in the release, Adetunji noted that the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refining Company had progressed considerably.
”The old refinery is currently at 64 per cent completed and the plant is expected be back in operation in second quarter of 2023, while the entre PHRC rehabilitation project currently stands at about 59 per cent.
“On the other hand, WRPC quick-fix project has achieved 28 per cent completion and is expected to be re-streamed by the end of this year”, it stated.
The statement further maintained that Nigeria should be self sufficient this year with respect to the domestic production of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

By: Corlins Walter

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