Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, has said that due to continuous movement of animals in search of pasture, Nigeria has been unable to achieve its annual production target of 1.6 billion litres of milk.
The Minister said this while flagging off the National Pasture Development Programme (NAPDEP) at Paikon Kore, Gwagwalada Area Council in Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said the production system limits both production and productivity per animal due to lack of all-year-round availability of feeding and watering resources, thereby causing a drawback to the ability of the pastoralists to settle in a given place and produce.
The result of this continuous movement in search of pasture, he explained, has adversely affected the animals’ attainment of their optimal productivity and consistently impaired national capacity for self-sufficiency in livestock products and animal protein needs, especially the national target of 1.6 billion liters of milk per annum.
“It has eluded our national peace-building efforts through the incessant conflict between pastoralists and crop farmers along their movement routes. These have also impaired improvement in the livelihood of the pastoral families in particular and neighboring crop farmers.
“The continuous extensive system of production is not a viable option since the land area for grazing and feed availability are severely limiting factors in the high livestock producing zones of Nigeria.
“It is, therefore, very necessary and of top priority that all players in the industry focus on meeting the huge demand for pasture. This will give a great opportunity to unlock the potential of the Livestock industry and the development of its rich value chains”, he stated
Dr Abubakar continued that the launching of the NAPDEP is one of the many steps and interventions by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to mitigate the conflict, improve the sustainability of food security, national economy, and export of livestock products.
“The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) is the umbrella for all the Livestock intervention, programmes and projects, such as the Livestock Productivity Improvement and Resilience Support (LPRES) and Ruminant Livestock Intervention Programme (RULIP), as vehicles for the achievement of our national aim for the livestock sector.
“Through these, we have been able to provide the enablers for improved production practices through the establishment of pasture plots, animal handling and milk collection centres, construction of solar-powered boreholes and hand pumps, rehabilitation and construction of mini earth dams, health facilities, etc. in some selected grazing reserves and communities in the States.
“This is ongoing and part of the effort is what we are here to do today as we distribute inputs for pasture production to some beneficiaries”, he explained.
He urged partners and stakeholders within the livestock industry to embrace the NAPDEP by active participation in the value chain (production, processing, and marketing) for sustainable and improved ruminant animal production in Nigeria.
“This is to serve as a panacea for reduction in conflict emanating from cattle movement, attainment of self-sufficiency in good quality pasture/forage production, and the transition from extensive grazing to a well-planned, settled form of livestock production.
“Thus, NAPDEP will focus on forage species that are cultivated for livestock feed that are carefully selected based on adaptation to ecological areas as animal feed.
“Therefore, as a way of continuous efforts in promoting intentional pasture development in Nigeria, I have endorsed the proposal that this flag-off day becomes an annual National Pasture Planting Day that is, 28th June every year, to encourage private and public sector investments in commercial pasture production”, the Minister noted.
In his address, the Director General Of National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr Philip Ojo said the development of ranches, paddocks and grazing reserves for intensive/semi-intensive animal husbandry have severally been proffered as solution to this national security concern.
He said the efforts of the Ministry through the Department of Animal Husbandry Services to develop pastures is very timely and a step in the right direction as this will not only reduce the crop farmers and herders’ clashes but also enhance the productivity of livestock.
Nigerians Spend N2.6trn On Data, Airtime In Nine Months
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa have revealed that the amount spent on airtime and data by Nigerian telecom subscribers rose to at least N2.59 trillion in the first nine months of 2023.
According to the financial statements of the two telecommunication companies, this amounts to a 32.57 per cent increase from the N1.95 trillion both telcos recorded from both income sources in the corresponding period of 2022.
The increase in voice and data venue was partially driven by rising data subscriptions and the devaluation of the naira on Airtel’s part.
In the first nine months of 2022, Airtel made $1.41bn from airtime and data. When converted at the exchange rate of N461/$ which was obtained at the time, it amounted to N647.71billion.
In the same period of 2023, the company’s income from these two revenue sources amounted to $1.29 billion.
When converted at the exchange rate of N777/$ at the time, it amounted to N1.003 trillion.
On MTN’s part, increasing data revenues continue to fuel the company’s overall revenue growth. Data revenues grew by 36.36 per cent year-on-year, while voice revenues only grew by 10.64 per cent, indicating a rise in the usage of the Internet in the country.
Commenting on this growth, MTN said, “Data revenue grew by 36.4 per cent on increased usage and data conversion in new and existing base”.
The firm stated that data usage on its network grew by 29.1 per cent in the period under review.
It noted that “Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1 per cent to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6 per cent, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4 per cent, up 1.4pp YoY.
“Consequently, we recorded a 46.3 per cent growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7 per cent of the total traffic (up 5.2pp YoY)”.
On its part, Airtel recorded an increase in data usage per customer to 5.9 GB per month. The firm highlighted, “Data revenue grew by 29.3 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4 per cent and data ARPU growth of 12.3 per cent.
“Data usage per customer increased by 23.8 per cent to 5.9 GB per month (from 4.8 GB in the prior period). Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100 per cent of all our sites delivering 4G services”, it stated.
Increased Internet usage because of a rise in video streaming pushed the amount telecom consumers spent on telecom services to N3.86 trillion in 2022.
LCCI Faults FG’s $1trn GDP Projections
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said the macro-economic projections in the Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) are not sufficient to achieve the $1 trillion economy target it set to achieve by 2029.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, had last weekend restated the commitment of the government to realising the GDP target.
Reviewing Cardoso’s statement, the Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, explained that the basis for government’s projection contains some inconsistencies that will make it unachievable.
She said, “LCCI is aware of the enormous challenges and the uphill task before the CBN in ensuring macro-economic stability and restoring investors’ confidence.
“However, we note the inconsistencies between the Federal Government’s vision of achieving a $1 trillion economy in the next six years and the MTEF.
“The macro-economic projections in the MTEF state that the economy will grow by 3.76 percent 4.22 percent, and 4.78 percent in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. We note that the projected growths are sub-optimal to achieve a $1trillion GDP by 2029, which implies an average growth of 21 percent over the next six years”.
Almona commended the CBN’s plan to review the minimum capital base of banks, but cautioned the apex bank to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
She, however, said, “The Chamber appreciates the intellectual humility of the Governor in admitting the errors or mistakes of the past, particularly in the areas of corporate governance failures, diminished institutional autonomy of CBN, deviation from the core mandate of the bank, and unorthodox use of monetary tools and foray into fiscal activities under the cover of development finance activities.
“As we advance, we challenge the current CBN team to ensure professionalism and integrity and rebuild the trust of the general public.
“On recapitalization of banks, we commend the plan of CBN to review the minimum capital base of banks due to consistent devaluation of the Naira, which has eroded the capital base of banks, attracted significant investment into banks, as well as increased the capacity of banks to provide the required support for the economy.
“However, we caution the CBN to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
“Given the sensitivity of monetary policy and price stability, we urge the CBN to ensure transparency and synergy between monetary and fiscal authorities and effectively communicate significant changes in policy direction”.
By: Corlins Walter
Firm Urges FG To Attract Foreign Investment
Multinational professional services firm, EY has advised the Federal Government to improve on its investment attractiveness as a way of building on previous year’s fortunes.
Senior Partner and Head of Markets, EY West Africa, Ashish Bakhshi, while sharing insights on a newly released report on Foreign Direct Investments for 2022, said Nigeria needed to improve on FDIs to achieve the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“Africa’s leaders will need to adopt pragmatism as they respond to a new geopolitical world order so that its member states can optimize the full spectrum of inbound investment opportunities, which will be essential in meeting Africa’s aspirations for a more equitable, wealthier and urbanised middle-class society”, the report read in part.
It stated further that “Last year saw Africa’s return as a top investment destination hub for global investors. The continent had struggled to attract investment since the onset of COVID-19 and took longer than other regions to recover, as a result of its delayed vaccine rollout and therefore its ability to reopen its 54 national economies.
“To this, its growth lagged pre-pandemic levels for longer than it did in mature markets, setting back the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“The new report, released by EY, a global multinational professional services firm, uncovered that FDI attracted more than 730 projects across the continent in 2022, injecting $194 billion in capital and creating 154,000 jobs.
“Significantly, Egypt saw a record of $ 107 billion in capital for its 149 FDI projects. In East Africa, Kenya dominated the FDI landscape while Nigeria was the leading country in West Africa.
“The countries came in third and fourth respectively for the largest FDI regions on the continent”.
The EY’s 13th Africa Attractiveness report tagged “A Pivot to Growth”, provides insights into the continent FDI, exposing that the 2022 calendar year saw a strong FDI rebound, led by Renewables inflows, with the West being the largest investor, while the North and Southern hubs of Africa were key beneficiaries.
A notable highlight of the report shows that CleanTech became the largest FDI recipient sector in 2022, leading Africa’s FDI for the first time.