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Food Security: NALDA moves to reactivate 1,200 hectares Farm will address farmer-herder crisis – Ekiti Governor

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File image of a rice farm

NALDA’s farm estate will empower Ekiti youths — Gov Fayemi

As Nigeria looks on to agriculture as an alternative to oil and gas for national development, the National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, NALDA, yesterday, disclosed moves to reactivate 1, 200 hectares of farmland in Ekiti State.

This was made known by the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, while on a visit to the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, while on inspection of the farm estate located in Okeako/Irele Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of the State.

Interestingly, the farm estate had been in existence for over 20 years but owned by NALDA, where 50 hectares of Cashew farm, storage, and a processing facility exists would still be reactivated and upgraded for optimal production.

Ikonne promised farmers of better productivity and wealth creation with NALDA’s return to its farm, and will work hard and ensure that the farmers have access to farm input to produce, and also added that an access road will be constructed to the farm.

Meanwhile, he thanked farmers and indigenes of the community for securing the farm estate and maintaining it over the years after it was abandoned.

He said: “We are here to make sure that this abandoned estate comes back to life, the farm products that you use to take out, you will still take them out to sell but this time it will be fully processed because whatever we are going to produce on this farm will also be processed.

“We will put processing plant too so that we can add value to what we produce, this will also help your youth be engaged because agriculture is the way to go”

He also stated that with the development of the farm estate the community would not be left behind but will definitely benefit from it as being the host of the farm estate, because the farm will have processing, packaging, and farming zones, and added that all these will bring about huge development to the community.

However, according to Ikonne who noted the concerns and fears of members of the community and farmers over alleged threats from herdsmen and insecurity in the area,  the best way forward is to have a round-table discussion and dialogue between farmers and herders in and around the communities to stop all forms of hostility.

“The solution is, how do we come together to do our businesses so that it would benefit all of us? That is what NALDA would do, I believe that the herders want their cow to be healthy and fattened so they can sell and make a profit, what this means is that they also want a conducive environment to do their business”

“So NALDA is going to engage them and the communities,  we will create an avenue where they can feed their cattle so that we all can live in peace. Based on that we are doing what we call integrated farming, they can buy from us, while we also can buy from them and the farm can benefit also through the cattle’s dunk serving as manure”

“So we must find a way to live in peace so that our children and their children after them would also have peace. Trouble, bitterness, hatred, and war does not pay any community so as an Authority NALDA would find a way to bring both parties to the table”

In another meeting with the Ekiti state Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Prince Paul Ikonne said NALDA is in Ekiti state to carry out President Muhammadu Buhari’s instructions which are for NALDA to recover and reactivate its abandoned farm estates across the country and utilize it for agriculture to benefit youths in the grassroots.

“Having made the funds available for NALDA to use, we will start immediately to reactivate the farm, we will start with road infrastructure which is about 4.5 kilometers, and then clear the remaining lands in the areas that have not been cleared, we will take it in phases and I’m very much sure that we are going to farm there this wet season as NALDA will be providing the tractors for the land clearing”

In appreciating the State government for providing an enabling environment for NALDA, the NALDA boss noted that the authority can only carry out its operations in a peaceful environment that promotes productivity and development.

He also commended farmers in the state for their readiness to embrace and engage in modern agriculture and agribusiness, which his organisation would train as well in the new way of doing agriculture.

Meanwhile, he (Ikonne) explained that with the flag-off of the Young Farmers Scheme in November of 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari, integrated farm estates across the country would fast-track impact and achievement of the objectives of the Young Farmers Scheme in boosting food security.

In responding, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, asserted that said agriculture in the state is now a way of life for all because his administration has set it as the number one means of employment, wealth creation, and revenue generation to develop the State.

He also added that anything that needs to be done to accelerate development in the sector is a welcome development.

He said: “Currently we have about three rice mills that are coming on in Ekiti, all of this will not really bring to bear the quality and capacity of our people if we don’t have enough farmers growing, somebody has to feed the mills, either it’s Cassava or rice we must produce in order for the mills to be active and whatever you can do to assist us just as you have promised we will certainly be full of gratitude”

“We all know how dear agriculture is to Mr. President, at every opportunity he would tell us that we must grow what we eat and eat what we grow and that is also our passion in this State, and with NALDA onboard more youths in the state would get empowered through agriculture.”

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FG to spend $4.9bn fresh loans on Kano-Niger Republic rail line, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

A standard gauge rail being planned from Kano State in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic is one of the projects the President Muhammadu Buhari plans to fund with the fresh external loans he is asking the National Assembly to approve for his regime, The PUNCH reports.

Buhari had asked the National Assembly to approve fresh external loans of $4.054bn and €710m ($839m) for his regime.

He also sought the  legislature’s approval for grant components of $125m in the 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan.

These were contained in a letter addressed to both chambers of the National Assembly and read on the floor at the resumption of plenary by the presiding officers Messrs Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila (Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives respectively) on Tuesday.

Lagos-Ibadan-rail

Buhari,  in the letter, dated August 24, 2021, explained that the projects listed in the 2018-2021 Federal Government Borrowing Plan would be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank International Fund for Agricultural Development, Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chattered/China Export and Credit in the total sum of $4,054,476,863 and €710m (839m) and grant components of $125m

According to the President, summary of some key projects in each of the six geopolitical zones that will be funded by the loans and a summary on the expected impacts on the socioeconomic development of each of the six geopolitical zones were attached to the letter.

According to the breakdown obtained exclusively by one of our correspondents from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, five international bodies will jointly provide the $4,054,476,863 component of the loan.

They include the World Bank -$3,250,000,000; China Exim Bank -$225,120,000; IFAD- $50,000,000; European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC -$190,255,276; Bank of China -$276,981,587; and Standard Chartered Bank/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE) -$62,120,000.

The Euro component of €710m will be provided by AFD -€210,000,00 and Credit Sussie Group €500,000,000 while the World Bank will provide the grant components of $125m.

According to the document, the $190,255,276 to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the Nigeria to Niger Republic rail line.

The document gave the project title as “Kano-Maradi SGR with branch to Dutse” and identified the implementing MDA as the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

“Financing cost which the lender requested to be capitalised” was written under the column for multilateral institution.

On the expected impact of the project on the geo-political development, the Federal Government wrote, “The project is to link Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with branch to Dutse.

“It is part of the Trans-Africa Railway System and it is expected to improve the international trade between Nigeria, Niger and other North-Africa countries.”

Also, the $225,120,000 to be provided by China Exim Bank is expected to be spent on the Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project.

It is meant to cater for the construction of the branch line (Apapa-Tin Can Island Port) project.

On the impact of the project, the Federal Government said, “The project is to provide an alignment of routes from the Apapa Port Terminal to Tin Can Island Port and to enhance the economic activities at the Apapa and tin Can Island Ports.”

The $50,000,000 to be provided by IFAD will be spent on what the government called Value Chain Development Programme -Additional Financing II.

It identified the implementing states as Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi while the geo-political zones were listed as North Central, North East, South West and South East.

The expected impact, according to the government, is “to support a measurable increase in the programme’s outreach to 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders respectively.

“It will also support the mainstreaming of issues that were not considered at the stage of programme design.”

The €210,000,000 to be provided by AFD will be spent on two projects -National Digital Identity Management Project (co-financed with the World Bank, AFD and EIB) -€100,000,000; and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project –€110,000,000.

The Bank of China’s $276,981,587 will be spent on the establishment of three power renewable energy projects; Credit Sussie Group’s €500,000,000 will be spent on sovereign guarantee for the issuance of Euro bond as collateral to enable Bank of Industry fund its projects; while the -$62,120,000 to be provided by Standard Chartered Bank/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE) will be used to provide 17MW hybrid solar power infrastructure for the National Assembly complex.

World Bank’s $3,250,000,000 will be spent on seven projects.

Part of Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly had read, “I write on the above subject and submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the senate for the same to become effective.

“The distinguished Senate President may recall that I submitted a request on 2018-2020 borrowing plan for the approval of the senate in May 2021.

“However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by Federal Executive Council as of June 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan.

“The projects listed in the external borrowing plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank and IFAD in the total sum of $4,054,476,863 and €710m and grant components of $125m.

“A summary of some key projects in each of the six geopolitical zones and a summary on the expected impacts on the socioeconomic development of each of the six geopolitical zones are attached herewith as Annex II and III.”

 

Source The PUNCH via The Advocate

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Economy

Breaking: Appeal Court Stops Rivers, Lagos From collecting VAT…For Now

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has halted the Rivers State government from collecting Value Added Taxes (VAT) until all legal disputes relating to the matter are resolved.

The court ordered that the judgment of the Federal High Court from which the State drew its power to collect the tax must not be implemented.

Justice Haruna Simon Tsanami who issued the order in Abuja on Friday also directed that the law passed by Rivers State House of Assembly and assented to by governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike must not be implemented.

The appellate court held that since parties have submitted themselves to the authorities of the court for adjudication of the matter, they must not do anything that will affect the subject matter of the appeal

In specific term, Justice Tsanami granted status quo ante below in favour of the Federal Inland Revenue Services FIRS and against the respondents.

The matter has been slated for September 16 for hearing of motion for joinder by Lagos State.

FIRS, in an appeal marked CA/PH/282/2021, is praying the court to set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt which granted power to the state to collect VAT.

The tax collection agency is also asking the appellate court to stay the execution of judgment.

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Economy

President Buhari Signs Petroleum Industry Bill into Law

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law.

Working from home in five days quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after returning from London on Friday August 13, the President assented to the Bill Monday August 16, in his determination to fulfill his constitutional duty, said a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina.

According to the statement, the ceremonial part of the new legislation will be done on Wednesday, after the days of mandatory isolation would have been completed.

The Petroleum Industry Act provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.

The Senate had passed the Bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives did same on July 16, thus ending a long wait since early 2000s, and notching another high for the Buhari administration.

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