Gov. Dapo Abiodun has written the Ogun Assembly seeking approval to access a concessionary loan of N1.5billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme with a single digit interest rate.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, disclosed this while acknowledging the governor’s correspondence dated Sept. 6 during plenary in Abeokuta on Monday.
According to the letter, the state government indicated interest to participate in the CBN programme to access the fund provided for land clearing and other logistics requirements and support.
It said the government, having identified with CBN and produce off takers (the Anchors), had concluded that agropreneurs could fairly predict selling process even before harvest.
” This will greatly enhance the wealth creation and employment generation efforts for our teeming youth, building capacity, reduce crimes and generally improve the living conditions of the participants.
“The funds that will be accessed under the scheme will be utilised by farmers organised into clusters across the state with particular focus on cassava, rice and maize production
” Consequently I write to seek the concurrence of the House in support of our request to participate in the programme, ” the governor stated.
According to the governor’s letter, the pursuit of the administration was aimed at ensuring sustainable economic development of the state and individual prosperity of the citizenry with emphasis on boosting production and optimisation of the value chain.
The Speaker, thereafter, directed the Director General, Debt Management Office in the state, Economic Adviser to the Governor, Permanent Secretary and Directors in the State Ministry of Agriculture to appear before the lawmakers on Tuesday for further briefing on the proposed credit facility.
(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)
5 vessels laden with fuel, wheat await anchorage at Delta ports – NPA
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says five vessels laden with fuel and Wheat are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.
NPA said that the ships were awaiting anchorage at the Escravos, Koko anchorage and the Bennett Island.
“Matrix Pride conveying AGO is to discharge and Remi vessel is awaiting maintenance,” it stated.
It also said that 17 vessels laden with bitumen, AGO, Containers, Tiles/Float glass among others were being expected at the Delta ports between May 23 and June 6.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
3 vessels await anchorage at Delta ports — NPA
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday says three ships laden with Wheat, Butane gas and others are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.
“Two of the vessels are to discharge Wheat and Butane gas at Escravos and Koko anchorage respectively, while the other is at the Escravos for maintenance,” the publication stated.
The Authority said that six ships laden with fuel and others were waiting at the Fair bouy to discharge products.
The publication also stated that nine vessels laden with fuel, bitumen, steel billet and other products were being expected at the Delta ports between May 22 and May 30.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
COVID-19: Farmers call for review of anchor borrowers interest rate
Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MAAN), has called for zero interest rate on the 2020 Anchor Borrowers loan to farmers by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to cushion the effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19), outbreak on farmers.
Abubakar said the call followed the loss encountered by irrigation maize farmers and unavailability of inputs for the beginning of wet season farming.
He said delay in the start of wet season farming was due to the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown and restriction on movement in some parts of the country, which had made access to farms and inputs impossible for farmers.
“About the interest rate; because of this problem, our farmers have suffered, especially irrigation farmers and early planting farmers who have lost everything.
“We are pleading with the CBN to give us zero interest rate for this year’s Anchor Borrower programme, so that farmers will be encouraged to go to the farm, produce and meet our target,” he said.
He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 70,000 metric tonnes of grains from silos in the country.
Abubakar said the move was a commendable one as the whole 70,000 metric tonnes, excluding the ones that went to processors, were produced by local farmers.
“This large quantity was produced by our farmers here in Nigeria, apart from the ones already purchased by food commodity processors,” he said.
“The CBN is giving our farmers loan to produce after which some off-takers will come and buy this produce from our farmers or our association at a very low price
“The Federal Government can liaise with the government to off-take directly from the farmers and pay them, instead of paying N15, 000 per 100 kg to contractors, who in turn buy at N8, 500 from the farmers,” he added.
I anchored my faith in God, says UCH MD as he relives COVID-19 experience
The Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital(UCH), Ibadan, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, took to Twitter to speak about his experience with coronavirus, saying he anchored his faith in God during what he described as “the dark period.”
The UCH boss expressed gratitude to God for the pleasant turn of events in a series of tweets posted via his @UchCmd on Thursday night.
“It made the news on Sunday, the 29th of March, 2020, that I tested positive for Covid-19, with details of the result indicating that I had low viral load and high CT (immunity index).
“As recommended by NCDC, repeat tests were conducted on Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 and Monday, 6th of April, 2020 and I’m pleased to declare that they both returned NEGATIVE.
” Throughout the dark period, I anchored my faith in God and declared His words over my life while taking recommended medications.
“I am deeply grateful to GOD for the pleasant turn of events and I say a big thank you to everyone for the prayers, love, messages and support shown me during this trying period.
“I am especially grateful to my wife, children, my extended family, to the pastors of Vine Branch Church, staff of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, entire indigenes of Otan Ile, Committee of CMDs/CEOs of Tertiary hospitals, staff of the University of Ibadan, friends and well wishers across the globe, and all the healthcare workers who were involved in my care.
“I appreciate the sacrifices made and I pray that the good Lord will repay your kindness,” he tweeted.
Otegbayo advised Nigerians to adhere to the safety guidelines stipulated by the NCDC while also ensuring that they eat healthy to boost their immunity.
“As we all continue to adhere to NCDC safety guidelines for containing this pandemic, let us please pay attention to our personal hygiene, eat healthy, take measures that will boost our immune system and get good rest.
” Be vigilant and please, stay safe,” he said.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
Algeria’s main lab anchors COVID-19 response
When a sample sent to the referral laboratory in the capital Algiers gave a positive result, the Ministry of Health announced Algeria’s first COVID-19 case on 26 February, becoming the second African country to confirm the virus. Since then, dozens of people have caught the infection. Unlike years past, it now takes just two hours to analyse such specimen. In addition to speed, the laboratory is also striving to ensure testing integrity – an important cog in the efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Sample collection, transportation and analysis are critical steps in detecting the virus. To be effective, the collection of laboratory samples must be done in accordance with strict rules. The diagnostic test consists of a swab — a long stick with a piece of cotton or gauze at the end — taken from the throat and nose of the suspect case. “When suspect cases are sent to referral hospitals and placed in isolation, the samples are sent to our laboratory to confirm if they have COVID-19. Once the sample arrives at the lab, it is logged and placed in a microbiological security station for analysis,” says Dr Fawzi Derrar, the acting director of the Institut Pasteur d’Alger (IPA).
The collection is just the start of the process. Subsequent steps are crucial, too. “There are cases where samples are declared inadmissible. For example, it’s only valid if it’s accompanied by the right documentation,” Dr Jonas Nsenda Nkongolo, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert on infectious diseases, said during a Rapid Response Team training course in Algiers in early March.
“Correct documentation should ensure that the identity of the person is clearly and legibly stated. When this is not done properly, the test result will not be assigned to the right person and as a result any measures that follow, such as isolation or care, will be distorted,” he added.
Handle with care
The IPA is working to overcome other challenges including the proper handling and transportation of samples to the laboratory in Algiers. “According to common standards, for precise results, the samples must be handled with the utmost care. Unfortunately, we have come across cases where the officers who transport the material mishandle it,” Dr Derrar explains, adding that training is essential to tackle such obstacles.
“It is also important to respect the timeframe for transporting the sample, and in particular, to ensure that it is stored and transported at a temperature of 4°C, so in a refrigerated cooler, say. If it is placed outside this ideal temperature, it no longer conforms to the standard. It must also be transported correctly and not placed in a horizontal position or upside down. For this reason, it is important to place the samples in a rack that indicates the direction of storage with an arrow to keep them upright throughout the journey,” he says.
“Long before this outbreak, WHO had already supported us through staff training. The support of WHO has helped us to perform better and we can now meet the high demand resulting from the coronavirus epidemic,” says Dr Derrar.
“In recent years, we have put in place uniform procedures for the receipt of samples and laboratory analysis. WHO has provided us with sufficient laboratory equipment, diagnostic tests, means of transport and detection kits. This has made a notable difference. A few years ago, especially for the MERS coronavirus in 2014, it took us a full day to confirm a case. With COVID-19, we get the results in two hours.” Dr Derrar explained that now only 0.1% of the samples are invalid. Since the start of the outbreak the laboratory has received some 3000 samples of which 302 turned out positive for COVID-19 as of 25 March 2020.
As the coronavirus epidemic was spreading in other regions, WHO was already stepping up its support to African countries, in particular by providing laboratories such as the one at the IPA with a large quantity of test kits to strengthen their diagnostic capacity. To accelerate its capacity to diagnose COVID-19 and overcome the obstacles posed by the long distances involved in transporting samples, four laboratories have been identified in other Algerian provinces to serve as referral laboratories under the supervision of the IPA lab.
Given its expertise and the current context, the IPA has become a key player in the response to coronavirus, routinely consulted and involved in decision-making. “When we confirmed the coronavirus and with the trend we observed, our technical advice was to instantly limit the movement of people and put an end to mass gatherings in order to stop the spread of the disease,” says Derrar.
Reps to probe CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme (ABS) of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over non-recovery of N81.5 billion from companies.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) at plenary on Thursday.
Moving the motion, Ogun said that the CBN in line with its mandate, established the scheme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015.
He said that the idea was to create a link between anchor companies involved in processing and Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities.
Ogun said that the thrust of the ABS was provision of loans to SHFs to boost production of key agricultural commodities like rice, maize, wheat, cotton, roots and tubers crops among others.
“Out of the N104.2 billion provided by CBN for the Scheme, a total of N86.6 billion was disbursed to the anchor companies and the sum of N81.5 billion is yet to be recovered from the defaulting anchor companies.
“With the non-recovery of the outstanding N81.5 billion other potential small holder farmers who will have been beneficiaries of the scheme are being denied the opportunity to benefit from the scheme,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the non-recovery of the said balance of the loan from the anchor companies was negatively affecting the overall objective of the scheme.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Banking and Currency to investigative the issue and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Anchor borrowers: Farmers urge FG to investigate NIRSAL
Coalition of farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has urged the Federal Government to investigate the activities of the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The association, which included Tomatoes Farmers Association, Maize Farmers Association, Farfajiya 1 Rice Farmers Cooperative Association among others made the call at a peaceful march on Wednesday in Abuja.
The associations were holding some placards with various inscriptions such as:
“NIRSAL is a fraud. NIRSAL is killing farmers”, “Anchor borrowers programme is a lie’’.
“CBN NIRSAL is diverting farmers’ money’’.
“NIRSAL sits on N200 billion seed funds among others”.
Mr Buhari Kura, member of AFAN, Kano State, who noted that NIRSAL under CBN was saddled with the responsibility of giving loans to farmers to boost their farming activities, however, alleged that the organisation had denied the farmers of loans.
He decried that members of the association that were supposed to be direct beneficiaries of the loans were not given, describing the problem as a big gap in the nation’s bid to achieve food security.
“Our association engaged in dry season farming, wet season farming and all kinds of farming in tomatoes, rice, maize, cucumber among others but to our dismay the organisation is not doing what is supposed to do.
“NIRSAL is not taking care of the farmers, we that are supposed to be the direct beneficiaries of the organisation service do not even benefit from these loans and this is a serious challenge to our farming activities.
“We are calling on the concerned authorities to please investigate the activities of NIRSAL, and to please come to our aid and rescue our situation because the leadership of the organisation is almost collapsing.
“We want the National Assembly, the Speaker, House Committee on Agriculture, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and security agencies to please investigate the organisation’s activities if possible, government should change the leadership completely so that we can have what is due to us,” he said.
Mr Shehu Umar, member Tomatoes Farmers Association
frowned at the marginalisation of their members by NIRSAL.
Umar said that none of the association’s members had accessed the loan for the past three years.
He however urged the government to change the organisation’s leadership to actualise the purpose of establishing the organisation, adding that it was set up to meet the demands of active farmers.
Similarly, Abdullahi Ibrahim, Secretary, Small Holders Farmers Association, Kano State, said the essence of the march was to impress on government their demands.
Ibrahim said that some of the members including himself, had applied for the loan through the organisation two to three times but no response.
“We want to improve our agricultural production but no support. Up till now no help is given to farmers for over three years. ‘’
Mr Farfajiya Gambo, Farfajiya 1 Rice Farmers Cooperative Association said the peaceful march was for the association to exercise their constitutional rights.
Gambo said that it was to draw attention to the difficulties facing the agricultural sector and as well solicit government intervention.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that all efforts to get reactions of the Managing Director of NIRSAL proved abortive.
However, an official of the organisation in the Media Department, who did not want the name mentioned, told NAN that an official statement would be issued on the matter.
NIRSAL is a 500million dollars Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the CBN, was created to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.
It was established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013.
NIRSAL’s mandate is to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars.
The pillars are Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf
Ogun Govt. to employ additional 75,000 youths for CBN Anchor Programme
Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun says the state government will employ an additional 75,000 youths for the State Anchor Programme Scheme being supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Abiodun made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
According to him, the state government has already employed 14,000 people when the scheme was inaugurated, saying the CBN has made Ogun the model for the South West.
“We also came to discuss with the President what we are doing in agriculture and the support that we need for that. We have gotten enough support today, we have attributed it to the President food security programme.
“We have launched the Anchor Programme Scheme, today the CBN has made Ogun State the model state for the South West, we have employed about 14,000 people last eight month in that programme between now and end of the year we hope to employ another 50,000 to 75,000 in that programme.
“You will agree with me that each person is about three other people by multiplying effect.
“So, we have come to solicit for support of the President with further needed support of the CBN and the federal government in the agricultural programme.
“These are the things that we came to discuss with Mr President and I am glad to say that we got a lot of attention; we got a lot of support and that we should be seeing that manifest in the next few weeks,’’ he added.
The governor further disclosed that he requested for the transfer of Shagamu to Ikorodu road to Lagos and Ogun state governments for proper maintenance.
He said the call had become imperative in view of the socio-economic viability of the road, saying “it is in that road that we have the biggest NNPC depot.”
“There are so many factories on that road and most of these factories have gone moribund.
“Trucks drivers are also refusing to go and load on that road. If that road is transfer to both Lagos and Ogun state, we will commercialize it we will have these road rehabilitated, constructed and upgraded.’’
Abiodun revealed that already the two States had secured the necessary financial support for the reconstruction of the affected road, if released by the federal government.
He added: “On the 26thof this month by the grace of God, we will be turning the sword on the Ijebu-Ode to Epe road. This is a state road, Lagos state has done it to their border, we are completing the 14 kilometers between that border and Ogun state and that road will be completed in one year.
“But I believe that when that road is completed, people coming from the east, Ondo, Ijebu, Ibadan will have an option, they don’t have to go to Lagos – Ibadan expressway.
“This will ease the ability to do business in Ogun State. These are one of the things we came to discuss with Mr President.’’
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Anchor Borrowers Programme : 40,000 rice farmers to benefit in Kano
A total of 40, 000 registered farmers under the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), in Kano state will benefit from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme during the 2020 dry season farming.
Alhaji Ado Hassan, the state’s RIFAN Secretary, disclosed this to the Nigeria News Agency , on Monday in Kano.
He said the association had concluded arrangements for the distribution of fertilizers and other inputs to the farmers next week.
According to him, each of the beneficiaries will collect fertilizers, certified seeds, water pumping machines, sprayers, herbicides as well as empty bags for storing their commodity after harvest.
He explained that the farmers were expected to collect the items as the total package of the loan for cultivating one hectare, while those cultivating two to three hectares would receive the package commensurate with the size of their farm.
He said the association also intend to offer tractor hiring service to the beneficiaries at subsidised rates of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent.
“We have 20 tractors on ground and we are also expecting 30 more as they are on their way to Kano.
“So, we intend to assist our members with the tractor hiring service by charging them less than the normal rates charged by private owners,” he said.
Hassan said the number of farmers to benefit from the programme this year was higher than those that benefited in 2019.
“No fewer than 7, 000 or 10, 000 registered women rice farmers out of the total number of beneficiaries will partake in the irrigation activities this dry season farming.
“During the 2019 irrigation season, only 25, 000 rice farmers were able to access the Federal government’s intervention under the Anchor Borrower Programme,” he said.
Edited By: Folasade Adeniran and Isaac Ukpoju
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- Tinubu commiserates with Buhari over death of nephew
- NCPC reassures Nigerians of integrity, transparency in procurement process
- Lagos govt hosts drive-in concert to reinvigorate entertainment sector
- Edo Governorship: ALGON kicks against direct primaries
- Iraq confirms 260 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths
- Gov. Okowa congratulates new NMA President, Prof. Ujah
- Bangladesh slowly hits restart button on economic activities after two-month lockdown
- Imo community begs for provision of basic amenties
- Bangladesh reopens offices, transport despite surge in COVID-19 deaths
- Gov. Okowa mourns former NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru
- People more important than the economy – pope says about COVID-19 crisis
- Chinese medical experts in Sudan hold video conference about COVID-19
- Feature: Online shopping flourishes in Egypt amid COVID-19 partial lockdown
- Jekada member of Zamfara Assembly dies
- Gov. AbdulRazaq felicitates with Kwara Speaker at 35
- AbdulRasaq’s one year in office shows well in sports development – SWAN