The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says its unconventional monetary policies have supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele made this known in a keynote address he delivered at the 28th Annual Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors held in Owerri on Tuesday.
Emefiele was represented at the occasion by Mr Edward Adamu
the CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the 2019 seminar has its theme as “Galvanizing Development Finance and Monetary Policy for Growth.”
He noted that the unconventional or heterodox monetary policies adopted by the apex bank were well thought through and had been yielding significant gains for the Nigerian economy.
He said this was evidenced in the GDP recovery in the third quarter of 2017, which had been sustained for nine successive quarters after five consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Emefiele noted that the unconventional monetary policy initiative was premised on ensuring credit delivery to critical sectors of the economy.
According to the CBN governor, the move informed the directive to Deposit Money Banks to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 65 per cent by the end of December 2019.
He said the apex bank was also creating the necessary eco-system to inculcate a better credit culture among Nigerians.
“In all, there is sufficient evidence of significant reductions in our annual imports bill and increased non-oil exports.
“Our Development Finance intervention has helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by small holder farmers.
“We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials.
“So far, the programme has supported more than 1.5 million farmers across all the 36 States of Nigeria, in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland.
“It has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain,” he said.
Emefiele said that considering the gains, the media had a critical role to play in conveying a deeper understanding of the bank’s commitment to economic growth and development.
“For instance, it is our game changing intervention in the rice value chain in Kebbi and other rice-producing states across the country that increased local rice production from 2.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017.
“This was also the case in the cotton intervention with the flag-off of input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 states of the Federation,” he said.
The CBN governor said the theme of this year’s seminar was relevant, considering the evolving interconnectedness between development finance and monetary policy, not only in Nigeria, but in other economies across the world.
He said the CBN approach to stimulating economic development was three-pronged and centered on Agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Infrastructure.
He said the apex bank had transcended her core mandate of maintaining monetary, price and financial system stability, to undertake developmental initiatives with a view to spurring economic growth and job creation.
“Our efforts at these development finance initiatives have helped to accelerate the actualization of the Federal Government’s economic diversification programme.
“Diversifying our economic base presents a more sustainable and stable option.
“It is our conviction that focusing our developmental efforts on sectors with inherent potential for growth, employment and accretion to foreign reserves would enhance the fortune of the Nigerian economy,” he said.
Emefiele pointed out that the CBN had increased its lending to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, through targeted intervention schemes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support Facility.
Edited & Vetted By: Maureen Atuonwu
Ex-CBN director urges FG to intensify efforts to strengthen nation’s economy
He said that developing the nation’s economy would reduce heavy dependence on foreign countries.
“The nation can refine its petroleum products to meet local demand and export to other countries.
“This development will generate more revenue for Nigeria and help to stabilise the nation’s currency,” Okunrounmu said.
The former CBN director further said that diversifying the nation’s economy could facilitate the overall development of Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria being able to feed its 200 million population through agriculture would have strong impact on the naira.
Okunrounmu further said that a developed economy would help to create job opportunities for the country’s teeming youth, reduce poverty and crime rate in the country.
Edited By: Sam Oditah/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
School feeding programme gulps over N500m during Lockdown – Minister
The Federal Government expended about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
Farouk made the revelation against the rumours and speculations going around one of our key interventions of the government – the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She said that the programmed was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th, Presidential directive.
“It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space.
“The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.
“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown.
“So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases,’’ the minister said.
According to her, each takes home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.
“So, each household is assumed to have three children.
“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.
“The meal costs N70 per child.
“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month.
“Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration’.
“The agreement was that the federal government will provide the funding while the states will implement.
“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.’’
“TrackaNG monitored and gave daily updates validating the programme.
“In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, and July 6.
“If 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
ABP: NIRSAL structures FCT farmers into 16 Agro Geo-Cooperatives
NIRSAL Head of Corporate Communications, Ms Anne Ihugba, said this in a statement she in Abuja, on Wednesday.
She added that 12 of the AGCs had been included in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
”This is to protect them from price fluctuations and exploitative tendencies of some middlemen.
”Other forms of support for the AGCs include provision of fertiliser, crop protection products and round-the-clock technology-driven project monitoring services,” she said.
Ihugba said NIRSAL would continue to provide trainings on bookkeeping, modern farming practices, mechanisation for pre-planting, planting, harvesting activities and distribution of improved, high-yielding seed varieties as more AGCs develop around FCT and beyond.
She said that rice, maize, cassava, sesame and soybean farmers in Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Benue states and the FCT were positioned for an increase in yields and improvement in livelihoods.
“This is following NIRSAL’s support for their 2020 wet season farming activities under Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
”NIRSAL’s AGC model, applied in its role as Participating Financial Institution (PFI) in the ABP, was a demonstration of increasing multi-sectoral support to agriculture in spite of the times,” she said.
Ihugba said that since inception, NIRSAL had facilitated over N105 billion across the Pre-Upstream, Upstream, Midstream and Downstream segments of the Agricultural value chain from public and private sources of finance.
“This finance has had a profound positive socio-economic consequence, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 jobs and impacting two million lives positively.
“At the forefront of its finance facilitation drive, is the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative formation process.
“NIRSAL Plc is structuring farmers by creating 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives made up of eight million farmers cultivating four million hectares of farmland.
“To date, over 452 Agro Geo-Cooperatives covering over 270,000 hectares of land have benefitted from the process Geo-Cooperatives,” she said.
It has developed technology-driven risk-mitigation mechanisms designed to boost farmers’ productivity and encourage financiers to lend to agriculture.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/ Felix Ajide (NAN)
Revamped National Theatre to create 8,000 jobs on completion – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the National Arts Theatre handed over to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for rehabilitation, will generate no less than 8000 jobs upon completion.
The minister stated this on Thursday when he featured on the Radio Nigeria live programme, “Politics Nationwide,” monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
He said about 6000 jobs would be created at the reconstruction and revamping stages of the national theatre while additional 2000 jobs would be provided when the project was completed.
Mohammed allayed the fears of the management of the national theatre as well as concerned stakeholders that the process might lead to job loss.
He reiterated that, to the contrary, more jobs would be created and the rehabilitation which would boost the potentials of the creative and entertainment industry.
The minister said the decision to hand over the national theatre to the CBN was informed by the need to reposition the entire creative industry.
“The handover of the national theatre to the CBN is one of the many steps by government to reposition the creative industry.
“As you know, the national theatre is the hub of the creative industry as a whole and one of the iconic edifice in the country.
“For more than 43 years, there has been really no serious renovation as a result of lack of fund by the government and the edifice is at a sorry state.
“Several attempts to privatise or concession the edifice either before or during my tenure as minister has failed, and the truth of the matter is that government has no money to embark on the renovation.
“Therefore, when the CBN made the offer, we saw it as a golden opportunity to return the national theatre to its glory days,” he said.
On the agreement, the minister said that the CBN and its partner, the Bankers Committee, would renovate and revamp the edifice and hand over a brand new national theatre back to government.
He said government, in return, handed over about 142 fallow hectares around the edifice to them to construct a Lagos Creative and Entertainment City, with four hubs – film, music, fashion and IT.
Mohammed said that the national theatre and the hubs would be connected with other facilities, including water ways, amphitheatre and community centre, among others.
“The idea is to have a creative and entertainment centre where burding musicians can record their works and do post productions and where burding actors can hold rehearsals and shoot their films.
“The national theatre will become the platform for consumption of the music, film and fashion produced in the hubs.
“The facilities would be given out at a much more affordable price because the intention is not just to make profit but to engender the growth of the creative industry,” he said.
The minister added that with the creative hubs in place, there would be an end to capital flight and economy bleed occasioned by artistes going outside the country for post production of their films and music.
On the controversies generated by the handing over of the edifice to CBN, tne minister said there was no time, before or during his tenure that government entered into any binding agreement with anybody.
Mohammed commended the ace comedian, Ali Baba led-committee of creative industry stakeholders, for advising the Federal Government on the best way to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.
“Let me use the opportunity to thank the Ali Baba led-committee for a comprehensive, detailed and well researched report submitted to government.
“It will guide us on the new steps to take in our efforts to reposition the creative industry,” he said.
The minister added that the report revealed amazing potentials in the creative industry and government would set up a committee for the implementation of the recommendations.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)