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Economy

NSE market capitalisation loses N56bn on profit taking

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After two successive trading sessions on positive sentiment, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday lost N57 billion due to sell pressure on 15 stocks.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the All Share Index (ASI) dipped by 171.28 points or 0.44 per cent to close at 26,339.11 against 26,456.39 on Tuesday.

Similarly, the market capitalisation lost N56 billion to close at N12.822 trillion from the N12.878 trillion achieved on Tuesday.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks of  Total Nigeria, Dangote Cement, Unilever Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank and PZ Cussons Nigeria.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited said that “As sentiment still remains weak toward the stock market, we maintain our bearish outlook in the absence of catalysts to spur investors’ appetite for equities.”

Market breadth closed negative with 13 gainers against 15 losers.

Ikeja Hotels recorded the highest price appreciation of 9.09 per cent to close at 96k per share.

A.G. Leventis Nigeria and Jaiz Bank followed with a gain 7.14 per cent each to close at 30k and 60k per share,  respectively.

Fidelity Bank improved by 3.83 per cent to close at N1.90, while Access Bank appreciated by 3.14 per cent to close at N9.85 per share.

Conversely, Total Nigeria led the price losers’ chart in percentage terms with 9.98 per cent to close at N110.90 per share.

PZ Cussons followed with a decline of 9.91 per cent to close at N5, while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance dipped by 7.14 to close at 39k per share.

Unilever lost 5.61 per cent to close at N18.50, while Oando shed 3.90 per cent to close at N3.20 per share.

However, the total volume traded increased by 64.80 per cent as 610.58 million shares worth N11.10 billion were traded in 5,031 deals.

This was in contrast to the turnover of 378.35 million shares valued at N7.15 billion achieved in 4,798 deals on Tuesday.

Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 336.61 million shares worth N5.79 billion.

Access Bank followed with 73.79 million shares worth N714.2 million, while Nigerian Breweries traded 63.84 million shares valued at N3.01 billion.

GTB accounted for 24.25 million shares valued at N695.56 million, while UBA transacted 16.38 million shares worth N110.79 million.
JNC/TA

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

 

Chinyere Nwokeoma: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Economy

NSE All-Share down 0.36% on banking stocks sell pressure

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Activities on the nation’s bourse on Tuesday sustained a negative posture for the second consecutive day, following sell pressure on banking equities.

Specifically, the All-Share Index (ASI) lost 86.01 points or 0.36 per cent to close at 24,114.59 compared with 24,200.60 achieved on Monday.

Thus, Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date losses increased to -1.5 per cent and -10.2 per cent, respectively.

Similarly, the market capitalisation which opened at N12.624 trillion shed N45 billion or 0.36 per cent to close at N12.579 trillion.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, Access Bank and Africa Prudential.

Analysts at APT Securities and Funds Limited said the market would maintain a bearish outlook.

“We retain our opinion on a bearish outlook. We therefore advise for a mid to long term positioning as market technically are down at this time,” they said.

Market breadth closed negative with eight gainers and 15 losers.

Arbico led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dopping by 9.94 per cent, to close at N1.54, per share.

GlaxoSmithKline came second with a loss of 9.38 per cent to close at N4.35, while Associated Bus Company dropped 9.09 per cent to close at 50k, per share.

Sterling Bank shed 4.72 per cent to close at N1.21, while Africa Prudential lost 4.24 per cent to close at N4.07, per share.

On the other hand, Unilever dominated the gainers’ table in percentage terms, gaining 9.64 per cent to close at N13.65 per share.

Chams and Regency Alliance Insurance followed with a gain 4.55 per cent each to close at 23k per share eac.

Japaul Oil improved by 4.17 per cent to close at 25k, while Jaiz Bank appreciated by 3.70 per cent to close at 56k per share.

The total volume of transacted shares decreased by 9.96 per cent with an exchange of 208.20 million shares, worth N1.06 billion, achieved in 4,174 deals.

This was against 231.23 million shares valued at N2.15 billion transacted in 3,950 deals on Monday.

Transactions in the shares of Sterling Bank topped the activity chart with 78.92 million shares valued N98.65 million.

United Bank for Africa followed with 15.78 million shares worth N96.03 million, while Japaul Oil traded 12.79 million shares valued at N3.22 million.

FBN Holdings traded 10.93 million shares worth N56.004 million, while Zenith Bank transacted 10.65 million shares valued at N167.11 million.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Insecurity : IGP approves two units of mobile police force for Kogi

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The Inspector -General of Police, Mr Muhammed Adamu, has approved the establishment of two new mobile police force units in Kabba and Okene areas of Kogi State.

The Public Relation Officer of the state police command, DSP William Aya, who confirmed this in Lokoja on Tuesday said that while Unit 70 will be in Kabba, Okene will host Unit 77.

He said that men and officers of Unit 7 had already commenced operation while men and officers of Unit 77 just arrived the state on July 10.

He said that the state police Commissioner, Mr Ede Ayuba, had started deploying the officers and men of Unit 77 to Okene and its environ.

Aya said that the establishment of the two units brings to three the number of mobile police force units in the state.

According to him, the establishment of units 70 and 77 was in response to the rising cases of kidnappings, killings and armed robbery on Okene -Lokoja road and other parts of the state.

He assured motorists and travellers plying Okene-Lokoja road of their safety, saying that the mobile policemen had been charged to take full control of the road.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Education

Education Counsellor calls for consensus on 2020 WASSCE

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Mr Benjamin Bamidele, an Education Counsellor, on Tuesday called on the Federal and State Governments to urgently resolve the impasse over the conduct of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Bamidele made the call during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti.

He said such quick and amicable settlement of the impasse occasioned by measures toward curtailing COVID-19 spread was to secure the students’ future academic performances.

According to him, the endless discussion and buck-passing between the Federal and State Governments over the conduct of the examination will only compound the challenges confronting the nation’s education sector.

“Apart from those challenges associated with COVID-19, the education system has for a very long time been affected with enormous challenges of inadequate manpower and poor remuneration.

“No nation can be greater than the level of its academic standard and the socio-economic status of any developing country like Nigeria depends largely on the viability of its education system.

“Rather than engaging in endless meetings on the issue, both the Federal and State Governments still have ample time to put in place adequate arrangement for the smooth and safe conduct of the examination,” he said.

Bamidele urged the Federal Government to consider the various suggestions by education stakeholders like the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools and the National Parent-Teacher Association toward quick resolve and amicable settlement.

The education counsellor also called on the government to use the opportunity provided by the closing of schools over COVID-19 to embark on massive reformation of the nation’s education system to conform to global acceptable standard.

“To me, this post-COVID-19 regime has provided a veritable platform for education stakeholders to redefine, redesign and restrategise in giving our education system the desired facelift and direction.

“We need to seek better alternative for continuous learning to take place in view of the present development over COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is high time we give the sector the needed financial backing, the conducive learning environment through adequate infrastructure, manpower and other facilities to aid effective and uninterrupted teaching and learning,” he said.

Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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General news

FRSC seeks Police, Civil Defense collaboration in Bayelsa

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Bayelsa Command, has asked for more collaboration with other security agencies to enhance road safety administration in the state.

The new Sector Commander, Mr Robert Ogom made the appeal on Tuesday in Yenagoa, during his familiarisation visit to security agencies in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Sector Commander visited the Air Force Mobility Command, Policd, Civil Defense, Immigration, DSS, Navy and Correctional Services commands among others.

Ogom noted that inter-agency cooperation was critical in road safety administration and said his visit was to seek more synergy to protect lives and property of road users.

“The visit is a kind of creating a symbolic relationship; there is need for support from the sister agencies to succeed in our assignment in the state because we alone cannot do it.

“In all, I am happy with the cordial working relationships that already exist among security agencies toward achieving the common national goal.

“Beside collaboration, we still need to tell the people that FRSC was committed to making the roads more safer.”

He advised motorists to ensure that they obtained genuine driving license and number plate, and avoid using expired tyres, over-loading and speeding.

Mr Nkereuwem Akpan, Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa Police Command, commended the new sector commander  on the visit and pledged support to make FRSC operations succeed in the state.

“We will continue with the partnership between the Nigeria Police and the FRSC, especially in the areas of operations, intelligence sharing and prosecution of offenders,’’ Akpan said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Health

Coronavirus: PTF conducts mid-term review of national response strategy

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday says it has conducted a mid-term review of its National Response Strategy on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak in the country.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the PTF Chairman, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), made this known on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Mid-term review was attended by legislators, Chairmen of relevant Committees on Health in the Senate and House of Representatives, the Office of the Vice President, Ministers, Diplomatic Community and development partners.

Mustapha said that the objectives were to review the PTF’s achievements, challenges and opportunities for improvement of COVID-19 response efforts from its inception to June 30.

He said that the med-review was also to engage key stakeholders in developing the way forward on COVID-19 in the PTF’s response efforts.

The SGF said it was expected that at the end of the two-day meeting, key resolutions would have been taken covering actions PTF intended to take in the areas like focussing on having enough oxygen nationwide as the numbers of hospitalised people increased.

“Establishing one sample collection centre per Local Government Area (LGA) and focussing on high burden LGAs with precision interventions, including increased risk communication.

“Increase community engagement, including religious leaders and state ownership by increasing state engagement and collaboration, as well as strengthening ownership at the state and local government levels.

“Institutionalise IPC policies in healthcare facilities and take step to increase compliance of non-pharmaceutical measures (use of face masks, hand sanitisers and physical distancing).

“Increase engagement with the private sector, industrial development as a gain from the pandemic and support local production of PPE and other critical supplies.

“Communicating that anyone above 60 years or persons with morbidities (such as hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancers etc.), should stay at home and avoid social events as they are at highest risk of infection and mortality.

“Government meetings/Board meetings should be conducted virtually until further notice and all unnecessary travels for meetings by government officials should be suspended till further notice,” he said.

Mustapha said that the task force would also develop an exit strategy beyond September 2020, the life of PTF.

He said that an enhanced Risk Communication Strategy would be designed to educate the citizenry on the virulence of the virus, individual and collective roles, but more importantly, to tackle the deliberate mis-information being bandied around, especially in the social media.

“An enhanced Risk Communication strategy becomes inevitable when we realise that within the last 24 hours, the world witnessed the largest single day cases of 230,370, while in Nigeria, last week we recorded the highest weekly fatality of 70 deaths.

“The rising fatalities in Nigeria is not unconnected with denial and delay in seeking help,” he said.

The SGF supported the foregoing position with an insightful quote from Dr Michael Ryan, WHO Executive Director of Health Emergencies Programmes, on the rhetorics of denial and the need to take responsibility.

“Every person needs to look at your own risk. You need to be aware of what is the local transmission.

“You need to know what the transmission in your area is. We do this, everyday in our lives as human beings. We manage risks, we decide when we cross the road.

”We decide when we fly. We decide when we have an operation or not have an operation.

“Why we need is information to make those risk based decisions. We need to gain the knowledge to be able to make good decisions. We decide on our proximity to other individuals.

“We decide on the intensity of our social engagement. We decide on how long we stay in that environment.

“We can be advised by government. We can be advised by science, but in the end, it comes down to personal motivation and personal choice.

“But in the end, it comes down to individuals and it comes down to communities. If it does not feel safe, it is not safe for you,” he said.

Mustapha noted that PTF was also encouraged by the compliance messages that had gone viral on the social media.

He said: “One of those that caught attention gave three major reasons why COVID-19 is spreading fast.

“They are: My colleagues, So, I can speak without a Mask. They are my close friends, so I can speak without a Mask. They are my relations, so, I can speak without a masks.”

According to him, this message is so poignant that if we juxtapose it with the fact that crowded places and closed spaces create environment for the spread, we should behave more responsibly.

He, however, thanked the author of the above and other related messages.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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General news

Coronavirus response: NCD Alliance launches new civil society solidarity fund

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No fewer than 20 civil society alliances from across the world will be awarded grants to accelerate the response to the coronavirus pandemic through the first Civil Society Solidarity Fund.

This was contained in a statement issued by Jimena Donaher, the Communications Director of NCD Alliance, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Ibadan.

The statement said that the fund, launched on Monday during an online event, was aimed at accelerating response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and COVID-19.

NAN reports that the beneficiaries were drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Latin America.

The NCD President Todd Harper, said that the COVID-19 pandemic had shown many intersections between the virus and NCDs, saying people living with NCDs were at higher risk of contracting coronavirus.

“The pandemic is also impacting negatively on the poorest communities around the world and the most vulnerable people in every country.

“The civil society solidarity fund was borne out of the need to tackle NCDs as fundamental to health security and prevent a reversal of the gains made in NCD prevention and control around the world,” he said.

Harper said that the fund, totalling US$300,000, would competitively award grants of up to US$15,000 to national and regional NCD alliances.

“The purpose is to support them in addressing the critical needs of people living with NCDs during COVID-19 via advocacy and communication activities that will support stronger organisational stability and resilience.

“Activities will include advocacy and communication efforts for the continuity of essential NCD health services and inclusion of NCDs in national COVID-19 response recovery plans.

“Also included is community-led awareness-raising campaigns on the linkages between NCDs and COVID-19,” Harper said.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, NCD Alliance, Katie Dain, said it was the first-of-its-kind fund to support civil society organisations (CSOs) to respond to COVID-19.

“During pandemics, momentum in several health and sustainable development issues, notably , Ebola and climate change, have repeatedly reinforced the critical role of CSOs and community-led efforts in accelerating action from local to global levels.

“Civil societies are proven campaigners, change agents, experts, implementers and watchdogs,” he said.

According to him, it is important to ensure a vibrant and strong NCD civil society that could elevate the voices of communities as well as people living with NCDs, given the vulnerability level of people living with NCDs to COVID-19.

Dain stressed the need to advocate for health policy reform and hold governments and other stakeholders accountable.

The statement said that the global NCD civil society movement had witnessed very significant growth over the last decade, adding COVID-19 affected its sustainability and stalled the advocacy efforts already on ground.

The statement said that the fund was made possible through generous financial contributions of NCD Alliance’s supporters, such as The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Access Accelerated, Takeda, AstraZeneca and Upjohn (Pfizer).

It said that the fund received 45 submissions from national and regional alliances across all regions, which were reviewed by a selection committee.

“The fund recognises the essential work of NCD advocates, which now becomes even more critical than ever, to ensure political and media attention to the needs of people living with NCDs as one of the most vulnerable groups to COVID-19.

NAN reports that the recipients of the funds included: NCD Alliance Nigeria, ACT Promoção da Saúde (ACT Health Promotion – Brazil), Alianza ENT Uruguay (NCD Alliance Uruguay), Alliance MNT Benin, Bangladesh Non-Communicable Diseases Forum and Burundi NCD Alliance.

Others were Cambodian NCD Alliance, Cameroon Civil Society NCD Alliance, Coalition MNT-Togo, East Africa NCD Alliance, Healthy Caribbean Coalition and Healthy Latin American Coalition and Zambia Non-Communicable Alliance.

Healthy Philippines Alliance, Jordan NCD Alliance, Slovenian NCD Alliance, South African NCDs Alliance, South East Asia Regional NCD Alliance, Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance and UK Working Group on NCDs also benefitted from the fund.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Health

Niger Assembly summons commissioners, others over Coronavirus response

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The Niger State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on COVID-19 has directed that the chairman and all members of the state Taskforce Committee on COVID-19 should appear before it on July 16.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ad-hoc committee gave the order on Monday following the absence of some key members of the taskforce at a scheduled interactive meeting with the lawmakers.

Alhaji Ahmed Matane, Chairman of the state Taskforce Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the State Government had led some members of the taskforce to the meeting on Monday to update the ad-hoc committee on its activities and expenditures.

However, Alhaji Malik Bosso, Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee on COVID-19, expressed displeasure at the absence of majority of the members of the task force earlier invited to brief the committee.

He noted that out of the 35-member COVID-19 taskforce committee only 11 members were present for the interface.

According to him, out of the 11 commissioners that were members of the state taskforce committee on COVID-19, only four were present during the interface.

“We were assigned to interface with the taskforce committee on COVID-19; therefore, we must take the assignment seriously to get adequate information. Therefore, we can not proceed until they are complete,” he said.

Bosso said that the commissioners of health, education, transport and agriculture were key members of the taskforce committee on COVID-19, adding that the interface could not proceed without their presence.

Also, Alhaji Bashir Lokogoma, (Wushishi Constituency), moved for the adjournment of the meeting which was seconded by Jibrin Baba (Lavun Constituency)p>

He said that representation from the task force committee on COVID-19 was scanty, adding that the chairman alone would not be able to respond adequately to questions from the ad-hoc committee members.

“If we have question for those that are not present, their representatives might not be able to answer adequately, therefore, I move that this meeting be rescheduled for Thursday,” he said.

Responding, Matane, said it was the first time that members of his committee were not present at the interface, adding that some of the commissioners were indisposed.

“Some travelled, some are bereaved, some are private people, some are representative of traditional rulers and I cannot force them to be here, but those within government that are not here and since the committee needs them to be here, we will bring them, ” he said.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Health

Ekiti doctors’ strike not borne out of wickedness, insensitivity –

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ekiti chapter, on Monday, said that the ongoing strike by its members was not a sign of wickedness, especially in the face of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The association, in a statement issued by its Chairman, Dr Tunji Omotayo, in Ado-Ekiti, said that the strike was rather necessitated by had the poor welfare condition of the doctors.

The association insisted that the doctors would only return to their duty posts after their rural, hazard and skipping allowances as well as other pending welfare issues were met.

While further defending the industrial action embarked upon by the doctors amidst the rampaging coronavirus pandemic, the chairman explained the welfare condition of the medical doctors operating in the state was nothing to write home about.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that doctors working with the state Health Management Board (HMB), covering three Specialist Hospitals, 19 general hospitals and primary healthcare facilities, had, about two weeks ago, withdrawn their services over alleged wage disparity and unpaid allowances, among other matters.

The doctors were operating under the aegis of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMD),

Omotayo, however, pleaded with members of the public not to perceive their members as being insensitive to the deadly disease.

He said that his members decided to embark on the strike after exhausting the 28-day ultimatum issued to the government without getting positive response from the government on their demands.

The NMA chairman also sought appropriate placement of promoted officers.

He said that the disparity in the conditions of service between the doctors in the employment HMB and other government’s establishments was capable of worsening the already precarious health indices in the rural and semi-urban communities in the state.

He said: “The implication of failure to implement skipping allowance is that doctors will only endure the hostile working conditions government’s job until they can secure more attractive jobs elsewhere.

“This is why the number of doctors under the employment of HMB will continue to reduce.

“Just like skipping, only the doctors in the employment of HMB are not being paid hazard allowance. Unlike other doctors all over the country, this has not been paid to the doctors in the last 10 years.

“For over 10 years, doctors have endured 50 percent implementation of rural posting allowance, despite assurances to regularise it within six months.

“The continued migration of their colleagues out of these hospitals without commensurate replacement has resulted in increased workload and loss of motivation for those remaining.”

Omotayo said that failure to find solutions to the contentious issues might put pressure on the already overstretched health facilities in the state.

According to him, whatever government may be doing in the health sector without addressing the issues will amount to window dressing.

“HMB is responsible for the management of the hospitals and has about 70 doctors to run the 22 specialist and general hospitals. This means that an average of three doctors per hospital, with some of the hospitals having only one doctor each.

“The three specialist hospitals used to have 5 consultants but they are now left with only five.

“In the primary healthcare sector, there are only 12 doctors, leaving some local government areas without clinical cover for their primary healthcare facilities.

“The secondary healthcare facilities are the worse hit, with not only external migration of doctors to other states, but also internal migration to other hospitals within the state, with better conditions of service,” he said.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Agriculture

Maize farmers call for end to insecurity to enhance food production

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Dr Bello Abubakar, the National President Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), has called on Federal Government to stop the continuous attacks on farmers by bandits and herdsmen to continue their farming business.

Abubakar made the call in Abuja at the inauguration of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of the association and input distribution for the wet season by the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers programme.

According to the MAAN president, the essence of the food production is to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on food production.

Abubakar said insecurity in the country had made it difficult for farmers to go to their farms for fear of being attacked or kidnapped.

He decried the situation, saying it “needs to end in order for Nigeria to close any possible food deficit that will  arise from the effect of COVID-19.’’

“We want to kindly plead with the Federal Government through the CBN to increase security presence in the country to safeguard farmers so that the impact of the  pandemic on food production will be drastically reduced,” he said.

Abubakar also called for the review of the tenure of loans by the CBN for possible extension from a year to two years and also review the stringent nature of providing personal guarantors.

“We seek your assistance to kindly look into the tenure of the loan for it to be extended to two years, the issue of personal guarantee for members should be reviewed and a better alternative be sorted out by the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI).’’

He urged the benefiting farmers to utilise the opportunities being given to them through the anchor borrowers loans and inputs to ensure they were able to repay the loan.

“We call on our farmers to repay the loans promptly; our ability to repay the loan given to us is what will sustain the programme in the future.

“I urge the beneficiaries to strive and repay and not to see it as palliatives since it is given to them at low rate of five per cent.”

The Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Hon.  Dan-Dutse Muktar commended the efforts of maize association in ensuring that there was availability of food in the country.

He said Nigeria had what it took to compete favourably in the agriculture sector at the international level to earn foreign exchange.

Dr Adeleke Muftau, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Maize Value Chain Coordinator called for synergy between the association and poultry subsector for robust poultry production.

Muftau said that maize was one of the major ingredients for poultry feed production.

He said that proper synergy between both subsectors would boost maize production because farmers would produce more with a steady market.

He said that this also would boost poultry production in the country through availability of raw materials for poultry feed production.

He said such synergy would also ensure that there was no lacuna that would necessitate import waivers for maize importation, thereby, boosting local production. .

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/ Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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