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Our diversity is our strongest bond of unity — Osinbajo

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Jailbreak: VP Osinbajo initiatives save inmates in Lagos – Giwa-Amu

…As Association pleads with FG on border closure***

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the nation’s rich arts and diverse cultures remain Nigeria’s greatest asset and unifying factor.

Osinbajo said this on Friday, when he visited the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, in his palace in Benin, the Edo capital.

The vice president, who was in Benin for the ongoing National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), said: “We are here in Benin to celebrate the NAFEST, taking place in your kingdom.

“This event is special because Edo is the center of culture. I am sure we will have the best of NAFEST in the state.”

He further thanked the Oba for the support given to art, which he described as “a unifying factor for Nigeria.”

He said: “Art unifies this nation. There is no country in the world that has as much languages and sub-culture like Nigeria.

“When people talk or speak in terms of separation and disunity, they fail to note that our diversity is our strength and our bond.”

The vice president congratulated the Oba on his birthday and third anniversary on the throne.

He also thanked the monarch for his support to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and prayed God to grant him long life and good health.

Responding, the Oba thanked the vice president for the visit and assured him of the hospitality of the Benin kingdom.

Also read:  Osinbajo receives 2019 Compliance Report of Ease of doing business reforms

He described Edo as “the center of culture,” saying that the state was doing its best to keep the culture alive.

“I have to preserve the culture and tradition of Benin kingdom because I know no other.

“We are doing our best to ensure that our culture and tradition are not watered down by Western culture.

“I reassured the international community that Nigeria is a great nation and not as bad as they project it to be,” Ewuare said.

He expressed appreciation to the president for giving two ministerial positions to Edo, in addition to other appointments.

He also commended the state government “for bringing NAFEST to Benin to celebrate my birthday and third coronation anniversary.”

“I am grateful to all those who played one role or other to see to the success of NAFEST. I have enjoyed the festival so far.”

In the meantime, the Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN) on Friday appealed to the Federal Government to urgently resolve issues around the border closure to promote inclusive economic growth.

Mr Saviour Iche, National President of AMEN, made the plea at a media briefing on the effects of border closure on local businesses and manufacturers in Lagos.

Iche said that the alternative use of seaports and airline for export freight as suggested by the government was beyond the financial capacity of most MSMEs.

“We wish that we can explore the freight option suggested by government, but most of us have not grown financially to that stage, that is why we are appealing to government to help us.

“Over 90 per cent of small manufacturers and businesses with large customer base outside Nigeria are as a result of the border closure gradually going out of business because they cannot export their products.

“The services sector has also not been spared by the policy as movement of personnel and work materials have come under heavy restrictions,” Iche said.

According to him, the situation has affected the income of businesses, hindered them from meeting financial obligations to creditors, family members and even, revenue to government.

He decried that most of the manufacturers and MSMEs embraced export to promote their products and expand their markets due to their willingness to support government’s efforts to diversify the economy and boost non-oil export revenues.

Iche recalled that the border closure occurred weeks after Nigeria signed onto the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

According to him, it sends a wrong signal to other countries about Nigeria’s sincerity to Africa’s economic integration.

He acknowledged that it was crucial and urgent to curb smuggling activities in the country’s land border, noting that the policy should be situated in the larger context of the overall economy.

He said that technology had made the world a global village with reduction in borders and economic integration being pursued.

The association president urged the government to explore proven ways adopted by other countries to address activities of smugglers, importation of contraband goods and illegal migration.

He also urged the government to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian Customs and other relevant agencies to effectively discharge their duty of safeguarding and policing the borders.

Iche also appealed to the government to embrace speedy dialogue and resolutions that could further stimulate economic activities, enhance production, save jobs and businesses from collapse.

 

 

Economy

Fuel Scarcity Will Soon Disappear, NMDPRA Tells Unbelieving Nigerians; Depot Managers Disagree 

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…Insist there is still serious supply gap***

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has assured Nigerians that the prevailing fuel crisis ravaging various parts of the country would soon disappear. His audience largely disbelieved him.

NMDPRA Coordinator in Delta, Mr Victor Ohwodiasa, gave the assurance when he led a team of the regulatory authority on an unscheduled inspection visit to some petroleum depots at Ifiekporo, on Thursday evening and Friday in Delta.

The Ifiekporo Community is in Warri South Local Government area of Delta.

Ohwodiasa said that a lot of vessels laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as Petrol were already coming into the state.

He said the regulatory authority would ensure that the vessels discharge products as quickly as possible.

“We will ensure that the depots receiving these products lift them out to the end users.

“By the time we have all the depots wet with PMS and they are lifting regularly, the looming scarcity we are experiencing will disappear,” Ohwodiasa said.

Nigeria, 99 others Back Agreement Against Illegal, Unregulated Fishing
President-Muhammadu-Buhari

The agency’s coordinator said the essence of the visit was to ensure that depots with the products dispensed to licenced retail outlets, eliminate middlemen and also avoid diversion.

“Once we get our daily manifest, we send our men out to make sure that those trucks get to their actual locations.

“There might be one or two infractions; we have apprehended about two persons for product diversion and they were made to face the full wrath of the law.

“As a regulatory authority, saddled with the responsibility of regulating the Midstream and Downstream of the Oil and Gas sector in Nigeria, we will continue to do what we need to do.

“This is to ensure that the products are available and adequately and fairly distributed within Delta and neighbouring states,” he said.

Ohwodiasa said the NMDPRA would carry out intense routine surveillance, adding that it would sustain the tempo to ensure that the right things were done in the Midstream and Downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

He, however, urged people to stop panic buying, assuring that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ensure the availability of petroleum products in the country, particularly during the Yuletide season and beyond.

Ohwodiasa added that NMDPRA would ensure that the products get to the consumers at the right price, quality and quantity.

Among the depots visited were: Matrix Energy Group, Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd. and AYM Shafa Ltd.

Speaking on behalf of Matrix Energy, Mr Francis Ibe, the Terminal Manager, Matrix Energy, said that the PMS stock level at the Warri Depot was 14 million litres on Thursday.

Ibe said as of the evening of Thursday, it had trucked out over four million litres.

“With what I am pushing out, I know it will not be enough. Before now on weekly basis, we were receiving 40 million litres of PMS, but at the moment, we barely received 40 million in two weeks. So you can see the difference.

“Forty million litres in one week as against receiving one vessel in two weeks cannot solve the problem. There is a serious supply gap,” Ibe said.

Also, Mr Luke Nnajieze, the Depot Manager, Pinnacle Oil and Gas, Warri Depot, said that the current stock level of the company in Warri as of Thursday morning was 3.1 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

Nnajieze added that the Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO) was 2.9 million litres. At the moment, we are out of stock of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK).

“On daily basis, we trucked 2.5 million litres to 3 million litres of PMS,” he said.

Nnajieze identified heavy vehicular gridlock as a major challenge confronting their business in the area, calling on the government to assist in expanding or fixing the bad access road.

He also called for the dredging of the Escravos Bar to allow bigger vessels to navigate and bring in petroleum products.

A respondent who spoke on condition of anonymity however said: “What I hate is telling innocent people deliberate lies. We all know supply is grossly inadequate; and yet, we keep hyping lame duck assurances!”, he said, adding that it was like the government, knowing that it was now on its last lap, has seemingly relaxed…!

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Economy

Oyo Govt efforts in agribusiness already yielding positive results- OYSADA DG

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Oyo Govt efforts in agribusiness already yielding positive results- OYSADA DG

…Fails to indicate how OYSADA positively tinkers with availability of agricultural products*** 

 The Director-General, Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Dr. Debo Akande, on Friday stated that the state government efforts in agribusiness were already yielding positive results.

Akande made this known at Fasola Farm in Oyo while welcoming Mr. Ben Langat, the Managing Director, Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, who led other members of the company on a facility tour of the farm.

The Maritime First learned that Ben Langat’s visit may be connected to his company’s readiness to set up a milk collection centre through dairy livestock farming within the facility.

Akande, who is also the Executive Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde on Agribusiness, said that the state agribusiness venture had been thriving evidently through increment of internally generated revenue and jobs creation opportunities.

Addressing journalists shortly after the facility tour, Akande said: “We have ensured that our agricultural hubs are going to be completely private sector driven.

“One of the things that created problems for all of those farm settlements we had in the past was that they are public sector driven.

“And in so doing, we are attracting the investors that can run the hub.

“Fasola Farm was known for livestock farming for many years and the work we’ve been doing in terms of livestock has created impacts across the state.

“What we are doing now is to bring back the glory of the past, but in a different way, because our milk collection partner investors are known for our dairy and livestock.

“So, we will see a manifestation of a modern approach in livestock and dairy production within this particular facility that we have and to me, I think that is quite significant.”

Oyo State Logo

According to him, the state government is already generating revenue, because this farm is not given free to our milk investor company.

“They are paying leases on the land they are using; they have already paid and they will be paying annually for the next 20 years,” he said.

Akande said this was not limited only to the milk collection partner, but also to other investors in the hub.

“All of them are here on a lease, the government is going to generate a chunk of their lease at the first year.

“And also be generating lease payment for the next 20 years from all these private companies, that is part one of the revenue, ” he said.

The Director-General said the hub would generate taxes and employ people within the state, especially youths.

During the tour, beneficiaries of the Oyo State Youth Entrepreneurship In Agribusiness Project (YEAP), which had already cultivated up to 45 percent of the hundred hectares of land allocated to them, were also on ground.

Offering an insight, the Managing Director of Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, Ben Langat

said the company is in partnership with the Oyo State Government in developing an Agribusiness hub, which is very important to all the parties concerned.

“We are a dairy company that is ready to ensure that we produce quality dairy for Nigerians to consume every day.

“We are developing 300 hectares of land now, that was part of the land allocated to us.

“We have developed pasture, which is part of the process before we bring cows in; we built sheds where they will feed, also bunkers and boreholes as well as other things,” Langat said.

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Economy

IMPRUDENCE: Oyetola Left N76bn Salary, Pension Debts- Official

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IMPRUDENCE: Oyetola Left N76bn Salary, Pension Debts- Official

…Salary: N29,875,191,128.64; Pension Arrears: N45,375,237,693.40; Life Assurance Scheme: N554,644,028.97***

 Mrs. Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun, says the state government has discovered salary and pension-related debts, amounting to over N76 billion, left by the immediate past Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration.

A statement by Malam Olawale Rasheed, the Spokesperson of Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun, calling attention to the former Governor’s imprudence on Thursday in Osogbo, highlighted that Ogunlumade made the revelations while briefing officials of the new administration on the state’s financial status.

According to Rasheed, the Osun Government has uncovered a monumental debt in salaries, pensions and insurance commitments incurred by the administration of Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, amounting to N76 billion.

“This revelation was made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Bimpe Ogunlumade, while briefing officials of the new administration on the financial status of the state on Thursday.

“The disclosure was contrary to the claim by the former governor that he left N14 billion in cash for the new government, among other bogus claims that have now been found to be an outright falsehood.

“The breakdown of the salaries and pension-related liabilities as disclosed by the Permanent Secretary are as follows:

“Salary: N29,875,191,128.64; Pension Arrears: N45,375,237,693.40; Group Life Assurance Scheme: N554,644,028.97, Total: N75,805,072,851.01.

“The public is hereby advised that this is not the total debt left by the past administration as briefings on other sources of liabilities continue tomorrow,” he said.

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