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N540m was disbursed to 3,161 farmers in 3 months – CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it allocated credit worth N539.8 million to farmers between January and March this year, its third quarter economic report titled, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme revealed on Monday.

“A total of N539.8m loans were guaranteed to 3,161 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme in the first quarter of 2020.

“This represented a decrease of 53.9 per cent and 34.8 per cent below the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2019 respectively,” the CBN report said.

The food crop sub-sector received the biggest disbursal of N291.6 million (54 per cent) availed to beneficiaries numbering 1,958, followed by livestock with N115 million (21.3 per cent) shared among 430 beneficiaries.

Cash crops accounted for N64.9 million (12 per cent) of the disbursal guaranteed to 335 beneficiaries while fisheries, mixed crops and others received N36.1m (6.7 per cent), N16.8m (3.1 per cent) and N15.3m (2.9 per cent), respectively, guaranteed to 121, 233, and 84 beneficiaries.

30 states and Federal Capital Territory benefitted from the programme. Ogun State emerged the biggest beneficiary state with N54.8m (10.2 per cent) while Nasarawa received the smallest disbursal at N1.8m (0.3 per cent).

According to the CBN, agricultural activities in the first quarter were dominated by land preparation ahead of the early rainy season, harvesting of tree crops as well as irrigation-fed vegetables.

The apex bank noted that farmers continued to ramp up actions aimed at raising poultry birds and cattle preparatory to the 2020 Easter festivity.

The African Development Bank, in synergy with the Nigerian government, signed a $500 memorandum initiative to develop four special agro-industrial processing zones in the country, the CBN said.

It affirmed that the agro-industrial processing zones were planned to locate agro-processing activities in areas having considerable agricultural prospects in order to stimulate productivity, consolidate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.

The initiative is capable of boosting the structural transformation of the economy by offering opportunities for public and private sector investments according to the CBN.


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Blackout hits Nigeria as electricity grid collapses again

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Nigeria is currently experiencing a blackout, as a collapse of the electricity grid has been reported.

In a recent statement, Oyebode Fadipe, general manager, corporate communications at the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), said the system collapse occurred at about 12:26pm on Wednesday.

According to him, the incident led to an interruption of power supply in Abuja and its surroundings.

Fadipe, meanwhile assured Nigerians that power supply will be restored to the states within its franchise as soon as the firm receives significant improvement in energy allocation.

“We have been unable to serve our customers in Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa States as well as a significant portion of the entire Federal Capital Territory,” Fadipe said.

“At the moment, only 20 megawatts (MW) have been allocated to AEDC as against the over 400MW that we have been receiving in recent times.”

The grid often records partial or total collapse, which renders most homes in darkness. The grid collapsed in February and May, leading to a blackout across the country. This is worsening the blackout being experienced by households and businesses in parts of Nigeria.

The grid, which is being managed by government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years. This will be the fourth time this is happening in recent times.

Eko Electricity Distribution Company, in a text message to its customers, said, “Dear customer, the present outage is due to a system collapse on the National Grid. TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria) assures us that supply will be restored shortly.”

NAN


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Buhari signs N982 billion 2021 supplementary budget, commends NASS for expeditious consideration

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By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja signed a supplementary budget of N982.7bn for 2021 to address urgent security and COVID-19 needs of the nation.The President signed the Supplementary Appropriation Act, 2021 in his office at the State House in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House), Hon. Umar  el-Yakub.

Of the amount, N123.3 million is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while the sum of the N859.3bn is for contribution to the Development Fund for the capital expenditure for the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2021.The President commended the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and approval of the supplementary budget, assuring that the executive arm of government would ensure the timely delivery of capital projects to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.

 Meanwhile, the President has also, at an earlier date, signed the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (Amendment) Act, 2021.The Act amends the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act Cap. O10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the establishment of the Orthopedic Hospital Jos, Plateau State under the control of the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board affiliated to the Jos Teaching Hospital to provide specialised orthopedic treatment and medical services.


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Nigeria’s indigenous company, Madugu Cement, partners Chinese firm, to float cement company in Gombe

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By Goodluck Ikiebe.

Nigeria’s indigenes company, Madugu cement, in collaboration with Sinoma Engineering company of China, has unveiled its intention to establish a 5 million metric tons cement company in Kembu, Akko LGA and Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State, North-East Nigeria.

The project is to be executed in two phases, with the construction and commissioning of a fully integrated 2.5million metric tons of lime per year and a 60 megawatts power plant, while the 2nd phase will be the additional 2.5 million metric tons per year.

The company believes that Nigeria and the surrounding regions have good opportunities in construction, housing and infrastructure development.

For over 40 years, the North-eastern Zone has only one cement company, which makes it difficult to meet the demand of the immediate environment.

The Chief Executive Officer of Madugu Cement Company, Mr. Mohammed Madugu, revealed this during a visit to Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in Gombe.

Mr. Madugu said his technical partners had come to seek the Governor’s guidance, advice and blessing in setting up the cement company, which is aimed at bridging the cement deficit in the zone.

“In the absence of a new major investor in the region, I have taken this decision to invest and build new plant in partnership with the Sinoma Company of China,” Mr. Madugu said.

He stated that the project when fully completed and operational, would positively impact on the host communities and the state, such as the dependence of the company local manpower, 90% locally source materials, skills and technology transfer, among others.

Mr Madugu said; “Training, capacity development to locals, building the installations and commissioning improved corporate social responsibility, schools, healthcare centres and potable water and to increase revenue generation to the state are some of the benefits.”

The Project Manager of International Marketing Africa Region of Sinoma International Company, Mr. Sun Yujin, said the company considered it an honour to be invited by Madugu Cement for an investment in Gombe State.

Mr. Yujin said; ”the company would in no doubt provide the needed labour and contribute to the development of Gombe State.”

Governor Muhammad Yahaya said the state would provide a good market for cement, because it had about 25 million people with the need for development, which would require cement, providing a robust commercial activity as the centre of the North East.

He said this was so because of the good trade relations and boundaries it had with the remaining five states in the North East and Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Niger.

“So, your coming here is very apt and we welcome you most profoundly, because we’ve benefited from the existence of the cement company in this sub-region, but may be with close to three-quarters of the North West. In the whole of the North, I think we have only four cement plants now, that of Obajana, that of Sokoto, then Gboko and that of Ashaka,” Governor Yahaya said.

He said an additional cement company in the North would greatly improve on the economic activities and deliver social infrastructure and fiscal infrastructure of the North East.

Governor Yahaya advised the investor to delve into other ventures like power generation, which could easily be sourced in the state.


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