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Sunday Mirror



CBN partners Syngenta to check fake agro-chemicals TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is currently working through its Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Project Implementation Office to ensure that Nigerian farmers get quality agro-chemicals and other inputs from genuine manufacturers as a means of protecting them from fraudulent middlemen involved agro-inputs marketing in the country.

Already, the apex regulatory bank has opened discussions with Syngenta AG, one of the largest global specialized chemicals company, with a view to creating local linkages between

its accredited representatives directly with farmers and cut off business-men and other impostors who are faking agrochemicals and other inputs, thereby causing substantial losses to farmers. Giving the hint during a chat with Sunday Mirror at the sidelines of OneDay National Advocacy Platform for Smallholder Women Farmers organised by ActionAid Nigeria Tuesday in Abuja, a senior Officer of the CBN, Dr. Maryam Waisu Yaro, explained that the Bank was determined to use the ongoing discussions with manufacturers of agro inputs to help farmers fix the inputs value chain and protect them from

unbridled exploitation of marketers. In addition, Yaro said the CBN would also be ready to support smallholder farmers, particularly those that could organise themselves into groups, through capacity building support, especially trainings on how to optimise their productivity and yields from sales through improved market access. The CBN staff, who spoke amid contributions by Alhaji Aliyu Hameed, another NIRSAL representative at the forum, is that what CBN was doing through the NIRSAL is to ensure that it grooms transparency in all the transactions between the

farmers and the suppliers of inputs and ensure that their chemical works before even full payments are made for such supplies. Hameed, told National Mirror at the sidelines of the Advocacy Forum, said “our aim in trying to fix the value chain for farmers. What we try to do is to ensure that the farmers are not cheated. Whether in terms of quality of fertiliser in terms of quality of seeds or in terms of quality of chemicals or even in terms of financing they get from commercial banks because farmers are not really that educated enough to know the issues and the deals involved in this. “What CBN does

through NIRSAL is to ensure that we groom transparency and clarity to all the transactions between the farmers and the supply. One of the key issues we made an example of is for example, most of the tomato farmers are saying that when they spray their chemicals, they buy in the open market, they spray but it doesn’t work, the insects are still there. “So, we said why don’t we go into the root of the problem, instead of asking the farmers to go individually with money in their pocket to buy from the local dealer who buys from another adulterated person. We said, you international agro chemical companies have dealers

that are licensed by you, why don’t you link us up directly with those dealers”, Hameed clarified. He explained further that what the CBN did was to ask Syngenta to link the apex bank up with their local accredited dealer in the country -Biostat-, a Lagosbased company to make sure that Biostat deals directly with the farmers. According to him, the good thing is that they will supply and ensure that their chemical works before even full payment is made unlike before when a farmer would just walk into open market and buy something inside a can, the quality or efficacy of which they are not sure of.

Power sector to generate $40bn in 10 years –FG President Goodluck Jonathan at the weekend said that more than $40 billion worth of investment would be generated by the power sector in the next 10 years. Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, gave the assurance at the 10th Lagos International Trade Fair. He said that the investment so far attracted by the power sector was a symbol of growth. “We have created an environment for investment; it is in this capacity that over $40 billion worth of foreign investment will be coming into the country within the next 10 years. “These are coming from companies like China Power that has invested over 20,000 megawatts of power and General Electric co-investing another 10,000 megawatts of power. “Also, we have Electrovatts from Brazil co-investing,” he said. He noted that the Federal Government had signed a Memorandum

of Understanding with the General Electric on investment of about one billion dollars for an assembly of turbines in Nigeria. “I am delighted to say that the first $250 million investment is currently running in the country, and we have done groundbreaking in Calabar already.” “What you expect to see under this leadership is increased investments, power generation and distributions, growth of industries and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); we believe that the future of our country is bright. “The Federal Government has commenced the implementation of the National Enterprise Development Programme, which is-one local government, one product initiative-to develop specific sectors in Nigeria. “We have put SMEs at the forefront of job creation strategy in this country to reduce the scourge of unemployment,” the president added.

Trading activities at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair, yesterday.


Akwa Ibom Assembly frowns at destruction of ALSCON The Akwa Ibom House of Assembly on Friday condemned the destruction of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of the state by RUSAL. The lawmakers made the criticism at a plenary session, following a motion on a matter of urgent public importance moved by Assemblyman Aboh Uduyok, member representing Ikot Abasi/ Eastern Obolo Constitu-

ency. Uduyok said that RUSAL has systematically destroyed all the assets of ALSCON, which ought to have been a veritable tool of job creation for the youths of the state. He alleged that RUSAL has sold the vital components of ALSCON’s machineries, including stem rods, anodes and Bussbarr/Riser, used in the manufacturing of steel ingots. After a thorough debate

on the issues raised, the House resolved that Gov. Godswill Akpabio should intervene and make urgent efforts to salvage the company from total destruction. The House also resolved that the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) should take over the plant and secure its assets. It also directed that copies of the resolution should be forwarded to President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the

National Assembly from Akwa Ibom. The Speaker, Mr Samuel Ikon, directed the House Committee on Commerce and Industry to carry out an in-depth investigation into the matter and report its findings soon. He also directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the Assembly’s resolution to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.

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