The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Africa’s premier development finance institution has approved an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of $ 152.12 million and an ADF grant of $ 0.38 million to finance Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1 (ATASP-1).
The overall goal of the Program is to transform agriculture into a profitable business.
ATASP-1 seeks to promote employment generation and shared wealth creation along the commodity value chains, as well as food and nutrition security.
Its specific objective is to sustainably increase the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of the selected commodity value chains.
According to AfDB estimates, Nigeria has a huge potential in agriculture with 84 million hectares of arable land, abundant labour, untapped water resources and a market of 167 million people.
However, less than 40% of the arable land is cultivated and the country has become a net importer of food, spending over $10 billion per annum in the importation of wheat, rice, sugar and fish.
Reports from Bank funded projects indicate that while farmers have made significant gains by adopting improved crop varieties and farming practices, productivity falls far short of the full potential along the commodity value chains.
Thus, the current project is targeting support for value addition through processing, better nutritious product and market linkages to improve farm profits and incomes critical for enhanced productivity from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
The Program is in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) which aims to attract private sector investment in agriculture, reduce post-harvest losses, add value to local agricultural produce, develop rural infrastructure and enhance access of farmers and other value chain actors to financial services and markets.
The ATASP-1 fits with the two strategic pillars of the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper for Nigeria (CSP, 2013-2017) which are: (i) Supporting the Development of a Sound Policy Environment; and (ii) – Investing in Critical Infrastructure to Promote the Development of the Real Sector of the Economy.
ATASP-1 is mainly an infrastructure restoration intervention that will rehabilitate 1,300 kms of irrigation water conveyance canals; 39,777 ha of existing crop production schemes; 1,330 kms of feeder roads; 1,007 units of hydraulic structures; 14 community markets; 35 primary schools; and 14 community health centers.
It will provide 63 potable water and sanitation systems and establish seven technology demonstration centers.
It will be implemented in four Staple Crops Processing Zones in seven States covering 194,426 km2 of land and 32,121,944 inhabitants (50.93% males and 49.07% females) who are predominantly farmers and small scale commodity processors.
The direct beneficiaries of ATASP-1 include 45,300 farmers and rural entrepreneurs participating in commercial agricultural value chains in the four Processing Zones.
These include existing or potential small, medium and large-scale entrepreneurs and business associations who provide services to rural households.
A further 200,000 rural youth (40% of them are estimated to be females), who presently lack employment opportunities in the adjourning farming communities will be especially targeted in the outreach Program that will provide them with training and support to improve their lives through engagement in agriculture and related businesses.
The Program, to be implemented in five years is estimated at $ 175 million.
The Bank’s financing will account for 87.0% of the overall costs. The Federal Government and seven States located in the four Processing Zones will contribute 12.2%, while the beneficiaries will contribute 0.6% of total Program costs.
The beneficiaries include farmers and farmers’ cooperatives, commodity processors, private sector operators and registered Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (input dealers and service providers).
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
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