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Livestock Farming can Change Nigeria’s Agricultural Ecosystem for Good – Muyiwa

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 Folorunso Muyiwa. is the  Chief Executive Officer Of Divergent Enterprise, with an objective to create wealth for its financial partners through pig farming. He recently shared his views on livestock farming in the country.

 

How achievable is the current Federal Government plans to diverse the economy

It is definitely achievable. The diversification of the economy is probably the only option left for development and growth. This is because the economy continues to be over-reliant on oil, the numbers speak for themselves. Oil accounts for 80% of government’s revenue and 90% of foreign exchange earnings. No country can totally depend on only one economic sector. Especially one that is blessed with a lot of natural resources like Nigeria. I believe that there are great opportunities for non-oil sectors to grow and this growth has been visible since 2001. Of course, the changes cannot be that quick and the transformation will not happen overnight. However, the federal government can develop different sectors by taking the important steps necessary for growth to take place. We can no longer be a mono-economic country.

 

Could that explain why you ventured into pig farming

The idea for Porkmoney grew out of the desire to tap into an over neglected sector of livestock farming (Pigs) that has the potential to create value and change the agricultural ecosystem for good. Long ago before Porkmoney was launched in 2018, I had visited a pig farm in Ogun state. One of the biggest in the country and realised how fast the pigs grew and the viability of the pig farming system in general. I knew this was something I needed to be a part of and I’m glad for the decision that I made. We are currently the leading Pig farming enterprise in West Africa and our results speaks for itself.

 

Did you derive the idea of establishing PorkMoney from that enterprise

My visit to that farm was definitely a turning point for me. Before then, I was oblivious of the untapped goldmine that is pig farming.

 

What challenges did you encounter

Every business comes with a few challenges. One of the challenges we constantly face is the need to micro manage casual workers. From farm handlers, managers, production managers other workers. Many of them compromise on set standards by cutting corners especially in meat processing and livestock welfare. Another challenge is the religious sentiments in this part of the world towards pigs and pork products. However, this was a more pronounced problem at inception and it is gradually dissipating with time.

 

Knowing the religious sensibilities of the country, did aversion to pork cross your mind

Not at all. In as much as there’s a religious proscription to the consumption of pork, we cannot ignore its usefulness and benefits to our health and nourishment and just how lucrative the pig farming industry is. I mean, Nigeria is a major consumer of pork and 80% of it is imported. This means that a lot of people enjoy this animal protein, all we are doing is localising its production.

 

Is it possible to alter negative public perception about pig farming

Definitely. One of our key responsibilities is to enlighten and educate the general public about the great side to pig farming and inform them of the many benefits of pork consumption. Somehow our environment and the kind of information we were exposed to as a people, has influenced our idea of certain things. There are a lot of things we might need to unlearn as time goes on. So by using all our platforms, from our social media, our website and even our adverts, we have ensured that we always show the good side to pig farming because they’re a lot.

 

Did you think about the possible health challenges in pork breeding

Of course we do. However, we ensure that we take the appropriate steps to mitigate any possibility. We also take proper hygienic measures like vaccination, quarantine and biosecurity which keeps our weaners very healthy.

 

Are you saying there are no associated diseases

Livestock farming comes with a risk of outburst of diseases but if managed properly, can be prevented. And the great things about pigs is just how resilient they are as compared to any other livestock for farming. They are simply incredibly disease resilient.

 

Vaccines and disease surveillance have always been the bane of animal husbandry, how do you react to that observation

Livestock are very prone to diseases, hence the need to constantly take precautionary measures such as the administration of vaccines and disease surveillance activities across the farm to prevent disease outbreaks. Very recently China, witnessed it’s biggest animal disease that claimed the lives of the livestock and cost the country to lose billions of dollars because of its flawed surveillance. So it’s important for other pork producing countries to take adequate disease surveillance and testing programs in order for these diseases can be detected early enough and prevent a fast spread. And so far our farm partners under our management have taken adequate measures that have seen us not witness any outbreak since our launch in 2018, we expect that with our measures this would continue to be the case.

 

What would you consider as the most limiting factors to entrepreneurship, especially for youths

Lack of capital has to be one of them. Aside from the fact that the Nigerian environment is not too conducive and encouraging for budding entrepreneurs, raising capital and access to funds, has to be one of the biggest challenges for youth in business. Another is the unfavourable tax policies, poor management, corruption, lack of training and experience, poor infrastructure, and a lack of specialised skills to scale one’s enterprise, none of which is insurmountable for the determined person.

 

How would you rate Nigeria’s scale of Small Medium Enterprises, compared to Malaysia and other countries

 

The SME sector is the backbone of major developed economies, as well as important contributors to employment, economic and export growth. Malaysia is doing remarkably well when it comes to the business scene. About 98.5% Business establishments In Malaysia are SME’s which contributes to 36.5% of their GDP and 65% of the country’s employment. This is impressive. But despite the significant contribution of SMEs to the Nigerian economy(48%), challenges still persist that hinder the growth and development of the sector. Some of the overriding issues are access to funding, lack of skilled manpower, the multiplicity of taxes, high cost of doing business, among others. This proves that there is still much to be done.

 

As an entrepreneur, how did you overcome initial apprehensions, especially funding, and what areas have you exerted your ideas so far

When I was starting out in business, I had no capital, training or resources to start my journey.  The brilliant ideas were there, all that was needed to execute them was finance. This was lacking but I had start small and grow multiple businesses over the years till I was able to afford the capital needed to start my current pursuit.

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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ALTON, Medallion, CloudFlex Back NITRA’s Innovation Forum

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More companies have indicated interest in partnering with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), as the national umbrella body of ICT reporters accelerates plans towards hosting its annual Innovation Forum in Lagos.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Medallion Communication and CloudFlex have now joined the telecoms regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Digital Encode as partners to the event scheduled to hold as a Webinar on October 15, 2020.

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman ALTON, while accepting to support the event reiterated how telecommunications operators are helping in the realization of financial inclusion initiative of the central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Engr. Adebayo, at the event, will also throw more light on other ways the sector is supporting organisations outside of ICT to reposition post pandemic.

The event will discuss the need for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era. It will also test the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of post-pandemic economy.

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.

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.

Remi Adejumo, managing director, CloudFlex, will share insight into how cloud computing could assist organizations to navigate through the business challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic.

According to him, “Cloud computing offers scalability and reliability that cannot be matched by a single enterprise. Scalability with regards to expanding of the infrastructure which can be done immediately while in most organisations, this would take a 4-12 weeks endeavour.

“You can scale up or down as required. It is more reliable as the infrastructure tends to be bigger with more redundancy and it has the ability to swap out faulty parts quicker or to move away from a faulty platform smoothly with no interruption.”

CloudFlex Computing Limited, formerly Comercio Cloud Limited is Nigeria’s’ leading Enterprise local cloud service Provider. The firm is one of the top choices for Cloud Solutions and managed data services for local and global businesses with great ambitions.

The company offers Information Technology as a service (Cloud services, Co-location, Managed solutions, Backup services, Disaster Recovery etc.), and support for diverse infrastructure need by providing Industry-specific Solutions.

Medallion Communications Limited, one of Nigeria’s Interconnect exchange clearinghouses and data center operator, offering telecommunications infrastructure development and Value Added Services in Mobile Banking, Number Portability and Emergency Communications Services, will also play a big role as it gives direction to the future at the Webinar event.

A statement from the company notes that while most interconnect operators focus on only transiting of calls, Medallion’s model offers full financial settlement and reconciliation of interconnect traffic. This, it says, greatly eliminates interconnect indebtedness in the industry and leads to accurate and timely processing of interconnect charges.

The company also deploys a robust and efficient billing and settlement infrastructure that is transparent in the resolution of interconnect related billing issues, which will be one of the needs as the country expects heavy traffic both in data and call services occasioned by the need to go digital and online following the pandemic effects.


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NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

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Tonye Jaja, chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life by agents of John Asein, director general of the agency.

NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

He disclosed that an unnamed member of the NCC Governing Board had threatened his life through phone calls and SMS messages.

The Board Chairman, who made the claim in a statement, titled: “Notification of threats to my life and reputation in the line of duty as chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,” ‎said the development followed statements he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission as part of ongoing investigations into allegations against Asein. ‎

According to Jaja, Asein is being investigated over alleged conflict of interest and abuse of office, among other offences.

The chairman of the NCC Governing Board also alleged that Asein and his agents have vowed to destroy his reputation through publications in the media.

The statement read: “Yesterday, I received a verbal threat during a telephone call and an SMS from one member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright (NCC).‎

“In a nutshell, he threatened that he will use online newspapers and other means to disgrace me and rubbish my reputation.

“His annoyance and threats is not an isolated incident, it is part of a coordinated onslaught of threats, publications of propaganda and other acts of reprisal targetted against me in my capacity as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

“The persons behind this have gone to the illegal extent of forging certain documents and leaking government official documents to Online newspapers in their desperate attempts at smearing my hard earned reputation.

“The Office of the Inspector-General of Police is currently investigating one of such incidences.

“All this smear campaign is because I ‎was invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the ICPC as part of their investigation of Mr John Asein the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) whom they are investigating for allegations of conflict of interest and abuse of office, etc.

“‎As a responsible and law-abiding citizen,  who could not disobey the invitation of the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau, I went to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and deposed to an affidavit to confirm the veracity of the written and oral statements that I submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Instead of these persons to apply the same steps of going before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or any other court of Justice in Nigeria to swear an affidavit and oath on the pain of perjury, in support of any statements they are making, they have resorted to peddling fake news, falsehood and false, unsubstantiated allegations through the pages of online newspapers and other social media platforms.

“In recent times, their anger and onslaught has intensified because their attempts to “kill” and “bury” the investigations proved abortive considering that the ICPC, the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau continued with the investigations which they had previously in an online newspaper described as the petition against Mr. John Asein as jokers.’”

The Governing Board Chairman added that anybody who is sincerely interested in knowing and verifying the truth of the allegations against Asein can make Freedom of Information requests to the Department of State Services, ‎Chairman of the ICPC,‎ Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Inspector-General of Police through the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of the Federal Investigations Bureau.

 


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Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

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Health Plus, a pharmaceutical company, has accused Alta Semper Capital, a foreign private equity firm (PEF), of a fraudulent attempt to take over its business.

Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

In a rejoinder to a press release earlier issued by the PEF, Health Plus dismissed the appointment of Chidi Okoro as chief transformation officer and the claim that Olubukunola Adewunmi George, chief executive officer, remains a director and shareholder

Health Plus stated that it entered into a five-year partnership with Alta Semper Capital in 2018 to inject fresh capital to further grow the business.

George, the rejoinder stated, was prepared to give PEF a controlling stake in order for them to realise their investment.

However, it added, PEF started working of schemes aimed at taking over the business after seeing the vastness of the Nigerian market.

PEF, according to Health Plus, deliberately starved the company of funds, neglected its obligations to the business, appointed Okoro as CTO and was running the company in utter disregard for George’s wishes.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors was said to have resigned two days ago while another director resigned five weeks ago over the debilitating effect of the impasse on the company.

The rejoinder stated that George had, in May 2020, instituted a suit at the Federal High Court (FHC/L/CS/609/2020) seeking to stop HealthPlus Africa Holdings Limited (the investment vehicle used by Alta Semper Capital and which they control) and their nominee directors from continuing to run and manage the company with disregard to her interests as a member of the Company.

After being served the court summons, PEF appealed for a mediation of the crisis outside court, a process frustrated after three meetings in three months.

Alta Semper thereafter filed an arbitration claim in England.

“Alta Semper’s latest actions, including the arbitration claim that it has now filed, constitute a serious affront to the authority of the Court seised of the suit, a desecration of the integrity of the Nigerian judicial system and a gross violation of Nigeria’s extant legislation.

“The General Public, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, our Staff, loyal Customers, Vendors, Landlords, Bankers and all Stakeholders are advised to totally disregard and ignore the earlier unauthorised Press Release from those who have no real stake in the Company, its employees or Nigeria.

“Mrs. Bukky George remains the Founder & CEO of the Company and is focused on preserving and growing this national treasure,” the rejoinder read.

 

 

 


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