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FG trains Ebonyi yam farmers on new production technique




The Federal Government has trained 20 yam farmers in Ebonyi on new production technique known as the “sackbag’’ yam production.

The training, which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) was held in Abakaliki on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that farmers were drawn from the 13 local government areas of the state.

NAN also reports that other key stakeholders in agriculture attended the training.

Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in his speech, noted that the innovation was aimed at promoting all year yam production to ensure food security.

He said that the training would equip the farmers with the relevant skills needed to enhance yam production through the use of the innovation.

The minister, represented by Chief William Obasi, a director in the ministry in charge of Ebonyi office, said that the farmers were selected for the training due to their contribution to food production in the country.

Nanono said that those trained would step down the training to the grassroots.

“You are selected to be apostles of the new technology where we grow yams in bags, every farmer, everybody, even if you are landless, you will have an opportunity to grow yam in your compound if it is properly ventilated.

“We are here to train our yam farmers in Ebonyi on this new innovation so as to make yam farming a good business.

“We want to make food available for our population and reduce food insecurity, we want to engage our farmers and youths positively through the training,’’ Nanono said.

He urged them to make judicious use of the knowledge received from the training and retrain others.

The minister enjoined the participants to take advantage of the opportunity to address food insufficiency and food insecurity in the nation.

Earlier, Mrs Karim Babangida, a director in the ministry in a keynote speech noted that food security was the most important form of guaranteeing the sovereignty of a state.

The director, represented by Dr Perpetua Iyere-Usiahon noted that guaranteeing food security also required the security of farmers who were saddled with the responsibility of feeding the teeming population of over 200 million people.

She said that in most developing countries such as Nigeria, agriculture was an essential sector considered as the backbone for rural economy as many relied upon it for survival.

“Food insecurity and unemployment remain pressing problem in many parts of Africa with malnutrition identified as primarily being caused by food insecurity.

“Clash between hunger and malnutrition is not caused by insufficient food, instead, it is because certain categories of individuals and households do not have adequate access to food.

“Food insecurity affects both humans and livestock, an attempt for herders to seek for feed for their livestock has led to clash between them and farmers,’’ she said.

Babangida noted that clash, if not well managed could escalate to greater crisis, stressing that it was on that basis that the Federal Government was promoting yam production through the use of sack to ensure food security and address insecurity.

She explained that the innovation had made it possible for all year round production of yams and allowed for the use of small spaces in and around the homes.

“Nigeria is listed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as one of the 20 countries where acute hunger is expected to soar, we must do everything to avert this prediction.

Meanwhile, Iyere-Usiahon, the yam desk officer in the ministry told newsmen that the innovation involved planting of yam of any specie in bag filled with soil and kept anywhere around the home.

She noted that any variety of yams could be planted using the technique which is also allowed for all seasons planting.

One of the participants, Mr Shadrack Nkwuda commended the Federal Government for the initiative, noting that the innovation would boost yam production in the state. (NAN)
Rabi’u Sani Ali

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Business & Economy

We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso



Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Business & Economy

Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month



Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery

The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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Business & Economy

CBN Halts 0.5% Cybersecurity Levy



CBN Headquarters Abuja
CBN Headquarters Abuja

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn the circular directing banks to implement a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions in the country.

The CBN announced this in a revised circular dated May 17, 2024.

The circular was addressed to commercial banks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs), non-interest, and merchant banks, among others.

It was signed by the CBN Director of Payment Systems Management, Chibuzor Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.

The circular read: “The Central Bank of Nigeria circular dated May 6, 2024 (Ref: PSMD/DIR/PUB/LAB/017/004) on the above subject refers.

“Further to this, please be advised that the above-referenced circular is hereby withdrawn.”The withdrawal of the circular on the cybersecurity levy followed its suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

it would be recalls that Tinubu suspended the controversial cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers on May 14.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris, who made this known while speaking to journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, disclosed that Tinubu directed the CBN to suspend the implementation and review the modalities for the implementation of the levy.

Idris added that the levy was thoroughly discussed at the FEC meeting, saying the president was not oblivious to the feelings of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that CBN, in a circular dated May 6, directed banks to start charging a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transfers.

The apex bank stated that the deduction and collection of the cybersecurity levy is a sequel to the enactment of the Cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc) Amendment Act of 2024.

This was greeted with wide condemnations by Nigerians, with many groups and individuals calling for the immediate reversal of the levy.

The House of Representatives also asked the CBN to withdraw the directive.

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