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Job creation: N15bn cocoa processing plant begins operation in Akure

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Cocoa Processing Plant
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A N15 billion cocoa processing plant aimed at boosting employment in the country, has started operation in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The Managing Director of JohnVents Industry, Mr John Alamu, at a news conference in Akure on Wednesday, said that 100 people had already been offered direct highly-skilled and unskilled jobs in the company.

Johnvents Industries Ltd. is a wholly indigenous-owned agribusiness and subsidiary of Capitalsage.

According to Alamu, the number of staff will increase to over 300 by the time the industry is at full operation.

He said that the industry was acquired from Olam Venture with 100 per cent acquisition of personnel and machinery.

“Since we came in April 2021, we have invested over N3 billion naira in revamping the factory after acquiring it from Olam Venture. This investment has been on the area of machinery.

“Cocoa is capital intensive. A tonne of cocoa today goes for about N1.3 million and we consume an average body of 35 tonnes per day. That is what we are spending on raw material alone.

“Because we are in the main crop season, it is the practice that you must have raw materials that can take you for 90 days.

“That tells you the requisite billions of naira required for cocoa beans only.

“But we are leveraging on interventions from the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry to boost our capital.

“Shareholders have injected huge share capital to finance the project. The investment by shareholders in this industry is N15 billion,” he stated.

The managing director further said the industry was a 15,000 metric tonnes automated processing plant, with capacity to crush cocoa into cocoa liquor, butter, cake and powder.

He said that over 2,000 personnel would be involved in the cocoa supply and export value chain, while more than 15,000 smallholder farmers would be empowered to generate sustainable income and contribute to the national economy.

Alamu, however, said that the industry had signed an agreement with companies abroad for large scale patronage.

“We have signed an agreement with companies abroad that have potentials. The nature of this contract has already off-taken 100 per cent of what we will be producing in the next one year.

“Our sales strategy plan is product specific. Our cocoa butter is straightly for export and we already have buyers.

“But for our cocoa powder, we are not willing to send that abroad because we don’t want to package all our fortunes here and take them abroad since there is local demand,” he said.

The managing director said that the industry had three warehouses outside the country capable of storing 15,000 tonnes of cocoa beans and the industry would keep stocking up to cater for light crop season.

Alamu added that Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu would officially inaugurate the industry on Dec. 7.

In her remarks, Mrs Caroline Omotosho, Manager, JohnVents Industries Ltd., said the company would be a game-changer in the cocoa value chain in revenue generation, local capacity development, job creation and contribution to the country’s GDP. (NAN)

 

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SON insist on international best practices, set-up committee to audit, certify education sector

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In ensuring that educational management system in the country deliver on their mandate of impacting knowledge and skills, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated national technical committee for adoption and certification of education management standards.

At the inauguration in Abuja, Farouk Salim, Director General of SON, said one of the challenges facing Nigeria has been international standards both in products and services delivery, which is why the organisation is aligning to best international practice.

“One of SON mandate is to support all businesses in determining quality of products/services using ; standardization, certifications and quality assurance. As such our decision to adopt this international standard on educational organizations management system ISO 21001:2018 is apt at this time when we have opened our borders to all forms of trade with other African countries.

“It is important that we promote and sustain our learning institutions by ensuring that the services that are provided in our schools meet the needs of learners, promote equal opportunities for all students and earn the confidence and approval of learners’ sponsors in order to contribute their quota to national growth and development,” he said.

Salim, represented by Engr. Timothy Abner, Director Training services at the SON added that although government is doing a lot to upgrade the standard of products and the education sector, he however also noted there should be additional effort of adopting and establishing this international best practice will assist Nigeria to always deliver globally recognized services and products in different sectors of the economy.

The Committee is to draw up requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of educational organizations management systems.

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Senate summons CBN Governor over naira fall

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…proceeds on annual recess till Sept. 20 
The Senate, on Wednesday, resolved to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to educate and inform senators in a closed session on the reasons for the rapid depreciation of the value of the naira.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to assess the impact of CBN intervention funds meant to support critical sectors of the economy.
The resolutions were reached by lawmakers after the upper chamber considered a motion sponsored by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC – Ekiti North).
The motion was entitled, “State of CBN Intervention Funds and Free Fall Of Naira.”
Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Order, as amended, Adetunmbi bemoaned Nigeria’s economic reality amid an urgent call for “extraordinary measures”.
He noted that the CBN through its numerous multi-sectoral intervention funds, provided special funds to support critical sectors of the economy.
He explained that in view of such interventions, it had become necessary to assess the state of implementation and effectiveness of the funds deployed for the purpose.
The lawmaker, recalled that the CBN in 2021, placed an indefinite halt on forex bidding by Bureau de Change operators (BDCS) and importers over allegations of abuse and mismanagement.
He observed that the halt by the CBN resulted in a spike of the exchange rate.
According to Adetunmbi, “the two instruments of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) could only serve less than 20% of the total forex demand by travelers and businesses.”
He expressed worry that the import and export window meant to serve the forex needs of business giants, “has become a rare opportunity that only a privileged few can access.”
“These and a number of others have contributed to the excessive scarcity of forex in Nigeria today”, he added.
He noted that as at the 26th of July 2022 (yesterday), the exchange rate in the autonomous segment (BDCS) of the foreign exchange market is N670 to 1 United States Dollar and projected to end at N1000 by end of the year based on the current rate of depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the Central Bank to take new measures to curb forex scarcity and address the sliding rate of Naira exchange.
In his contribution, Senator Sani Musa (APC – Niger East), faulted the Central Bank’s decision to halt foreign exchange biddings, thereby cutting off the parallel market – Bureau de change operators.
According to him, the attempt by the CBN to control the value of the naira with the continuous exclusion of BDCs would only lead to its further depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the apex bank to rather ensure the regulation and monitoring of the parallel market.
“What CBN used to do was to give out $10,000 (USD) to each of these BDCs with a clear directive for it not to be sold above N470 as against the $419 exchange rate. It worked.
“But today, nobody is determining where the rate is going and I can assure you we can’t have that solution because we are only importing”, he said.
On his part, Senator representing Katsina North District, Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita, said one way to improve the value of the naira was to encourage foreign investments to attract inflow of other currencies into Nigeria.
“The only way we can access the dollar will be determined by other economies and not ours”, he noted.
He, however, attributed the lack of foreign investments into Nigeria on the poor security situation caused by banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
The Senate, in its resolutions, called on the CBN to urgently intervene to stop the rapid decline in the value of the Naira vis-à-vis the Dollar and other international currencies.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to conduct an assessment of CBN intervention funds and the declining value of Naira to come up with sustainable solutions.
The Senate, at the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, adjourned plenary till September 20th, 2022, for its annual recess.
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Buhari seeks Senate’s nod on four re-appointed nominees as Directors of CBN board

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CBN Headquarters Abuja
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The Senate, on Tuesday, received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari, to confirm the re-appointment of four nominees as Non-Executive Directors of the Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The request was contained in a latter dated 21st July, 2022, and read at the start of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The President, in the letter, explained that the request to confirm the nominees was made in accordance with Section 10(3)(a) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.

The nominees for confirmation include: Prof. Mike Idiahi Obadan (South South), Prof. Justitia Odinakachukwu Nnabuko (South East), Prof. Ummu Ahmed Jalingo (North East), and Mr. Adeola Adetunji (South West).

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