The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote has stated that the agency is planning to increase the funds lent to qualified oil and gas players under the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund) from $100 million to $200 million.
Speaking recently during a visit to the new Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan in Lagos, Wabote explained that the new governance framework for the Fund had been finalised and that the updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the BoI will be signed within the next few weeks to signal the take-off of the scheme
According to him, an increase of the pool would ensure that more deserving companies benefit from the Fund at the same time, he said.
Key features of the NCI Fund according to the Executive Secretary, are that the loans will be disbursed directly by the BOI at single digit interest rate and repaid within five years.
Wabote stressed that only contributors to the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), with bankable proposals in the oil and gas industry can approach BOI for the NCI Fund facility.
He noted that whereas there were various intervention funds for other critical sectors of the economy like agriculture, aviation, mining and others, there was none for the oil and gas sector before now.
The NCDMB and BOI launched the NCI Fund in July 2016 with $100 million but it suffered delays as efforts were being made to fine-tune the governance process.
The NCI Fund replaced the original model whereby the NCDF provided partial guarantees and 50 per cent interest rebate to service companies who obtained facilities from commercial banks for asset acquisition and projects execution.
Industry stakeholders experienced difficulty accessing funds under NCDF model, necessitating a change of strategy by the Board.
Industry stakeholders, including the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) had described the NCI Fund model as a great initiative that would address the paucity of funding and inability to access credit which often beset manufacturers, service providers and other key players in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
In his comments during the visit, the Managing Director of BOI expressed delight at the partnership between the Bank and NCDMB. He said BOI has presence in 21 states of the federation and is well positioned to support the Board achieve it objectives in effective loans disbursement and management for the oil and gas industry.
Pitan assured that BOI will work with NCDMB to source additional pool of funds for this vital sector of the economy.
The NCI Fund is sourced from the statutory NCDF which is funded from one percent that is deducted from the value of all upstream contracts.
The NCDF is underpinned by Section 104 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, which provides that the funds be used for developing capacity in the oil and gas industry.
Subsection 3 of Section 104also provides that â€œthe fund shall be managed by the Nigerian Content Development Board and employed for projects, programmes and activities directed at increasing Nigerian Content in the oil and gas industry.â€
The Board set up an advisory committee in 2012 for the NCDF, with a view to deepen transparency and ensure involvement of key stakeholders in the administration. Representatives of the international operating companies, PETAN, Oil and Gas Trainers Association (OGTAN) and BOI make up the advisory committee.
IITA, Kwara Poly Partner on Fabrication of Farm Tools
The management of Institute of International Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State and the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, have sealed deal on the adoption of 14 modern fabricated farm tools from the institution to boost food production in the country.
Among the adopted fabricated farm tools are solar driers, battery-operated boom sprayers, portable mobile cold storage maize planters, mowers, cassava harvesters and honey extractors.
Others are plantain chips pulverizers, locust beans diluters, pedal threshers, cassava friers, briquetting machines, bio-mass dryers (using briquettes) and evaporating coolers (for fruit and vegetables)â€Ž.
The Director of Mechanisation of IITA, Dr. Peter Kolawole disclosed this in Ilorin during the visit of the management of the institute to the mini-campus of the polytechnic located at Adewole area, Ilorin, the state capital.
He said that the visit was to explore available technology as part of move to improve farm yields in the country.
Kolawole also lamented the bad finishing of machines being imported to Nigeria for farmers and other part of Africa countries.
He however, noted that the Africa Union has resolved and introduced Transformation of Africa Agricultural Technology (TAAT), to drive the African farmers from the use of hoes and cutlasses, but rather empower technical technological Institutions in Africa to fabricate tools for farmers.
The Director further said that the TAAT scheme will encourage Africans to engage in agricultural exercise regardless of their various professions.
He said: â€œOnce the fabricated tools for farmers are made in Africa and gender friendly, everyone will be encouraged to engage in farming and it will assist the institutions fabricating these tools to improve on them.â€
The director therefore assured the authorities of the polytechnic that, the management of the IITA would do everything possible to support theâ€Ž institution in its production of fabricated farm tools that would boost food production in the country.
Earlier, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Alhaji Masâ€™ud Elelu said that the Nigeria economic problem can only be solved through agriculture which 80% of it revolve around Engineering and Technological Development.
Farmers in Edo Seek Involvement in Policy Matters
Farmers in Edo State, under the aegis of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), have urged the state government to involve them in the formulation and implementation of policies on agriculture.
Coordinator of the group in Edo North, Alhaji Oshiobugie Mohammed, stated this in an interactive session with journalists in Benin City.
He said involving the farmers will not only yield the desired result but will also give the farmers a sense of belonging.
Mohammed attributed failure of most agricultural policies to the non-involvement of farmers who are the major stakeholders in the policy formulation and implementation.
He alleged that the decision of government at all levels to always deal with portfolio farmers have been mostly responsible why agriculture have remained underdeveloped in spite of the enormous resources invested in the sector.
According to him, “To get it right, government must adopt the current trend of agricultural implementation which is the Community Demand Driven (CDD) approach, which is the same as the Bottom Top approach.
â€œThis enables the farmers to be at the driver seat of agricultural programmes and projects implementation in the State.
â€œThis system ensures the quality implementation and success of any proposed agricultural policy by the State government. But this negate the current trend being carried out by the present administration of the State,â€ he stated.
The AFAN coordinator also bemoaned that the present administration for not officially flag off this yearâ€™s farming season, even as he decried that government is yet to make fertiliser available to farmers in Edo.
â€œAs I speak with you, no farmer can boast of any grain of fertiliser in Edo and the government has kept us in the dark as to when and where the fertiliser will be available.â€
â€œThis takes me to the issue of the Anchor Borrower Scheme where several months after farmers have been made to register and open an account with the Bank of Agriculture, the government has remained inactive or silent over the scheme that have been well embraced in other statesâ€, he said.
Osun Cocoa Industry Now Processes 20,000 Tonnes Daily
The newly resuscitated Osun State Cocoa Processing Industry in Ede has started processing cocoa in line with the industrialisation plan of the current administration in the state.
The company, which was inaugurated on October 17, 1982 , had stopped production in 2001 due to obsolete equipment and management issues .
The Commissioner for Industries, Commerce , Cooperatives and Empowerment in the state, Mr. Ismail Alagbada , however , said the company was now processing 20 ,000 tonnes of cocoa on a daily basis .
He stated that the Aregbesola administration in partnership with Golden Monkey of China revived the company and brought it back to start production .
This, he said , was meant to ensure that it started adding value to cocoa instead of exporting it overseas in its raw form .
The Commissioner said: â€œAt present , the company is processing 20 ,000 tonnes of cocoa into cocoa liquor for both local and international consumption , thus increasing the production capacity of the company by 400 per cent from 2001 period .
â€œThe revival of the CPI is part of the realisation of the industrialisation plan of the current administration, to put the company into effective use for optimum performance.â€
Alagbada explained that more workers will still be recruited as expansion of the company was being carried out.
He disclosed further that going by the new arrangement, the state government owned 30 per cent equity, which gives it 30 per cent revenue derivable from all resources and funds generated in the plant.
â€œThrough this partnership, many people in Osun will learn the trade of cocoa processing. The possibilities are just endless. At least, now, our people know that more value accrues to them if they process cocoa rather than exporting in its raw form,â€ he added