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Dangote set to boost local Tomato production In Nigeria

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L-R: The Executive Governor, Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari and Group President/CE, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, at the official signing and handing over ceremony of Songhai Project to Dangote.

The Group President/CE, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, on Thursday, July 5, 2018, signed an agreement with Katsina State Governor for reviving and upgrading the moribund Songhai project in Dutsinma town, under a 10-year lease agreement.

The initiative which will see an initial investment of half a billion Naira by Dangote Group will ensure the installation of the state-of-the-art tomato research and development (R&D) facility equipped with drip irrigation and fertigation systems and ultimately, the cultivation of 10,000 hectares of farmland and establishment of tomato processing plant within the Zobe dam region.

Speaking at the signing and handing over ceremony of the Songhai project, renowned Africa Industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote expressed his commitment towards supporting Katsina State Government in reviving the Songhai project, putting its arable land to good use while creating employment for farmers in the region.

He said “Today is one of my happiest days to have finally concluded and signed this agreement so we can take action. I assure you, we will not only cultivate and process tomatoes, we will also help Katsina effectively utilize its vast arable land.

“With your support in providing an enabling environment, we will move to the site quickly to begin cultivation and more importantly integrate farmers in our out-grower scheme to make this project a reality. Apart from tomatoes, we will farm other crops and do our best to make this project succeed.”

Reacting to the development, Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari who described Katsina State as investor-friendly lauded the initiative as a significant milestone and a great turning point in the economic transformation of Katsina State and its people. He further described the project as one that will not only serve Katsina State but West Africa region and beyond.

The Governor promised to provide Dangote with the necessary support to ensure the success of the project which he said will further open up local economy in the state.

According to Project lead, Robert Coleman, Dangote will leverage technology and skilled manpower, to farm tomato in and out of season. The research and development (R & D) facility will provide a training hub for farmers, agronomist, and students within the region, generating both skilled and unskilled employment opportunities for up to 1,000 people.

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BUSINESS

CBN, NDIC inject 786bn into Polaris Bank (defunct Skye Bank)

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The Central Bank of Nigeria in conjunction with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has injected N786bn into the Polaris Bank, (The defunct Skye Bank).

Recall that following the withdrawal of the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), established Polaris Bank, a bridge bank to assume the  ownership of the assets, all deposit liabilities and some other liabilities of Skye Bank.

Godwin Emefiele, (middle), announcing the death of Skye Bank and birth of Polaris Bank in Lagos on Friday

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who disclosed this on Friday, said the strategy was for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to capitalise the bridge bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON.

“By this decision, the licence of the defunct Skye Bank is hereby revoked.

We wish to assure all depositors that under this arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Monday, 24th September, 2018, to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.

“Thus, all customers of Skye Bank shall be automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank,” Emefiele explained.

The CBN chief further noted that the existing Board, Management and Staff of the defunct Skye Bank has been retained for its good performance whilst the CBN also assures depositors and customers of the safety of their funds.

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Polaris Bank takes over Skye Bank, CBN assures depositors

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Following the withdrawal of the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), has established a bridge bank known as Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of the defunct bank.

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who disclosed this on Friday, said the strategy was for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to capitalise the bridge bank and begin the process of sourcing investors to buy out AMCON.

“By this decision, the licence of the defunct Skye Bank is hereby revoked.

We wish to assure all depositors that under this arrangement, their deposits shall remain safe and that normal banking services shall continue in the new bank on Monday, 24th September, 2018, to enable customers to transact their businesses seamlessly.

“Thus, all customers of Skye Bank shall be automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank,” Emefiele explained.

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Nigeria’s foreign debt hits $22bn

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The country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $22.08bn and N15.63tn, respectively at the end of the second quarter of this year, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Figures from the NBS obtained by our correspondent on Thursday revealed that Lagos State had the largest share of the foreign and local debts among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NBS stated, “The Nigerian states and federal debt stock data as of 30th of June, 2018 reflected that the country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $22.08bn and N15.63tn, respectively. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s foreign debt showed that $10.88bn of the debt was multilateral; $274.98m was bilateral (AFD) and another $2.12bn bilateral from the Exim Bank of China, JICA, India and KFW, while $8.80bn was commercial.

“Lagos State has the highest foreign debt profile among the 36 states and the FCT, accounting for 34.17 per cent, while Edo (6.57 per cent), Kaduna (5.48 per cent), Cross River (4.56 per cent) and Bauchi (3.18 per cent), followed closely.

“Similarly, the total domestic debt was N3.48tn, with Lagos State accounting for 14.88 per cent of the total domestic debt stock, while Anambra State has the least debt in this category with a contribution of 0.08 per cent to the total domestic debt stock.”

On the domestic debt stock of the states and the FCT, the NBS data revealed that Lagos owed N517.367bn; Delta, N222.680bn; Akwa Ibom, N179.714bn; while Kaduna had N75.606bn.

The statistics also revealed that Abia owed N57.467bn; Adamawa, N67.460bn; Anambra, N2.612bn; Bauchi, N78.076bn; and Bayelsa, N123.031bn.

The NBS statistics further revealed that the Federal Government’s domestic debt stock totalled N12.151tn during the period under review.

A breakdown of the figure showed that FGN Bonds amounted to N8.927tn or 73.47 per cent; Nigerian Treasury Bills totalled N2.953tn or 24.31 per cent; Nigerian Treasury Bonds, N150.988bn or 1.24 per cent; while the FGN Savings Bond was N8.521bn or 0.07 per cent.

Others are FGN Sukuk of N100bn or 0.82 per cent and FGN Green Bond of N10.690bn or 0.09 per cent.

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