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FIRSTBANK SPOTLIGHTING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AGRICULTURE VALUE CHAIN

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BY OBINNA EMELIKE (BUSINESSDAY)

In 2017, the Nigerian agriculture sector witnessed a revolutionary discourse on the economic benefits of sustainable agriculture value-chain as an alternative source of economic development and foreign exchange with the launch of FirstBank Agric Expo.

It was a first-of-its-kind initiative that afforded the bank the opportunity to aggregate top players in the agricultural sector under one roof for easy relationship establishment, as well as, enlighten customers and prospects alike about FirstBank’s readiness to support their Agricultural businesses.

The event, which was oversubscribed by 100 percent in its maiden edition because of its relevance, also positioned the bank as a thought leader in the agricultural financing space in the country. For leading that discourse and opening the agricultural financing space, the bank’s agric portfolio recorded a growth of N11.65billion as a direct impact.

Riding on the success of the maiden edition, the bank has gone ahead to further engage key policy influencers, agriculture service providers, primary producers, exporters and top players in the agric value chain, among others in the 2018 edition, as well as promising a better engagement in this year’s edition of the expo.

Considering the falling oil prices and the urgent need to diversify the economy, the FirstBank Agric Expo is imperative. Expressing his delight on FirstBank’s leading role at not just promoting Agriculture but diversifying the Nigerian economy, Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, sees opportunities beyond economic diversification in the non-oil sector, which agriculture leads. “As Nigeria expands opportunities in its non-oil sector, especially Agriculture, we remain committed to the growth of the agricultural sector and its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product”, the CEO said.

Also, the bank is venturing into the agric financing space in order to promote entrepreneurship and employment opportunities bearing in mind that agriculture has potential to take millions of unemployed off the streets when the right investment are made and thoroughly coordinated.

So, the bank is using the FirstBank Agric Expo, which is now in its third edition to “build the agribusiness economy, which is capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating exports, supporting sustainable income and creating employment opportunities”, Adeduntan assured.

Ironically, Nigeria, according to Audu Ogbeh, former Minister of Agriculture, spends about $22 billion annually to import food into the country.

But with sustained gains from the Agric Expo, more funds would be available to agric entrepreneurs to improve production, and reduce the high importation of food that has negatively impacted Nigeria’s Balance of Trade.

With more funding, the bank assured that Nigeria can be self-sufficient in producing things it has comparative advantage on, especially rice, the staple food, which can be grown across the country.

As well, improved funding in the agric sector will result in more entrepreneurs, more investments, more hands in the farms, more food produced, huge foreign exchange earnings from exportation, as well as, less crime in the country. Though the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report stated that the value of agricultural exports rose by 115.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, the country can double the value if agric entrepreneurs are financed and guided, which makes the First Bank Agric Expo very imperative.

As a continuous financier of credit worthy agro-allied businesses, the bank is rolling out the drums once again to hold the third edition of the agric expo. Like the previous editions, the expo will hold on August 30, 2019 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos with the theme, “Agricultural Value Chain – Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks” and would have Professor Benedict Oramah, president, AFREXIM Bank, as the keynote speaker.

It will host over 600 delegates and over 60 exhibitors who will display the latest technology in farm equipment, tools and machineries, as well as, packaged finished agricultural produce, logistics and supply, thereby keeping the participants and sundry agribusiness practitioners abreast with new opportunities in the Agricultural industry.

Besides the plenary session, the expo will feature three masterclasses with in-depth analysis on specific areas of Agribusiness, facilitated by enterprising Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The masterclass facilitators include; Leonard Anyanwu, Group Executive Director, Saro International Limited; Segun Ogunwale, Team Lead, Kominity Digital and Bamidele Ayemibo, Managing Director, 3T Impex Trade Centre, who will provide insight, as well as, share success stories and experiences.

For the agric entrepreneur looking to grow your business, there are many reasons to be at the expo as FirstBank has a large base of agribusiness clients across Nigeria who you will likely meet.

 

 

 

 

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Capital Market

Stock market gains N15bn on MTNN price rally

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The key market indices of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday rebounded by 0.12 per cent following price appreciation achieved by MTN Nigeria Communications.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that MTN Nigeria Communication dominated the gainers’ table with N1.10 to close at N16.10 per share.

Vitafoam Nigeria followed with 26k to close at N3.85, while International Breweries added 25k to close at N3.85 per share.

GlaxosmithKline gained 20k to close at N4.80, while PZ Cussons appreciated by 15k to close at N4.50 per share.

Consequently, the All-Share Index which opened at 24,276.56 rose by 29.80 points or 0.12 per cent to close at 24,306.36.

Also, the market capitalisation of listed equities inched higher by N15 billion or 0.12 per cent to N12.679 trillion from N12.664 trillion achieved on Thursday.

On the other hand, Guaranty Trust Bank topped the laggards’ table, dropping 30k to close at N22.45 per share.

United Bank for Africa trailed with a loss of 15k to close at N6.25, while Zenith Bank lost 5k to close at N16.70, per share.

ABC Transport dipped 5k to 51k, while FBN Holdings also declined by 5k to close at N5.20 per share.

An analysis of the activity chart indicates that Sterling Bank was the most active, exchanging 17.66 million shares valued at N22.63 million.

Zenith Bank followed with an account of 7.47 million shares worth N47.06 million, while Transcorp sold 7.41 million shares valued at N4.69 million.

Fidelity Bank exchanged a total of 6.20 million shares worth N11.11 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded closed lower with an exchange of 131.63 million shares valued at N899.49 million in 3,044 deals.

This was in contrast with 192.08 million shares worth N2.47 billion exchanged hands in 3,833 deals on Thursday.

 

(NAN)

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BUSINESS

EKEDC warns against tampering with meters

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Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) on Friday said it had intensified efforts to curb cases of meter tampering by customers within its operational network.
Mr Godwin Idemudia, General Manager, Corporate Communications, EKEDC, in a statement issued in Lagos warned that those involved in such nefarious activities would face prosecution.
Idemudia said the warning follows the recent arraignment of three persons before an Ojo Magistrates’ Court on a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit fraud, impersonation, forgery and tampering with electricity installations.
He said the accused persons allegedly received the sum of N70,000 from unsuspecting customers who wanted to get their prepaid meters repaired and placed them on direct connection.
Idemudia said :” It is rather unfortunate that people go about parading themselves as our staff when they are not.
“We will go the full extent of the law and this will serve as a deterrent to others aiming to do same.”
He urged EKEDC customers to always go through the appropriate channels for all complaints or issues and make no form of payment to unauthorised persons or channels.
Idemudia also advised customers to report any staff or partners that make demands on them for EKEDC’s services via its social media platforms and other designated channels.
(NAN)
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Aviation

Ekiti Cargo Airport to be ready in 18 months

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Ekiti Government has said the ongoing construction of the Cargo Airport at Ipogun in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area would completed in 18 months.

Mr Bunmi Awotiku, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Airport Project, said this when Ekiti House of Assembly Committee on Works and Transport visited the site on Friday at Ipogun.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the project started in October 2019.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Chief Olugboyega Aribisogan, said that the airport was a timeless legacy, which would enhance the rapid transformation and development of the state.

Aribisogan, accompanied by other committee members, said they were at the site to examine the level of work done on the project.

The chairman assured that the Assembly would give necessary legislative support to the state Executive to enable it deliver the dividend of democracy to the people of the state

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