Wednesday 15 February 2017

Rice importation costs Nigeria 2 bn dollars annually- Dangote

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Groups of Companies, says Nigerians consume over 6.5 million tonnes of rice annually, less than half of which is produced locally.
Dangote said that on Wednesday during the inauguration of the Dangote Rice Out growers Scheme in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto state.
He expressed concern that the deficit arising from the importation of rice cost Nigeria over 2 billion dollars per annum.
He said: “As agriculture remains an important sector in our economy, we plan to produce 1million tonnes of high-quality parboiled rice within the next three years.
“This is by cultivating about 160,000 hectares of irrigable rice farmland in some selected states, thus making the commodity affordable to ordinary Nigerians.
“Moreover, the out-growers scheme is committed to creating a significant number of jobs, increasing the incomes of small holder farmers and ensuring food security in the country.
“This is by providing high-quality seeds, fertiliser and agrochemicals, as well as technical assistance on best agricultural practice to farmers.”
The Project Director, Dangote Rice Ltd, Mr Robert Coleman said that the Sokoto operation was a demonstration phase meant to familiarise the farming community with the programme.
“The phase is to familiarise the farming community through the training of extension workers and lead farmers as well as test modern technologies, ‘he said.
”In 2017, they will have 25,000 hectares to be cultivated by nearly 50,000 out growers, in addition to 260 jobs expected to be created by the end of the year.”
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal called on the farmers to respect the agreement signed between the state and Dangote group to ensure that,” all products are directed to the real sectors of need.’’
”The coming of Dangote to invest in the state was as a result of the government’s sustained efforts toward inviting prospective investors to the state,” he said.
Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for diversifying the economy and urged Nigerians to pray for him.

Lagos targets 3,000MW power generation

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Wednesday said the state government planned to generate up to 3,000MW of power within seven years.
Ambode disclosed this in Alausa at the presentation of the Lagos State Embedded Power Technical Committee report, a public and private sector initiative.
A member of the committee, Mr. Charles Mommoh, presented the report to the governor.
He said, “The overall objective of our power intervention programme is to ensure energy security for Lagos State.”
The governor said that the intervention was to ensure generation of power through accelerated deployment of various embedded power plants in strategic locations in the state within three to seven years.
He said, “It is planned that 350MW of this incremental power will be delivered by first quarter of 2018, additional 850MW by fourth quarter of 2018 and the balance of 1,800MW not later than third quarter of 2022.
“The state government will support the Power Purchase Agreements that will be signed between the distribution companies and the embedded power providers, to enhance bankability of the projects.
“We will distribute the embedded power, off-grid, within Lagos state through the network of Eko and Ikeja distribution companies.
“We will support them in upgrading their distribution infrastructure and installation of smart prepaid meters in the areas where embedded power is deployed.”
He said that other areas of collaboration would include support for collection, appropriate legislation and enforcement of power theft laws.
The governor, who identified transmission as the problem of power in the country, noted that if power was supplied in Lagos, it would positively affect the country as a whole.
Ambode said that while the Federal Government continued to resolve power crisis, it had become clear that the problems in the energy sector could no longer be left to the federal government alone.
He said, “The sustainable solution going forward is one that pools together the commitment and resources of all stakeholders in the power value chain.’’
The state’s Commissioner for Energy and Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, told journalists, shortly after the presentation that the recommendations of the committee was in five major areas.
He said that there would be intervention in the entire power value chain starting with generation.
Oluwo said the state would be investing to upgrade the distribution infrastructure of the distribution companies and help them to meter the entire areas where the embedded powers would be deployed.
He said that the state would also set up an enforcement unit to tackle those by-passing meters and vandals and ensure that all meters were pre-paid.
Oluwo said that the initiative was a major intervention by the government to ensure guaranteed power.
Presenting the report, a member of the committee and the Chairman, Eko Distribution Company, Mr. Charles Momoh, commended the state government for the initiative.

Crude oil production rises to two million barrels – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed on Wednesday that crude oil production had risen to two million barrels per day.
This means the country now produces additional 200,000 barrels per day, up from the 1.8 million bpd recorded in recent times.
Kachikwu made the disclosure when he met with the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) to defend the 2017 budget estimates of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The committee is chaired by a member from Delta State, Victor Nwokolo.
Kachikwu explained that ongoing repairs on oil facilities and negotiations between the Federal Government and militant groups in the Niger Delta region were yielding reassuring results.
Kachikwu, who also spoke on the Forcados Oil Terminal, informed lawmakers that repair works on the facility were nearing completion.
He stated that in a matter of weeks, the facility could be reopened, a development that would further shoot up oil production to 2.2 million bpd.
“In some weeks, we will be able to progress to 2.2 million bpd, which is the target of the (2017) budget,” he added.
Forcados, one of Nigeria’s major shipment terminals, was shut down around March 2016 after militants blew up a sub-sea crude pipeline that supplied the facility.
The incident led to the shut in of about 250,000 barrels of crude and the attendant dip in oil revenue to the government.
But Kachikwu raised hopes on Wednesday that with the repairs almost completed, the projected 2.2 million bpd crude projection would be met.
The minister also spoke on other plans of the government to repair or replace ageing distribution lines and platforms to improve delivery of products.
However, he alluded to poor releases of budgeted funds as a challenge slowing down some projects of the ministry.
According to the minster, releases averaged “50 per cent” in 2016.
But, in spite of the poor releases, the ministry jacked up the 2017 budget to N69bn, up from the N61.8bn budgeted in 2016.
Salaries of ministry workers will consume N61bn out of the money, while capital projects will cost N7bn.

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