CBN Disburses N30b To Oil Palm Sector In One Year, Edo Gulps N25bn, Says Emefiele
The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that the Apex bank disbursed over N30b to entrepreneurs in the oil palm sector in the last one year, saying almost N25b has been channeled to support companies the sector in Edo State.
Emefiele who disclosed this on Tuesday in Benin City at the formal launching of Edo Oil Palm Programme, noted that Edo State, being the largest host to number of oil palm plantation and companies in the country was given that prominent.
The CBN Governor said in the Apex bank bid to revamping oil palm sector, it decided to focus on Edo State, adding that the state government willingness to partner makes it easier.
He said, “It is no surprise because Edo State has the largest number of oil palm plantation in the country. It therefore stands to reason that if we say we want to revive the oil palm industry in Nigeria, then Edo State naturally will be the first place to start. I say this because out of about N30bn so far disbursed to entrepreneurs in this sector in the last one year, almost N25bn has been channeled to support companies that are into oil palm plantation in Edo State.
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“It is imperative to categorically state that we are poised to do all in our powers to revamp this sector including not just suspending but closing and directing all the banks in Nigeria to close the accounts of any company or any person, it staff, owners, top management including their cronies and supply chain enablers involved in smuggling and dumping palm oil into Nigeria.”
Emefiele noted that, the CBN, as a major stakeholder in the financial sector and indeed the economic development of the country, is set to render its unflinching support to development of oil palm, saying this would be achieved by producing affordable long term finance to growers in the sector.
He implored other stakeholders in the sector to borrow a leaf from the commitment of the CBN and play their respective roles, stressing that this will enable the bank achieve its common goals and objectives in the sector.
The CBN Governor, while warning those using and hiding under ECOWAS states liberisation scheme to sabotage the efforts of the Federal Government to desist from such act, stated that ‘the days of smuggling are over.
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“We continue to appeal to those who are involved in smuggling or involved in dumping; that the days of smuggling or dumping are over, let them come and join us in this vanguard to develop oil palm and other agricultural products value chain in Nigeria. I want to appeal to other state governors to make land available speedily”, he said.
His his speech, Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said the oil palm, a sub-sector in the agriculture has the tendency of driving and growing the economic of the state as it has done for countries such as Indonesia and Malysia.
The governor opined that enomous business opportunities for investors in millions of nairas for both local and exportation are imbedded in the sector, adding that more than 600, 000 jobs would created by the sector come 2030.
He noted that the programme was part of the state government’s commitment to the Federal Government’s agenda of diversifying the economy and improving the lives of the people of Edo State.
According to the governor, main purpose of the Edo Oil Palm is to laverage on what, accroding to him, the Centrak Bank of Nigeria has initiated, stressing that it is mainly to taking a critical risk in the oil palm sector, by solving the biggest challenge of plantation.
He noted that to make the programme successful, principle of Social inclusion and forestation policy have been put in place, stressing that success of the programme will largely depend on cooperation of host communities hence they must be carried along.
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“Under this programme, development of all sectors of the economy is a key. The programme is intended to have measurable socio-economic impact and development on our people and our communities. Socio inclusion programme will be strictly implemented and enforced.
“Success of the programme will largely depend on support and cooperation of the local community and that is why including them is very important”, he added.
Obeseki said to make the programme a success, the state government has allocated over 1,200 hectres of land, adding that the state government is allocating land to investors in multiple.
He also disclosed that an implementation committee of stakeholders and professionals to make sure all guidlines are strictly adhere to has been set up, adding that the committee is under is office for proper supervision.
He said, “Under this programme, Edo State government has meticulously legislated and created access to about 1,200 hectres of land which we have made available strictly for oil palm production and we are doing this by a programme guided by four principles.”
Obaseki noted that the Government was giving out land free while the CBN is committed in providing the funds, saying large percent of such investment should be invested in the oil palm sector.
“The programme is a key part of our program that in every 500 hectres we give to you, at least 80% should be reserved for the small holders agroagric of whom you will offtake from so that some of this money remains in the community and help secure more investment in the community.
“The programme is a key part of our program that in every 500 hectres we give to you, at least 80% should be reserved for the small holders agroagric of whom you will offtake from so that some of this money remains in the communities and help secure more investment in the communities.
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“We will give you the land, you are not paying for it. For expect that in hectres of land that will be given to you, you at least commit one hectre so that we can begin to go back to our forestry”, he noted.
NLC Protests: CBN To Flood Banks With Old Naira Notes
The Central Bank of Nigeria has finally concluded plans to release all N1,000, N500 and N200 notes in its custody to Deposit Money Banks.
This decision is expected to end months of hardships and pains Nigerians have been going through following a controversial CBN naira redesign policy that has caused a severe shortage of old and new naira notes across the country.
The CBN’s latest decision came several weeks after the Supreme Court ordered that old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes should remain legal tender until December 31, 2023.
On Wednesday night, top officials of the CBN and commercial banks confirmed to The PUNCH that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had directed DMBs to begin the disbursement of old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes to members of the public effective Thursday (today).
According to him, the CBN will also start releasing old notes to commercial banks from Thursday.
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According to The PUNCH, Emefiele met with the chief executive officers of DMBs on Wednesday evening where he told them that the central bank would start releasing all old notes in its custody to commercial banks effective Thursday (today).
Sources at the meeting said the CBN would also be cancelling all the controversial cash withdrawal limits it put in place in recent months.
Also, it was learnt the CBN would start by releasing crisp old notes to DMBS after which the ones deposited by commercial banks will also be released.
Furthermore, the CBN stated at the meeting that bank customers would no longer be required to generate any code before depositing their old notes.
One of the bank CEOs at the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The CBN governor met with bank CEOs this evening virtually. It was a short meeting that lasted for just about 15 minutes. The governor said all old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes will be released to commercial banks beginning from Thursday. The CBN will start with crisp old notes after which the ones deposited by DMBs will be returned. The plan is to flood the economy with cash and ameliorate the challenges Nigerians have been passing through.“
Top bank chief
The top bank chief added, “Also, the CBN will be cancelling cash withdrawal limits it put in place recently. This means that individuals can now withdraw up to N500,000 across the counter while corporate bodies can do N5m. The CBN is expected to release a circular to this effect later tonight or tomorrow morning (today). But effectively, things should be back to normal as far the cashless policy is concerned.”
Further findings by The PUNCH confirmed the CBN would begin to release the old notes into circulation by Thursday. It was also gathered that banks would begin to pay their customers the old notes immediately to ensure the cash circulate across the country.
According to reliable sources in the CBN, banks have been also been directed to report to the old offices to collect the old naira notes they deposited with the apex bank.
They noted that before the end of the week, the country would be awash with naira notes.
Meanwhile, a top source close to the CBN said the apex bank took the decision to avert the planned picketing of the CBN offices nationwide by supporters and leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
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Earlier, The PUCH had gathered that the NLC would on Wednesday picket the CBN headquarters and state offices in protest against the lingering naira crisis and fuel scarcity in the country.
The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, who disclosed this at a press conference on Wednesday, lamented that people’s hardships over the naira crisis had worsened.
The union had penultimate Monday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the scarcity of naira notes and fuel which had compounded the hardships being faced by Nigerians.
Though the CBN said then that it had complied with the Supreme Court judgment which directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes should remain legal tender till December 31, banks have continued to ration the amount of cash issued to customers, indicating that they have not received cash supplies from the apex bank.
The three states of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara which sued the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy had threatened to file contempt charges against the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN and the CBN governor, Emefiele for not fully complying with the Supreme Court judgment.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, Ajaero said the planned picketing of CBN offices became imperative following the apex bank’s failure to comply with the one-week ultimatum given to it to make cash available for Nigerians.
Ajaero explained that the union took the decision when it noticed that the situation appeared to be getting worse despite the Supreme Court order allowing the old N500 and N1000 notes to circulate with the new notes till December 31.
He directed all NLC’s affiliate unions and their state councils to begin mobilisation on Friday for the nationwide mass action, saying the Federal Government and the CBN have not shown any commitment to address the situation.
Giving an update about the ultimatum at the briefing which was held at Labour House, Ajaero said workers could no longer access cash to pay fares to their respective workplaces or buy food for their families.
He said, “Last week at the end of our CWC (Central Working Committee) meeting, we gave a one-week ultimatum for the Federal Government to address immediately, among other issues, the issue of cash crunch that was caused by the policy. As of this morning when the CWC met again to review the situation, we discovered that not much improvement has been made.
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“The situation is still almost the same. People are still buying our currency with our currencies. People no longer have access to the currency and the government seems to be very adamant about this. No moves have been made to reduce the suffering of Nigerians.
“Consequently, the CWC-in-session resolved to go into the process of actualising the one-week notice. From Friday, there will be a mobilisation of all state councils through a NEC meeting. All unions have already been directed to mobilise all their organs and their branches.
“By Wednesday, next week, all Central Bank of Nigeria offices nationwide will be picketed. All central banks from the CBN headquarters will be shut till further notice. Workers are directed to stay at home and join in the picketing exercise.
“We call on Nigerians to understand the circumstances we are operating in. People will be telling you about the political situation. The political situation is self-inflicted and the economic situation is worse than the political situation because people cannot eat.”
The labour leader described the proposed demonstration as “total”, saying the workers have been pushed to the wall.
He added, “Workers can no longer go to the office and nothing is happening. So, we have been pushed to the wall having given one week (ultimatum) and we thought they could address the situation which is not addressed.
“We have decided to take our destiny into our hands. So, comrades, the mobilisation commences immediately and when we talk of action from Wednesday, it’s total; until further notice.’’
The labour leader explained that the lingering fuel scarcity and cash crunch were important issues for the NLC as they affected every Nigerian.
The Secretary-General of the National Union of Aviation Transport Employees, Ocheme Abah disclosed that the unions would comply with the NLC’s directive on the picketing action.
Responding to inquiries from The PUNCH, he said,” Yes, of course, we will comply as NLC directed. Yes, all the unions in all airports.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications at CBN, Mr Isa Abdulmumin, said he could not immediately comment on whether the CBN would be releasing the old notes to commercial banks.
He said the apex bank would communicate its position on the matter on Thursday.
Naira Appreciates At Investors, Exporters Window
The Naira on Wednesday appreciated against the dollar at the Investors’ and Exporters’ window, exchanging at N461.50.
The rate represented an increase of 0.11 per cent, compared to the N462 for which it exchanged to the dollar on Tuesday.
The open indicative rate closed at N461.59 to the dollar on Wednesday.
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An exchange rate of N544.50 to the dollar was the highest rate recorded within the day’s trading before it settled at N461.50.
The Naira sold for as low as N460 to the dollar within the day’s trading.
A total of US$ 431.77 million was traded at the official Investors’ and Exporters’ window.
JUST IN: CBN Raises Interest Rate To 18%
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has voted to increase the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 18. per cent, The PUNCH reports.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this while reading the communiqué of the second MPC meeting of the year on Tuesday.
Addressing journalists at the end of the two-day meeting in Abuja, Mr Emefiele, said the committee voted to keep the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -500 basis points around the MPR.
Analysts in the country had predicted the Central Bank of Nigeria and the MPC may not raise the lending rates at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee.
However, the governor stated the slight increase is to mitigate the effect of inflation and other economic issues.
The MPR has been on the rise since April 2022, when it was 11.50 per cent.
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The rate impacts lending and inflation rates, and, when jacked up, consequently affects upward movement of prices of goods and services.
He said, The MPC committee voted to raise the MPR by 50 basis point to 18 per cent, retain asymmetric corridor at +100 and -500 basis points around the MPR.”
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