Lagos and Ogun residents have raised the alarm over air pollution in their communities following activities of iron manufacturing factories, offensive odour from iron scrap dumpsites and thick smoke of articulated vehicles. Dayo Ayeyemi reports
For residents of communities bordering Ikorodu-Shagamu Road in Ogun State, the high level of air pollution in their neighbourhood is giving them sleepless nights.
In Lagos, especially in Ojota area, emission of dangerous smoke with offensive odour from Olusosun dumpsite is the cross they have to carry, while residents in Apapa communities are battling with environmental pollution as a result of gridlock caused by articulated vehicles.
Worried by the activities of steel companies in their locality, residents of Ogijo, a rustic community between Shagamu and Ikorodu towns in Shagamu Local Government of Ogun State, said they were finding it difficult to cope with high rate of air pollution as a result of emission of poisonous smoke into the environment by these firms.
There are more than 13 steel companies within the vicinity.
They alleged that their health was in jeopardy, adding that many of them have started manifesting different kinds of air-related diseases ranging from severe chest pains to cough.
Communities affected by the steel companies’ activities include Ogijo, Petoro, Ewu Oloye, Kamalo, Gbaga, Ruku and Ita-sani.
For Ojota residents within the neighbourhood of Olusosun waste dump in Lagos, they can no longer open their windows for fresh air due to offensive odour from the dump.
The residents of Ipetero and Ewu-Oruku communities have also cried out for help over what they described as “the installment killing” of their folks by “the deadly activities” of an Indian owned metal recycling company in the area
The residents, comprising men and women, staged a peaceful protest to the company, carrying placards with different inscriptions, reiterating the devastating effects of its activities on their wellness and the environment.
They used the occasion of the yearly World Environment Day to appeal to government, especially federal and Ogun State Government to come to their aid and control the activities of the steel factories.
They pleaded with government to stop the company from releasing deadly gases into the atmosphere.
Some of their placards read: “We can no longer breathe fresh air,” “Stop killing Ewu-Eruku, Ipetero Residents,” and “Save innocent children.”
Spokesman for Ipetewo and Ewu Oruku communities, Mr. Rufus Noel, explained that though the company started operation in the area exactly 10 years ago, but heavy pollution of the air, environment and contamination of essential amenities like water wells started taking dangerous dimension five years ago.
He said that residents had drawn the attention of both Ogun State and Federal Government agencies in charge of environmental protection and regulation into the matter but to no avail.
He said: “In 2015, we went to southwest regional office of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) in Ibadan, Oyo State, to lodge complaints. The agency invited the company and also came for inspection. They asked us to list what we wanted. On top of it was stoppage of pollution of our environment, plus schools, health centres, water and construction of good road networks by the company. Afterwards, the agency promised to ensure that the company is pressured to compliance. But from that time till now, the case has not been revisited again.”
Another landlord, Mr. Adesina Adebayo, said most of the residents and students had become regular visitors to hospitals due to effect of pollution in the communities.
The General Manager for the recycling company, Mr. Vikas K, admitted that his company needed to reach out to the two communities as part of its corporate social responsibilities, but disagreed that his company activities constituted health threat to the inhabitants of the area.
Executive Director, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria), Lesile Adogami, challenged the company to release its Annual Environmental Management Auditing Report if truly it was diligent in keeping its responsibility to nature.
He argued that the “company’s activities did not only pollute the environment and endanger the lives of the residents, it was criminal because it has neglected the statutory regulatory measures it supposed to follow.
He said: “So far, we have found out that over 50 per cent of the industrial companies sited along this (Ikorodu-Ishagamu) axis are major polluters. And we have been following up on these companies, especially those that are into recycling like Monarch Steel Company Limited.”
Worried by these happenings, concerned environmentalists agreed that almost every Nigerian was exposed to pollution and especially air pollution levels exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO)’s guidelines, which has inflicted significant damage on them.
Speaking at the Project Heart to Earth’s World Environmental Day celebration, Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigerian (AMCON), Dr. Muniz Banire, who doubled as the chairman of the event, quoted WHO as saying that an estimated seven million people died from diseases related to indoor and outdoor air pollution in 2012 in Lagos.
Lamenting the level of pollution in Nigeria, he said that air pollution was 73.33 per cent high in Lagos; drinking water pollution and inaccessibility – 63.95 per cent high; dissatisfaction with garbage disposal -71.15 high; dirty and untidy, l – 75.00 high; noise and light pollution – 70.12 high; and water pollution – 78.05 per cent high.
Also quoting a 2019 updated data from number.com, Banire, who was represented by Mr Ayoade Adeyemi, a council member, National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, said that air quality in Lagos was – 26.67 per cent low; drinking water quality and accessibility – 36.05 low; garbage disposal satisfaction – 28.85 low, clean and tidy -25.00 low and water quality – 21.95 per cent low.
He said pollution existed in many forms and affects different aspects of the environment, adding that its point source came from specific, localised, and identifiable sources such as sewage, pipeline or industrial smoke stacks; while “non-point source pollution comes from dispersed or uncontained sources, such as contaminated water, run off from urban areas or automobile emissions.”
Suggesting ways out of the woods, Banire pointed out that reduction in human consumption and recycling of garbage would reduce costs and environmental burden of waste.
Coordinator, Project to Heart, Titilope Nkozi Akoza, said the group had identified urgent need to preserve and protect the environment for future generation.
She noted that efforts invested into putting in place systems, standards and best environmental practices had suffered a major setback in recent times.
“Today, it has been identified that Lagos suffers from myriad of environmental issues ranging from pollution of its air and water resources among others. These challenges threaten the lives and livelihoods of people living in Lagos on a daily basis,” she said.
She said that rising vehicular emissions, fumes emanating from use of generators, bush burning, indoor pollution from cooking with inefficient fuel, gas flaring in Badagry, situation of unsanitary landfills close to residential areas and recently sudden explosion of Olusosun dumpsite posed health risks to citizens and combined to make Lagos a hellish place for the people to live.
According to her, the compounding effect of the failed attempt by the state to privatise the delivery of social and environmental services and lack of participation engagement of civil society and citizens in environmental policy making in the state were issues that required urgent attention.
She bemoaned the shutting of civil society organisations and other relevant citizen’s platforms of engagement in the enactment and the recent amendment of the Environmental Management and Protection Law. Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) also reaffirmed its commitment towards a safe, clean and pollution free environment nationwide, saying that current environmental challenges demand urgent attention of government and private sector operators.
Officials of the company in conjunction with the representatives from Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) gathered in a beach clean-up activity to observe this year’s World Environment Day (WED) in Lagos.
Speaking,the Public Affairs and Communications Director of Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, Ekuma Eze, described the action as part of the company’s contribution to achieve its 2025 commitments geared towards making the environment safe.
Climate change and global warming are evident in human environment presently. There is need for synergy and concerted efforts by all stakeholders to go green and enforce lay down guidelines to reduce emission of dangerous gases into the atmosphere.
LandWey partners finance firm to ease land ownership
oremost real estate company in Nigeria, Landwey Investment, has collaborated with PiggyVest, an online savings and investment platform, to make premium landed property affordable for more Nigerians especially low and middle income earners.
According to the partnership, interested buyers can purchase land in square metres according to the amount they can afford per time.
Addressing newsmen recently in Lagos, the Managing Director of Landwey Investment, Olawale Ayilara, said the arrangement will create entry opportunity for Nigerians within low and medium-income brackets to actualise their dreams of premium land ownership through a seamless process.
He said: “The purpose of the partnership bears in mind that people save for several reasons; and on a trusted platform such as Piggyvest, people can take little steps and buy real estate as either an investment or to be built in future.
“Land and home ownership is a dream most Nigerians share, but the low ownership rate in Nigeria is a major housing deficit to be bridged.
“Our partnership is to give people affordable land investment by buying in square metres. This is an avenue for people to have a land in their preferred area without collecting loans from the bank but from the little they save. We have about 12 estates in Lagos but the one we are collaborating to work on is Frontier Estate.
“For an average Nigerian who wants to live an urban life, he needs to take little steps to make the dream a reality. You can even buy 20,000 square metres and sell it later at a higher price. The more you delay in real estate, the more the value increases.”
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of PiggyVest, Somto Ifezue, said that the collaboration was necessary to ensure that every young Nigerian could own a piece of land as little as one square metre with a very small amount of money.
“By the means of a saving scheme with PiggyVest, subscribers can begin their journey to land ownership by making per square metre payments for their land and getting full allocation after payments worth a minimum of 300 square metres. We are truly excited about the relief that this scheme will bring to Nigerians,” he stated.
Daimler plans to drop Mercedes X-class pickup amid profit slump
The Mercedes-Benz X-class pickup is to be dropped as the brand’s parent company, Daimler, seeks to reduce costs amid profit warnings, according to sources at the automaker.
Mercedes launched the model in 2017, aiming to give its light commercial vehicles division a more diversified sales footprint by entering the booming global segment of midsize pickups.
But only 16,700 units of the X class were sold last year in Europe, Australia and South Africa. The U.S., where demand is mainly for full-size pickups, was ruled out as a market.
Right from the start, the X class was unable to live up to expectations. Its price, starting at 37,294 euros in Germany, was too high. Competition is fierce in its segment, in which VW Amarok and Ford Ranger also compete.
Several recalls also hit sales, among other things because of a footwell light that can come loose and jam under the brake pedal.
As part of Daimler’s industrial cooperation with Renault-Nissan, the X class uses the same platform as the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan with a conventional ladder-type frame. It is built at Nissan’s factory in Barcelona, Spain.
In February, former Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche abandoned plans to build the pickup for South American markets at a Renault-Nissan plant in Argentina.
Earlier this month, Daimler cut its profit forecast for the fourth time in 13 months, as it set aside more money to cover a regulatory crackdown on diesel emissions and vehicle recalls related to Takata airbags.
Hyundai unveils first CVVD engine
Hyundai Motor Group has developed the world’s first Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology to feature in future Hyundai vehicles.
CVVD optimises both engine performance and fuel efficiency while also being eco-friendly. The valve control technology regulates the duration of valve opening and closing according to driving conditions, achieving a four percent boost in performance and a five percent improvement in fuel efficiency. Furthermore, technology cuts emissions by 12 percent.
The innovation was revealed at Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang on Wednesday alongside the Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi the first engine to feature the technology.
President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group, Albert Biermann, said the development of the CVVD technology is an opportunity for the Group to take the lead in power train innovation.
“We will continue our innovation efforts to bring forth paradigm shifts and ensure the sustainability of our business model.”
Until now, an internal combustion engine’s performance and efficiency have been governed by variable valve control technology that adjusts the timing of valve opening and closing and depth of the valve’s opening, with engine power produced through the fuel intake-compression-expansion-exhaustion cycle.
Typical variable valve control technologies manage the timing of the valve’s opening and closing (as in Continuously Variable Valve Timing – CVVT) or control the volume of air admitted by adjusting the depth of the opening (Continuously Variable Valve Lift – CVVL). Previous variable valve control technologies could not regulate valve duration, as the valve’s closing timing was subordinate to opening timing and could not respond to diverse driving situations. CVVD takes the technology in a new direction by adjusting how long a valve is open.
When the vehicle is maintaining a constant speed and requires low engine output, CVVD opens the intake valve from the middle to end of the compression stroke. This helps to improve fuel efficiency by reducing the resistance caused by compression. On the other hand, when engine output is high, such as when the car is driving at a high speed, the intake valve is closed at the beginning of the compression stroke to maximize the amount of air used for the explosion, enhancing torque to improve acceleration.
Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi Engine
Unveiled alongside the new CVVD technology is the new Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi Engine, a V4 gasoline turbo unit with 180 horsepower and 27.0kgm of torque. The new powertrain is the first to utilize the Group’s new CVVD technology and also features Low-Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (LP EGR) to further optimize fuel efficiency.
The exhaust gas recirculation system returns some of the gas burnt by the engine to the combustion chamber, producing a cooling effect and reducing the emission of nitrogen oxides. The G1.6 T-GDi also features a low-pressure system that redirects the burnt emission gas to the front of the turbocharger compressor, rather than the intake system, to increase efficiency under the high load condition.
Additionally, the new unit has an Integrated Thermal Management System that quickly heats or cools the engine to an optimal temperature, and a strong direct spray system that achieves 350bar, surpassing the 250bar of the previous T-GDi engine. In addition, engine friction is reduced by 34% with the application of low friction moving parts.
Renault/Coscharis opens assemble plant in Lagos
•Rolls out Logan, Duster in October
The Chairman of Groupe Renault, Fabrice Cambolive has disclosed that production of the Renault Logan and Duster would commenced at the Renault/Coscharis Assembly Plant in Awiyaya, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area, Lagos State.
Speaking at the official opening of the new Renault plan and unveiling of a new Renault/Coscharis partnership for the production and distribution of Renault brands in Nigeria, Mr. Cambolive said that Renault will offer the Nigerian clients a unique, original range that is perfectly adapted to the conditions of use of the country.
He added that Renault has an offer that meets the expectations of the new African middle class in terms of attractivity, durability and equipment such as connectivity.
According to him, Renault has a strong presence in North- Africa where it produces more than 500 000 vehicles in three plants and where we have an export capacity to the whole continent.
He added that with a population of over 200 million, Nigeria is a strategic African country where Groupe Renault will extend its footprint.” The Coscharis Group is a recognized player in car assembly and distribution. Thanks to their expertise and our products adapted to the local needs, we will be able to answer immediately to the customers’ demand in Nigeria.”
Speaking earlier, Chairman of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka said:”This partnership is to showcase another initiative from our great organisation through one of our subsidiaries, Coscharis Motors Plc, to create value as a key player in the automobile industry in Nigeria. We are indeed glad to celebrate the confidence the renowned brand, Renault reposed in us to represent them in Nigeria. This milestone marks another step in the evolution of the company towards remaining timeless in its relevance.”
According to him, the company had few years ago, showed courage by investing huge sums of money in setting up a world class ultra – modern assembly plant in the country to demonstrate confidence reposed in the future of the country and its faith in the possibilities inherent in the automotive policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria. “That bold step, among other landmark achievements in the Nigerian automotive industry, has endeared us to many forward looking global organisations and this partnership with Groupe Renault is just one of the manifestations of this.
“It is our cardinal objective at Coscharis to always strive to delight our esteemed customers and prospects by providing them with goods and services that deliver value for their money. This partnership is a further demonstration of that objective, especially towards providing them a bouquet of more options that continually delivers value for money. We are committed to broadening our dealership scope when such opportunity as this happens, since it is a strategic opportunity to deliver capable, refined and cost-effective vehicle models to our numerous loyal customers and prospects alike,” he said.
Dr Maduka said with the official announcement of this partnership, Coscharis shall be offering four variants of the Renault brand into the Nigerian market in the first instance. Two of the variants, Logan and Duster, will be assembled locally in the plant in SKD (Semi – Knocked Down).
“As time goes on, both the Renault Kwid and Renault Oroch will be added to the Renault line,” he said.
Report: CBN trying to force banks to lend, not buy bills
Nigeria’s central bank barred banks from buying bills for their own accounts at an open market auction held on Thursday, a move intended to force them to lend rather than invest in government debt, traders said on Friday.
The bank is stepping up a campaign to get credit flowing. Last week, it limited the size of interest-bearing deposits it would hold for banks, the latest in a series of measures aimed at reviving an sluggish economy
The central bank, which had not issued market stabilisation bills for about a week before Thursday’s auction, told banks bids must be backed by customer demand. In the past, banks have bought government debt rather than assume risk by lending.
It was unclear if the order applied to Thursday’s auction only. Banks can still purchase bills on the secondary market, traders said.
At Thursday’s open market auction, the central bank offered 75 billion naira ($245.14 million) of bills, drawing demand totalling 475 billion naira for the various maturities. The bank sold one-year bills at a yield of 12.25%.
A trader said Thursday’s auction was aimed at non-bank investors, adding that the central bank has considered offering bills directly to foreign investors to support the currency.
STRUCTURAL REFORMS NEEDED
The central bank had been issuing securities at high yields to mop up naira, a policy it maintained for more than two years to attract foreign inflows into bonds and support the naira.
It was unclear which option the central bank wants to pursue: boosting credit flow locally or maintaining a stable currency in the face of high inflation and dollar shortages, reports Reuters.
At its last rate meeting in March, the bank cut rates by 50 basis points for the first time since November 2015, saying it wanted to signal a new direction. Analysts expect another 50-bp rate cut on Tuesday.
Bankers doubt the measure will do much to boost lending unless credit risk is addressed through reforms.
“I’m not quite sure this is an effective way of getting banks to put their balance sheet on the line to areas where they clearly perceive risk,” one banker told Reuters. “The central bank wants to drive growth in the economy without structural reforms, which is counter-productive.”
President Muhammadu Buhari won re-election in February and has pledged to get the economy growing again. But he has failed to set up a cabinet months after gaining a second term.
Analysts said recent policies aimed at boosting loans to revive the economy could have a knock-on effect by lowering yields to unattractive levels for foreign investors, which could weaken the naira.
Cashew as catalyst for Nigeria’s agric potential
The untapped potentials of cashew once again came to light at the recent annual general meeting (AGM) of National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) where it was disclosed that the country’s cashew production hit 260,000 tonnes this year from 90,000 tonnes in 2011. Taiwo Hassan reports
I deally, the rebirth of the country’s agriculture under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been applauded in many quarters because of the attention the administration gave to agriculture to re-jig the country’s non-oil sector.
Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also played a key role towards revamping the moribund agriculture sector by rolling out intervention funds that have helped to galvanize and turn around the sector for steady growth and development.
However, one of the leading agric commodities, cashew, has been a money spinner for the country’s economy following the rate of sustainable development being achieved in terms of production, exports and accrued revenue.
Interestingly, the turnaround in the country’s cashew sector has seen the commodity being listed among non-oil exports, where the Federal Government intends to generate about $30 million.
Other agric commodities in the export list include ginger, cocoa products, hibiscus, sesame seeds, columbite for use in alloys, monalite for use in engineering and zircon.
Speaking during a meeting with President Buhari in Abuja recently, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, disclosed that Nigeria, within the next 10 to 15 years, could earn about $150 billion from non-oil revenue sources.
Particularly, he said that the successful implementation of a zero oil plan would significantly increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“The zero oil plan is about raising production and productivity. We identified 22 sectors where we can earn foreign exchange apart from oil. We are hoping that in the next 10-15 years we will be able to raise $150 billion from sources outside oil,” Awolowo said.
In fact, cashew was identified as juicy crop in non-oil export because of its high return on investment.
This in return has buoyed the country’s non-oil export revenue for this fiscal year.
In the same vein, the Federal Government also announced that it was planning to get more cashew nut processing machines nationwide to enable the country double export earnings from $800 million to $1.7 billion.
A former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who dropped the hint, stated that government was already thinking of completing the building of cashew nut processing facilities nationwide in order to boost processed cashew nut export and earn more foreign exchange.
He explained that government would be working with cashew nut processors and other relevant associations in the country to ensure the success of the facility in order to bolster production.
He described cashew nut as one of the key non-oil exports that the current administration is looking at in order to increase its revenue base, adding that its contribution to national export earnings had been on a steady increase since 2015.
The National Cashew Association of Nigeria during its annual general meeting in Lagos stated that Nigeria’s cashew production had hit 260,000 tons this year from 90,000 tons in 2011.
However, the members attributed the increase to the Babatola Faseru-led executive’s efforts to promote cashew production in the country.
NCAN said it had been able to improve local, national and international image for cashew brand.
The association said it focused on the key gaps inhibiting growth in the business that will help to rebuild the sector’s potential, stimulate growth, and enable smallholder farmers to raise their incomes and yields, while creating jobs for young people and raising income for women.
Nigeria is rated the fourth largest producer of cashew nuts in Africa and seventh in the world with the bulk of its cashew nuts and cashew kernels exported to Vietnam and India.
NCAN then called on government to allot funds and create schemes to increase cashew nut production.
According to the association, cashew is a major agricultural produce and efforts have been made to boost farmers’ productivity and improve cashew production practices.
In one of the fora in Abuja, the central bank revealed that it would massively support farmers to boost the production of cashew, tomato, cocoa and palm oil across the country this year.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the move was in line with Federal Government’s quest to attain self-sufficiency and reduce food imports.
Already, the dynamics of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in the lives of many farmers in the country and the economy in general cannot be quantified.
In fact, the ABP, which is part of the CBN’s development agenda, is not only targeted at creating millions of jobs, but it is also meant to lifting thousands of small holder farmers out of poverty.
Under the programme, the CBN had set aside N40 billion out of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development fund given to farmers at single digit interest rate.
Despite the progress recorded in the country’s cashew sector, funding is still posing the biggest challenge for exporters of the commodity in the country.
Affirming this concern, the NCAN president noted that fund was needed in order to ensure smooth export of cashew in the country, saying that the association was doing everything possible to ensure that cashew exporters do not encounter funding challenges.
According to him, Nigerian realised about $813.05 million (N284.5 billion) in foreign exchange from the export of cashew between 2015 and 2017.
Fasheru explained that the contribution of cashew to national export earnings had been on a steady increase since 2015.
The NCAN president disclosed that the commodity had become a source of income for local farmers, who have benefited immensely from exporting the product.
For instance, he said export earnings rose from $152 million in 2015 to $259 million in 2016 and $402.05 million in 2017.
According to him, Nigeria’s major trading partners are from Vietnam, India and the United States.
He stated that these countries had been the destinations for Nigeria’s cashew export in recent times.
While commending the commitment of the Federal Government to repositioning the economy through cashew production, he stressed that the Nigerian brand of cashew nuts was one of the most preferred globally.
Based on the forgoing, NCAN members are calling on the Federal Government to address some of the problems affecting the production and export of cashew in the country in order to guarantee steady production and revenue generation for the economy.
NAMA boosts airspace safety with new VHF radios
Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has boosted safety of Nigerian airspace, as the agency commences installation of 14 new Very High Frequency (VHF) radio sites to ride on the new VSAT network.
Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Folayele Akinkuotu, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for its support and intervention leading to the final clearance of the agency’s VSAT equipment at the Apapa port.
Not a few believe that the installation of the multi-million dollar equipment would help to reduce the occurrence of blind spots in the country’s airspace.
Akinkwuotu assured airspace users and the flying public that the Nigerian airspace remained safe, adding that NAMA would continue to upgrade its air traffic management services and procedures to guarantee safety of air navigation in the country at all times.
Since 1998, it has been more of rhetorics than actualisation of yet-to-be-completed Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) automation. The wait seems to have ended following the clearance and deployment of the facilities.
This was further worsened by the inability of NAMA to clear the over N1 billion facilities that are still trapped at the seaport.
At the celebration of the 2019 World AIS Day in Lagos, Akinkuotu said the Nigeria Customs service (NCS) was asking for N100 million before the clearance of the equipment and had refused to grant waiver for its release.
Akinkuotu, represented by the Director Operations, Mr. Lawrence Pwajok at the event, which was themed: “The Benefits of Automation to Aeronautical Information Management,” expressed fear that the equipment may rust and become obsolete if not given an expedited clearance.
He said: “Clearing of these goods and paying customs duties cost hundreds of millions because these are very expensive equipment, we must find funds for doing this clearance and it must be done urgently because the equipment cannot remain in the ports at the risk of bad weather and anything could expire there and we will run the risk of starting all over again.”
Akinkuotu lamented that the agency was back to square one again, dashing the hopes of the AIS personnel in the automation of the AIS in the country after 10 years of foot dragging on the project.
The NAMA MD, however, stated that the setback would not affect the automation of the AIS, as the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, was working tirelessly to ensure that the project was implemented.
He assured AIMAN that management was working hard to ensure more AIS officers are trained ahead of the completion of the automation system, adding that efforts were on to provide conducive working environment for the officers to carry out their job effectively towards ensuring safety.
Akinkuotu explained that the agency was asked not to include the clearance fees for the equipment in last year’s budget and assured that as a government agency, the equipment would be granted waiver.
“The project did not envisage that we will have to pay for clearing, it was two years ago we were at the National Assembly with the former MD and the National Assembly insisted we should not pay for cost for clearing of government equipment in the budget, they say you can get a waiver from customs and from the ministry of finance and from the CBN and you don’t need to pay.
The NAMA boss told this newspaper that the agency had equally planned to digitalise the nation’s Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) having received a bolster, as the agency recently commenced the installation of prefabricated pilot joint briefing offices nationwide.
He disclosed that the installation team, which has completed work at Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos, had proceeded to another airport and is expected to continue the installation in 21 airports and three aerodromes nationwide.
Analysts: Nigeria rakes in $750m from Sesame seeds yearly
As global sesame seed consumption is rising exponentially due to its health and nutritional benefits, Nigeria is generating over $750 million in revenues yearly from the product.
This was disclosed in a report by analysts from Bismark Rewane-led Financial Derivative Companies (FDC).
Specifically, they said Nigeria remained the largest producer of sesame seed in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) and fourth in the world.
“Nigeria produces 550,000 metric tonnes (mt) of sesame seeds per year, generating over $750 million in revenue,” the experts said.
Despite the fact that Nigeria has the potential of increasing its production by 82 per cent to one million metric tonnes, analysts pointed out that sesame seed production in the country was constrained by quality and economies of scale.
The FDC report stated that total global production of sesame seeds in 2017 was estimated at 5.53 million tonnes, amounting to $4.15 billion.
“Global output fell sharply by 9.5 per cent compared to 2016. Global price of sesame seeds increased in 2018 and is now trading at a range of $1,550- $1,650/tonne,” the experts said.
Countries such as Tanzania, Myanmar and India are top world’s producers of sesame seeds, while Tanzania, China and Sudan are global top consumers.
Sesame seeds are being used for oil, flour, pastry garnishing, sushi and salad, among others.
Currently, the nation produces 9.95 per cent of total global output and is ranked fourth largest in the world.
Nigeria produces sesame for exports to Japan, China and Turkey and those countries process it as a major ingredient in cooking oil.
According to the report, export earnings from sesame seed in Nigeria was in excess of $200 million and it is produced nine states of the federation, mainly Jigawa, Benue, Nassarawa, Yobe, Kano, Gombe, Plateau, Katsina and Kogi.
However, analysts noted that pastoral conflicts in major producing states were weighing on output of sesame seeds in the producing states.
Meanwhile, Nigeria produces 0.11 per cent of global steel (less than two million metric tonnes), but imports five million tonnes yearly, according to analysts.
They pointed out that efforts to revive the Nigerian steel industry were already under way, but that competition against increasingly low cost steel imports from China has formed the biggest threat confronting every potential investor.
The report stated that Nigeria was a fringe player in steel production with output of less than two million tonnes.
It said: “The nation boosts 13 rolling mills, seven mini mills and two integrated steel companies.
“Delta steel plant, which produced two metric tonnes (mts); and Ajaokute steel – 5.7mts are potential game changer for Nigeria.”
Major rolling mills in the countries are Katsina, Jos and Osogbo, while steel import demand was estimated at five million tonnes, amounting $3.3 billion.
“Nigeria’s total global production of steel in 2018 was 1.8billion tonnes, amounting $41.18trillion,” analysist said.
Steel is used for the construction of buildings, bridge, railway and automobile.
World’s top producers of steel include China, European Union, India, Japan and United States; while top consumers are China and EU.
Labour seeks Nigeria’s alignment with climate change pact
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government in its effort to align with the United Nations by signing the action climate change agreement.
President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, disclosed this in a letter signed addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
NLC described the agreement as a commitment to support a just ecological transition by formulating national plans for a just transition, creating decent work as well as green jobs for the citizens.
According to the NLC, the process involves creating mechanisms of inclusive social dialogue such as assessing employment, social and economic impacts of ecological transition and green jobs potential; implementing skills development; designing innovative social protection policies; increasing transfer of technology and knowledge to developing countries as responsible investment.
Wabba stated that the NLC looks forward to being partners with government in the implementation of these commitments.
The letter noted that the UN Secretary-General is calling on all leaders to come to New York in September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.
DMO to auction N145bn worth of bonds, July 24
The Federal Government has offered for subscription by auction N145 billion worth of bonds in its July 24 auction, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.
The offer circular obtained from its website on Thursday stated that it would sell N40 billions of a five year re-opening issue maturing in April 2023 at 12.75 per cent.
It would also sell N50 billion 10 year re-opening bond to mature in April 2029 at 14.55 per cent, and another N55 billion 30 year re-opening at 14.80 per cent to mature in April 2049.
According to DMO, a unit of sale is N1, 000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N50 million and in multiples of N1, 000 thereafter.
The DMO explained that the bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the Nigerian Government, with interest payable semi-annually to bondholders, while bullet repayment would be made on maturity date.
Nigeria issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market, create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit.
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