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NPF MFB: Costs hurt earnings

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NPF MFB: Costs hurt earnings

The financial sector has continued to struggle with operational challenges and NPF Microfinance Bank Plc. just like its peers are not insulated. But microfinance firms’ earnings have taken a slide due to costs, Chris Ugwu writes

 

Microfinance Policy Regulatory and Supervisory Framework (MPRSF) were launched in 2005 and the objectives were to address the prolonged non-performance of many existing community banks.

The lack of performance was attributed to incompetent management, weak internal controls and high cost of transactions.

Other objectives to be addressed by MPRSF are poor corporate governance, lack of well-defined operations, restrictive regulatory/supervisory requirements, and weak capital base of existing institutions.

Indeed a huge gap exists in the provision of financial services to a large number of active but poor and low-income groups, especially in the rural areas as a result of rigidity operations of formal financial institutions in Nigeria.

However, in spite of the efforts, the problem of funding has remained a major militating factor against the effectiveness of micro finance banks in Nigeria.

This is because the Nigerian economy has continued to face major headwinds, from substantial decline in international crude oil prices to significant constraints to business activities in the north eastern part of the country owing to the activities of insurgents.

The fall in crude prices heightened pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves and the domestic currency leading to the volatility in exchange rate and a dip in foreign reserves.

These microeconomic pressures and unrelenting regulatory adjustments have to a large extent constrained the margins of financial institutions in the country.

NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, which had sustained considerable growth in bottom line has also been affected by not only harsh operating milieu but rising cost of operations.

The MFB, which showed positive outlook earnings during the full year 2017 and first quarter of 2018 had dropped sharply during the last thee quarters of the year and also began the 2019 financial year on the decline.

The share price, which closed at N1.57 per share in July 31, 2018, recorded a significant decline. At the close of business last Friday, the company’s share price was N1.05, representing a decrease of 52 kobo or 33.12 per cent year to date.

 

Financials

NPF Microfinance Bank Plc had grown its profit after tax (PAT) by 14 per cent to N631.89 million in its financial year ended December 31, 2017 from N554.9 million in 2016. The lender recorded a turnover of N3.7 billion in 2017, up by 25 percent from N2.9 billion in 2016.

It’s profit before tax marginally increased to N819.8 million in 2017 from N803.4 million in 2016 but operating expense rose by 32 per cent to N2.5 billion in 2017 from N1.9 billion in 2016.

Key extract of the bank’s audited annual report for the financial year ended 2017 showed that asset improved to N15.95 billion in 2017 from N12.36 billion in 2016, representing a 29.04 per cent increase, while shareholders’ fund increased to N4.752 billion in 2017 from N4.463 billion in 2016. Further analysis showed that the bank achieved Earnings per share of 28 kobo in 2017, up from 24kobo in 2016. Consequently, the board proposed an increased dividend of 17kobo per share for the year up from 15kobo per share paid in 2016.

The microfinance bank began the 2018 financial year with 7.71 per cent growth in profit after tax for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, from N193.560 million in 2017 to N208.499 million in 2018. Gross earnings grew by 21.04 per cent from N767.399 million in 2017 to N928.916 million in 2018. However, total operating expenses grew by 20.79 per cent to N620.353 million in 2018 from N513.572 recorded a year earlier.

The financial institution’s earnings began to decline during the half year following a drop of 6.02 per cent in profit after tax . The bank reported a profit after tax of N477.800 million for the half year ended June 2018 from N508.421 million posted in 2017, representing a drop of 6.02 per cent.

Gross earning however, was up by N1.976 billion in 2018, from N1.668 billion recorded a year earlier, while total operating expenses rose by 28.18 per cent, from N1.022 Billion in 2017 to N1.310 billion during the period under review.

The bank’s bottom-line sustained declining profile for the nine months ended September 30, 2018 with a drop of 34.67 per cent. In a filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the MFB posted a profit after tax of N487,983 million in 2018 as against N747.015 recorded in 2017, accounting for a decrease of 34.67 per cent.

 

Gross earnings grew by 5.35 per cent to N2.596 billion in 2018 from N2.735 billion posted in 2017, personnel expenses rose to N980.987 million in 2018 from N823 .528 million posted a year earlier. Also, administrative expenses stood at N847.133 million from N603.286 million in 2017. Total operating expenses grew by 24.45 per cent to N2.010 billion during the period under review from N1.615 billion a year earlier.

NPF MFB ended the financial year 2018 unimpressive, recoding 69 per cent drop in profit after tax for the FY’2018 ended December 2018, from N631.890 million in 2017 to N195.749 million in 2018. Profit before tax stood at N287.155 million in 2018 from N819.9819 million in 2017, accounting for a fall of 64.97 per cent. The company’s gross earnings grew by 8 per cent to N3.950 billion from N3.654 billion in 2017. Total operating expenses increased by 28.49 per cent from N2.516 billion in 2017 to N3.233 billion in 2018.

The bank also began the 2019 financial year on the decline with 6.79 per cent drop in profit after tax for the first quarter ended March 2019.

According to a report obtained from the NSE, the financial institution recorded a profit after tax of N194.335 million for the first quarter as against N208.499 million reported in 2018, representing a drop of 6.79 per cent. While the MFB’s gross earnings grew by 4.65 per cent to N972.075 million from N928.916 million in 2018, total operating expenses increased by 4 per cent from N620.353 million in 2018 to N645.617 million in 2019.

 

Outlook/operational capacity

NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, has urged government to support microfinance banks with a lower tax regime to enhance its business so as to release more money into the economy.

Besides, the bank said Development Bank fund should be given to microfinance banks (MFBs) at single digit rate, which they will in turn make available to their customers at a lower interest rate to boost economic activities of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NPF MFB, Akin Lawal, made the call at a press conference marking the bank’s Silver Anniversary in Lagos. He recalled that the bank had grown from authorised share capital of N500,000 made up of 500,000 ordinary shares of N1.00 each at inception, to the current N3billion made up of six billion ordinary shares of 50kobo each.

He also disclosed that the bank has consistently paid dividend to shareholders for 22 years, with total credit portfolio in excess of N10billion, and the Portfolio at Risk at about 2.57 per cent, lower than five per cent industry standard. He stated: “Total credit port folio of the bank is far in excess of N10billion, and the PAR, which is the measurement of the performance of the portfolio is about 2.57 per cent. The internal benchmark of the bank is three per cent, while the industry standard is five per cent; the bank uses a lower standard as against the industry standard. Our risk asset portfolios are in high performance, 97 per cent of the portfolio is doing well.”

The lender had equally disbursed over N1 billion MSME Development Fund, in addition to other developmental funds to its customers, which are fully paid back. “For MSMEDF, initially we are a beneficiary of about N500 million of that scheme and the entire amount was disbursed to the general public, and fully paid,” Lawal explained. “Subsequently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), extended it for us by giving us N1billion that has been deployed to the general public. Same goes for other developmental partners like Bank of Industry (BoI) and Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), because of the impressive performance of the bank.

“All the developmental banks are partners of NPF MfB; this has to do with the bank’s reputation, because we ensure that funds deployed to customers come back, and we meet obligations to development banks”.

Lawal said the bank boasts of over 380,000 customers in which about 70 per cent are from the bank’s primary constituency, including the police, paramilitary, prisons, immigration, Customs, and the remaining 30 per cent from members of the general public comprising the MSMEs. “While 2.287 billion ordinary shares of 50kobo each are issued and fully paid up,” he said. “These shares are listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on December 1, 2010”.

 

Last line

For micro finance sector to thrive, the industry should embrace changes in business environment, which presents uncommon opportunities to deepen penetration of the market through creativity and ingenuity.

 

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FleetPartners expands its corporate car, staff-bus sharing services 

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FleetPartners expands its corporate car, staff-bus sharing services 

A leading car lease company, FleetPartners Leasing Limited has extended its corporate car and staff-bus sharing services to more cities across the country.

Chief Executive Officer of FleetPartners, Samuel Ajiboyede, in a statement, said the increasing demand and success of the two premium services necessitated the decision to take the services to more cities.

Ajiboyede said the corporate car sharing service, which allows executive car owners to offer their cars for rent on FleetPartners platform, is presently in 10 cities while its newly launched staff-bus sharing service is currently only in Lagos and Abuja.

“Due to the increasing demand on our corporate car and staff bus sharing services, we have taken a strategic decision to extend the two services to more cities. We have now added five more cities to our current 10 locations in the country,” he said

Giving insight on how the corporate car service works, Ajiboyede said the service allows people with executive vehicles to become Fleetpartners’ assets partners and turn their vehicles to assets and make more income.

“This model gives corporate organisations the opportunity to only pay for the time used and vehicles are strategically placed close to the point of use for them. This model is cost effective as it ensures no ownership risk to the client or paying for idle time.

“We discovered that a lot of people have idle cars parked in the garage which they only use during special occasions or at weekend. We encourage them to list their vehicles on the platform which we in turn put up for rent on our corporate car sharing platform thereby making the vehicle become an asset instead of a liability.”

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Oil prices make small gains ahead of Fed Chair’s speech

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Oil prices make small gains ahead of Fed Chair’s speech

Oil prices clawed back the previous day’s losses on Friday, with Brent nudging above $60 a barrel, as tighter supplies from key producers offset slowing demand growth while investors await clues from the Federal Reserve on U.S. monetary policy.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 10 cents to $60.02 a barrel by 0118 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 were at $55.38 a barrel, up 3 cents. Both contracts were on track for a second weekly gain.

“Oil is set to trade quietly today as it’s all about the Jackson Hole (meeting) tonight,” Jeffrey Halley, a Singapore-based senior market analyst at brokerage Oanda.

“What we’re seeing is some profit-taking in Asia in very light volumes.”

A speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later on Friday at a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole is expected to provide some clues on whether the Fed will cut interest rates for a second time this year to boost the U.S. economy.

Traders’ expectations of further U.S. monetary easing were clouded by comments from two Fed officials who said on Wednesday that they do not see a case for a rate cut now.

A reduction in interest rates could strengthen the U.S. dollar against other currencies and make dollar-denominated oil more costly for investors.

Oil prices are down for nearly two straight months after the International Energy Agency and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut demand growth forecasts as a simmering U.S.-China trade war hit global economic growth.

However, oil prices remained supported by production cuts from OPEC members and Russia while U.S. sanctions have sharply reduced exports from Iran and Venezuela, reports Reuters.

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Jumia identifies wrongdoing in Nigeria as loss widens

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Jumia identifies wrongdoing in Nigeria as loss widens

Jumia Technologies AG has identified improper transactions at the Africa-focused online retailer’s Nigeria business that amounted to as much as four per cent of first-quarter sales.

While the Berlin-based company says it’s taking measures to cut out instances of wrongdong, the findings backed up warnings made by short-sellers Citron in a report three months ago, which brought an abrupt end to a share-price rally following Jumia’s initial public offering in New York the previous month.

Jumia found cases where “improper orders were placed and subsequently canceled,” the company said in a statement. These included deals made through a team of independent Nigerian sales consultants called J-Force. The transactions in question amounted to two per cent of 2018 gross merchandise volume , a term for sales used in online retailing rising to four per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

According to Bloomberg, J-Force allows the company to interact directly with customers but requires constant improvement, Jumia co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Sacha Poignonnec said in a conference call.

The retailer sometimes dubbed Africa’s Amazon has operations in 14 countries and is seeking to take advantage of rising incomes and better technology on the continent.

In advertising for candidates to join J-Force, Jumia promises the opportunity to “earn unlimited income” while having “complete freedom and control over your activities.” Nigeria is ranked 144th on a list of 180 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Transparency International.

The report of dubious sales practices comes after Citron called Jumia an obvious fraud,” wiping out early gains from the IPO. The stock shed another 14 per cent to $12.73 in New York, dropping below the $14.50 listing price.

Jumia said second-quarter operating losses widened by 60 per cent to 66.7 million euros ($74 million), mainly due to an increase in costs related to the vesting of share options following the IPO. The company’s target for profitability is late 2022, and the cash raised through the listing should take Jumia close to that, Poignonnec said.

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Eterna reports 88% H1 ’19 net profit decline

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Eterna reports 88% H1 ’19 net profit decline

Eterna Plc has posted 88 per cent drop in profit after tax for the half year ended June 30, 2019.

According to the unaudited report obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the oil firm posted a net profit of N112.228 million during the half year as against N965.274 million reported a year earlier, accounting for a drop of 88 per cent.

Profit before tax stood at N165.041 million during the period under review, from N1.419 billion posted in 2018, equally representing 88 per cent decline.

The firm’s revenue dropped by 10 per cent from N172.979 billion in 2018 to N155.767 billion in 2019. Cost of sales stood at N153.488 billion from N170.434 billion while finance charges rose by 308 per cent to close at N827.78 million from N202.872 million.

It also posted a 33 per cent drop in profit after tax for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019.

The oil firm posted a net profit of N341.444 million during the first quarter of the year as against N510.818 million reported a year earlier, accounting for a drop of 33 per cent.

Profit before tax stood at N502.123 million during the period under review, from N751.203 posted in 2018, equally representing 33 per cent decline.

However, revenue grew by 11 per cent from N54.332 billion in 2018 to N60.472 billion in 2019.

The group ended third quarter ended September 30, 2018 with 42 per cent decline in profit after tax to N1.175 billion from N2.022 billion in 2017.  Profit before tax equally dropped by 42 per cent to N1.728 billion from N2.973 billion in 2017. The group’s revenue grew by 64 per cent to N205.362 billion from N125.454 billion in 2017. Cost of sales stood at N201.626 billion from N121.088 billion.

Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of the oil firm, Mahmud Tukur, had said downstream deregulation was long overdue, and although a very political and sensitive issue, it had rather become imperative for industry growth.

While commending the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for their efforts in making products available, he noted that supply was fraught with challenges and associated cost.

“Let’s stop wasting money on subsidies,” he said.

Speaking further, Tukur said Eterna’s five-year strategic plan focused on three major areas – oil, lubricants and other new businesses, adding that despite the environment challenges, the company was looking forward to acquiring additional 200 filling stations within the plan period.

He said apart from lubricant, which is Eterna’s mainstay, venturing into retail stations was part of the new focus, to be contracted through franchising, leasing, and acquisition, to double available capacity.

“We are not just acquiring stations; we are also getting strategic locations, where we can get value for money,” he added.

He, however, expressed disappointment in supply inequality in the market, and accused NNPC of servicing mainly the majors and big names, which guarantees product availability to consumers.

To sustain expansion in the West African/ECOWAS sub-region, Tukur also unveiled plans to raise additional funds by way of debt or equities.

By offsetting a N14 billion-debt overhang, he said Eterna had cleared its balance sheet, and now well-positioned to review its processes, streamline operations, and pursue new investment opportunities and expansion.

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NSE advances on blue chip firms

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NSE advances on blue chip firms

The bulls maintained their  grip on market activities at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), as stocks sustained rally for the second trading following gains recorded mainly by blue chip stocks.

The key market performance measures, the NSE All Share Index and market capitalisation, rose by 1.01 per cent as market sentiments extended gaining streaks following investors’ sustained optimism on new Federal Government cabinet.

Consequently, the All-Share Index gained 276.72 basis points or 1.01 per cent to close at 27,629.66 as against 27,352.94 recorded the previous day, while market capitalisation of equities appreciated by N135 billion or 1.01 per cent to close at N13.441 trillion from N13.306 trillion as market sentiments remained on the green zone.

Meanwhile, a turnover of 369 million shares exchanged in 3,319 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.

The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 99.9 million shares exchanged by investors in 1,085 deals.

Volume in the sub-sector was largely driven by activities in the shares of Zenith Plc and UBA Plc.

The banking sub-sector, boosted by activities in the shares of GTB Plc and ETI Plc, followed with a turnover of 68.2 million shares in 668 deals.

The number of gainers at the close of trading session was 22 while decliners closed at 13.

Eterna Oil Plc led the gainers’ table with a gain of 10 per cent to close at N2.75 per share while ETI Plc followed with a gain of 9.49 per cent to close at N7.50 per share. Wapic Insurance Plc added 8.82 per cent to close at 37 kobo per share.

On the other hand, NCR Plc and UPL Plc led the price losers’ table, dropping 10 per cent each to close at N4.95 and N1.44 per share respectively. MRS Oil Plc followed with 9.83 per cent to close at N18.80 per share while Okomu Oil Plc trailed with a loss of 9.78 per cent to close at N40.15 per share.

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AFBTE to CBN: Engage stakeholders over forex restriction list

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AFBTE to CBN: Engage stakeholders over forex restriction list

The Association of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage operators in food industry before implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s  directive that it should stop allocating  forex to food importers in the country.

In a statement obtained by New Telegraph,  the President of the association, Patrick Anegbe, said: “We appeal to government to engage the organised private sector and stakeholders in the food industry to discuss the issues involved in this matter more thoroughly before a final position on how to proceed is taken.

“We would like to trust that the government will allow for this step in the spirit of our sustained partnership with it over the years in addressing the various economic issues affecting the Nigerian state.”

He noted that the CBN had towards the end of July announced the decision to deny access to foreign exchange for the importation of milk and other dairy products.

“The negative economic implications of the move in the short- run on the performance of the affected companies and the overall economy had been widely highlighted by experts, industrialists and managers of the targeted businesses,” he said.

He specifically warned  that the impact the sudden ban would have on the overall financial results of the companies would  likely lead to loss of jobs among other negative effects.

“The organised private sector had tried to draw the attention of CBN to the danger in not allowing for a reasonable period of time for those concerned to make adequate preparations to source their imported milk and dairy products locally.

“The engagement on this CBN pronouncement was still on when news came that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had at an event in his home State during the Eid-el-Kabir holiday, announced that he had instructed the CBN not to allocate foreign exchange for importation of food.

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U.S. stocks fall after disappointing data

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U.S. stocks fall after disappointing data

U.S. stocks turned lower on Thursday as the first contraction in the manufacturing sector in nearly a decade and uncertainty about future interest rate cuts overshadowed an initial boost from upbeat retail earnings.

IHS Markit said its “flash” survey on new orders for U.S. manufactured goods fell to 49.5 in August, over concerns whether the U.S.-China trade war would tip the economy into a recession. In response, yields on the U.S. two-year Treasury notes again moved above those of 10-Year bonds.

“Manufacturing has been pretty weak across the globe for a while now and we are starting to see that bleed into U.S.,” said Joe Mallen, chief investment officer at Helios Quantitative Research. “It’s not unexpected, but definitely not good for prospects of our economy going forward.”

According to Reuters, adding to the downbeat mood, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he does not see the case for additional stimulus, while Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George said she does not yet see a signal of a downturn in the U.S. economy.

Their comments sent jitters through markets ahead of a highly anticipated speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday at an annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole.

The release of the minutes from the U.S. central bank’s meeting on July 30-31 offered little clarity on its next move. The policymakers were deeply divided over their quarter-point cut in rates, but united in wanting to signal the move was not on a preset path to further cuts.

Despite the stock market stabilizing from a rough first half of August, investors are wary about how far policymakers are willing to cut rates and Powell’s remarks may prove crucial to short-term sentiment..

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower with a 0.59 per cent decline in technology .SPLRCT weighing the most on the benchmark index. Interest-rate sensitive bank stocks gained as central bankers toned down expectations of aggressive rate cuts.

Leading gains on the S&P 500 was Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), up 15.4 per cent, as it joined Target Corp (TGT.N) and Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW.N) this week in delivering a quarterly profit beat and bolstering confidence in consumer demand.

L Brands Inc (LB.N) slid 7.8 per cent after the Victoria’s Secret owner reported quarterly sales short of estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.86-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

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Food import: Buhari’s directive may push prices up

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Food import: Buhari’s directive may push prices up

Nigeria’s food inflation, which has been on a downward trend in the last two months, could head north if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fully implements President Muhammadu Buhar’s directive to stop allocating foreign exchange to food importers in the country, analysts at Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) have said.

In a note obtained by New Telegraph yesterday, the analysts, who were commenting on National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) latest inflation data, which showed that inflation fell to 11.08 per cent in July from 11.22 per cent in June, predicted that the president’s directive vould push up commodity prices and stoke inflation.

They  further said: “Although the move would encourage backward integration and support agric sector growth, it could push up food prices in the coming months as Nigeria is highly food import dependent.”

The FDC analysts stated in the note entitled: “Nigeria: Inflation lower but the storms are gathering – food import restriction yet to bite,” that “it is worth mentioning that food inflation dropped to 13.39per cent from 13.56per cent in June. In the last year, the food basket has been mostly responsible for the direction of inflation.

“This is because it accounts for more than 50per cent of the weight in the general basket. The food index declined by approximately 0.60per cent in the last two months due to a number of factors including a favourable harvest.”

They, however, forecast that President Buhari’s directive to the CBN and other factors such as implementation of minimum wage and the adjustment in exchange rate for computing custom duty could fuel inflation in the next few months.

According to the analysts, “other inflation stoking factors that have been benign are likely to become potent in August and September. These factors include, the minimum wage implementation and the adjustment in the exchange rate for computing custom duty which moved to N326/$ from N305/$. Assuming that 60 per cent of all goods imported attract a duty, the shift from N305/$ to N326/$ will have a pass through effect of approximately N25.7billion.

“The apex bank is also contemplating adding dairy products to the list of items restricted from forex. Annual dairy imports is estimated at $1.2bilion. In recent times, the President directed the CBN to prohibit forex access for all food imports. This could push up commodity prices and stoke inflation. In Q1’19, food imports was estimated at $1.1billion, 10.7 per cent of total imports. Imported food inflation in Q2 was 15.72 per cent, 2.04 per cent higher than domestic food inflation.”

Specifically, they stated that “according to the NBS, the price of food items such as bread and cereals increased. However, the global cereal price index declined by 2.7 per cent to 168.6 points in July. These commodities have high import content and are exchange rate sensitive.

“Thus the adjustment in the exchange rate for computing custom duty to N326/$ from N305/$ most likely pushed up their prices. Imported food inflation rose to 16.39 per cent in July from 15.75 per cent in the preceding month.”

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Forex ban: Association frets over food import

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Forex ban: Association frets over food import

President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt foreign exchange on food importation will lead to inflation and also reduce the livelihood of Nigerians.

President, Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN), Professor Bashir Raji, disclosed this.

He advised the president to ruminate on both the production and consumption of food in the nation, while also emphasising that the policy would be laudable if properly articulated.

He described it as “a right policy, right timing but wrong approach.”

He stated that Nigeria’s current rice production was about 3.7 million tonnes annually and its requirement about eight million tonnes of annually, adding that with outright ban, there is no way the country can meet up with the required 50 per cent in one year.

In his words: “Definitely there will be a lot of inflation, there will be high prices, and considering the economy at the moment, a lot of people will suffer. The president must have been fed the impression that because of drop in importation of rice through our ports, the rice we consume in this country is produced locally, which is not true.

“There is a lot of increase in the production of rice locally but there has been increased smuggling from neighbouring countries, which eventually ends up in Nigeria to complement what is produced locally. The policy, if properly articulated, will be beneficial on the long run, but it is quite clear that we still rely a lot on importation of food and outright banning is likely to bring about inflation.

“It will also bring about pressure on the black or parallel foreign exchange market and high cost of food, especially rice. We don’t import yam, we don’t import cassava, beans and we don’t actually import most of our staple food; the ones we import are basically rice maybe wheat, milk, sugar and some of the exotic foods.

“Unless we can produce one and a half times what we require, it will not be a good decision to ban outright importation of food, especially now that a lot of people are suffering economically.”

Prof. Raji recommended that the Federal Government halt forex gradually over the next five years, setting objectives to meet up measurable targets and make sure 50 per cent shortfall is met during the period.

He also guaranteed that the society was ready to work with the Federal Government to reduce land degradation and climate change.

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Appraising mushroom farming’s impact on economy

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Appraising mushroom farming’s impact on economy

The National Mushroom Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NAMGPMAN) has asked for the support of  the Federal Government for a 30 per cent mushroom content in all confectioneries produced in the country so as to generate income and employment, as well asimprove the economy. Taiwo Hassan writes

 

 

Indeed, Nigeria is known to be great in agriculture even though it still struggling to attain food security following enormous challenges bedeviling the sector.

Nevertheless, the country’s struggle to achieve nutritional security is still on in all ramifications. In future, the ever-increasing population, depleting agricultural land, changes in environment, water shortage and need for quality food products at competitive rates are going to be important issues in the country.

To meet these challenges and to provide food and nutritional security to Nigerians, it is important to diversify agricultural activities. It is widely known that Nigerian diet is primarily based on cereals (wheat, rice, grain and maize), which are deficient in protein.

However, mushrooms not only impact diversification but also help in addressing the problems of quality food, health and environment related issues.

It is believed that supplementing mushroom recipe in Nigerian diet would bridge protein gap and improve the general health of socio-economically backward communities.

Therefore, mushroom diet can be a good source of dietary fibre in the long run because they are very low in fats and has no starch, hence they are used in preventing diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases and obesity.

In short, many varieties are high in fibrer, essential amino acids and proteins and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamine, ascorbic acid and Vitamin D. They also contain minerals like iron, copper, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Antioxidants like ergothioneine and selenium are also present.

Cultivation

In Nigeria, mushroom cultivation is of mixed type, i.e seasonal farming as well as high-tech-industry. It can help to reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthens livelihoods through generation of a fast yielding and nutritious source of food and a reliable source of income.

As it does not require access to land, its cultivation is viable and attractive for both rural and urban farmers. Small-scale growing does not include any significant capital investment. Mushroom substrate can be prepared from any clean agricultural material in temporary clean shelters. They can be cultivated on a part-time basis, and require little maintenance.

Indirectly, mushroom cultivation also provides opportunities for improving sustainability of small farming systems through recycling of organic matters, which can be used as a growing substrate, and then returned to the land as fertiliser.

Through the provision of income and improved nutrition, successful cultivation and trade in mushrooms can strengthen livelihood assets, which can not only reduce vulnerability to shocks, but enhance an individualand a community’s capacity to act upon other economic opportunities.

Medicinal usage

Mushroom, being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, can form an important ingredient of food for a balanced diet. They have been shown to promote immune function, boost health, lower the risk of cancer, inhibit tumor growth, help balancing blood sugar, ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi, reduce inflammation, and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.

Mushrooms are thus rich source of nutrients particularly proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, fibers and vitamins, such as B,C and D. Vitamin B greatly helps in carbohydrate metabolism and is particularly useful in removing cardiac embarrassment and beriberi.

Similarly, the presence of other vitamins like ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin and folic acid are useful in several other diseases. Their content of the anti- pellagra vitamin niacin is comparable to its level found in pork or beef, which are richest known source of this vitamin.

The mineral content particularly Ca and P are remarkably higher in mushroom than in many fresh fruits or vegetables, which again are extremely useful for body building processes. Most of the mushroom have very low starch content and form an ideal food for diabetic patients.

30% diet inclusion

Speaking at the inauguration of the association’s executives in Abuja recently, the President the mushroom growers’ association, Chief Michael Awunor, explained that it was time for government’s backing to support the development of mushroom in the country.   

Awunor requested for a 30 per cent mushroom content in confectioneries produced in the country, in order to generate income and employment as well as improve the economy.

The president made the request at the inauguration of the association’s executives to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, led by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, in Abuja.

He appealed to the ministry to work on increasing the production of mushroom with the use of local content to establish nutritional security with a rigid policy.

Awunor said: “We will work with the ministry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Environment and pharmaceutical stakeholders to ensure eating a plate of mushroom a day is against hypertension, diabetics and cancer.”

“The government must help us with policy that will drive this action. Your mushroom on the shelves must have 30 per cent local content. Hotels must include 30 per cent mushroom content in all confectioneries that are served to customers and there will be task force to ensure the implementation from the association. We will strike deal with Indomie Noodles to ensure mushroom inclusion as nutritional addictive into the flour for children and adults,” he added.

Potential

Alaya Hammed Funsho, one of the executives of the association, urged youths in agriculture to take advantage of the mushroom potential to create employment for themselves and others.

Last line

In view of the high food value to man and their medicinal properties, mushrooms can help in solving the problems of malnutrition and diseases as well as contribute highly to economic growth.

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