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Our agenda for cocoa in Kwara, by AbdulRazaq

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said his administration has raised 50,000 hybrid Cocoa seedlings, which will be distributed to farmers at affordable prices once they mature in 18 months.

“This is being done with a view to ensuring the prompt and effective rehabilitation and regeneration of the aged Cocoa plantations or farms existing in the State,” Governor AbdulRazaq disclosed at the recent Cocoa Farmers’ Roundtable Conference held at Cocoa House, Oke Onigbin, in Isin Local Government Area of the State.

Represented by the State Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Mrs Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimehin, AbdulRazaq said the government would establish a Cocoa nursery in the State to serve as the genuine source of planting materials for the farmers.

“In this fiscal year, we plan to resuscitate the training and retraining of cocoa farmers on good agricultural practices through the Farmers Field School (FFS) and Farmers Business School (FBS) respectively. This is being done with a view to enhancing the quality of the cocoa beans being produced in the State. In addition, we also intend to look into prospects of being able to possibly address extant challenges associated with some of the critical input requirements of cocoa farmers in the state,” he added.

Governor AbdulRazaq explained that the present administration understands that lack of basic social amenities, physical infrastructure, et al, could constitute disincentives for farming in agrarian communities in the State, saying “it is for this reason and more that we are committing significant resources to road construction, healthcare, water and basic education in the 2020 budget, which has just been passed and assented to.”

“Agriculture occupies a vantage position under this administration. We have invested a lot of money to reposition the sector, beginning with the N200m counterpart fund for RAAMP III and another N49.78m FADAMA counterpart fund, among others. We have also made appreciable budgetary provisions for agriculture this year, while also engaging the Federal Government and private investors on how to grow the sector in the State.”

He assured the farmers that the administration remains firmly committed to rebuilding and reconstructing the state for the good of all and for the benefit of children yet unborn.

“Since we came on board, our administration has given so much attention to Cocoa because of its extensive value chain — just as we are doing with sugarcane and other essential crops and agricultural produce that can be successfully cultivated in the State,” he said.

“Kwara is currently grouped as a minor Cocoa state in Nigeria, owing in part to the perennial migration of cocoa farmers to other states and the seemingly unabated trend of rural-urban migration. This is a narrative that we want to change and as soon as possible.”

AbdulRazaq also congratulated the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) for the event which he said was designed to discuss the way to reposition the Cocoa subsector in Kwara State and other parts of Nigeria, where cocoa could be grown successfully.

He assured the farmers that the administration would work with them to develop the cocoa subsector in the State.

Yusuf Ganiyu Adebisi
Press Secretary
Kwara State Ministry of Agric and Rural Development
6th February 2020.

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COVID 19: First Bank Chooses To Solve Education Challenges Facing Parents

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The CEO of FirstBank Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has announced that the Bank in partnership with government and other stakeholders is extending its attention to immediate needs in our society in the face of the widespread COVID-19 by putting in place complementary efforts in education to support students and minimize the disruption to education resulting from schools’ closure.  This is following the activation of the Bank’s Business Continuity Process and subsequent deployment of safety initiatives and measures implemented across its business outlets nationwide, to help flatten the curve and ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff customers and other stakeholders.

Dr Adeduntan explained that many parents are concerned about children and wards whose education is truncated by the current crisis and are particularly worried about keeping children at home idle as all schools from primary through to tertiary institutions are closed across the nation. Emphasising the urgent need to ensure that our children are not disadvantaged, remain engaged and stay safe during this period, he announced the Bank has concluded plans with the necessary authorities to enable as many children as possible access e-learning.

Speaking on the initiative to enable as many children move on to safe e-learning, Dr Adeduntan said “we are warmed by the fact that different organizations have risen to the various challenges and are supporting in areas such as health and welfare, and we feel the peculiar needs of our children and youth must not be left out and have therefore elected to focus on contributing to solving the current education challenge. Education remains the bedrock of any society and we believe that when we educate our children we enable our nation and produce global citizens who provide ground breaking solutions for the continent and the world at large.  So, building educational partnerships is an avenue to support our children to remain resourceful and fully engaged at this time so they can compete favorably with their peers internationally. It’s a responsible approach to empower them given that they are our future and the foundation to build our country to greatness. By partnering on this we are solving a problem for families and for our future.”

To this end, we are working with the States; United Nations Global Compact; innovative technology firms such as Robert & John to provide e-learning solution with the Government approved curriculum for students across the country. The roll out begins first week in April starting with Lagos State where FirstBank will support the roll out of Roducate which has been adjudged a best fit solution by educators, teachers and all necessary authorities. This solution has the full curriculum on both the online and offline versions with the offline version of particular interest as it eliminates the challenge posed by data affordability.

We call on well-meaning organisations and individuals to join us and collectively rise to address the challenges this current pandemic presents to our children and youth and are reaching out to other organisations with complementary solutions to also partner on this initiative for the youth who are our future. They must not be lost in this pandemic’.

For more information on how you can partner, please click on the link below

https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/corporate-responsibility-sustainability/education-health-welfare/drive-to-move-one-million-students-to-e-learning/

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NSE shuts trading floors, adopts remote trading

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The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) says its trading floors would be closed temporarily from Tuesday, March 24.

In a statement released on Monday, Oscar Onyema, NSE chief executive officer, said the bourse would engage in remote trading during the period.

He said the decision was necessary due to recent developments in the country.

“With the significant growth in new cases, effective March 24, we have activated a 30-day remote working plan for our employees excluding essential staff,” he said.

“In order to give our dealing members enough notice, effective March 25, all our trading floors will be temporarily closed, although remote trading will continue and NSE staff will be available through all our digital platforms to provide support.

“Dealing members are, therefore, encouraged to continue to trade remotely via our electronic platforms such as FIX protocol and XNET, and reach out to their compliance officer if any support is required.”

“As an exchange, we will ensure that all relevant information continues to flow into the market to ensure the pricing of risk assets remains transparent and reliable across asset classes to allow investors to value their portfolios and make informed investment decisions under these volatile conditions.

“You should continue to submit all regulatory filings via Issuers’ Portal (X-Issuer).”

The exchange also said there would be no sanctions for companies that are unable to file their audited financial statement.

Godstime Iwenekhai, head of NSE listings regulation department, said the 60-day extension of the regulatory deadline for submission of results was in recognition of the fact that some of the internal governance, auditing and other procedures and processes of listed companies may have been disrupted by Covid-19.

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Coronavirus outbreak could cause global recession, IMF warns

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The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy could suffer a severe recession “at least as bad during the 2008 global financial crisis or worse” in 2020.

Cases of coronavirus have been reported in 195 countries and territories across the world.

Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director, made these comments after a phone call of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on Monday.

“First, the outlook for global growth: for 2020 it is negative—a recession at least as bad as during the global financial crisis or worse. But we expect a recovery in 2021,” she said.

“To get there, it is paramount to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems—everywhere. The economic impact is and will be severe, but the faster the virus stops, the quicker and stronger the recovery will be.

“Advanced economies are generally in a better position to respond to the crisis.”

Georgieva warned that many emerging markets and low-income countries face “significant challenges” as there are already capital outflows from poorer nations.

The IMF said it will step up aid to countries in need and called on central banks to create additional swap lines, to prevent a liquidity crisis in emerging markets and poorer nations.

Many of the world’s wealthiest nations have already established swap lines, including the US federal reserve.

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