Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN) has said Nigeria’s agricultural export stood at N127 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
The figure, according to the organisation, represents 128 per cent increase, compared to N55.8 billion in fourth quarters of 2020.
Chairman of FACAN, Edo chapter, Mr Enahoro Ojiefoh, stated this during the distribution of sesame seeds and cashew seedlings to farmers in Edo North Senatorial District yesterday.
Ojiefoh said sesame topped the list of agro-export commodities, with an estimated export value of N41.9 billion, while cashew nuts, both in-shell and shelled, valued at N13.7 billion.
Ojiefoh said sesame represented huge opportunities for the country in terms of generating export revenue, adding that it was a cash crop that could fetch the country $1.5 billion, if opportunities therein were maximised.
According to him, Nigeria has been one of the highest sesame seed producing countries over the years, thus making the seed an important component of the country’s agricultural export.
“Sesame seeds come from a flowering plant, mostly grown in Northern Nigeria due to the drought-resistant nature of the seed.
“Aside the fact that it has numerous health and industrial benefits and widely used for baking, medicine, cosmetics and animal feeds, it also has high oil content of about 44 per cent to 60 per cent.
“Reports have it that the global demand for the commodity is expected to grow at 4.2 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2024.
“Nigeria is expected to key into this, considering its land mass and the fact that the sesame is drought-resistant and requires minimal fertiliser, which makes it cheaper to cultivate than other crops,” he said.
FACAN’s chairman said that 55,000 cashew seedlings and 100 sesame seeds were to be distributed to farmers in the senatorial district for cultivation, stressing that the idea was to make Edo an agricultural export state.
He said that the association had designed a four-year master plan to inject one million cashew trees in multiple of hundreds yearly and 2,000 tonnes of sesame seeds yearly into the state’s economy.
Ojiefoh added that this could translate into about a minimum of N8 billion in value by the fifth year.
“But, for this to happen successfully, we humbly seek the support of the state government for, and collaboration of the private and organised sectors with, FACAN in actualising this goal within the next five years.
He urged the farmers to key into the agro-business export commodity by cultivating cashew and sesame for export production.
“FACAN will do all it takes to position you for success by being the investment broker, helping you understand the terrain and making you attractive to industries and factories, both home and abroad,” he said.
Orbih Asks South-south Govs to Enact VAT Law
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the South-south governors to give backing to the recent legal move to reposition the collection of Value Added Taxes (VAT) to states.
National Vice Chairman, South-south of the party, Chief Dan Orbih made this call yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Benin.
The party said that the recent judicial interpretation to the VAT law, which reposed in the federating states the powers to superintendent over the consumption tax showed that the judiciary was alive to its responsibilities.
“The court has placed VAT where the duty rightly belongs,” he said adding that it would be a catalyst for grassroots development.
Orbih noted that the recent action to seek interpretation of the VAT law by Rivers and later Lagos State, was a big window for the South-south and indeed other states to achieve the long desired quest for fiscal federalism.
“Yes, one must first commend the innovative and painstaking pursuit of this case by Governot Nyesom Wike of Rivers.
“This is a big window for the South-South states to achieve the long desired quest for fiscal federalism.
“With this development the long desired dream of many Nigerians for equitable distribution of resources has been given a very strong push.
“This is a bold and salutary move in restructuring our tax collection system. The soundness in the economics of Wike’s action is seen in the speed with which Lagos state moved in the same direction toward pursuing the same objective.”
Orbih described the Rivers and Lagos states’ domestication of the VAT law as a nonpartisan action driven by the burning desire to give practical meaning to fiscal federalism.
“I call on other state governors, especially in the South-South to move with dispatch in support of VAT collection and retention by states. I say to them, the South-south governors, to act now that the iron Is hot.”
The South-south PDP leader further said that the Nation could not continue to practice political federalism with overbearing unitary economic policies.
He stress that the action was in the interest of all.
According to him, what the judicial pronouncement will achieve is that it will encourage states to work harder in boosting economic activities and engender healthy competitive spirit that will in the end make Nigeria better for all.
Orbih, therefore, urged the other governors to embrace such welcome initiative and disregard the obvious but expected opposition from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS).
NIMASA’s Mandate Not to Generate Revenue, Says FG
The federal government has revealed that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) mandate is not to generate revenue.
It said the mandate of the agency was to act as regulator of maritime safety and security.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, explained this in a statement by the ministry ‘s Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr Eric Ojiekwe yesterday.
Amaechi made the disclosure at the final session of the five-day National Council on Transportation (NCT), held in the commercial city of Kano, Kano State.
He said: “People put NIMASA under pressure that they must make money; make money for what, NIMASA actually is a regulatory authority, not for them to go and look for money.
“The people that should be making money and they must hear it now is the Nigeria Ports Authority. It is their responsibility to make money.
”NIMASA should therefore focus on being a regulatory authority on issues of safety and security of our waterways.”
The minister expressed dismay over the inability to convene the NCT for the past three years due to economic downturn and advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He then expressed optimism that critical decisions bordering on transportation would be addressed at the summit.
“Transportation is essential to sustainable development as it enables access to employment, business, education, health services and social interactions.
”The prosperity and wellbeing of developing and developed world are inseparably linked to transport.
”As such, President Muhammadu Buhari has made issues relating to transportation, one of the topmost priorities of his administration,” he said.
On the state of the Dala Inland Dry Port, the minister said the federal government would not commission the project if it did not see a completed primary school offering free education to the many out-of-school children in the area.
“I want NSC to note this because that’s the agreement we had with the concessionaire.
”Shippers’ council can charge whatever you want to charge for the dry port but part of the profit that they make in the dry port will go to the upbringing of those children,“ Amaechi noted.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki said: “after the last time the council met, Nigeria ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
”The ratification of the AfCTA is a new dawn with significantly positive ramifications for our collective future.
”Nigeria has an opportunity to leverage its geographical position, its large domestic market and industrial capacity to become the transportation hub for Africa.
”But this prize will not be easily won and there is much work to do to actualise this potential. It will require smart, rigorous, foresighted planning and swift, diligent execution across all modes of transportation,” she said.
Also speaking also, Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by his Deputy, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, expressed satisfaction at the theme of the event, sustainable development as a panacea for national development.
”The theme gives me the impression that we are on the path of overcoming national development challenges. This is based on the fact that the transport industry is one promising sector that if exploited optimally, will stimulate the needed economic transformation in our country.