It has been revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed an agreement with all states in the South-South and South-East regions of the country to contribute 100,000 hectares of land each for palm oil farming in order to cut down on the current import bill of over five hundred million dollars annually.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this on Monday during a stakeholders’ meeting on the Palm Oil Value Chain held in Abuja.
Present at the meeting were the governors of Akwa Ibom, Edo and Abia states, managers of Dangote Farms, Flour mills, United Food Industries and Dufil Frima Foods Plc, among others.
The CBN governor stated that it was a sad fact that the country was still importing palm oil in spite of sufficient arable land in the South-South and South-East regions of the country to farm it.
He recalled that in the late 50’s and 60’s, Nigeria was not only the world’s leading producer of palm oil, but it was also the largest exporter of palm oil, accounting for close to 40 per cent of the global market share.
He said that right now, Malaysia and Indonesia were the top producers of palm oil and Nigeria the fifth, after getting their seeds and learning how to cultivate oil palm from Nigeria.
Emefiele said, “This conversation is indeed important as it forms part of our overall strategy to reduce our reliance on crude oil imports, diversify the productive base of our economy, create jobs and conserve our foreign exchange.
“Despite placing oil palm in the forex exclusion list, official figures indicate that importation of palm oil had declined by about 40 per cent from the peak of 506,000 Metric Tonnes (MTs) in 2014 to 302,000 MTs in 2017.
“This indicates that Nigeria still expends close to 500 million dollars on oil palm importation annually and we are determined to change this narrative.
“We intend to support improved production of palm oil to meet not only the domestic needs of the market, but to also increase our exports in order to improve our forex earnings,” he said.
To this end, Emefiele said that all the state governors in South-South and South-East, Nigeria had agreed to provide at least 100,000 hectares each for large scale oil palm farming. He said that with the help of the state governments, Nigeria could reach self-sufficiency in palm oil between 2022 and 2024 and ultimately overtake Thailand and Columbia to become the third largest producer over the next few years.
“As part of our Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the CBN will work with large corporate stakeholders and smallholder farmers to ensure availability of quality seeds for this year’s planting season.
“We will also ensure the availability of agro-chemicals in order to enable improved cultivation of palm oil.
“We will also work to encourage viable off taker agreements between farmers and large-scale palm producing companies.
“Loans will be granted through our ABP and CACS programs at no more than 9 per cent per annum to identified core borrowers,” he said.
Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, said the state was currently cultivating about 70,000 hectares of land of oil palm.
He also spoke on the need to revive the moribund Nigerian Institute For Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), in Benin to improve investment in research and production of quality oil palm seeds.
Figures from the Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA, has revealed that insurance companies in the country paid a total of N217.8 million as terrorism claims in 2018
Also, in the course of the same year, insurance companies in the country paid N1.2 billion to settle claims arising from flooding.
The claims payment for terrorism in 2018 is seen as an impressive improvement on the general apathy of the insurance industry towards terrorism cover. It is believed to be too risky and highly volatile as a single incident could erode a company’s profit and capital.
According to the figures contained in the NIA digest, Axa Mansard Insurance Plc paid the highest terrorism claim of N167.9 million, while the rest was settled by Continental Reinsurance Plc.
Axa Mansard paid the terrorism claim to Dangote Cement Plc for the incident at its Ibese Plant.
Meanwhile for flood claims, Prestige Assurance Plc paid the largest claims of N55.48 million to D2H Services Limited & Associates.
The NIA further disclosed that the industry recorded a gross premium income of N364.7 billion while net premium income stood at N258.1 billion in the year under review.
Nigerian insurers, according to the NIA Chairman, Mr. Tope Smart, has been responsive in meeting genuine claims responsibilities, stressing that the industry will continue to honour the payment of all genuine claims.
Also, the Director-General of NIA, Mrs. Yetunde Ilori, called on the insuring public to take advantage of conflict resolutions bodies set up by the industry to resolve all unpaid claims issues.
According to her, the NIA in a bid to ensure the public are not denied claims, set up a complaints bureau, adding that the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) also has a complaint bureau for settlement of claims disputes.
Access Bank Plc. said on Monday that a five-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured N15 billion Green Bond, the first climate bond to be issued in Africa, had been fully subscribed.
The bank’s Group Managing Director, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated this at the bond-signing ceremony in Lagos.
Green bond is a bond specifically earmarked to be used for climate and environmental projects. It is typically asset-linked and backed by the issuer’s balance sheet, and are also referred to as climate bonds
Wigwe said that the Green Bond offer was achieved by way of Book Building, a systematic process of generating, capturing, and recording investor demand for shares during an initial public offering (IPO), or other securities during their issuance process.
This is in order to support efficient price discovery.
He said that the bond, priced at a coupon of 15.5 per cent, had participation from a wide range of asset managers and pension fund administrators.
Wigwe said that the bank supported the global climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda and was seeking to promote responsible green lending globally.
According to him, the Green Bond issuance demonstrates the bank’s commitment to sustainable operational practices, being a pioneer operator both in domestic and international capital markets.
He added that the bank viewed the global drive for responsible and sustainable green financing as an opportunity to raise capital for the creation of assets through climate change financing.
Wigwe maintained that the bank had a strong track record of deploying environmental and social risk management tools as well as working closely with local and international agencies to deliver a greener outcome from investing activities.
“With our pace-setting experience in the mainstreaming of sustainability in our business operations.
“We are confident that this issue with further help in supporting environmentally friendly investors to meet their investment objectives whilst simultaneously supporting the bank’s customer towards realising growth opportunities in fast-developing low carbon economy,” Wigwe said.
He noted that the new funding would be directed toward financing new loans and refinancing existing loans in accordance with the bank’s Green Bond Framework, and support projects directed at flood defense, solar generation facilities, and agriculture.