One hundred million dollar is to be generated on annual basis into the coffers of the Cross River State Government from proceeds which will acrue from the state cocoa processing factory set up by the administration of Prof. Ben Ayade in Ikom Local Government Area of the State.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof Anthony Eneji, stated this during an assessment visit to the cocoa processing factory and the ultra modern rice processing factory sited in both in Ikom and Ogoja local government areas of the State yesterday.
The commissioner expressed satisfaction with the progress of work currently on-going at project sites and also said that to ensure steady availability of cocoa for processing at the factory, the state government has begun the planting of seedlings/nursery to boost production which will feed the plant when the plant becomes fully operational.
“It is a N100 billion project. Already, we have raised five million cocoa seedlings to ensure the plant does not run short of produce,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of A. A. Universal Agro Industries Limited, handlers of the project, Chris Agara, who also spoke at te event said, “the installed capacity of this processing plant is between 40,000 to 60,000 tons. What we have here is a three-phase facility. The first phase is to clean and dry the cocoa for export, thus giving a lot of value to the beans that will be exported.
“The second phase is processing the beans after which it is processed into powder in the third phase for chocolate, for beverage and other cocoa related product. The project is about 90 percent completed. The entire equipment needed for installation to complete the first phase are here.
“The economic benefits of the plant are enormous. I have been privileged to attend a number of world cocoa conferences with emphasis on the end users of cocoa products. The point is that by the time we create an identity for Ikom as a place that produces organic and pure cocoa, the entire world’s focus will be on this place.’’
“The plan is to have about four to five of this plant around here.
So, if we are generating between $500 million to $1 billion annually, you know what that means to the economy of the state,” Agara said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Rev Joseph Ugbe, who also accompanied the commisioner to visit the plant, stressed that the project was well conceived and by first quarter next year it should be completed.
Ugbe said, “You know Ikom has been well known for cocoa production and for this factory to be located here, it is going to benefit the people, the farmers and the State. It will also boost the Nigerian economy. We are also happy to be part of it. That is why we are here to ensure that whatever is done here is in order. The factory will provide employment for the teeming youths.”
In his welcome remarks, the Project Manager, A.A. Universal Agro Industries Limited, Dapo Obayemi, averred that the factory when fully operational would be interested in the processing of cocoa beans that is organic so as to get a flavor the can rank among flavors that are of international standard.
“it is the first of its kind south of the Niger. It is something that will yield the desired result. This is a 10-ton per hour processing factory. In terms of volume, you know what that is. Apart from that, it is something that has come to add value to cocoa processing in Nigeria. You can call this a cocoa refinery. Obayemei said.
Speaking shortly in a visit to the place of paramount Ruler of Yala LGA Ogamode Ipuole shortly after assessing the ultra modern rice processing factory, the monarch charge the state government to ensure that employment opportunities are given to youths of the host communities to work in the factory so to reduce the high rate of unemployment in the area.
The monarch said that his qiuteness concerning the land given to the state government by the community for the factory dosent nean that there were no agitations. “There are a lot and lots of agitations is just that i have been on top of the game telling my people particularly youths in the are to calm down. All we want as a community is for our youths to get opportunity to work whenever the factory kicks off.” Ogamode said.
By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar.
Ogun Seals Off Two Dilapidated Buildings …Marks 526 Others For Demolition
The Ogun State Government has sealed off two dilapidated buildings in Abeokuta the state capital, and ordered occupants of the houses to move out within 24 hours.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning, Mr Nafiu Adebiyi, told newsmen during an inspection tour at the weekend, that 526 other houses built on waterways, canal and erosion channels had been marked for demolition across the state.
Adebiyi said at the scene that the order became necessary to prevent loss of lives and other possible disaster which could arise from the partially collapsed buildings.
The two buildings were located along Nepa Road in Isabo area of the state capital.
“As a responsible government, we cannot continue to watch and allow the buildings to collapse totally while people still reside in them,” he said.
Adebiyi said that the government was only waiting for response from National Emergency Managment Agency (NEMA) which had promised to provide alternative shelters for the affected victims before demolition could be effected.
“Demolition of houses is not what can be done in a hurry, no matter how illegal such structures are.
“ In as much as human beings live in such houses, we must follow the rules in carrying out such demolitions,” he said. He affirmed that government’s intention was to ensure that nobody was negatively affected as a result of preventable natural disaster which was predicted by the National Metreological Agency (NIMET) earlier in the year.
“ It is not easy to dislocate people from their comfort zone. That is why we are approaching the process with human face.
“Moreso, many houses affected were not illegally located because as at the time most of them were built, those places were not close to water banks.
“It is the challenge of climate change that made the water levels to begin to rise, with resultant erosion.
“We are being carefull so that we don’t solve a problem by creating another one, “ he said.
NIPOST Buildings’ Remodelling: CBN To Engage Architects, Others
Ahead of the proposed National Microfinance Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is planning to engage architects for the remodeling of the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) buildings needed for the project.
The Tide reports that the project is expected to throw up jobs for the nation’s real estate professionals, especially, architects, engineers, estate surveyors and builders.
New structures may also be built while the old facilities are expected to be reconstructed.
Sources hinted last week that the architects and other professionals needed for the projects will be hired by CBN from its pool of consultants, while the property arm of the Nigerian Postal Service is expected to involve their in-house officials in some aspects of the remodeling exercise.
Specifically, the buildings form the equity contribution of the postal system to the bank, which is expected to have an initial capital base of N5 billion. About 774 local councils have been penciled down for the project. The pilot phase will take off in six states and Abuja, namely Oyo, Rivers, Bauchi, Kaduna, Enugu and Kogi.
The design of the structure will include counters, strong rooms and offices for the banking operation.
The scheme is a mechanism, which the apex bank hopes to drive financial inclusion of the people living in rural communities. With locations in all the nooks and crannies of the country, NIPOST is providing accommodation for the establishment of the bank.
Confirming this development, CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said new structures would also be provided where there are none to facilitate physical contacts where necessary.
Okorafor stressed that the remodeling would be done to ensure that the buildings meet the standards set by the CBN.
He noted that the essence was to improve financial inclusion and capture those in the rural villages leveraging on the NIPOST’s presence in the 774 local councils across the country to reach its target beneficiaries.
“Nigeria is large with many rural areas without banking experience , we want to employ digital payment to reach this people in the villages and the best way to reach them is to get institutions that have a footprints like NIPOST that spread throughout the 774 local councils. So what the CBN and bankers committee has done is to register a company, a micro finance bank that has footprints across 774 local councils . Wherever there is a physical building of NIPOST already, we will remodel it and use it, if there is none, we will use fabricated building”, he added.
A NIPOST official, Musa Suleiman, an engineer, said the agency would do all the major maintenance while the CBN would remodel the areas allocated to it for the banking services.
Stakeholder Laments CBN’s Removal Of Mortgage Interest Rate Cap
A player in the real estate industry, Idaibi Fiberesima, has expressed worry over the impact the removal of mortgage interest rate cap by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) would have on housing delivery in the country.
Fiberesima, who is a member of the Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, in a chat with The Tide, Monday in Port Harcourt, noted that the move would spell doom for the industry.
He stated that the CBN’s recent removal of the interest rate cap for Primary Mortgage Institution (PMI),would worsen the housing delivery problems rather than improve it.
He said the move could further increase interest rates charged by mortgage banks, which he explained was between 22 and 26 percent before the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) started the refinancing of the Mortgage banks, noting however, that the interest rates came down to 17.5 percent for commercial mortgage institutions after the refinancing.
Fiberesima explained that the new provision which was issued in 2017 and became effective, September 9, 2019, indicates that interest rates and lending fees are now negotiable, which leaves the homeownership seeker at the mercy of PMIs depending on his negotiating power.
He added that the implication of the new policy is that interest rates would be determined by the risk profile of intending clients, saying, “high risk profile projects would attract high rates, while lower risk profile projects would attract lower rates or no deal at all’’.
The estate surveyor and valuer lamented that the mortgage system in Nigeria has not reduced to the housing deficit in the country, pointing out that the interest rate would be market driven and not sensitive to the housing challenge facing the average Nigerian worker.
He emphasised that the mortgage policy in the country did not encourage citizens to own their own homes, and pointed out that an interest rate of over 20 per cent and payment tenure of five years cannot be referred to as mortgage.
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