4 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Wednesday 11April 2018 Commodities Brent Oil $70.61 Cocoa US $2,524.00 Biggest Gainer Mobil N178.5 5.00pc NSE 40,499.04 Biggest Loser Total N233.8 -1.18pc businessday market monitor Bitcoin Everdon Bureau De Change 2,485,353.84 +0.78pc Powered by $-N £-N €-N BUY SELL 360.00 363.00 497.00 506.00 434.00 444.00 FOREIGN EXCHANGE TREASURY BILLS Market Spot $/N 3M 6M I&E FX Window 360.38 0.38 -0.27 CBN Official Rate 305.55 13.27 14.26 FMDQ Close 5 Years -0.01% 13.50% FGN BONDS 10 Years 0.00% 13.64% 20 Years -0.01% 13.55% Confusion as Buhari, Lai Mohammed provide conflicting timeline for ending rice importation BUNMI BAILEY Confusion has continued to trail the administration of Muhammadu Buhari as both the President and Minister of Information have given out different dates for the country’s attainment of rice sufficiency. The President had said during his New Year speech to Nigerians that the country will end the importation of rice in 2018 and be self-sufficient in rice production, while Lai Mohammed, minister of information recently said that Nigeria will become self-sufficient in rice production by 2020. During the New Year speech, the President made a promise that importation of rice will be completely stopped in 2018 to encourage local production and to fully diversify the economy through agriculture. “Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on,” President Buhari said. However this statement is conflicting with that Lai Muhammed’s statement on Easter Early rains seen... Continued from page 1 which has helped in boosting the country’s cocoa pod production in recent months. “Most of the cocoa pods I have seen across major cocoa producing states so far are bigger and better than that of last year midcrop when most of the pods were shrinking and this is because of the early rainfall,” Sayina Rima, president, Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) said in a telephone response to questions. “Even though we recorded pest outbreak early this year in some states we are going to have better midcrop harvest in 2018. Our output will increase by 15 percent in the 2017/2018 cocoa midcrop season. Also, we now have more young people coming into cocoa farming than we had in the past. This has also helped to increase our midcrop output. “This increase in output will only be sustained if farmers get the right agro chemicals to address the challenges that come with heavy rainfall,” Rima said. He stated that Nigeria recorded 60,000MT output for the 2016/2017 midcrop season. This means that, 15 percent of 60,000MT is 9,000MT, implying that the 2017/2018 midcrop Monday at a press briefing in Lagos. “Nigeria will achieve selfsufficiency in rice production by 2020 with sustained implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme,” Muhammed said. Industry players have attributed their disparity to the statistics that each of them had at that time of their speeches. “I think two of them are looking at the same coin but from different sides. The president is looking at the statistics he had which gives an impression that we are not importing much rice into the country anymore, so you can simply say we can stop importing rice this year but Lai Muhammad knows that there is still a lot of smuggling based on the statistics that he has,” Emmanuel Ijewere, vice president of the Nigerian AgriBusiness Group (NABG) said in a phone interview with BusinessDay According to recent data, importation of rice into Nigeria dropped drastically but other neighbouring countries such as Benin, Cameroun, Niger and others have seen their parboiled rice imports increasing. Ironically, these countries L-R: Olulana Loyinmi, head, contribution and bond remittance department, Pencom; Peter Aghahowa, head, corporate communications department, Pencom, and Aliyu Asmau Mustapha, head, third party department, Integrated Personal Payroll and Information System (IPPIS), at the quarterly Pension desk officers workshop, in Lagos, yesterday. harvest would be 69,000MT (60,000MT plus 9,000MT). Nigeria has two cocoa harvests which includes the smaller midcrop from April to June, and the main crop from October to December. The midcrop normally accounts for about 30 percent of Nigeria’s cocoa output while the main crop accounts for the mostly consume white rice (another variant of the staple), whereas they import more parboiled rice which in consideration of their population can last them for a decade, yet their imports continue to rise yearly. Data provided to BusinessDay by a source preferring anonymity, showed that Benin republic with an estimated population of 11 million people, imported 609,893 metric tonnes of parboiled rice from India in 2017, while Niger, with an estimated population of 21 million people, imported 98,179 metric tonnes, and curiously, Nigeria, with a population of 186 million imported 8,726 metric tonnes. Also, data by the Thai Rice Exporters Association shows that Benin Republic’s imports from Thailand from January to November 2017 stood at 1.64 million metric tonnes, a 32 percent increase from 1.24 million metric tonnes within the same period in 2016, and an increment of 104.45 percent from 805,765 metric tonnes exported to Benin republic in 2015. Cameroun also imported 663, 667 metric tonnes of parboiled rice from Thailand between January and November remaining percentage. “The cocoa pods are bigger and better now than that of last year because of the early rainfall. This will increase our 2018 midcrop output. Last year, the late rainfall affected our output but this year it has been very different,” Robo Adhuze, chief operating officer, Centre for Cocoa Development Initiative 2017, a 47.64 percent increase from 449, 513 within the same period in 2016, and 449, 297 metric tonnes in 2015. “Rice has been on technical ban before,” said Tunji Owoeye, managing director, Elephant Group Plc, who was previously the chairman of Nigeria’s rice importers association. “This is not new and has been part of the medium term plan. And in any case, since the inauguration of this administration, there haven’t been rice imports.” This seems to be normal trend as in the past administration as the Goodluck Jonathan government vowed to end importation of rice before the end of his tenure in 2015, saying the attainment of self-sufficiency in rice production by Nigeria was a top priority of his administration. “It is pure politics. The same thing that happened during Jonathan administration is what is happening now. They have their political reasons (rice cartels).If the present administration implements this policy, their opponents from other political parties may get the money that the rice cartels are offering,” Africanfarmer Mogaji, CEO, X-Ray Farms, said. told BusinessDay in a telephone interview. “Farmers are very happy with the development. Also, the prices are better than that of last year,” Adhuze said. Nigeria has lost its position in the comity of cocoa producing nations when its production declined from 240,000MT in 2014/2015 season to 190,000MT More details of MTN... Continued from page 1 bank to form a partnership on mobile banking across Africa. MTN plans to list its Nigerian unit on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) which has firm’s likes of Dangote Cement Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and FBN Holdings Plc. Standard Bank Group Limited and Citigroup Incorporated had been advising Africa’s largest mobile-phone company on the disposal of as much as 30 percent of the Nigerian unit. MTN Group also plans extensive local marketing to target Nigerian investors as part of a retail offer and institutional book-build, which may also involve selected international institutions. MTN Group agreed to list the Nigerian unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange this year as part of a June 2016 agreement to pay a $1 billion fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown. Gbenga Oyebode, a renowned lawyer and boardroom guru was also appointed chairman of the board committee on MTN floatation. MTN Group said in a note preceding its recently released financials for the year ended December 31, 2017 that the application to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will commence in due course and “management has already initiated its Corporate Governance Rating Scoring with the NSE with a view to listing on the NSE’s Premium Board.” The Nigerian stock market rose Continues on page 42 in 2015/2016 season, pushing the country to seventh position globally. Farmers across the country’s main producing states are very optimistic that Nigeria’s production will increase at the end of the 2017/2018 season but are worried about the adulteration of agro chemicals in the country. “I am optimistic that my output this year will be higher. The weather has been favourable, the rains have started early and this is a sign of good harvest. But what we require now is chemicals to handle the issue of pest and diseases which are more common in wet season. This might be a major challenge to us, as most of the agro chemicals in the country are fake and adulterated,” Hakeem Adebisi, a cocoa farmer in Ajebandele in Ondo State. “Currently, we sell a kilogram of cocoa for N650 at the farmgate. While a metric ton is sold between N650, 000 to N680,000 depending on your bargaining ability,” Adebisi said. In the international market, on year-on-year basis, global average price of cocoa has increased by 26 percent from $1961 per metric ton in April 2017 to $2462 per ton in April 2018, according to data from the International Cocoa Organisation (ICO).
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