Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Items filtered by date: February 2017

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: ABUJA—Embattled former governor of Benue State, Mr Gabriel Suswam, spent his second day in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, Monday, as his bid to secure bail flopped, Vanguard learned. Former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has been invited by the Department of State Services, DSS. Vanguard learned that there were frantic efforts early in the day by friends and associates of the former governor to secure his bail but the move reportedly hit a brick wall, leaving him at the mercy of his host, who believe strongly that he had a criminal case to respond.

It was learned that apart from the illegal possession of arms and ammunition, the security agency was also contemplating handing him over to the anti-corruption agencies to investigate and possibly prosecute for the vast property and valuables discovered with him. A source close to the DSS confirmed that the former governor was still being interrogated as at 9:30 last night and that there were  indications he would not be going home last night.

The DSS, on Sunday, alerted the nation of the arrest of Suswam following the discovery of what it called ‘incriminating items’ from two exotic cars belonging to the former governor which it also confiscated. The items found by the DSS were Glock  pistol with two magazines and a total of 29 rounds of ammunition; Mini-Uzi with two magazines containing 10 rounds and 4 rounds respectively; 42 extra rounds of ammunition contained in a pack;  and one AK-47. Other items recovered were 21 Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) and one Offer of Statutory Right of Occupancy; 23 Luxury designer watches;  and 45 keys to various exotic cars.

The DSS said:  “Following  this discovery, the Service launched further investigation which revealed that  the cars and the  recovered  items  belong to the former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel SUSWAN  who has already been invited by the  Service  and  presently helping in the investigation. “It is  in the light of this  latest development that the Service wishes to sound a note of warning to persons and groups that it will no  longer  tolerate  any  acts of lawlessness by those who ought to be law abiding and responsible citizens”.  


Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: MONEY Market Rates are expected to trade at its current attractive levels occasioned by tighter liquidity, as Treasury Bills rollover of N310.22billion offset the impact of maturity of the same amount. 

Nigeria plans to sell N310.22 billion ($984.83 million) of short-dated treasury bills at an auction on March 1, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Average rate rose 55 basis points (bps) week on week (W-o-W), closing at 16.9 per cent on Friday.

The apex bank plans to raise N26.14 billion  in three-month debt, N62 billion in six-month bills and N222.08 billion in one-year notes, using a Dutch auction system. Payment will be due the day after the auction.

“We expect the auction to be oversubscribed given the attractive yields each of the instruments offer,” one dealer said.

Nigeria’s central bank issues treasury bills twice a month to finance the budget deficit, help manage commercial lenders’ liquidity and curb rising inflation.

Annual inflation in Nigeria climbed to 18.72 per cent in January, its 12th straight monthly rise. The trend was worsened by dollar shortages, which have crippled the import-dependent economy and triggered the first recession in 25 years.

The government is also facing funding challenges due to the low price of oil. It expects the budget deficit to widen to N2.36 trillion this year as it tries to spend its way of out of the recession.

More than half of the deficit will be funded through local borrowing, the government has said.

The perceived domination of activities in the money market by surfeit of idle funds  week before last, triggered increased demand for investment in government securities, leading to oversubscription of longer dated instruments by N272 billion.

Dealers revealed that a 364-day tenured instrument was oversubscribed by N253.8 billion, as against the 91-day and 182-day instruments that were oversubscribed by N6.5 billion and N12.3 billion respectively).

One dealer attributed the preference for government securities to flight to safety as the level of risk in the Nigerian economy is high. According to the dealer, investors will look at growth. If monetary policy encourages growth, demand for investment opportunities will rise and yields will decrease. Bond yields are the mirror to the economy. If falling, it is okay but if yields are rising, the economy is at risk the dealer explained.

 

Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Embattled Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh on Friday said her marriage to Olakunle Churchill was a sham.

Churchill is alleged to be former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s nephew.

She made the revelation on her Instagram @tontolet while responding to advice from her fans persuading her to have a rethink over her marriage.

The Nollywood actress added she had been using her social media platform to lie and paint Churchill the good man he is today, as her union with him ‘was all a sham’.

According to her, all the cars and jewelleries she flashes on social media were not bought for her by him.

She wrote: “I posted stuffs my ex-husband bought for me doesn’t make it true. I used my platform to lie, to make him the man he is today.

The mother of one alleged that she treated so many sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) while being married to Churchill.

“Nobody knows how many STDs I have treated or pain I know in marriage. If laughter is all they have then the karma that bites me awaits them all.

“Thank for your love. Yes no marriage is perfect but mine was based on gross lies deceit, scam and many more darkness.

“I loved the man no one begged me to, I take all the blame.”

“So don’t come at me with the bullshit of enjoying this man’s money.

“ I have not started talking, I will bare it all but there is time for everything.

“I care now for the STD’s because I am no longer naive. I am a mother who wants to live long for my child.

“I am not a saint and cheating is not the only reason I took the forever walk, “she added.

The controversial actress got married in 2015 to Oladunni Churchill,a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, and they have a son from the union.

However, the separation crisis started when it was reported that a certain woman had stepped into the picture, with Tonto Dike removing her husband’s surname from her Instagram account.

The duo have been in a war of words on the social media, with Churchill demanding for exclusive access to his son.

Published in Business and Economy
Friday, 24 February 2017 12:26

YES434: Akeredolu sworn in as Ondo governor

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has been sworn in as the governor of Ondo state.

Akeredolu took the oath of office at exactly 11.34 am on Friday in Akure, the state capital.

Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: A Prosecution witness in the trial of ex-Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh yesterday told the Federal High Court, Abuja his team recovered $1 million from Badeh’s house.

Mr. Goji Mohammed, the 15th witness to testify in Badeh’s trial, said he was part of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) team, led by Mr. Isyaku Sharu, which searched in Badeh’s house in Asokoro, Abuja.

The ex-Chief of Defence Staff is standing trial on money laundering offence allegedly committed while serving as Chief of Air Staff.
The witness, according to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the team recovered some bank documents, land documents, tax documents and few other instruments.

Mohammed said the commission received intelligence report on another property located at No. 6 Ogun River Street Maitama, which was  found to be Badeh’s property.

He said they  accessed the building through the balcony by climbing, adding that they invited the security man of the neigbouring house to witness the search.

“When we climbed in, we were in the living area upstairs. So, we used the stairs and went to the living area downstairs and started our search from there.
“ When we got to the biggest room in the house, we saw a wardrobe, on opening it, we saw a bag and on opening it contained foreign currency.
“We saw 16 bundles of 50 U.S. dollars notes and two sealed bundles containing 100,000 U.S. dollars, which we estimated to amount $1 million.

“On further counting the money in our office, we discovered it was exactly one million dollars,’’ he said.

He said they also found a red box which he could not precisely remember what was inside, adding that they also found two way bills of furniture supplied to the building.

When the prosecution sought to tender the search warrant, the red box and the way bill as evidence, the move was objected to by the defence team.
Mr. Lasun Sanusi (SAN), counsel for the defendant, objected to the admissibility of the items, saying they were purportedly obtained from an illegal search.
Sanusi cited Section 115 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, which states that the occupant of a place searched or a relation shall be at the house and see the items seized. He said no law permitted state security agents to conduct search by looking for strangers on the street to witness it.

Sanusi said the law gave the owner of the property the impetus to nominate a representative to witness such search, if he or she could not be present.
“My lord, the witness had earlier confirmed that when they were to conduct search on the defendant’s house at Asokoro, they took him along to witness the search. Why was this other one different?

“It is on record that the defendant was still in detention when the purported search was done in his house at Maitama, which is a clear violation of the law.
“My Lord, we are not against the court admitting the search warrant as evidence, but we vehemently oppose to the admissibility of the other items,’’ he said.
However, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), argued that Section 149 and 150 of ACJA, which deals with house search warrant permitted the presence of two witnesses.

“This permission covers the person to whom the warrant is addressed and a neighbour within the neighbourhood the property is located,’’ he said.
According to him, the provision allows the person to whom warrant is addressed to look for a witness in the neighbourhood.
He, therefore, argued that no provision of the law compelled the property owner to be present before a search warrant can be executed.
Justice Okon Abang, however, adjourned the matter till Feb. 22 for continuation.

Published in Business and Economy
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:42

YES434: Buhari to rest more in UK

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: President Muhammadu Buhari is staying back in the United Kingdom because he needs more rest, the Presidency said yesterday. But there is no cause for alarm, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said.

Speaking with State House reporters, Adesina said: “The President wants Nigerians to know that he appreciates their prayers, he appreciates their concerns and their goodwill. He has added that there is really no cause to worry.
“He is the one who owns the body and there is nobody who will know his body more than him and he says no cause to worry.
“It makes sense to say that maybe from the results of the tests, further rest has been recommended”.
The statement did not say how long the rest will last.

“I speak for somebody. I do not speak for myself. So it is what he tells me to say that I say and the statement transmitted to me is that the President needs to rest for some further time,” Adesina said.

On the possibility that the President will speak directly to Nigerians, he said: “What he has just done is to speak to Nigerians.”
Asked to speak on the President’s state of health, Adesina said: “Don’t you know that the Hippocratic Oath even forbids a doctor from speaking about the condition of his patient, except the patient authorises it? It is only the patient himself who can speak about what he is going through.

“This is the person going through these series of tests and rest and he says no cause to worry. Let us believe that.”
On why reporters trying to see the President in UK are being prevented, he said “I do not consider that as harassment. Presidents are not hijacked and interviewed. Those things are scheduled. So I do not consider that as harassment.”

Reacting to the possibility of the president spending months in the UK, the media adviser said: “What we have just said is what I will want us to believe. The President said he needs to rest further; the same President that communicated that to us, when it is time for him to come, he will also communicate to us.
On the claim that the President has lost his voice, he said.

“Those people need to prove it. He spoke with President Trump. Did Trump say he did not speak with the Nigerian President? Anybody can allege anything.
“My message to Nigerians is that let us learn to believe our leaders. This is a man we elected into office and he says no cause to worry; let us believe him.”

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 12:35

By Sanya Oni: Naira: Chasing the wind

Eight months into Godwin Emefiele’s ‘’Managed Float Exchange Rate System” – the verdict, at least so it appears, is that all is far from being well. If anything, things have gone much worse, not better, with the forex policy introduced in June last year. As predicted (or prophesied?), the naira has finally crossed the N500 line to the United States dollar; indeed, in the last two weeks, it has oscillated between N506 to N516. And so, the debate on whether the system can claim to have served the country well in the last eight months has ceased to be academic: it is the reality we now live with.

Little wonder, the governors at the National Economic Council, (NEC) on Thursday last week demanded an immediate review of the policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). What they had in mind, they wouldn’t say. Be that as it may, the surprise is that it took them eight months to come to that conclusion.
Talk about the CBN being on the spot, weeks before, the cyber-sphere had been awash with all manners of theories – ranging from the outlandish to the harebrained –alleging serious economic crimes against the monetary authorities. Part of the frenzy of finding who to blame for the naira’s one-way trip to the Golgotha was to cast the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, in the lead of Project Kill the Naira! And as if determined to pour fuel into the raging inferno, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), reportedly issued the apex bank governor a query ostensibly to explain the charges – which I consider too base to list here – charges that may well have been dredged up from the vacuous rumour mill!
Of course, these are interesting times. Soon enough, there would be enough blames to go round for everyone.

For now, where do we go from here? From managed to the floating exchange rate regime, what next? We have turned full cycle. The former, despised for its rigidity – never mind that we had some semblance of stability – was blamed for sundry ills plaguing the economy. The latter, for all its pretences to the allocative power of the market has been a disaster (if it worked, we probably would not be talking of landing in the cesspit of recession).
Trust the manufacturer who could not access forex; the parent who could not remit wards’ fees to the college in a foreign university, the sundry importer whose 41-odd items were declared ineligible for official forex by Emefiele’s CBN, there is no telling the difference between the old and the new. Not even a good word from our hordes of analysts for whom the thriving black market is sufficient proof of the blind alley that the two policies have left us! Eight months on, we may have just realised how badly the Nigerian ailment has been misdiagnosed.

Here is what I wrote eight months ago when I first observed our obsession with forex management. The quest, I had reasoned, “stems from a fundamental misdiagnosis of the problem”. The problem, I had argued, being “more fundamental, touches on the ability of the economy to renew itself… the problem comes down to the tragedy of a nation that relies on a single commodity for all its forex; one that spends a disproportionate chunk of its forex on imports”.
Needless to state that I have been proven right. Few weeks later I had also warned on this page: “Had the economy’s minders spent as much time on how to get the economy on its feet as they have done on figuring out the arithmetic of sharing the shrinking piggy bank, we would probably be well on the way to developing the concrete policies to get some our critical industries revving back to life and to boost our forex stock”.

Today, we seem set for the same old prescriptions that brought us here in the first place. Never mind that the CBN has shouted itself hoarse; it appears that nobody is listening. The problem, says the apex bank, is that it does not have enough forex to go round! Unfortunately, unlike the naira which it has the liberty to print, the dollar is a no-go area.

Yet, we expect the naira to rebound by throwing it to the market hounds. And while we can do nothing about increasing the stock of forex in the piggy bank, we are also not prepared to give up our love for those exotic items that consume a huge chunk of our forex! And while Emefiele fails to play the magician, we demand that his head be served on the platter!

Just imagine the club of whiners. As it was in the very beginning, so it is even now: manufacturers, traders, contractors, portfolio investors to shady operators; name them; all them permanently on queue for forex. The range of demands is such that makes it tempting to assume that dollar has suddenly become the local medium of exchange. How could anyone not have foreseen the current unidirectional move of the naira more so at a time the supply of forex had severely contracted?

Merely by the amount of pressure brought to bear on Emefiele’s CBN in the last few days, expect to see some hastily packaged policies to ameliorate what is essentially a structural problem – something that requires deep thought as against superficial obsession with forex management. But then, that is the way of a people that would rather treat symptoms than tackle the disease.

 

Finally, I need to highlight another fundamental problem that the minders of the economy continue to ignore. Today, Nigerians worry that segment of that so-called parallel market has grown wings to the extent that it now plays the reference rate while the official inter-bank rate acts the adjunct. The question is: what are the monetary authorities doing about it? We are talking here of the club of unscrupulous actors known not only to prey on the system but have since become an atavistic force. What would it require to take them on? Why does the federal government prefer to feign helplessness in the face of their brutal assault on the nation’s currency? And where in the world, save Nigeria, are foreign currencies hawked on the highways as you would ‘pure water’?
What is the role of the Bureau de Change in the equation? By rule, they are supposed to serve the lower end of the market. Do they? Given that the latter operate strictly by its own opaque codes, what is the chance in a million that the CBN will ever be able to bring this segment within the loop of its forex management?

Is anyone still talking about respite for the naira?

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: 

Published in Parliament

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: Five months after the death of frontline businessman Chief Olorogun Michael Ibru, 16 of his children are in a legal tussle over their paternity and his multi-billion naira assets.

One of his sons, Oboden Ibru, has approached the Igbosere High Court, Lagos, for a declaration, among others, that he and his 15 other siblings are entitled to the estate of their father.

In a counter-claim, one of the late Chief Ibru’s daughters, Janet Ibru, urged the court to declare that only persons whose paternity are confirmed by a diagnostics centre in the United States are entitled to an equal share of the estate.

Oboden’s suit was filed February 8 by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) but has not been assigned to a Judge.

The defendants are Oskar Ibru, Peter Ibru, Emmanuel Ibru, Gloria Ibru, Elaine Ibru-Mukoro, Elvina Ibru, Mamemo Ibru, Janet Ibru, Obaro Ibru, Vivi Ibru-Stankov, Edesiri Ibru, Christiana Ibru, Jero Ibru, Vikwesiri Ibru, Gabriel Ibru and the Probate Registrar, High Court of Lagos State.

The claimant is seeking an order declaring that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of January 2, 2001 is valid as to the distribution by way of gift of the late Ibru’s assets to both “Ovuone” and “Ivetu”.

He asked the court to declare that the properties listed in the MOU belong in their entirety to “Ovuone” being gifted jointly and several times to “Ovuone” in the lifetime of the late Chief Ibru.

Such properties include No. 1, Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos; 47, Marine Road, Apapa; 49, Marine Road, Apapa; 52, Marine Road, Apapa; 5,7,9 Emotan Road, Apapa; 3,5,7 Ladipo Oluwole, Apapa; Daska House; Blomfield Court; 33, Michael Ibru Boulevard; 6, Louis Solomon Close, Victoria Island, Lagos and 5/7, Queens Barracks Road, Lagos.

Others are No. 20, Queens Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos; 6, Kensington Park Gardens, London; Starcross Farm; Hillcrest Apartment; Zabadne Plot, Abuja; Maitama Plots, Abuja; Maroko Plots, Lagos; 7, Randle Close, Apapa, Lagos; all shares in Oceanic Bank; Oteri Holdings Limited’s shares in Minet Nigeria Limited; Oteri’s shares in Ibachem and the portion of Ibafon land occupied by Ibachem and Ovwian land.

The claimant is also seeking a declaration that the judgment delivered by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos on April 17, 2014 remains valid and subsisting, having not been set aside by any court of competent jurisdiction.

Oboden also asked for an order appointing himself, seventh defendant, Christiana, first defendant, Oskar and eighth defendant, Jero, as administrators of the Ibru estate and an order directing them to apply to the 16th defendant for the grant of letters of administration for the estate.

An order of the court appointing Messrs. PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited to conduct a forensic audit of the shareholdings and assets, whether real or personal, belonging to the estate of the late Ibru in Oteri Holdings and any other company in Nigeria or anywhere such may be located, discovered or found in the world and submit such report to the Registrar of the court within 90 days of the order and the cost of such exercise be paid by the administrators so appointed herein. 

The claimant is seeking an order directing the administrators to divide the assets into 16 equal shares and that same be given to all the 16 surviving children of the late Ibru.

But in a counter-claim, eighth defendant Janet urged the court to declare that all matters pertaining to the estate be adjudicated in Nigeria as well as a declaration that she is entitled to a refund of all expenses, including the $48,000 incurred by her in defending the law suits of the second defendant.

Furthermore, she is seeking an order of the court directing the administrators of the estate of the late Ibru to refund to her, the expenses incurred in taking care of the late Ibru during the final year of his life.

 

 
Published in Business and Economy

*EFCC tracks N388.3b London-Paris Club refunds 

*Consultants ‘got 2%’

*Governors ‘shared 3%’

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: Seven governors have questions to answer in the alleged diversion of part of the N388.304billion London-Paris Club refunds into two accounts opened by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), The Nation has learnt.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered N19billion in one of the accounts. The other is a domiciliary account, which contains a yet unspecified amount of money.

One of those invited for interrogation has admitted handing over a huge sum of money to a principal officer of the National Assembly after changing it into dollars, according to the preliminary report on the management of the refunds.

According to a source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not permitted to talk to the media, EFCC detectives discovered that while about 2% of the funds was paid to consultants who allegedly assisted in computing what was due to each state, 3% was shared by some governors under “curious circumstances”.

The source said: “The detectives have uncovered the two accounts opened in the name of the NGF and the signatories to same.

“We are looking into circumstances behind such huge deposits from London-Paris Club refunds into these accounts.

“The payment of 2% of the refunds to consultants and 3% to some governors which was rated as “curious” by investigators have been confirmed. We also discovered that some of the governors nominated these consultants.”

The source declined to name the seven governors, stressing that the details will be released as soon as the investigation is concluded.

Responding to a question, the source said one of those questioned actually admitted that he changed some of the funds into dollars and handed it over to a principal officer of the National Assembly.

 

Besides, he insisted that the EFCC had no any agenda against the governors, adding: “It has no basis to run the NGF down at all, but you should know that the Presidency is interested in how these London-Paris Club refunds were spent.

“We know the governors have immunity, but certainly NGF does not enjoy such constitutional protection. We are looking at what informed the transfer of such funds into the accounts of the NGF and for what purposes.

“Once the purposes are in line with statutory financial regulations and the EFCC is satisfied, the case is closed. But where there are cases of diversion and stealing of public funds, the law will take its course.”

The Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion funds to 35 states as refunds of overdeductions on London-Paris Club loans.

States on top of the list with huge reimbursements are those controlled by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contrary to their claims of being oppressed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The big earners are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Katsina, Kaduna, Lagos, Imo, Jigawa, Borno, Niger, Bauchi,and Benue.

Only Kano State and the FCT did not benefit from the reimbursement.

Ondo was only paid 50 per cent of its refunds (N6,513,392,932.28) because of leadership change in the state which will soon lead to the inauguration of the Governor-elect,  Mr Rotimi Akeredolu.

A breakdown of the list of top beneficiaries of the refunds is as follows: Akwa Ibom – N14,500,000,000.00;  Bayelsa – N14,500,000,000.00;  Delta—N14,500,000,000.00; Katsina  -N14,500,000,000.00; Lagos – N14,500,000,000.00;  Rivers

-N14,500,000,000.00;  Kaduna – N14,362,416,363.24; Borno-N13,654,138,849.49; Bauchi – N12,792,664,403.93;   Benue – N12,749,689,453.61; Sokoto—N11,980,499,096.97; Osun– N11,744,237,793.56; Anambra– N11,386,281,466.35; Edo– N11,329,495,462.04; Cross River – N11,300,139,741.28; Kogi – N11,211,573,328.19; and Kebbi – N11,118,149,054.10.

The Federal Government reached a conditional agreement to pay 25% of the amounts claimed, subject to a cap of N14.5 billion to any given state.

Balances due thereafter will be revisited when fiscal conditions improve.

“Mr. President’s overriding concern is for the welfare of the Nigerian people. considering the fact that many States are owing salaries and pension, causing considerable hardship,” the government said.

THE NATION had exclusively reported that the presidency was uncomfortable with the funds management by governors.

A source in the Presidency, who spoke in confidence, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has lived up to his pledge to ease salary crises in all the states by releasing N388.304billion to 35 states.

“The agreement between the Federal Government and the governors was very clear. While  50 per cent of the amount released shall be used to offset outstanding  salary and pension arrears, the remaining 50 per cent would be used for the payment of other obligations.

“Some governors have however reneged on this agreement. Security reports available to the Presidency showed that Governor Ayodele Fayose paid only one month out of eight-month salary arrears.

“The governor went ahead to pay a curious 13-month salary to Ekiti workers. Yet, he got N8.877billion refund.

“Instead of accounting for what he used the loan refund for, he attacked the Federal Government on hardship in the country. The relevant agencies are monitoring development in Ekiti and some states.”

Responding to a question, another source in government said: “It is however unfortunate that some governors underdeclared the refunds made to them. Some of them were also discovered to be giving spurious analysis to cover up the actual figures.

“In fact, some states changed the agreement overnight. A state said the President asked states to use at least 25 per cent of their London and Paris Club refuns to offset salary arrears.”

Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: In the last few years, particularly between 2015 and now, there have been increasing talks about the need for Nigerians to return to the farm. From government to private individuals, the campaign for the return to land cultivation has been heightened, especially in the face of the rising cost of food prices, with everyone volunteering views on how a return to agriculture remains the most viable way out of the current economic recession.

But as the recession continues to bite harder, affecting the macro-economy of Nigeria, as well as the economy of individuals, it has become quite expedient to consider the call to return to tilling the land and explore other avenues tied to the agriculture business with a view to leveraging on them to survive the harsh economic conditions. One of such avenues is farm produce sales.

The business of selling farm produce is not a capital-intensive one, though it needs a lot of planning and time investment. With N20,000 upwards, one can successfully begin a farm produce business.

So much has been said by experts and wannabes on how agribusiness can be a money-spinner, but one needs not be an expert or consult a thousand literatures to know the veracity of the claims. All you need do is, visit the nearby market and ask how much food products cost now and how much they cost a few months ago. Taking that step, you would have begun a venture that can change your financial status for good, as that initial research is the first critical step in the business of selling farm produce. You have to do a market survey, know the farm produce that is popular and in high demand in your locale; know the demand for the produce in different periods of the year and know where you can easily get it for relatively lower prices. As part of the survey, you must relate with people who are already in the business of selling farm produce, not necessarily showing yourself as their would-be competitor but as someone who is probably interested in buying what they have in stock. That way, you will be able to know how lucrative the business might be if you eventually venture into it.

After the survey or what you may call initial research, there is the need for you to set your priorities right on which farm produce you want to settle for and if it will be more than one, you must be prepared to handle the complexities.

For instance, depending on what crops you want to trade in, you may need to cultivate a relationship with farmers or a farming location where the produce might be surplus. You also need to make arrangements for the transportation of the produce from the farms/location to where you are and or you may store the produce in the same location until it is in higher demand and sells at a higher cost. In any case, you need a mini-warehouse or storage facility to store the farm produce during a time of plenty, which is the best time to stock the farm produce. For example, the popular peak period for the harvesting of maize, yams, millets and some other food crops are always between July and September of every year in certain areas of the South-West, if your desire is to trade in any of these crops, you must be prepared to travel (or delegate the duty to someone who can) to these areas in order to buy the crops and you must have a storage facility handy.

It is also important to factor in the fact that storing farm produce/food crops needs technical know-how, which is why you must be prepared to hire an expert in the storage of crops, who would know which method is best to store the products in other to prevent them from spoilage, which would culminate in the loss of your investment. If you are going to store maize, millet, sorghum, and other grains, you need to get the people with the know-how on preservation methods.

Some of the popular farm produce that are always in high demand at some period of the years are palm oil, maize, wheat, yam/yam flour, soya bean, and others. With these products and some others, depending on how well you handle them, you can feel safe stocking them in high quantity for a few months till they become scarce and in high demand. And whenever the demand for these produce rises, there is a high probability of getting at least a 50 per cent return on investment, depending on how long you can wait before selling out. For instance, a few months ago, a bag of maize cost between N8,000 and N10,000 in some farming areas in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State. Today, the same bag costs nothing less than N15,000. Also, every time new yam comes out, several farming communities in the South-West that grow the crop in high quantity would have a high supply of dried yam for yam flour. Ditto for palm oil. Insightful farm produce sellers often stock the two produces until the first quarter of the New Year and afterwards, when the demand and prices for these products often rise sharply.

Do you have the desire for agribusiness but do not want to be involved in full-scale farming? Why not explore the world of farm produce sales?

Published in Business and Economy
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