From John Adams, Minna
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has presented the Niger State Government with the Sector-Specific Investment Incentives Policy document aimed at attracting and propelling Argo Investors into the state.
The document is from the “Feed the Future” Department of the USAID and, according to the development partner, when fully implemented by the state government, will not only facilitate the promotion of investments and remove all unnecessary control, it will create atmosphere that guarantee transparency.
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The policy document, developed at the instance of the Niger State Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry and the State Investment Promotion Agency, is aimed at encouraging incentives, strengthening business environment reforms to raise private productivity and competitiveness among others.
Dominic Graham, Chief Party and Managing Director of Feed the Future, explained that the programme started two years back amongst seven states of Niger, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna and Kebbi and have so far recorded commendable achievements especially in the cultivation of rice, maize, soybeans, cowpea and aquaculture.
Graham disclosed that some of the notable achievements of the policy document so far include; support to over 3,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access finance and investment across Niger State, training of 2,700 MSMEs on access to finance and organizational improvements.
He added that they collaborated with agencies to support the development of the state agriculture and livestock policies and expedited the development of the state aquaculture policy framework amongst others.
He further stated that the mechanism for the full participation of women and youths in the investment sector has been considered in the policy as well as setting up a legal framework for investment promotion.
Receiving the policy document, the state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello assured that the document will be fully implemented but added that more was needed to be done to support the farmers and urged investors to give more emphasis on out-growers due to their importance as small scale business group.
He assured that an implementation committee will be set up by the government which will ensure proper and adequate monitoring and also encourage local farmers in the state to meet international standards.
He however noted that time has come for farmers to have an insurance scheme to cushion the effect of the loses they sometimes suffer.
“There is no reason why we cannot do more having thought through the opportunities in Niger state but we must have an attractive policy that if well implemented will open doors and give investors comfort and also enable our farmers to meet international standards”, he said.
He said the state is doing well in producing the crops identified as target value chains but suggested that the policy should consider how to improve on the capacity of farmers and value addition through technical assistance.
The Governor while acknowledging that the state and the entire country is facing security challenges,assured that government is working assiduously to address the situation so as to provide the needed atmosphere for investors and for agricultural activities to flourish.
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NAFDAC bans alcohol production in sachet, PET bottles
Deborah Tolu-Kolawole, Abuja
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has stopped the registration of alcohol in sachet, small volume PET and glass bottles below 200 millilitres.
The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this in a statement issued by the agency on Monday.
Adeyeye said the registration of new alcoholic drinks in sachet and small volume PET and glass bottles above 30 per cent alcohol by volume had been banned by NAFDAC, following the recommendation of a high powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and Industry in December 2018.
Other members of the committee are the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers and Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria.
According to the NAFDAC boss, the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already registered alcoholic products in the affected category does not exceed the year 2024.
She explained that manufacturers of low volume alcohol beverages (200ml) with satisfactory laboratory reports already submitted to NAFDAC for registration before the decision, have been directed to reformulate their products to the stipulated standards free of charge.
She said, “Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria was also given a matching order to embark on intensive nationwide sensitisation campaigns against underage consumption of alcohol by adolescents below the age of 18 years in the bid to stem the tide of alcohol abuse in the country.
“Producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume agreed to reduce production by 50 per cent with effect from January 31st, 2022 while ensuring the products are completely phased out in the country by 31st January 2024.
“The agency is committed to the strict implementation of the regulations and regulatory measures towards safeguarding the health of Nigerians particularly the vulnerable youths against the dangers of reckless consumption of alcohol.”
Ibrahim Abubakar bags 3-year imprisonment
A Bauchi State High Court presided over by Justice M.M. Abubarkar has convicted and sentenced one Ibrahim Abubakar (aka Alhaji Sadiq Babati) to three years imprisonment.
Abubakar was arraigned on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and cheating to the tune of N2, 250,000 (Two Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira).
The charges were brought against him by the Gombe Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The defendant who was arraigned on September 27, 2021, alongside one Hassan Lemaji (now a convict) had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In the course of the trial, he changed his plea to ‘guilty’, on which basis the trial judge, after the review of facts of the case, found him guilty and sentenced him accordingly.
He was however given an option of a fine of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50, 000), while the Court ordered that the sum of N2,250,000 recovered by EFCC be paid to the victim.
Abubakar’s ordeal started sometime between March and April 2019 when he obtained the said sum by falsely representing to the petitioner that the money was meant to facilitate employment for him at Tertiary Education Trust Fund ( TETFUND), Abuja.
An investigation by the Commission revealed this claim as false.
It was also discovered that, as soon as the defendant received the money, he started avoiding calls from the petitioner who waited for eleven months for the non-existent employment letter.