Press focuses on shortage of tractors, critical implements for farm mechanization, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The report of shortage of tractors and critical implements for farm mechanisation as land preparation for the 2022 dry and wet season cultivation begins across agro-ecological zones in Nigeria is one of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.

The Guardian reports that the shortage of tractors and critical implements for farm mechanisation has hit the country as land preparation for the 2022 dry and wet season cultivation begins across agro-ecological zones.

Secretary, Agricultural Equipment Hiring Operators Association, Biodun Olugbami, said statistics vary. But the often-repeated claim is that Nigeria has a little above 7,000 – 10,000 functional tractors, and about 55,000 tractors are said to be dysfunctional or broken down.

On the ideal number of tractors that can ensure farm mechanisation and food security in the country, he said the global average of tractors to land size is 200 per 100km2.

100km2 is 10,000 hectares, translating to one tractor to 50 hectares in an ideal situation. In Africa, it is about 13 tractors to 10,000 hectares. However, the situation is worse in Nigeria at seven tractors to 10,000 hectares of land.

This came as Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Sub-Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr Chimimba David Phiri, said in a report that only sustainable agricultural mechanisation can redeem Africa from perpetual food insecurity.

They said the African Union Commission (AUC) and FAO view “agricultural mechanisation in Africa as an urgent matter and an indispensable pillar for attaining the Zero Hunger vision by 2025, as stated in the Malabo Declaration of 2014, Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Prosperous Africa We Want, as indicated in Agenda 2063.”

The professionals also warned that doubling food production and eliminating hunger and malnutrition in Africa by 2025 would be a mirage unless mechanisation is employed in farming.

The newspaper says that telecommunications operators have beckoned on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to find lasting solutions to challenges plaguing the sector.

According to them, these challenges have slowed both the combined and individual expansion drive in the country.
The service providers listed the challenges to include, willful and inadvertent fibre cuts; theft of telecoms equipment, non-availability and inadequacy of, as well as, unstable power supply, multiple taxation and regulations across all the three tiers of government; damages to undersea cables by marine transportation systems, scarcity and difficulty in accessing foreign exchange, as well as insecurity which has impeded network rollout, especially in some parts of the country.

The operators made this known when the delegation of NCC visited the headquarters of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to inspect their technical infrastructure and other facilities.

The delegation, led by the Executive Commission, Stakeholder Management (ECSM) at NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, was in Lagos for a week-long exercise, essentially, to get first-hand information about MNOs’ operations as well as verify challenges the MNOs may be dealing with in order to make recommendations to appropriate stakeholders towards addressing the challenges.

The inspection was part of the Commission’s efforts to ensure operational efficiency and improvement in the regulatory framework in achieving the objectives of the national digital economy and other policy initiatives of the Federal Government.

The Punch reports that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the Federal Government plans to spend a total of N1.42tn on infrastructure projects and N2.11tn on human capital development in 2022.

Ahmed, who disclosed this on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Abuja on the achievements of the government in infrastructure development, stressed the importance of good quality infrastructure in engendering and accelerating economic development.

According to her, this regime will continue to prioritise spending on infrastructure and human capital to catalyse rapid economic development.

“In 2022 alone, we plan to spend about N1.42tn on infrastructure and N2.11tn on human capital development,” she said. The minister said that between 2019 and 2021, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approved 33 road projects for construction under the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.

She said the sum of N78bn worth of tax credits was issued to investors under the scheme within the review period. She said key capital projects were being financed by bilateral and multilateral loans.

ThisDay says that Nigeria and Iraq have said the strategy employed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, OPEC+, to gradually raise oil production is enough to balance the market.

Both countries insisted that there was no need for OPEC to be more aggressive, despite crude oil surge this year to almost $100 a barrel.

The 23-nation alliance, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, would meet on March 2 to decide the next line of action in terms of the amount of oil it expected members to pump in April.

Bloomberg quoted Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, as maintaining that the international cartel would not need to take any unplanned barrels to the market, stressing that the current plan perfectly serves the market as it is.

Sylva told reporters at an event in Doha, Qatar, according to Bloomberg, “We won’t do anything extraordinary at this time because we are expecting a lot of production from outside of OPEC+.” He added, “There’s no need at all to bring on more barrels than the current plan. We are expecting more production if a nuclear deal with Iran works out (since) there will be production from them.”

The newspaper reports that the International Monetary Fund’s Kristalina Georgieva has noted that for an inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa, the IMF would accelerate its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation with more funding to the African continent.

She said this at the EU-AU Summit Roundtable on financing for sustainable and inclusive growth recently.

She noted that with $33 billion for African countries out of a $650 billion global allocation tilts the scale further from an inclusive growth for Africa.

She said: ”As the world emerges from an unprecedented crisis, all countries are struggling with challenges–but it is particularly true for Africa.

Africa experienced a painful contraction in 2020. Since then, it has started growing again but for many countries growth falls short of what is needed.

“In both 2021 and 2022, Africa’s projected growth trailed the global average. And it ought to be the other way around. Africa should outperform the rest of the world—so countries can create jobs and lift up living standards.

It is in this context that we at the IMF have taken unprecedented action to support our member countries, especially on the African continent. I like to say: we are stepping up with and for Africa.

The Sun says that introduction of the charge was at the instance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Marine Logistics.

Prior to now, the cost was borne by NNPC, but passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which transformed the NNPC into a limited liability company has given it the leeway to run the company in a cost-efficient manner while recovering all cost elements involved in the importation of petroleum products.

The development has however, lead to astronomical hike in ex-depot price of petrol, leaving many marketers, especially the independent ones at crossroads.

In a telephone interview with Daily Sun, the Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) South-West Zone, Mr. Dele Lamidi, said the ex-depot price of petrol as at yesterday (Tuesday) was between 175- N183 per litre as against the Federal Government approved rate of N165.

‘‘When we buy at this rate, and add up other ancillary cost, the product will land at filling stations at N190 per litre. This is the sad reality. So, Nigerians should be ready to pay more for petrol since we can’t afford to sell at a loss,’’.


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