Self Sufficiency: Council reiterates commitment to accelerating local sugar production



The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), has reiterated its commitment to accelerate the development and growth of Nigeria’s sugar industry towards attaining self-sufficiency in the sector.

The Executive Secretary of NSDC, Mr Latif Busari, said this at the council’s end of year media chat on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Busari said that though the council could not immediately meet the 1.7 million metric tonnes annual target of local sugar production, it was moving closer to the set goal.

The council’s 10 year plan estimates that the demand for sugar will breach the 1.7 million metric tonnes (MMT) mark by 2020, with the bulk of the investment capital coming from private investors.

Busari, however, expressed regrets that meeting the target was hindered by the effects of economic recession that affected the country in 2016.

He said: “The way we are going, we will not be able to hit the 1.7 million target set out, but we should be close to about a million metric tonnes of sugar per annum.

“Going from near zero to making about 1.7 million tonnes in 10 years is a tall order.

“When we set out, it was an ambitious target that we set for ourselves and it was deliberately so because they say if you are aiming for the top of a skyscraper, aim for the sky.

“Because if you cannot get to the sky, you will be able to get to where you want to get to.

He explained that the momentum gained in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in attaining the goal went down with that economic recession.

“Most of 2017, we tried to get revived and as at last year, we were back to our rhythm, but we do not pray to have another recession by 2020, because it will be a disaster for all of us,’’ he added.

He further said that expansion carried out by some sugar factories and the inability of some other plants to come on stream as scheduled contributed to the challenges.

“Part of the challenges is that for about six months, some of the equipment were held up in the ports, and that of course backtracked into the timing.

“There were issues clearing them, and when they were eventually cleared, the gridlock at Apapa Wharf also caused further delay,’’ Busari said.

He, however, expressed optimism that the factories would be revived from the first quarter of next year to boost production.

“We are hoping that the Lafiagi Sugar factory in Kwara should come up by first quarter of 2020.

“Also the upgrading and expansion of the Savannah Sugar company, which also affected the plant, is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020.’’

He added that when they come on stream, the sugar factories would enhance the local production of home grown materials for sugar processing, rather than importing.

Busari also said the development would create more job opportunities for the unemployed.

According to him, the council will focus on developmental targets to ensure that sugar projects in the country are making the desired progress.

Edited & Vetted By: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore


UN Security Council condemns attack on peacekeepers in Mali




The Security Council on Monday condemned Saturday’s attack on a convoy of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which resulted in the killing of two peacekeepers from Egypt.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to Egypt and to the peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali), said the council in a press statement.

The council members called on the government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. They stressed that involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers constitutes a basis for sanctions designations pursuant to Security Council resolutions.

The council members expressed their concern about the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region. They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali without further delay.

They stressed the importance of MINUSMA having the necessary capacities to fulfil its mandate and promote the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers.

They further stressed that these heinous acts will not undermine their determination to continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Mali.

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General news

Council boss approves construction of 14 boreholes in A’ Ibom




Sunday Bassey

Mkpat Enin (Akwa Ibom) June 12, 2020 Mr Ekanem Brown, Chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, has approved the construction of 14 boreholes across the 14 wards of the area.

Brown stated this while handing over the cheque for the project to the contractor, Mr Umoh Ebenezar, on Friday in Mkpat Enin.

He said that the project would be executed through direct labour, adding that it was to begin immediately since the contractor had been provided with sufficient fund to mobilise to site.

The council chairman said the project was aimed at addressing water scarcity in some communities across the local government area.

Brown charged members of the legislative council to liaise with the contractor to ensure delivery of quality job at the stipulated time.

Also speaking, Mr Christian Jumbo, the Leader of the Legislative Council, commended the chairman for his steadfastness in fulfilling his campaign promises.

Jumbo said that the chairman had displayed uncommon love for the people of Mkpat Enin.

“As the leader of Mkpat Enin legislative council, I can say that the chairman has been sacrificing a lot to ensure that the people are happy.

“Because of that, we the legislators, have no choice than to support him to serve the people better.

“Today is not a day for long speeches.

“Let me say that Mr Brown has also earned the love, respect and support of my colleagues because he understands and has regards for the separation of power in government,” he said.

Jumbo assured the people that the legislature would give the chairman the needed support to succeed, and promised effective supervision of the project.

The contractor assured the council boss and members of the legislature that the project would be delivered at the stipulated time.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Interview: Self-reliance key to salvage Syria’s economy: expert




Amid the sanctions and economic hardships, the only way to salvage the Syrian economy and the livelihood of people is to adopt the policy of self-reliance, according to an economic expert in Syria.

Ammar Youssef told Xinhua in a recent interview that Syria has agricultural and industrial capabilities as well as natural resources that suffice the country if they are well invested.

His remarks come as the country is witnessing an unprecedented economic hardship with a sharp decline in the value of the Syrian pound against major currencies like the United States dollar amid soaring prices and weakening purchasing power.

The prices of products have increased ten folds since the beginning of the crisis in Syria nine years ago. In recent months, the situation even got harder.

The local Aliqtisadi news website, or The Economic, said the prices have increased 30 percent last month, citing merchants and businessmen as saying that they had to change the price tags on food items six times during last week alone.

“There is a need to adopt the policy of self-reliance as Syria, with all it has of agricultural or industrial capabilities as well as natural resources, is able to dispense with importing from abroad or relying on anything imported,” Youssef told Xinhua.

Youssef pointed out that the fluctuation in the exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the dollar is the main reason behind the soaring prices and the instability in the market.

On the ground, many retailers have stopped selling until the prices settle on a certain range as sales percentage has hit bottom low.

He said the fluctuation creates instability in the Syrian market as it affects the purchase and selling as well as the real-estate prices and all related aspects.

Among other experts, Youssef believes that several factors have contributed to the tough economic situation in the country, including the closing of borders as a result of the coronavirus, and the lack of money transfer from Syrians abroad to their families.

Additionally, the United States has toughened the sanctions already imposed on Syria with the so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act that aims to sanction the Syrian government including President Bashar al-Assad for its alleged war crimes against the Syrian people.

The law, expected to be implemented in June, also includes sanctions on any party that might aid the Syrian government.

Youssef said the Caesar act aims to hinder the reconstruction process in Syria by threatening any entity that might deal with the Syrian government.

Additionally, the new United States measure aims to toughen the economic crisis in the country with the hope of flipping the people against their government, he added.

“We are a country that has been in a war for too many years without economic support and all production means are largely gone. The agricultural economy has been largely damaged as well as urban, infrastructure, and public services that have all been subject to systematic destruction,” he said.

Youssef made it clear that bumpy road is up ahead if a self-reliance plan is not in place soon.

“Without a doubt, we are going to face lots of difficulties in the future and an inability of production, and we will face a hard economic situation in terms of the people, who will be missing many of the basic materials needed for their livelihoods,” he said.

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2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup host: FIFA confirms submission of 3 bids to Council



The world football governing body, FIFA has confirmed the submission of the three host bids for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to the FIFA Council for the selection of host on June 25.

This is contained in a statement on the federation’s website on Wednesday.

”Following a detailed assessment of the bid books and visits to the bidding countries, today, FIFA confirmed that three bids will be submitted to the FIFA Council in order for it to select the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 host(s) at its meeting to be held online on June 25, 2020.

”The three qualifying bids are: joint submission by Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football; submission by the Colombian Football Association and submission by the Japan Football Association, ” the statement read.

“One year after the record-breaking eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, the FIFA Council will decide on the host(s) for the ninth edition of the tournament in 2023, which we hope will be even bigger and better.

The quality of the bids is testimony to the tremendous momentum women’s football has generated.

“We are looking forward to building on this to take women’s football to the next level at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Brazilian Football Association had on June 8, informed FIFA of its decision to withdraw its bid.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be the first edition to feature 32 teams.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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