Nigeria’s stride to achieve self-sufficiency in phosphate supply received the needed boost recently as about 50,000 jobs have been created in the country through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Morocco.
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this yesterday, while receiving the National Coordinator of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD-Nigeria), Princess Gloria Akobundu, at the NNPC Towers.
Baru, who noted that the MoU between the two countries was for the supply of phosphate to rejuvenate agriculture by making fertiliser available and affordable, confirmed the deal has started yielding positive results in the country.
“The Moroccans have already supplied a cargo of phosphate, which has been delivered to various blending plants across the country. Already, 11 blending plants have come into production because of the supply.
“I am happy to inform you that this development has translated to the creation of about 50,000 jobs and led to the production of about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser in the country,” Baru stated.
Following the arrival of the first consignment, the Moroccans have also given Nigeria a generous credit term of 90 days and are planning to bring in more cargoes that will fit the various blending plants in the country, Baru added.
According to the GMD, aside being a huge boost to the Nigerian agricultural sector and the economy, this partnership is expected to boost bilateral relationship between the two countries, in line with NEPAD’s objective of championing regional economic partnerships and integration.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of an interim Managing Director/CEO and four Executive Directors for the Bank of Agriculture (BOA ).
A statement by Deputy Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Blessing Lere-Adams, named Mr. Kabiru Mohammed (North West) as Managing Director/CEO, while Prince A. Akenzua (South South) and Dr. Okenwa Gabriel (South East) are executive directors of Corporate Finance, Partnerships and Strategy respectively.
Others are Mr. Ameh Owoicho (North Central) and Mr. Bode Abikoye (South West), both executive directors of Credit and Empowerment.
Lere-Adams said the appointment was as a result of the Federal Government’s resolve to reposition BOA to be a more efficient and result oriented institution.
According to the statement, “The strategic repositioning of BOA will enhance farmers easy accessibility to agricultural funds that will be profitable for large and local farmers hoping to expand their farms”, adding that availability of funds will no doubt increase food production which will eventually result in self sufficiency.
The GMD observed that NEPAD’s visit coincided with NNPC’s journey towards becoming a commercially-viable world-class oil and gas company hinged on the principle of transparency, openness and accountability.
He further noted that the corporation, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has taken some far-reaching measures to address some of its challenges, created largely due to low commodity prices.
Baru also assured the delegation that the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP), on which NNPC has had engagement with NEPAD in the past, is still on track and the corporation would ensure continued collaboration towards the success of the project.
Earlier in her remarks, the National Coordinator, NEPAD-Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, stated that they were at the NNPC to seek for areas of collaboration with the corporation, especially in their quest to promote regional integration on the continent.
“As NEPAD, we are mandated to identify and work with strategic partners to facilitate, monitor and promote the implementation of developmental projects across the continent,” she stated.
Also on NEPAD’s entourage was the Director General of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Alhaji Aminu Dikko, who explained that the TSGP is a very crucial project that will further boost regional integration of Africans.