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WACOT and Federal Government’s Food Security Initiative

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The Food sufficiency goal of the Federal government is receiving a major boost in Kebbi state through the collaboration between WACOT Rice Limited and the Kebbi state government.

The food sufficiency journey started sometime in June, 2016 when President Muhammadu Buhari, announced in a Ramadan meeting with members of the business community that his administration would make the country self-sufficient in rice production within 18 months.

The President was obviously not satisfied with the fact that the country was still importing food in the face of a foreign exchange crisis and Nigeria being Africa’s largest consumer of rice, devours about six million metric tonnes of rice annually which is mostly imported from India, Thailand and Brazil.

The president submitted that Nigeria should be able to produce what it eats and export its excess.

14 months after his declaration, the President’s dream is gradually becoming a reality through the establishment of WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu, Kebbi state which will produce 120,000 metric tons annually and 400 metric tons of rice daily.

The multi-billion Naira Rice Mill situated in Argungu, Kebbi State, is the largest of its kind in Africa. It was commissioned by the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on the 1st of August, 2017.

Commending WACOT during the official commissioning of the Rice Mill the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said that the establishment of the Mill “underscored the policy of the Federal Government that it is the private sector that must be the engine of development. But the private sector being the engine of development is not just the private sector leading growth. The growth must be growth with jobs; it cannot not be jobless growth.

“We have seen a lot of jobless growth, especially around the oil economy with a lot of revenue coming but a very few jobs. “One of the critical things that we are seeing today, especially the development of agriculture, is that this is growth with jobs. Several thousands of our people are farmers and are engaged in farming”.

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The success of the establishment of the WACOT Rice mill is not without the support of the state government and especially Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the governor of Kebbi state.

No doubt Governor Bagudu is one of the strongest believers of the Food security initiative of the federal government and this is evident in the massive success his administration has recorded in the area of rice production much to the envy of other states like Kwara, Ondo, Kastina, Ogun who have shown interest in the state’s agricultural policy.

On how Kebbi has been able to achieve this feat, the governor disclosed recently that on assuming office and discovering the huge rice potentials in his state, he immediately partnered with the Bank of Industry and the Central Bank of Nigeria and to show his commitment, he put down a princely sum of N4 billion as financial assistance and inputs to rice farmers in the state to go into commercial farming. He pointed out that with the capital outlay and the agreement it entered into the with the BOI, his administration also designed a template where each farmer agreed to produce at least six tons of rice per hectare of land after being given a minimum of N210,000 per hectare to cover farm inputs and seedlings.

 

About WACOT Rice Mill

The integrated Rice Mill has about 10 silos with the capacity to store 18,000 tons of rice paddy and warehouses for storing an additional 12,000 tons of rice paddy. The mill is stocked with machines from world renowned machinery suppliers like Buhler, Petkus, SKF, Thermax and Silos Cordoba and includes a fully equipped lab to test all parametres for ensuring consistent quality of its rice products.

Built with the economics of the environment in mind, it is expected to generate electricity from husk (the hard protecting coverings of grains of rice), thereby ensuring that all by-products from the processing are well-utilized. It will generate 1 MW of electricity via turbines to reduce dependence on the national grid. It also has a fully equipped water treatment plant that takes care of its liquid waste before they are discharged into the community, where they can be safely used for irrigation.

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WACOT Limited is the first company to do an Out Growers Model and Farmers Assistance Scheme with cotton farmers in Katsina. The success of those programmes has helped the company to become one of the largest producers and exporters of cotton in West Africa. WACOT has its ginnery (Continental Eagle) in Funtua, Kastina State and has a capacity for over 50,000 metric tons of seed cotton per season.

Now, the company is extending its expertise to increasing yields among rice farmers in Argungu and beyond, since more farmers need to increase their yield if the country is to meet its self-sufficiency target. Although the building of the mill only started in February 2016, since 2013, WACOT has been engaging with farmers via two training schemes: the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the Yield Enhancement Techniques (YET). The company has worked with over 4,000 farmers and distributed inputs – high quality seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals – worth 144 million naira.

 

Economic Impact of the Rice Mill on Argungu

The Argungu community is already beginning to witness economic transformation as a result of the establishment of the Rice Mill; more jobs are flowing in with over 3,500 people engaged as well as new businesses which built around the mill.

According to the Managing Director of WACOT Limited Mr. Ujwalkanta Senapati, WACOT has completed several humanitarian projects in the community. “We have renovated a school and a hospital and have organized health camps with free consultation and medicines to over 1,000 farmers. We’ve always had the aspiration to implement positive change,” he said.

 

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ZENITH BANK RECORDS IMPROVED HALF YEAR 2019 RESULTS, WITH INTERIM DIVIDEND OF 30 KOBO PER SHARE

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Zenith Bank

In a clear demonstration of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half year ended 30 June 2019, recording positive growth across key financial metrics, thus affirming the bank’s position as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank also announced a proposed interim dividend pay-out of 30 kobo per share.

Gross earnings grew by 3% from ₦322.2 billion to ₦331.6 billion driven by a significant growth of 24% (YoY) in non-interest income from ₦88.6 billion in H1 2018 to ₦109.7 billion in H1 2019. In particular, fees from electronic products increased by ₦17bn (168%) from ₦10bn in H1 2018 to ₦27 in H1 2019, demonstrating significant progress in our retail banking initiatives. This top-line growth filtered through to the bottom-line as Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦111.7 billion reflecting a 4% growth over ₦107.4 billion reported in H1 2018 with earnings per share (EPS) increasing by 9% to ₦2.83 in H1 2019 from ₦2.60 compared to the prior period.

Between December 2018 and June 2019, the Group’s total deposit increased by 3% with retail deposits growing by ₦267 billion (31%), from ₦861 billion to close at ₦1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in our deposit base, we optimized interest expense leading to a 4% reduction from ₦74.7 billion to ₦72.1 billion due to the Group’s improved funding mix and our profound treasury management skills. Net Interest Margins (NIMs) witnessed a compression from 10% in the same period last year to 8.6% in H1 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but cost of funds improved from 3.4% to 3.0%.

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Our robust risk management ensured that our absolute Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained flat. However, the marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3% reduction in our loan book from ₦2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to ₦1.95 trillion at the end of the period. We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with liquidity ratio at 74.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25%, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds.

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Going into the second half of the year, we will continue to consolidate our leadership in the corporate space while our retail banking drive will continue unabated. We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, the bank was recently ranked as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2018 by The Banker Magazine. Similarly, Zenith Bank was recognized as the Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by The World Finance for the sixth time just as Ethical Boardroom, a Europe based Boardroom watchdog reaffirmed this recognition by naming the bank as the Best Bank in Corporate Governance in 2018. Recognition has also come the way of the bank as it was recently named as the Best Institution in Sustainability Reporting in Africa 2018 (SERAS Awards) and the Bank of the Year 2018 (BusinessDay).

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ZENITH BANK CELEBRATES D’TIGRESS ON BACK-TO-BACK AFROBASKET CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY

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Zenith Bank

 

Zenith Bank Plc, the sole sponsor of the Nigerian Female Basketball League has hailed the Nigerian female basketball team, D’Tigress, for emerging champions of the FIBA Women’s Afrobasket 2019 in Dakar, Senegal, defeating the host nation 60-55 points in the final match to retain the coveted trophy.

Speaking on the success of the team at the championship, the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu commended the team for their hard work, doggedness and team spirit, which has seen them retain the trophy which they won two years ago in Mali. He expressed delight at the heroics of the team, comprised mostly of products of the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League, which the bank has sponsored for 15 years consecutively.

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D’Tigress of Nigeria held their nerves in the final quarter of the game played at the magnificent Dakar Arena on Sunday, fighting off a late challenge from their Senegalese counterparts, to emerge African champions for the fourth time.

Evelyn Akhator, one of the products of the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League, scored 14 points and made nine rebounds and her amazing performance throughout the tournament earned her a place in the Tournament Five.

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The Nigerian female basketball team kick-started the competition with resounding victories of 75-26 points win over Tunisia and 106-39 points win over Cameroun in the group stages, before recording a 79-46 points win over Congo in the quarterfinals and a 79-58 points win over Mali in the semifinals.

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Dangote Promo: 64-year-old Bricklayer, 20-year-old Artisan Win Star prize saloon cars in Ijebu-ode, Ikorodu

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L-R: Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele; Star prize (Saloon Car) Winner of the Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies Promo, Mr Iyowun Ezekiel; National Sales Director, Dangote Cement, Adeyemi Fajobi; and Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement, Tunde Mabogunje during the star prize presentation in the " BAG of GOODIES" Dangote Cement Promotion in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on Thursday, August 15, 2019

…As 10 others collect tricycle, motorcycle, fridge, TV prizes

Two lucky Nigerians, including a 64-year-old bricklayer, Mr. Iyowun Ezekiel and 20-year-old artisan, Godwin Godday, have emerged the latest winners of Star prize GAC Saloon cars in the ongoing Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ national consumer promo.

Elated Ezekiel, who is based in Ijebu-ode, Ogun state and has been a bricklayer for over 40 years, found his prize-winning scratch card in one of the Dangote cement promo bags he bought from a distributor in Ijebu-Mushin. On the other hand, Godday, who is the youngest winner of the Star prize so far, found his winning scratch card in Ikorodu, Lagos.

: Winner of Motorcycle, Kamilu Audu; Deputy Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Desmond Aregbesola; Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele; Star prize winner, Godwin Godday; Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Tunde Mabogunje; and winner of Tricycle, Akintoye Oluwagbemiga, during the star prize and other prizes’ presentation in Ikorodu, Lagos State on Friday, August 16, 2019

 

Both star prize winners were given the keys to their brand new cars by top Dangote Cement officials at different handing-over ceremonies in Ijebu-ode and Ikorodu, alongside 10 other lucky promo winners, who carted home various prizes including a tricycle, a motorcycle, 8 refrigerators and two television sets; to the admiration of other Dangote Cement consumers, distributors and the general public.

While Mr. Akintaye Oluwagbemiga won a tricycle, Mr. Kamilu Audu won a motorcycle. Interestingly, Mr. Solomon Dayo won three out of the seven refrigerators presented at the Ikorodu event, while Messrs. Ohemu Friday, Innocent Agbo-James, Ransome Watels and Kehinde Adeagbo went home with one refrigerator each. There was also presentation of television sets to Mr. Dare Olajide and Mr. Oluwadare Gbenga. Likewise, Mr. Imam Adebisi Abdulhakeem, who won a refrigerator, collected his prize at the Ijebu-ode venue.

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Handing over the car keys to Ezekiel in Ijebu-ode, National Sales Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Adeyemi Fajobi told those gathered at the Local Government office venue that the cement promo is real and that there are many more choice prizes to be won.

According to him, all a consumer has to do is to buy the Dangote Cement products and open the bag, adding that whatever is stated on the scratch card is automatically won by the buyer, when taken to any approved depot for redemption of the prizes.

The National Sales Director added, “Only Dangote can do this. This is a promise fulfilled. Some people were skeptical when this promo began but today, this is proof of our sincerity”.

Also, Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Tunde Mabogunje, while handing over the various prizes in Ikorodu, said excited consumers have been coming forward to collect their prizes in the ongoing promo.

According to him, scores of people have come to redeem their winning scratch cards for recharge cards worth Thousands of Naira, pointing out that the promo is a deliberate effort at rewarding the consumers. He also said the company is happy that the consumers are winning.

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Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele said the promo was put up by the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote to reward consumers’ patronage.

Ezekiel, who in a display of euphoria danced to the podium to claim his Star Prize of a GAC saloon car in Ijebu-ode, Ogun State, added dash to his win by sending a typed letter of appreciation to the Chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote.

The lucky star prize winner, who said he has been a bricklayer for over 40 years, expressed profound gratitude to Aliko Dangote and the Dangote Cement company for the ongoing promo, which has so far empowered thousands of Nigerians as winners of various prizes.

While celebrating his win with his son, Tayo Ezekiel (also a bricklayer) and members of his outfit, who donned “Thank you Dangote” t-shirts, Ezekiel disclosed that he had not won anything before until now, and enthused that the Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ promo is a reality which has greatly helped Nigeria.

Speaking on how he emerged the star prize winner, Godday, who couldn’t take his education beyond Primary School due to lack of funds, said he was always watching out for winning cards in any cement bag he opened as a concrete mixer at a building site. He commended Dangote Cement for putting up the promo to alleviate poverty in the country.

The Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ promo, which began nationwide in July and is to run till September ending, has so far yielded numerous winners of prizes in various categories.

Among other unique gifts, a total of 43 brand new cars, cash prizes of N200 million, 24 tricycles, 500 refrigerators, 24 motorcycles, 400 television sets, generators, Goodies packs, are available for winners in a promo, which has generated so much excitement among Nigeria, with over 21 million lucky winners targeted

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