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Agriculture accounts 15% of our loans portfolio-Sterling Bank CEO



The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman has said Agriculture accounts for 15% of the bank’s portfolio.

Fidel Info reports that he said the bank is ready and willing to invest more in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, having invested more than N100 billion so far.

The CEO stated this in his closing remarks at the Agriculture Summit Africa (ASA) 2022 themed: “Engineering a Trillion Dollar Agricultural Economy,” which held recently both physically and virtually with more than 10,000 attendees from across the world.

Agriculture is one of the five sectors of the economy that the bank has focused its investments since 2018 as part of her HEART (Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation) of Sterling strategy. The others are health, education, transportation, and renewable energy.

Suleiman remarked that apart from the Bank of Agriculture, there was no other financial institution that has committed its resources to agricultural financing like Sterling Bank.

“When we started the journey about five years ago, we were very clear in our minds that we did not just want to make it a talk show and we have been changing the focus of the conversation from moving away from identifying problems to providing solutions and now we are bringing stakeholders together in a bid to effectively move the conversation forward with action.

“We started it because we wanted to focus on agricultural financing where there was a significant gap. Every time we meet a stakeholder or a regulator, we noticed a different perspective of what the problem was and therefore it became clear to us that if we do not bring all the stakeholders together to harmonise their views and understanding, we will continue to remain in the dark” he said.

 The CEO mentioned that the summit became imperative as part of the global conversation on food security due to the consequences of global trade which was so obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic when there was a global disruption in the supply chain.

“So, this conversation about food security in Africa is one that we will continue to sponsor because of its existential purpose which is about leveraging our competitive advantage” he said.

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Kwara Supports SMEs With Interest-Free Loans



At least 490 small businesses have won varying amounts of non-interest loans under the Kwara State social investment programme to grow their enterprises.

Fidel Info reports that Ten of the 490 young business owners got either N1.5m or N2m each at a symbolic ceremony where Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq handed them the cheques.

The 10 main winners, who pitched different business ideas ranging from printing, fashion, waste recycling, and agric value chains, are Hussein Ahmed (N1.5m); Azeez Akeem (N1.5m); Soliu Muhammed Lanre (N2m); Oladunni Kafilat Olaide (N2m);

Femi Peter (N1.5m); Sanusi Ismail Adeshina (N2m); Ali Michael (N2m); Kareem Naimat (N2m); Adebayo Hadiat Tinuola (N1.5); and Abdulrauf Abdulraheem (N1.5m).

The winners emerged from a rigorous process involving 15,708 applicants following different layers of screening by jurors drawn from the private sector and public service top players.

The interest-free loan was given through Kwapreneur 3.0, a third in the series of the youth-focused initiative to support young people to thrive.

AbdulRazaq said his administration will continue to implement policies and programmes that will make Kwara a better place to live, invest, and work.

“This is another success story and a boost for small scale businesses in the state. Our administration will not relent in making Kwara State a better place to live and invest,” he said.

AbdulRazaq congratulated the finalists of the third series of the scheme and said the programme could become a quarterly affair to accommodate more beneficiaries.

Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) had been established to positively impact the lives of the poor, the vulnerable, the unemployed and those at the bottom of the financial pyramid and have no access to funding, the Governor said.

“KWAPRENEUR is one of the many poverty alleviating activities of KWASSIP. It is one of the ways to provide funding for small businesses, lubricate the economy, and reduce poverty. We are simply trying to give everyone a fair shot and a sense of belonging within available resources,” he added.

Abdulquowiy Olododo, KWASSIP Chief, said: “Kwapreneur is a non-interest loan scheme that is designed for young entrepreneurs in Kwara State to support new young businesses and help existing businesses to expand. The overall objective of the scheme is to ensure we encourage youth entrepreneurship to create the next generation of Job creators to see that Kwara State becomes a business-driven economy.

“Series of stages have been passed in screening the applications we received based on key criteria to determine the final beneficiaries for Kwapreneur 3.0.

“It is also interesting to know that as we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of applications is the same way we have seen a substantial increase in the number of beneficiaries for Kwapreneur 3.0, with a total number of 490 beneficiaries, compared to the 170 and 100 beneficiaries in Kwapreneur 1.0 and 2.0 respectively.”

The event was attended by cabinet members;  Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Job Creation Barrister Aliyu Al-Hassan; Director General, State APC Campaign Council Alhaji Abdulfatai Yahaya Seriki; and a top chieftain of State APC Chief Gbenle Adeyemi.

The panelists included Mr. Yinka Umar, a successful banker from the Fidelity bank with 17 years experience; Adebayo Lawal from Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN); Mrs Rukayat Yahaya, CEO Temirah Entrepreneur Community (TEM); Abdulraheem Oldimeji; and Abdulkareem Abdulrasaq, an enterpreneur and social critic.

Courage Balogun, one of the beneficiaries of Kwaprenuour 1.0 who gave a goodwill message, described AbdulRazaq as a lover of the youths, testifying that the Governor’s passion for Kwarans, particularly young entrepreneurs, transcends religious, ethnic and political boundaries.

Balogun recalled that she got an interest-free loan during the first phase of it on the basis of merit, encouraging the latest beneficiaries of the loan to use the funds judiciously.

She appreciated the administration for investing so much in the youths in several ways.

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Jobs Creation: Kwara Garment Factory Ready For Commissioning



The Kwara State Garment Factory is one of the legacy projects of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq which will place the State on the map and make it a go-to place for garment production in the country.

Fidel Info reports that It’s an investment primed to raise the business outlook of the State, improve the State’s IGR and generate several employment opportunities for the people.

The factory has already been equipped with industrial machines and materials that will make its operations seamless and efficient.

The factory is made up of the production section, embroidery section, cutting section and other sections which have been equipped with sophisticated machines, such as Lockstitch Sewing machines, Pneumatic Cuff and Collar Pressing, Turning and Trimming machines, Coverstitch and Overlock Sewing machines.

The Kwara State Garment Factory will be the largest in West Africa upon completion and delivery.

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Real Estate Sector Contributes N20tn To GDP



In the first three quarters of 2022, economic activity in the construction and real estate industries contributed N20 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.

Fidel Info reports that This is according to the National Bureau of Statistics’ report on GDP.

According to the research, real estate only contributed N7 trillion to the GDP while construction services generated N12.9 trillion.

Further research showed that construction increased in nominal terms (year-over-year) by 18.92% in the third quarter of 2022, contributing 9.5% to nominal GDP, up from the quarter’s 9.26% contribution a year earlier and 7.95% contribution the previous quarter.

However, the sector experienced a decline of 28.75% points compared to the rate of 47.67% seen in the same quarter of 2021.

The national statistics authority reports that the nominal growth rate for real estate services was 9.13%, which is 0.50 percentage points higher than the growth rate reported for the same quarter in 2021 and 3.68 percentage points lower than the Quarter before.

The sector’s growth rate was 16.38% quarter over quarter. In comparison to the 5.27 percent recorded in the third quarter of 2021 and higher than the 4.95 percent accounted for in the second quarter of 2022, the contribution to nominal GDP in Q3, 2022, was 4.96 percent.

By summing up gross outputs such a total of fees, the value of work completed, commissions due for services supplied, and other incomes, the NBS determines the sector’s contribution.

It also considers intermediate consumptions such as details of the cost structure including transportation fees, operational expenditure, minor repairs and maintenance etc.

Reacting, the Chairman, Real Estate Developer Association of Nigeria, Aliyu Wamakko, stated that the contributed amount had revealed what the private sector could achieve.

He said, “When you talk about real estate, it is driven by private investors. This means for any economy to strive, the private sector must be given a platform and a level playing ground for them to perform.”

“For example, creating jobs in real estate doesn’t require an incubation period, anytime you start building a house, at least 25 persons will get a job. So, if the government want to support the economy of the country, more opportunities should be given to the private sector.”

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