VP Osinbajo criticizes the Federal Government. Why?
Quiz: At the Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja on Thursday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo admitted that he still criticizes the Federal Government. The VP said that his wife, Oludolapo Osinbajo, sometimes had to remind him of his position in the new government.
Why does he do it? Take the quiz below to get the answer.
[HDquiz quiz = “42”]
How do you position yourself to make money from President Buhari’s 2016 budget? The 2016 budget which the president said is designed to revive the economy promises many jobs. For instance, President Buhari said he would recruit 500,000 new teachers. However, even though aspects of the budget are yet to be well defined, Nigeria’s 2016 budget foretells other jobs. For example, who is going to supply the milk and food for the school children? Who is going to train the teachers? Who is going to provide the financial training for market women, artisans, traders and help them with their cooperatives? How do you start or join these businesses? This article answers some of these questions.
If you are just starting now, some are already miles ahead of you. For example, rice importers read the body language of the new president and started devising means of import substitution by themselves. They did that by opening their own rice farms. I’ll give you details of how they did that shortly.
Milk and food
Although we’re not sure what’s going to be on the menu, it wouldn’t be more than what Osun and Kano states are already doing and what Kaduna State plans to do. This means the menu would contain rice, chicken and probably eggs. Now have you asked yourself where would the government source these?
Let’s start with rice. The nation already has rice producers association which will definitely ask the government to buy from its members. One thing is certain, it is unlikely to be foreign rice they would feed our children. So if you want to sell rice, this is the time to start, now that you have a ready market.
How to start your rice farm
Other than our usual subsistence farming, I’ve seen three ways businesses produce rice in Nigeria. From my discussion with experts and some of those businesses, I’m going to tell you two of them.
- Get a dam
In my state, some foreigners used this neat tactic. You need three things to start: a dam, virgin land and finance. This is how to get them.
The dam: These foreigners identified a dam and requested the owners of the dam to lease it to them. In this case, the owner of the dam is Upper River Niger Basin. They did this so that they could control the flow of water from the dam and for the dry season farming. Experts say dry season rice farming is not as complicated as the rain-fed rice. So how do you get a dam? Nigeria, especially the northern part, is laden with abandoned dams constructed either by the states or federal government agencies. Niger State alone has 19 perennial dams built for the purposes of irrigation. These agencies, especially in the states, would be willing to lease them to you, since many of them are cash strapped and are calling for public private partnerships and businesses to invest in their states. You only need to talk to them.
The land: Any state government that sees any businesses that’s likely to generate employment in the state would have no trouble giving a land to such business. And since the government doesn’t sell land, you’re going to get this for free. However, it is better to use a virgin land and not collect the land which our farmers already use. This would also save you from paying compensation.
The finance: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) already has the money for you. It does this through its NIRSAL intervention where it guarantees a large chunk of the loans to farmers.
- Give inputs then off-take
Some businesses save themselves the trouble of having to do the farming. So they provide local farmers with inputs such as fertilizer, tractors and chemicals. The farmers pay back with farm produce. Also, depending on the agreement, the supplier may also retain the right of first refusal. That is, the farmer can only sell to a third party if the supplier isn’t interested. This arrangement also comes with its own problems, therefore everything has to be agreed upon from the beginning. For example, what happens if a natural disaster, such as floods wipe out the farm? Or what if the farmer under-declares the harvest?
Provide the chicken
Even our small-holder farmers know how to raise chicken for commercial purposes. And since some states have the policy of buying products made from their states, they wouldn’t have the problem of selling. The governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, for example declared as a state policy to buy made in Niger.
Provide the milk
The yield of our local cattle raised by the Fulani is low. Usually under five liters per cow. But there are other high yielding cows which produce up to 25 liters per day. These are usually imported into the country. But the good news to you is that you don’t need to import. You only need to go to the ministry of agriculture in Niger State. Niger State has an exclusive license to resell the semen of high yielding cattle from South Africa. The prices are also quite affordable. The experts from the ministry can also help you to artificially inseminate our local cattle. Let me know if you need contacts of officials in the ministry.
Training of teachers
There are state institutions that are already empowered to handle teachers’ training. National Teachers Institute, NTI, is one example. However, since the number of teachers to be trained is huge, they may want to partner with private trainers and consultants. As a teacher who has trained other teachers for more than a decade, this is where I’m positioning myself to help when the time comes.
Training of market women, traders and artisans
This would be done in partnership with the states and local governments. President Buhari when presenting the 2016 budget to the National Assembly said: “This segment of our society is not only critical to our plan to grow small businesses, but it is also an important platform to create jobs and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs.”
The government would definitely needs private firms and non-governmental organizations to help with this. Your job is made easier since the trainees already have their businesses. Therefore, you’re mostly likely to provide financial literacy training and organize them into cooperatives.
What other areas do you think businesses would benefit from Nigeria’s 2016 budget?
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