From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government is still having outstanding accrued rights due its employees that retired between 2015 and October 2016 amounting to N63.34 billion.
Director General of National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Chinelo Anohu-Amazu who disclosed this at a function organised by the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Abuja also said the total registered participants in the Contributory Pensions Scheme (CPS) have increased to 7, 240,196 as at September 2016.
The DG further said that a total of 174, 844 persons have retired under the CPS since inception.
Represented by Director of Surveillance at the commission, M.B Umar, she said the number comprised 140,532 retirees on monthly programmed withdrawal and 34,312 retirees on monthly annuity, adding that the monthly pension payment of the retirees were N4.67 billion and N1.72 billion respectively.
According to her, despite the success recorded, the CPS has some challenges especially in funding of accrued rights of Federal Government employees.
Agric: Rice revolution has begun, says CBN Governor
From Uche Usim, Abuja
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor (CBN), Godwin Emefiele said that rice revolution has begun with about 13 states latching strongly on the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (RABP) launched by President Muhammadu Buhari last year in Birnin Kebbi.
He expressed the apex bank’s determination to work with many states’ farmers to bridge the rice sufficiency gap, create employment and tackle food shortage in general.
Speaking at the weekend in Ogoja, Cross River State in company of the Governor, Ben Ayade and his Kebbi State counterpart, Bagudu Atiku, Emefiele hailed the rice and wheat revolution projects, describing them as one of the most effective vehicles needed to transport Nigeria out of the food shortage debacle.
The CBN Governor disclosed that about N3 billion had been disbursed to Cross River State under the programme, stressing that thousands of farmers, rice millers and other players in the food chain will benefit from the scheme.
He added that about N23 billion had so far been disbursed under the scheme.
“I thank farmers for joining this let’s feed-our-people train. We are already doing well. We just have to be patient. I was reading in the papers where someone said it will take us five years to be self sufficient in rice production.
“I want to tell you that that person has a bad news. The rice farmers association has said that economic saboteurs are there in rice production and we all need to stand against them. I can tell you that we are going to rise above this and we will produce rice, tomatoes, wheat and other agricultural produce to feed our people. We do not have a choice but to move in that direction.”, the CBN Governor stated.
Also speaking at one of the farms, the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade explained that the state remains focused to ensuring the success of the programme.
He assured that the CBN’s N3 billion support will not only be used to produce rice, but also establish mills for processing it and silos for storage.
“We’ll have a mill that will have a provision for vitaminised rice. It’ll come from the broken pieces which can be vitaminised and given to children so that they can grow tall and healthy.
“So in Cross River state, the 78,000 farmers that we will be working with will have the benefit of processing all the rice they will be harvesting at the mill. Also at the moment 80 per cent of the rice farmed in Cross River State ends up processed at the Ebonyi mill and processed into Abakiliki rice. But all of that will stop with the intervention of the CBN loan through the Anchor Borrowers Programme”, Ayade stated.
In his remarks, the Kebbi State Governor and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production, Atiku Bagudu expressed joy at many state governors’ interest in ensuring food sufficiency in the country.
“I’m happy by the effort of farmers in different states towards making Nigeria food sufficient especially in rice production.
It’s good the President is providing adequate financing to our agricultural sector so that we will be self sufficient in some crops and then even begin to export them. The CBN ha created the RABP financing effort across states. Governors keyed in by ensuring that land is made available and farmers and food processors will be encouraged to go into rice and wheat production to create income and employment”, he noted.
NUC gives recognition to Borno State University
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Universities Commission (NUC) yesterday gave recognition to the new Borno State University located in Maiduguri, with a presentation of letter of approval by the Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Rasheed Abubakar.
Prior to the presentation of the letter at the NUC headquarters in Abuja, Prof. Rasheed expressed his appreciation to the state government for its desire and commitment to the restoration of the educational reputation and credibility of the state that was destroyed by the activities of Boko Haram.
He said, “Boko Haram insurgents were literally expressing their ignorance and opposition to education but thanks to federal and state governments resistance efforts that have yielded positive results.”
For successful establishment and running of the institution, NUC urged the state government to eschew mediocrity, promote excellence and professionalism in order to continually enjoy the support of NUC which is the apex Nigerian university regulatory body.