Notore Chemical Industries, yesterday denied involvement in activities which sabotage Nigeria’s security and economy.
Apparently responding to statements credited to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in the media last week, the firm said the allegations do not represent the character and operation of its business.
In the publications, Notore is alleged to be sabotaging Nigeria’s national security and economy by being a conduit for explosive materials as well as being“unpatriotic.” But Notere, in it statement said: “Notore has not been, isnot, and has no intention whatsoever, of engaging in any activity that is detrimental to Nigeria. As a Nigerian company with predominantly Nigerian beneficial shareholders, Notore has always been committed and is focused on supporting initiatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria and championing the African Green Revolution with a focus on Nigeria.
“Notore is the premier producer of urea fertilizer in sub-Saharan Africa and has been in production for over six years. As the Champion of the African Green Revolution, Notore has as its core goal the enhancement of food production and food security inAfrica, particularly in Nigeria.
“Part of its strategy to achieve this goal is to focus on sales in the local market via Notore’s extensive, controlled and award-winning distribution channels.
“In addition, Notore has and uses extension workers who are committed to the training of local farmers on best practices and the creation of ‘test plots’ to showcase the benefits of effective use of fertilizer on crops, the creation of an effective and efficient distribution channel to ease access to fertilizers for the farmers, as well as boosting production capacity to meet the ever increasing demand of the Nigerian farmer.”
The Onne-based fertiliser makers and distributors said over the past several years, through its private extension services and controlled distribution channels, which include over 2,500 Village Promoters. it has reached over three million Nigerian farmers who have been impacted positively within creased yields.
It added that as estimated by a 2013 report by Propcom-DFID, an innovative, market-driven initiative of theUnited Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) that aims toreduce poverty in Nigeria, over 33% of smallholder farmers in seven selected northern states learned at least one improved farming practice from Notore’s activities, leading to increased yields and income.
Notore said it also worked with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, some selected states, and International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in designing and implementing the fertilizer voucher programme between 2009 and 2012.
Which greatly improved the administration of the fertilizer subsidy program byincreasing the reach to target beneficiaries from a previous 11% to as high as60%. “The success of this voucher program became the basis on which the Federal Government created the GrowthEnhancement Support Scheme (GESS) e-wallet program, which sought to improve agricultural productivity through the effective and efficient delivery of farm inputs such as fertilizer, which increased yields. It is through these and other activities that Notore has helped and continues to help build Nigeria’s agricultural and economic landscape, which has a direct impact on the country’sGDP.
“As part of its commitment to Nigeria, the bulk (about 75%) of Notore’s production of fertilizer is focused on the Nigerian market, and because Nigeria largely has only one planting season, the majority of this production is sold locally during this peak season. Notore only exports limited amounts of fertilizer during the dry season — when there is essentially zero demand for fertilizer in Nigeria– yet continues to work aggressively with the Federal Ministry ofAgriculture and Rural Development to encourage and stimulate farming in Nigeria during the off-season in order to further its core goal of increased food production and food security in Nigeria. For instance, Notore has been a key partner in the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Program aimed at increasing the local production of key crops. During the recently completed pilot of the rice anchorborrowers’ program in Kebbi State, Notore supplied all the urea fertilizer used in the program. It is important to note that the company delivered the requested fertilizer for the program within a very short period to all the locations in which the program was implemented in the state. In continuation of that program, Notore has also committed to supplying all the urea fertilizer required for the program during the current rainy season in all 11 target states.
“Another example ofNotore’s aggressive efforts to stimulate farming in Nigeria is its successful onion intervention in Kebbi State. In 2010, an unprecedented severe case of onion twister disease in Kebbi State, similar to the recent tomato crisis, crippledall farming activities involving onions. As of the time of Notore’s intervention in 2010, onions were in short supply with high demand, thereby raising the price to an all-time high of N40,000 per bag. However, following Notore’s intervention, involving a combination of experiments to test different options to combat the problem as well as educating farmers on the need to adopt best practices, the dry season of 2011-2012 saw a huge rise in produce availability. This pushed down the price per bag of onions from about N7,000 in December 2011 to N1,000 in May 2012. “Urea fertilizer iscrucial for the agricultural revolution in Nigeria and for the millions of farmers who rely on it to achieve food security and self-sustenance. Notore produces urea solely for agricultural purposes, and urea, on its own, is harmless. It is only when people that are involved in nefarious activities further process urea by mixing it with harmful substances, such as nitric acid,that the combination can become dangerous.
Notore does not produce, import, orin any way use nitric acid. Furthermore, Notore has worked and continues to work with government agencies to ensure that its products move strictly through its controlled distribution channels to be delivered directly to officialdistribution partners and then into the market.” the company stated.
The Management of Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals (IEFCL) denied that the company and another fertilizer was sabotaging the national economy and security through export of fertilizers at the detriment of farmers in Nigeria.
It stated that all its domestic supplies to customers were in accordance with the approval of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Farm Input and Supply Services (FISS) department in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited (IEPL) and its sister companies in Nigeria are not, and have not, and would never be directly or indirectly involved in any activities to undermine or sabotage the economy or security of the nation,” the company stated.
In a press statement issued by the company in Port Harcourt, and signed by Dr Jossy Nkwocha, head of Corporate Communications, the Management noted that its brand-new world-class fertilizer plant built at a cost of $1.5 billion – one of Nigeria’s largest Foreign Direct Investment in the downstream sector – started pre-commissioning production only recently at only 75 per cent capacity, and in the past one month has been giving priority to the domestic market.
According to the statement, “the plant is still awaiting official inauguration. Our brand-new fertilizer plant has capacity for 1.5 metric tons of fertilizers per annum which is designed to serve Nigeria’s entire domestic requirement and the surplus is for export markets.
“However, our primary focus is to serve the interest of our domestic market and this we have been doing with great sense of responsibility and commitment to the Nigerian economy” the company stated.
“It is also a matter of national pride that the surplus production would be exported to enable the generation of foreign exchange for the Country at this time of huge deficit of foreign exchange; as well as branding Nigeria’s global reputation as producer and exporter of petrochemicals and fertilizers, thereby encouraging more foreign investors to come and invest in Nigeria.”
Dr Nkwocha stated that IEFCL has been loading and distributing an average of between 90 – 100 long trailers of fertilizers, each carrying 600 bags of 50kg each, totaling over 57,000 bags of Indorama Urea fertilizer daily. over the past one month for the benefit of Nigerian farmers across the country.
Indorama said as a responsible corporate organisation, it was constrained to state the facts for the benefit of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), the Federal Government of Nigeria, the international partners, other critical Stakeholders and the general public.
Indorama noted that it was greatly embarrassed and distressed that the publications gave misleading impression that the two fertilizer companies were sabotaging national security by distributing fertilizers within the country, which were being used by some undesirable elements to make explosives.
“The publications further mentioned an unnamed organisation involved in commercial explosives and accessories whose activities were sabotaging national security.
“This mix-up has caused great embarrassment and distress to our company, which over the past ten years has the unblemished reputation of adding great value to the Nigerian economy and society,” it said.
The Management of Indorama Fertilizer therefore restated its total commitment to the economy and security of the country, especially in ensuring that farmers across the country have unhindered access to its high quality Urea fertilizers.
It also expressed readiness to collaborate with the office of the NSA and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that all identified concerns about availability of Indorama fertilizers by farmers and dealers are addressed as quickly as possible.
Indorama said it would continue to work with Federal Government regulators to achieve its vision of building the largest Petrochemicals and fertilizer hub of Africa with a cumulative investment of $4.32 billion by 2020.
The statement added that in the past ten years, Indorama-Nigeria has been a responsible corporate citizen, reputed for its excellent Public Private Partnership (PPP) – sharing its wealth/dividend with shareholders including the Federal Government (through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises), Rivers State Government, and host communities and Nigerian employees.
The company said it has also created over 7,500 jobs, as well as engendered numerous Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes that impact verypositively on its host and transit communities in Rivers State.