Quick Takes

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD -

USAID, Others Boost Agribusi­ness Devt

In or­der to boost food se­cu­rity in Nige­ria, USAID and Africa Lead are boost­ing agribusi­ness en­trepreneur­ship ca­pac­ity devel­op­ment for the youths.

The or­gan­i­sa­tions, dur­ing a five-day event tagged: ‘USAID Africa Lead En­trepreneur­ship a and Agribusi­ness Devel­op­ment Boot camp’ held in Lagos recently, said it be­came nec­es­sary to help the youths who are ded­i­cated to start­ing up agribusi­ness.

Speak­ing at the event, the Train­ing and Non State Ac­tors Man­ager, Mrs. Ce­cilia Ad­dae noted that the programme is aimed to­wards ex­pand­ing agribusi­ness and de­vel­op­ing the na­tion’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor

She added that it is a way to also foster broader eco­nomic devel­op­ment and agri­cul­tural trans­for­ma­tion.

Add a es aid the youths who are be­tween the ages of 18-35 showed they have in­no­va­tive agribusi­ness startup idea and en­trepreneur­ship pas­sion.

She fur­ther de­scribed other cri­te­ria they have as be­ing a farmer or agri-preneur en­gaged in some ac­tiv­i­ties along value chain, strong de­sire to in­crease skill and knowl­edge plan­ning and ac­tively man­ag­ing a start-up and ex­pan­sion in agribusi­ness.

“Africa Lead is build­ing on its ex­ist­ing lead­er­ship train­ing programme and en­vi­sions work­ing with youth, women and en­trepreneurs to start up and ex­pand agribusi­ness along prof­itable value chains,” she said.

Hal­libur­ton to Pay $29.2m to Set­tle Charges

Oil com­pany, Hal­libur­ton Co will pay $29.2 mil­lion to set­tle civil charges it vi­o­lated fed­eral anti-bribery rules re­lated to books, record­keep­ing and in­ter­nal ac­count­ing con­trols while do­ing busi­ness in An­gola, U.S. reg­u­la­tors said on Thurs­day.

The Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion said Hal­libur­ton’s for­mer vice pres­i­dent, Jean­not Lorenz, separately agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty in con­nec­tion with the al­leged vi­o­la­tions of the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act.

Both the com­pany and Lorenz are set­tling the case with­out ad­mit­ting or deny­ing the al­le­ga­tions.

In a state­ment, Hal­libur­ton said the Jus­tice Depart­ment had also in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter and was plan­ning to close it out with­out fil­ing re­lated crim­i­nal charges.

The probe be­gan after the com­pany re­ceived an anony­mous al­le­ga­tion about pos­si­ble FCPA vi­o­la­tions in De­cem­ber 2010. The com­pany said it “promptly” re­ported the tip about pos­si­ble cor­rup­tion to the Jus­tice Depart­ment, con­ducted its own in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and co­op­er­ated with the gov­ern­ment. A lawyer for Lorenz could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment. The SEC said the al­leged FCPA vi­o­la­tions stemmed from con­tracts that Hal­libur­ton en­tered into with a lo­cal An­golan com­pany in or­der to sat­isfy cer­tain “lo­cal con­tent reg­u­la­tions” for for­eign firms do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try.

Some of those pay­ments, the SEC said, “were made in ad­vance of Hal­libur­ton ob­tain­ing lu­cra­tive oil­field service con­tracts.”

African LNG Ex­ports to Get Boost

Cameroon plans to be­gin ex­port­ing liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas later this year us­ing a newly de­signed off­shore plant that an­a­lysts say could slash pro­duc­tion costs and un­lock African re­serves not pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered eco­nom­i­cally vi­able.

West and Cen­tral Africa’s Gulf of Guinea has seen a wave of new oil and gas ex­plo­ration, par­tic­u­larly since Tul­low Oil dis­cov­ered Ghana’s huge Ju­bilee gas field in 2007. But the cost of pipe­lines and on­shore liq­ue­fac­tion fa­cil­i­ties means that rel­a­tively few gas finds have been de­vel­oped, Reuters re­ported.

How­ever, a new tech­nol­ogy has the po­ten­tial to boost West and Cen­tral Africa’s ef­forts to ex­ploit its vast gas re­sources by al­low­ing smaller plants to ship gas from less ac­ces­si­ble fields.

A spe­cialised ves­sel owned by Go­lar LNG will dock off­shore Cameroon’s At­lantic coast in the com­ing weeks for test­ing. It will liq­uefy nat­u­ral gas pro­duced in nearby off­shore fields for ship­ment di­rectly over­seas. Rus­sia’s Gazprom has the rights to ship the gas to cus­tomers in Asia, Europe or South Amer­ica.

“De­ploy­ing off­shore liq­ue­fac­tion fa­cil­i­ties by­passes some of the dif­fi­cul­ties as­so­ci­ated with build­ing in­fra­struc­ture on­shore. Some­times, off­shore is sim­ply eas­ier,” said Jean-Bap­tiste Bouzard, sub-Sa­ha­ran an­a­lyst at Wood Macken­zie.

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