Tomato Jos, an agricultural production company, says it has “commenced” a $5 million tomato processing plant in Kaduna state. The firm made the announcement via its Twitter handle on Monday. The company, which operates a commercial farm system, boasts of producing seven times the national yield of tomatoes in the country in the last five years. Its model, it said, is to help smallholder farmers to grow excellent tomatoes and convert those tomatoes to make high-quality tomato paste. It gives support to partner farmers during the growing season, and a guaranteed fair, consistent price when their crops are ready for harvest. In a video documentary, Mira Mehta, the company’s MD, said the factory will produce 85 tonnes of tomatoes daily.

The Lagos State Government has announced a ban on the activities of commercial motorcycles, and tricycles in some LGAs, bridges, and highways in the state. The ban, which also includes, ride-hailing services; Opay and Gokada operators, will be fully enforced from 1 February 2020. The announcement was contained in a tweet by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s spokesman, Jubril Gawat, on Monday. Among the 15 Local Governments and Local Council Development Centres affected are Apapa, Apapa Iganmu, Lagos Mainland, Yaba, Surulere, Itire Ikate, Coker Aguda, Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikeja, Onigbongo, Ojodu, Ikoyi-Obalende, Iru Ikoyi-Obalande, and Lagos Island East. The ban, Omotosho said, is the first stage of the state government’s plan to sanitise its “roads and protect Lagosians from the negative effects of these illegal modes of transportation.”

NLNG and Italian energy major, Eni, have entered a deal for the supply of 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year. The volumes will be supplied on both a free-on-board and delivered ex-ship basis for 10 years from Trains 1, 2 and 3 of a six-train NLNG production facility on Bonny Island. The deal follows a similar deal with France’s Total announced last week and a 0.5 million tonnes per year deal with commodity trader Vitol signed in December. NLNG last year began remarketing LNG volumes from the first three trains as initial sales contracts with key buyers including Turkey’s Botas and Portugal’s Energia expire this year and next. Eni already signed up for 1.1 million mt/year last December, while global trader Vitol also agreed late last year a 10-year deal for 0.5 million mt/year. NLNG, a joint venture between state-owned NNPC, 49 percent, Shell, 25.6 percent, Total, 15 percent and Eni, 10.4 percent, currently has a production capacity of some 22.5 million mt/year but plans to increase it to 30 million mt/year with the addition of a seventh train. According to Eni, the two deals with NLNG would allow it, from 2021, to “increase its global LNG portfolio and to support further the development of its presence in the main destination markets worldwide.”

Banks in Nigeria are cutting lending rates to attract more borrowers. The measure is to raise profitability as yields from government securities – Treasury Bills and Bonds – drop and to meet the 65 percent Loan to Deposit Ratio target set by the CBN. Analysts at Afrinvest said the lending rates are trending downwards, with many Tier-1 banks competing for profitable borrowers and cutting down rates. According to the Afrinvest GMD, Ike Chioke, the banking sector has given out ₦1.5 trillion as loans following the implementation of the LDR policy. He added that the CBN is likely to further raise the LDR to 70 percent to boost lending to the private sector. The monetary regulator had recently slashed non-interest income- commission and fees- seen as major revenue channels for banks. Chioke said the lending rates to individuals have dropped from between 20 and 25 per cent to 15 percent and below. It will continue to dip as banks compete for credible borrowers with ability and willingness to repay their loans. However, the Afrinvest boss added that increase in loans is a positive feedback in growing the economy, and the Non-Performing Loans rate will not rise until next year when most of the loans will be due for repayment. The DMBs have been mandated by the CBN to give out 65 percent of deposits as loans, threatening to raise the CRR of erring banks.