Zuckerberg Drops Out Of 10 Richest Men In US

 

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

 

Meta Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg has lost his spot in the list of top 10 richest men in the United States for the first time since 2015, following the astonishing stock price drop in his company in the past year.

This was announced when Forbes released the 41st edition of its list of 400 America’s richest people.

 

The 38-year-old tech titan lost over half of his fortune ($76.8 billion) since September 2021 dropping him from the third richest man in the US to the 11th on the list now worth $57.7 billion, according to the new list released by Forbes on Tuesday.

The company, which has seen its stock price drop 38 percent in the last six months, has also faced increased government scrutiny on many fronts including an FTC antitrust investigation of Zuckerberg’s company.

According to Forbes, he has the cratering stock price of Meta to thank for his exit from the top 10.

The company shares have plunged 57% since last year’s Forbes 400, which used stock prices from September 3, 2021. Tech stocks are generally in a slump with the market downturn, but Meta’s fall outpaces both the Nasdaq (-9.8%) and the S&P 500 (-13.5%), as well as Microsoft’s 14% decline, Google-parent Alphabet‘s 25% drop and Amazon’s 27% dive.

Following the privacy policy update from Apple last year that made it harder for tech companies to track users across apps, impacting Meta’s ad sales, Mark Zgutowicz, an analyst at the research and investment banking firm Benchmark said.

“Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, and now it just doesn’t have that data anymore, All those data signals went away, which means that advertisers are having trouble telling whether a campaign was successful or not,” Zgutowicz stated.

In October 2021, Facebook officially became Meta, since then, their reality labs division has lost $10 billion in 2021, the company announced earlier in the year during its earnings call.

While the metaverse is all Zuckerberg wants to talk about, investors are less enthusiastic so far. “It’s a long tail investment and, for now, it’s kind of a cash suck,” Zgutowicz says.

Compounding Meta’s problems is the lucrative use of TikTok by Gen Z and Millenials, luring away advertisers, from Meta’s Instagram and Facebook.

In February, Meta announced its first-ever quarterly loss of daily active users. An internal report showed that Meta’s TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, is struggling to compete, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Zuckerberg first became a billionaire in 2008 at the age of 23 becoming the youngest self-made billionaire at that time, just four years after founding Facebook. He debuted on the list at No. 321, worth $1.5 billion. By 2011, his net worth had increased nearly 12 fold to $17.5 billion.

 

A photo of the top 3 richest men in the US (L-R) Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and, Bill Gates.

 

On the new Forbes 400 list,  Elon Musk, worth $251 billion reigns supreme, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, worth $151 billion and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth $106 billion compete in the top 3.

Software tycoon Larry Ellison sits at number four with $101 million, just above investor Warren Buffet at $97 billion.

Alphabet co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who also saw their net worth drop, take the fourth and fifth spots. Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer sits at number eight with a worth of $83 billion.

Other than the Tesla CEO, the only other person in the top ten to see their fortune increase is Michael Bloomberg.

The youngest son of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart,  Jim Walton, rounds out the top ten with a worth of $57.9 billion.

India’s Adani Briefly Listed As World’s Second-Richest Person

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 23, 2010, Indian industrialist Gautam Adani speaks during a press conference in Ahmedabad. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY / AFP)

 

 

Indian industrialist Gautam Adani briefly became the world’s second- on the Forbes real-time billionaire tracker on Friday, weeks after becoming the first Asian to break into the top three.

The self-made billionaire’s net worth surged $4 billion overnight to $154 billion, according to Forbes, ranking him ahead of LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Tesla founder Elon Musk remained well out in front with a fortune of more than $270 billion.

Arnault — who at times held the top spot in May 2021 — and Adani traded the number two position during the day as the share prices of their companies fluctuated.

Adani, 60, made his fortune in ports and commodities trading and now operates India’s second-largest conglomerate with interests ranging from coal mining and edible oils to airports and news media.

His ballooning net worth reflects a stratospheric rise in the market capitalisation of his publicly listed companies, as investors back the Adani Group’s aggressive expansion of old and new businesses.

Shares in the flagship Adani Enterprises — of which the billionaire owns 75 percent — have soared more than 2,700 percent since March 2020, and doubled in value in the past six months.

Stock price surges in other group companies including Adani Transmission, Adani Power, Adani Ports and Adani Green Energy catapulted Adani past fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani this year.

Analyst estimates indicated the market capitalisation of Adani’s seven listed companies also briefly overtook those of the Tata group on Friday morning, making the Adani Group India’s largest conglomerate.

Born in the city of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat to a middle-class family, Adani dropped out of college to work in the diamond industry before starting his export business in 1988.

In 1995, he won a contract to build and operate a commercial shipping port at Mundra in Gujarat, which has since grown to become India’s largest port.

At the same time, Adani expanded into thermal power generation and coal mining in India and overseas.

In recent years, the conglomerate has forayed into petrochemicals, cement, data centres and copper refining, in addition to establishing a renewable energy business with ambitious targets.

Recent investments in Indian news media and a bid for 5G airwaves this year have raised speculation that the billionaire’s empire could soon impinge on sectors dominated by Ambani’s Reliance Industries.

But Adani’s rapid expansion into capital-intensive businesses has also raised financial alarms, with Fitch Group’s CreditSights last week reiterating that they “remain concerned over the Adani Group’s leverage”.

Forbes: Amid Economic Troubles, Wealth Of Nigerian Billionaires Grows In 2022

A file photo of billionaires Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga and Abdulsamad Rabiu.
A file photo of billionaires Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga and Abdulsamad Rabiu.

 

Nigerian billionaires improved their ranking in the latest Forbes World’s Billionaire List, which compiles the fortunes of the richest people in the world.

The feat was achieved despite rising prices across the world which have been ignited by the aftershocks of the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote saw his wealth increase from $11.5 billion in 2021 to $14 billion in 2022.

Mike Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, grew his wealth from $6.1 billion to $7.3 billion.

READ ALSO: CBN Fines Four Banks Over N800m For Violating Crypto Policy

Abdulsamad Rabiu, the third Nigerian on the list, also saw his fortunes improve from $4.9 billion to $6.9 billion.

Forbes, in its summary, said “war, pandemic and sluggish markets hit the world’s billionaires this year.

“There are 2,668 of them on Forbes’ 36th-annual ranking of the planet’s richest people—87 fewer than a year ago.

“They’re worth a collective $12.7 trillion—$400 billion less than in 2021.

“The most dramatic drops have occurred in Russia, where there are 34 fewer billionaires than last year following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and China, where a government crackdown on tech companies has led to 87 fewer Chinese billionaires on the list.

“Still, Forbes found more than 1,000 billionaires who are richer than they were a year ago. And 236 newcomers have become billionaires over the past year—including the first ever from Barbados, Bulgaria, Estonia and Uruguay.”

In its estimation, America still leads the world with 735 billionaires worth a collective $4.7 trillion, including Elon Musk, who tops the World’s Billionaires list for the first time.

China (including Macau and Hong Kong) remains number two, with 607 billionaires worth a collective $2.3 trillion.

“We used stock prices and exchange rates from March 11, 2022 to calculate net worths,” Forbes said of its methodology.

Okonjo-Iweala, Mo Abudu Make Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List

File COMBO of Director-General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Ebonylife CEO, Mo Abudu

 

Director-General of the World Trade Organisation( WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and media entrepreneur, Mo Abudu, have been listed by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

The 2021 list is a definitive survey of foremost CEOs and iconic entrepreneurs, pioneer philanthropists, and policymakers who are solving society’s most intractable problems.

Top of the list is philanthropist, author, and ex-wife of Amazon CEO, MacKenzie Scott, with a net worth of US$62.2 billion, owing to a 4% stake in the company.

Okonjo-Iweala, who became the first female boss of the WTO, was ranked 91st on the list for her policies in pushing trade to lift developing countries out of poverty and actualisation of a sustainable development plan.

According to Forbes, Mo Abudu placed 98th for her “deal with Netflix which marked the first time an African media company signed a multi-title film and TV agreement with the streaming giant.”

Also representing the African continent was Tanzania’s sixth president and first-ever female leader, Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Abudu took to her social media accounts to express her gratitude for the inclusion among other pioneers on the list.

“I’m humbled and deeply grateful to be amongst some of the world’s most amazing women, including MacKenzie Scott (no. 1), a novelist, philanthropist, and the third-wealthiest woman in the USA, and Christine Lagarde (no. 3), President of the European Central Bank,” she said.

She also recognised her African female counterparts saying: “Women of colour on the list include US Vice-President Kamala Harris (no. 2,) and Oprah Winfrey, making her umpteenth appearance on this list.”

“There are only three African women on the list: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the WTO (no. 91), Samia Suluhu Hassan, the current President of Tanzania (no. 94).”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mo Abudu (@moabudu)

American singers, Rihanna and Beyonce Knowles ranked 68th and 76th respectively on the list, while tennis superstar Serena was not left out of the list placing 85th.

The list features 40 CEOs, the most since 2015, who oversee a record $3.3 trillion in revenue.

Forbes Rates Ronaldo As First Billionaire Footballer

A file photo of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
A file photo of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo is now the first footballer to reach a billionaire status during his career, according to a rating released by Forbes.

The 35-year-old Portuguese made $105 million before tax in 2019, placing his value over the $1 billion mark.

Ronaldo was named as the fourth-biggest earning celebrity in 2020, trailing tennis star, Roger Federer, rapper Kanye West, and Kylie Jenner.

Argentine and Barcelona player, Lionel Messi was rated fifth and earned $104m in the year under review, according to the magazine.

The former Manchester United man, aside from Tiger Woods and ex-boxer, Floyd Mayweather, is the third athlete ever to accumulate such wealth and the first person to do so in a team sport.

Ronaldo is said to have made $650m in wages in his professional career so far with the rest of his money gotten from endorsements.

Also, the footballer has a fashion and lifestyle brand, hotel chain as well as a museum in his Funchal hometown in Madeira.

The attacker’s earnings were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic when Juventus players accepted a 30 percent pay cut to their salaries.

Even though Messi’s salary reduced due to the pandemic, Forbes is expecting the Argentine to join the billionaire’s club in 2021.

Kylie Jenner Reacts After Being Stripped Of Billionaire Status By Forbes Magazine

 In this file photo TV personality Kylie Jenner attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. ANGELA WEISS / AFP
In this file photo TV personality Kylie Jenner attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. ANGELA WEISS / AFP

 

Forbes now thinks that Kylie Jenner is not a billionaire. The Kardashian-Jenner family member was announced to be a “self-made” billionaire by the magazine in July 2018, the youngest ever.

The 20-year-old cosmetics entrepreneur, who was on the cover of Forbes magazine in July of 2018, at the time claimed that she had accumulated $900 million in three years from Kylie Cosmetics. Forbes said that Jenner owned 100% of the company, and forecasted that her net worth will likely pass $1 billion within 2019.

In a post on Friday, Forbes explained why she was no longer a billionaire, adding that the Jenners would go to any length to be famous.

The magazine, however, noted that Jenner had sold 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics to Coty in a deal valued at $1.2 billion in January 2020, that transaction seemed to confirm that Jenner was a “billionaire—at least before the coronavirus.”

Jenner responded to Forbes’s retraction of her billionaire status on Friday in a series of tweets saying, “What am I even waking up to. I thought this was a reputable site.. all I see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. I’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. Period.

“Even’ creating tax returns that were likely forged’ that’s your proof? So you just THOUGHT they were forged? like actually what am I reading.

“But okay White heart I am blessed beyond my years, I have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and I’m doing perfectly fine.”

“I can name a list of 100 things more important right now than fixating on how much money I have”.

 

In vindicating themselves from any of the blame, Forbes stated “Of course, white lies, omissions and outright fabrications are to be expected from the family that perfected—then monetized—the concept of “famous for being famous.

“But, similar to Donald Trump’s decades-long obsession with his net worth, the unusual lengths to which the Jenners have been willing to go—including inviting Forbes into their mansions and CPA’s offices, and even creating tax returns that were likely forged—reveals just how desperate some of the ultra-rich are to look even richer.”

Federer Tops List Of Highest-Paid Athletes, Ronaldo Second

In this file photo taken on February 07, 2020 Switzerland's Roger Federer reacts after his victory against Spain's Rafael Nadal during their tennis match at The Match in Africa at the Cape Town Stadium, in Cape Town. RODGER BOSCH / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 07, 2020 Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts after his victory against Spain’s Rafael Nadal during their tennis match at The Match in Africa at the Cape Town Stadium, in Cape Town. RODGER BOSCH / AFP

 

Roger Federer topped the 2020 Forbes magazine list of highest-paid global athletes announced Friday, leading the lineup for the first time with pre-tax earnings of $106.3 million (95.5 million euros).

The Swiss tennis legend, a men’s record 20-time Grand Slam singles champion, becomes the first player from his sport atop the annual list since its 1990 debut, rising from fifth in 2019.

Federer’s haul over the past 12 months included $100 million from appearances fees and endorsement deals plus $6.3 million in prize money. His previous best showing was second in 2013.

“His brand is pristine, which is why those that can afford to align with him clamor to do so,” University of Southern California sports business professor David Carter told the magazine.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic that shut down sports worldwide caused the first decline since 2016 in the total income of the world’s 100 top-paid athletes, a 9% dip from last year to $3.6 billion. Another plunge is expected next year from the shutdown.

Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo was second on the list at $105 million, $60 million in salary and $45 million from endorsements, with Argentine football hero Lionel Messi third on $104 million, $32 million of that from sponsorship deals.

Messi and Ronaldo, who have traded the top spot three of the past four years, saw their combined incomes dip $28 million from last year due to salary cuts when European clubs halted play in March.

Brazilian footballer Neymar was fourth overall on $95.5 million, $25 million from endorsements, while NBA star LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers was fifth on $88.2 million, $60 million of that from endorsements.

NBA star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was sixth on $74.4 million with former teammate Kevin Durant next on $63.9 million.

Tiger Woods, the reigning Masters champion and a 15-time major winner, was eighth on the list and tops among golfers at $62.3 million, all but $2.3 million from sponsor deals.

Woods topped the Forbes list a record 12 times before an infidelity scandal helped end his run.

Two NFL quarterbacks rounded out the top 10 with Kirk Cousins ninth at $60.5 million and Carson Wentz 10th on $59.1 million.

The top 100 featured athletes from 21 nations and 10 sports. More NBA players made the list than those from any other sport at 35, but 31 NFL players made the cut, up from 19 from last year, and they pulled down the most money of any league, aided by finishing the season before the deadly virus outbreak.

Major League Baseball, whose start to the 2020 campaign was postponed by the virus outbreak, put only one player on the list after 15 in 2019. The lone MLB player was Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who was 57th at $27.3 million with only $750,000 from endorsements.

Spanish footballer Carlos Ramos, the Real Madrid captain, was last among the 100 on $21.8 million, including $3 million in endorsements.

Two women, tennis stars Naomi Osaka of Japan and Serena Williams of the United States, made the list, the most females on it since 2016. Osaka ranked 29th overall on $37.4 million ($34 million in endorsements), four spots ahead of Williams with $36 million ($32 million in endorsements).

Federer pitchman magic

Federer, 38, boasts the biggest sponsorship lineup among active athletes with Moet & Chandon and Barilla among those paying from $3 to $30 million to link him with their brands.

Federer, who spent a record 310 weeks as world number one, reached 18 of 19 Grand Slam finals from 2005-2010.

Only Woods has joined Federer in making $100 million in sponsor deals in a single year.

Federer’s newest deal is with Swiss running shoe On, where he is an investor, but several sponsors have been with him for more than a decade, including Rolex, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, and Wilson.

A split with Nike in 2018 opened Federer to Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo’s 10-year deal worth $300 million.

Kylie Jenner On Track To Become America’s Youngest Billionaire – Forbes

Kylie Jenner

 

Aged just 20 and the youngest member of the extended reality-TV Kardashian clan, Kylie Jenner is on track to become America’s youngest “self-made” billionaire, Forbes revealed on Wednesday.

The young mother, who gave birth to daughter Stormi in February, set up Kylie Cosmetics two years ago and the company has already sold more than $630 million worth of makeup, the magazine said.

Forbes conservatively valued her company at $800 million and raised her overall worth to $900 million by throwing in earnings from television programs, endorsements and after-tax dividends.

Jenner owns 100 per cent of the company, which started out with a $29 “lip kit” — matching set of lipstick and lip liner that traded on her trademark pout.

She’s already the youngest person on Forbes’ list of richest self-made US women and another year of growth would make her the youngest self-made billionaire ever, beating Mark Zuckerberg, who crossed the threshold at the age of 23.

“Thank you @Forbes for this article and the recognition. I’m so blessed to do what I love every day,” she tweeted next to a photograph of the cover story.

Her success has been attributed to her fame and ability to leverage social media. She has more than 110 million followers on Instagram, 25.6 million on Twitter and 16.4 million follow her company directly.

Forbes said the firm has only seven full-time and five part-time employees, with manufacturing, packaging and sales outsourced, and momager Kris handling the business side in exchange for a 10-per cent management cut.

“As ultralight startups go, Jenner’s operation is essentially air. And because of those minuscule overhead and marketing costs, the profits are outsize and go right into Jenner’s pocket,” Forbes wrote.

Jenner is the youngest daughter of Kris and Caitlyn, formerly Olympic gold medalist Bruce. Her sister is supermodel Kendall. Her half-sisters are Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian.

Reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” launched when Kylie was 10 years old. Aged 17, she trademarked the phrase “Kylie Lip Kits… for the perfect pout.”

Forbes said she used $250,000 earned from modelling to pay a company to produce the first 15,000 lip kits, which she spent months teasing on Instagram. They sold out in less than a minute at the November 2015 launch.

That May, Jenner had admitted to having temporary lip fillers. On Sunday, she revealed on Instagram that she had ditched them.

AFP

Mark Wahlberg Tops Highest Paid Actor List

Mark Wahlberg soared to the top of the world’s highest paid actors on an annual Forbes magazine list that highlighted a huge disparity between male and female Hollywood stars.

Wahlberg, 46, earned an estimated $68 million in 2017 thanks to his pay days for movies ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ and ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’, according to the Forbes ranking released on Tuesday.

The rapper-turned-actor knocked 2016 leader Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson into second place, with estimated 2017 earnings of $65 million.

Forbes estimates earnings, before taxes and management fees, from movies, TV and commercial endorsements.

The Forbes list again highlighted Hollywood’s gender pay gap. Last week, the magazine named “La La Land” Oscar winner Emma Stone as the world’s highest paid actress with an estimated 2017 take of $26 million.

Forbes said the 10 highest-paid leading men earned a combined $488.5 million before tax in its June 2016-June 2017 scoring period, nearly three times more than the $172.5 million earned by the top 10 scoring women.

Forbes attributed the disparity to the prevalence of superhero and action blockbusters that earn big at the box office for Hollywood studios but tend to have fewer leading roles for women.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star Johnny Depp, who for years has been among the top five paid actors, did not make the top 20 this year, Forbes said.

Depp is currently embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with his former business managers who have detailed what they describe as his lavish spending habits.

Last December, before the May 2017 release of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean; Dead Men Tell No Tales’, Forbes named Depp the most overpaid actor for a second straight year as films such as ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ and ‘Mortdecai’ did not fare well.

Three of Bollywood’s biggest stars – Shah Rukh Khan ($38 million), Salman Khan ($37 million) and Akshay Kumar ($35.5 million) took the 8th, 9th and 10th places on the Forbes list, respectively.

Reuters

Emma Stone Tops Forbes’ Highest-Paid Actress List

Fresh off winning her first Oscar, actress Emma Stone ousted Jennifer Lawrence on Wednesday to claim the top spot on Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s highest-paid actresses.

Stone, 28, who won best actress for her role as a struggling actress in “La La Land,” made $26 million in pre-tax earnings, according to Forbes’ calculations over a 12-month period from June 2016 to June 2017.

She outpaced Jennifer Aniston, 48, who came in at No. 2 this year with earnings of $25.5 million, with residual income still coming in from the television sitcom “Friends” and endorsement deals with brands such as SmartWater and Emirates Airline.

Lawrence, 27, who topped the Forbes list for two consecutive years, dropped to No. 3 this year with earnings of $24 million, almost half of her prior year’s earnings of $46 million.

The actress, who has spoken out on equal pay for women in Hollywood, saw her earnings dip this year after the conclusion of the “Hunger Games” franchise, but continues to make money from movie deals and an endorsement deal with fashion brand Christian Dior.

Forbes compiles its annual celebrity earnings lists from box office and Nielsen data, as well as from interviews with industry insiders.

The top-ten list also includes Charlize Theron, Emma Watson and Melissa McCarthy. Forbes said no stars from Asia made the cut this year.

Forbes said the cumulative total earned by the world’s top ten highest-paid actresses – $172.5 million – was down 16 percent from the previous year.

Last year, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid actors at $64.5 million, more than double the amount made by Stone this year. Forbes is expected to release its list of top-earning male actors later this week.

Real Madrid, World’s Most Valuable Sports Team – Forbes

Real MadridSpanish La Liga giant, Real Madrid, has topped an annual Forbes list of the World’s Most valuable sports teams.

According to Forbes, the UEFA Champions League winner is worth an estimated $3.44bn (£2bn).

The top three slots are occupied by football clubs, with Real Madrid’s La Liga rival, Barcelona in second place at $3.2bn, and English Premier League side, Manchester United third, with a value of $2.81bn.

Major League Baseball team, the New York Yankees are in fourth spot, valued at $2.5bn while NFL American Football side, the Dallas Cowboys, worth $2.3bn.

MLB side, the New York Mets are one of three teams that dropped off this year’s list of the top 50 with NFL side Oakland Raiders and Formula One team, McLaren, the other two familiar names that dropped from the list

Forbes calculated the value of the teams based on equity, debt and stadium deals and the average value of the top 50 teams which is $1.34bn, an 8% increase on last year.

NFL teams makes up 60% of the top 50 slots, occupying 30 places.

The 20 non-NFL teams in the top 50 include six from MLB, eight from football, four from the NBA, one from the National Hockey League (ice hockey league) and one from Formula 1.

 

Poverty Is Not An Industry, We Will Not Grow It – Agric Minister

Sunrise Ag Min AdesinaNigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, says producing healthy food and creating wealth for Nigerians remain his top priority, irrespective of activities of those bent on importing food, as poverty is not an industry that should be allowed to grow.

The Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2013, made this declaration on Channels Television on Monday, where he was the guest of Sunrise Daily to discuss developments in Nigeria’s Agriculture sector.

He took off by defending a circular released by his ministry on October 29, 2013, which announced a restructuring of the fishing industry in Nigeria but which had been misconstrued to be a total clampdown on the importation of fish in Nigeria.

He said that he did not think Nigeria has a business importing a lot of fish, let alone spending 127billion Naira doing so. He explained that the decision was aimed at making sure that Nigeria harnessed its potentials, owing to the abundance of water in the country.

The Minister also described the discovery of a lot of fishy business in the fish importation sector, claiming that the bad practices ware killing the local industry and sending the local fishermen into extinction.

He revealed that some of the major players in the old system of fish importing have tried to fight the reform by trying to create scarcity and force the Government to rescind its decision but he would not allow it. He said, “Poverty is not an industry, we are not going to grow it”.

He, however, clarified that the ministry did not ban the import of fish but only decided to start regulating it, having been the only country that was not doing that.

He said that the main idea was to develop and grow the industry within, explaining that aquaculture is a large industry for Nigeria by its massive water which goes beyond just fishing. He added that Nigeria should be a net exporter of many things as God has blessed the country with the natural endowment in land and water.

Speaking on the trolling industry generally, he said that there was a lot of illegal fishing in the country’s territorial waters. He made reference to the recent arrest of illegal Asian fishermen by the Nigerian Navy during the week as proof of how much the country was losing to illegal activities.

Mr Adesina also alleged that Nigeria’s abandonment of the fishing industry had given chance to the conversion of fishing terminal to serve irrelevant purposes like storing petroleum products. He wondered how things could have degenerated into such situation.

The environmental issues also came to the fore as the Sunrise team emphasized the issue of the cleanliness of Nigeria’s waters. He, however, said that the situation in this area is not as bad as it seemed, owing to the several moves being made by the Federal Government through his ministry to clean up the waters, including dredging the inland waters.

He gave an assurance that all abandoned fishing terminals across the country would be revived. Revealing that President Jonathan had given him the freehand to execute the reforms found paramount to the growth of the industry, Adesina said, “The days of abandoning the fishing industry is over.”

The Minister brought focus to the sensitivity of his reforms to the grassroots. With particular emphasis on the women in fishing communities who are into the business, he spoke about the plan to get financing to build cold rooms and ensure that they provide common services to the local trollers to protect them from being dependent on importers.

“Everything Agriculture in Nigeria is private sector driven today, Government is out of it. The role of Government is simple, their role is to develop good policies, regulations and incentives”, he said.

Security

Adesina is not taking the security of Nigerian waters for granted. Piracy to him is a major factor, smuggling is also another issue which is being perpetrated with connivance with external bodies and the Ministry, according to the Minister, has been working with the Navy and has also established partnership with Interpol to sanitize the system.

He admitted that there is no way any system in the world can have a 100% loyal adherence to reform measures but he believes that there are other ways to also support the security measure being taken, including reducing the cost of doing the business legitimately and therefore making the legal route more attractive.

He insisted that the ministry would not compromise on its decision not to tolerate the rot in the fishing sector.

Rice Tariff Policy

Despite a new rice tariff policy, Nigeria still has a large volume of imported rice being sold in its markets. Mr Adesina said that in this regard, “Some of our neighbours are not cooperating with us when it comes to the issue of fiscal policy”, as there were a lot of noncompliance at the Seme Border. However, there were still plans for a reviewed rice tariff policy.

He also gave detailed explanation of how he intends to increase Nigeria’s local wheat production, cultivating a new variety of the crop to reach a production of 1.8 million metric tons over the next 3 years, a figure that shows the capacity to end Nigeria’s current importation of 4million metric tons of wheat which costs 5billion dollars a year.

This system, he said is being adopted on other crops, including rice.

He allayed fears that Nigerian farmers were being made to grow genetically modified seeds, but that the system was to go for enhanced seeds based on conventional technology. This was in response to a question raised by a social media follower of Channels TV.

He, however, said that this was not to mean that bio-technology was not going to be adopted where deemed necessary.

Criticisms

There are said to be allegations that the Agriculture Minister has not paid enough attention to the small scale farmers in Nigeria.

“That is not true” he said. Explaining that there are different categories of farmers based on their size and roles in the sector, he said that what they had done was to optimise across all the different categories.

He cited the President’s approval of the distribution of high yielding cocoa seeds and other crops for small scale farmers who are already experiencing turnarounds in their businesses across the country.

He further explained the importance of large scale farmers to the sector, emphasizing how the policies he introduced have helped raise high investments in the sector, particularly with Nigerian Businessman, Aliko Dangote announcing at the World Economic Summit earlier in the year that he had put about 300million Naira into rice growing and milling in Nigeria, an investment he admitted he never imagined he would find reasonable but for the reforms in the sector.

Mr Adesina is conscious of areas where he had been most criticized, which is on his Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, which has been berated for focusing on smaller farmers. He equated the concept of his execution of the reform to the pyramid structure in which the bottom is larger.

He said that there were more people at the bottom and this justifies his decision to start from the bottom, as this was surer guarantee of making impact on the sector.