Nigerian government most difficult client, says AfDB official

A Senior Special Adviser to the President of the African Development Bank, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, on Tuesday, described the Federal Government as the bank’s most difficult client.

He said this while delivering a keynote address at 2022, 3rd Biennial African Scientific Integration Network Conference hosted by the Centre for Energy Research and Development, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state.

The AfDB boss delivered a paper virtually on the topic, ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development.’

While responding to questions on what the bank was doing to assist the growth of industries in Nigeria, he made specific reference to a loan facility that the Board of the bank approved for Nigeria and how the Federal Government delayed its approval. He said, “I can tell you we have many projects in Nigeria and I am leading one of them. For the Special Arrangement Industrial Processing Loan, we raised $540m for each zone in Nigeria.

“We raised it, and the board of the AfDB approved it on December 13 but the Ministry of Finance did not sign until June 1. We were begging them to sign. By the way, this loan has less than a one per cent interest rate for 25 years and an eight-year moratorium.  It is like someone is giving you money for free.

“Other countries have just one zone and they have been calling to thank us, thank the president, thank everyone for what you have done for us, but in Nigeria, you will be asked why you are pushing too much. We were supposed to launch the project by March 1. The Nigerian government is the most difficult client.”

Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor, OAU, Prof. Simeon Bamire, said the prevalent global environment was creating challenges for poor, small, landlocked, as well as resource-dependent economies. He then charged the conference to seek to identify these challenges and attempt to proffer solutions to them.…

Why Emefiele was not sacked as CBN governor – Buhari

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari said the presidential bid of Godwin Emefiele did not affect his role Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Emefiele sought to be the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and drew widespread criticisms for being partisan while heading the CBN.

While critics called for Emefiele’s sacking, Buhari said such decisions do not rest solely on him as Nigeria’s President.

“The CBN governor is appointed by the President. But this appointment is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Senate,” Buhari said as quoted in a Q&A with Bloomberg.

Among other conditions for the removal of a sitting CBN governor, the CBN Act did not list political participation as part of the grounds for the removal of a CBN governor which some of Emefiele’s critics pointed to.

Buhari said such decisions can only be determined by the board of directors of the CBN.

“Ultimately, it will be for the CBN’s board of directors to determine whether a CBN governor’s actions have fallen foul of the laws in place to ensure he can most effectively carry out his duties,” Buhari said.

The president, however, noted that “there is a subtext to the accusations” of Emefiele being unfit to remain CBN governor.

“Because the governor follows a model outside of the economic orthodoxy, he is labelled political. But the orthodoxy has proved wrong time and again,” Buhari said.

“Instead, the governor is following an alternative economic model that puts people at the heart of policy. Nigeria should be free to choose its development model and how to construct our economy, so it functions for Nigerians.”

Emefiele stepped down his presidential ambition before the APC presidential primary election that was won by former Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu in early June.

The CBN governor also withdrew a suit against the attorney-general and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over an alleged plan to disqualify him from contesting for the office of Nigeria’s president.…

Airlines give date to commence sale of tickets in Dollars in Nigeria

Some foreign airlines are scheduled to commence the sale of tickets in Dollars in Nigeria beginning from April 19, 2022.

This was announced by APG Nigeria in an advisory to its travel partners, titled: “APG IET: Restrictions of Sales in US dollars.”

APG is the largest and most successful passenger and ​cargo GSA and airline representation company in the world with offices around the world, including Europe, Africa and Middle East.

The advisory read: “Dear travel partners, warm greetings from APG.

“This is to bring to your notice that with effect from April 19, 2022, GP would only accept issuing of tickets in US dollars and not Naira.

“This is mainly due to repatriation issues and Forex situation in the country.

“This would most likely be a temporary measure till the Forex situation improves.

“Our sincere apologies for any inconveniences this may cause you and your business.

“Thank you for understanding.”…

Zenith Bank shareholders express delight over N97.33b dividend

Shareholders of Zenith Bank Plc at the 31st Annual General Meeting of the bank have unanimously approved and expressed delight at the the proposed final dividend payment of N2.80 per share, which brings the total dividend for the 2021 financial year to N3.10 per share with a total value of NGN97.33 billion.

The approval and expression of delight at the dividend payment was made on Wednesday in Lagos at the bank’s AGM.

In his statement, the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia, thanked the shareholders for their unflinching loyalty, which has enabled the bank to rise to the pinnacle of the nation’s financial services industry, and assured them of the bank’s commitment to consistently deliver superior value to them.

Speaking on the bank’s performance, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “If you look at the bank’s history over the years, Zenith Bank has always grown, and even within the pandemic, we have maintained a reasonable positive growth trajectory. “Growth is coming from the fact that we are deploying our digital capability to grow more businesses, simplify our service processes, make our processes more efficient, and deal with customers’ complaints.

“Apart from developing new products, we are discovering new business verticals, especially within the retail segment, which have significant revenue.

“Meeting the expectation of shareholders means we have to work harder.

“The team is dodged, hardworking, resilient, and above all, we have a very supportive board that comes with superior guidance.”

Commenting on the dividend payout, the Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, expressed the delight of shareholders over the consistent payment of dividends by Zenith Bank, noting that the bank’s shares remain the toast of investors because the bank has never failed to pay dividends to shareholders.

Also speaking on behalf of shareholders, the President of the Association of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Dr. Faruk Umar, said: “The bank is doing very well.

“All the ratios and indices have gone up.

“And more importantly, while we were …

Two Bankers withdraw customer’s N47.4m with their own ATMs

A Kano State High Court presided over by Justice Maryam Sabo has granted bail on stringent conditions to two bankers: Nuhu Demba and Mohammed Abdullahi Musa, who allegedly conspired and stole the sum of N47,452,055.45 from the account of one Mailafia Mohammed.

The case, being handled by the Economic and Financial Crimes, was reported via a petition by the victim and complainant.

The petitioner alleged that on February 6, 2021, he was attacked in his house by armed men who took away his mobile phone.

Mohammed said on February 8, 2021, he reported the incident to the branch of his bank where he maintains a savings account and was advised to continue using his account as nothing would happen. He further alleged that on February 18, 2021, he went to withdraw money and was informed that there was no money in the account.

He subsequently requested for his account statement and discovered that N47,452,055.45 was fraudulently withdrawn from it through the use of Automated Teller Machine cards.

The EFCC said investigation revealed that Musa and Demba stole the said monies from the complainant’s account through ATM and Point of Sale withdrawals.

It said the defendants perpetrated the fraud by using their positions to obtain ATM cards without going through due process and without the knowledge of the account holder.

Upon arraignment on February 10, 2022, they pleaded not guilty and the matter was adjourned to February 14, 2022 for ruling on the bail application.

Justice Sabo granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N10 million each, out of which a cash sum of N5 million shall be deposited in the court’s registry.

They are also to provide one surety each with landed property within the jurisdiction of the court worth N15 million.

The matter has been adjourned till March 23, 2022 for the commencement of trial.…

Nigeria owes China $3b, says World Bank

The total amount of money owed to the Chinese government by the Federal Government as at March last year rose to $3.121 billion (N1,126.68 trillion at USD/N361).

The amount represents only 3.94 per cent of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.21 billion as at September 2021.

Similarly, in terms of external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28 per cent  of the External Debt Stock of USD27.67 billion as at the same date.

According to document from World Bank, the  total borrowing from China of USD3.121 billion as at March 31, 2020, are concessional loans with interest rates of 2.50 per cent per annum with a  tenor of 20 years and grace period (moratorium) of seven years.

“These terms are compliant with the provisions of Section 41 (1a) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. In addition, the low interest rate reduces the interest cost to government while the long tenor enables the repayment of the principal sum of the loans over many years. These two benefits, make the provisions for debt service in the annual budget lower than they would otherwise have been if the loans were on commercial terms,” the document said.

The $3.121 billion loans, the document explained, are project-tied loans.

The projects, (11 in number as at March 31, 2020), include: Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna section), Abuja Light Rail Project, Nigerian Four Airport Terminals Expansion Project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt), Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan section) and Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi Road Project.

The document added: “The impact of these loans is not only evident but visible. For instance, the Idu-Kaduna Rail Line has become a major source of transportation between Abuja and Kaduna. Also, the new International Airport in Abuja, has improved air transportation for the populace, while the Lagos-Ibadan Rail line when completed, will ease traffic on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“The projects also have the added benefits of job creation, not only by themselves but through direct and indirect service providers, a number of which are Small and …

Wigwe, Emefiele honoured with Juris Law Award

The Chairman, Body of Bank CEOs and Group Managing Director of Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe, has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to Corporate Governance and Rule of Law in Nigeria’s Banking Industry.

Wigwe was presented the Juris Law Award by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad at the 2021 Judges Workshop on Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020 which held on Tuesday, 12 October 2021 in Abuja.

Also honored with an award was the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. The Juris Law Award is presented in honor of leaders who are taking significant steps towards promoting economic growth in Nigeria through deepening institutions, corporate governance and Rule of Law.

Accepting the award, Wigwe stated that he was honored to receive the award, adding that “through innovative banking initiatives and our underlying sustainability drive, Access Bank will continue to create shared value for all our stakeholders, striking a balance between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility.”

Wigwe and Emefiele have partnered in the creation of several positive socio-economic initiatives such as the Creative Industries and Financing Initiative; a loan scheme developed to provide access to long-term and low-interest financing for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. In addition, Wigwe, Emefiele and Aliko Dangote were key parties in the formation of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) – a vehicle created to spearhead corporate Nigeria’s support for the federal government’s fight against the deadly virus. The successful coalition funded the establishment of response centers,  acquisition of medical equipment, supplies and food palliatives for vulnerable Nigerians.

The 2021 Judges Workshop on Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020 focused on reforms and the statutory requirements imposed by CBN on all banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria to adopt policies on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and cyber security in Nigeria.

Also in attendance of the workshop were the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF); Abubakar Malami (SAN); the Appeal Court President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen; the Chief Judge of the Federal …

BBNaija season 6 cost over N4 billion – Organizers

Big Brother Naija organizers have announced that the show’s sixth season cost N4.3 million to air.

Multichoice Nigeria CEO, John Ugbe revealed the staggering cost alongside news that 12,000 people were hired for the production during the prize presentation ceremony which held on Monday, October 4.

“We employed 12,000 persons for this show, it cost us N4.3 billion to air this show this year,” Ugbe said. “We use BBNaija to enrich lives and contribute positively to society. We hope to continue to do so.”

Recall that it had previously been announced that the show amassed one billion votes. Ugbe further disclosed that in the final weeks of the season, 300 million votes were recorded.

Season six’s impressive data comes amid heavy criticism from fans. Barely a week to the finale, fans had threatened to kick start a campaign against organizers. However, the show not only sailed through its many hurdles but did so with astounding success markers. Meanwhile the show’s latest winner, Whitemoney got presented his N30 million prize money alongside keys to an apartment and a top-of-the-line SUV.

Naira falls at parallel market against Dollar, Pound, Euro

The Naira on Thursday dipped further at the parallel market in Lagos against the dollar.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had a few months ago stopped the sale of FOREX to Bureau De Change operators.

It cited regulatory infractions by some of the members of the currency traders.

However, the impact of the ban is far from strengthening the naira against the dollar.

It lost N6 from N562 traded on Wednesday to exchange at N568 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N774 and N660 respectively.

Trading at the official Investors and Exporters window saw the Naira closing at N410 to the dollar as at Wednesday, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N567.67 and N485.53 respectively.

Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria also showed the Naira exchanged at 0.739 Kobo  to the CFA.

NAN reports that while the CBN is working hard to reduce inflation, experts believe a lot needs to be done in the management of the exchange rate.…

CBN refunds Nigerians N82b for failed bank transactions

Reprieve may have come the way of commercial bank customers, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has facilitated their repayment of N82.2 billion for failed transactions. The apex bank said the recovery was based on verified complaints as of June this year.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made the disclosure yesterday in Calabar at the CBN Fair, observed that since customers have rights to redress, they should, without fail, report infractions.

He said: “Oftentimes, there have been sundry issues. Once we get these complaints, we investigate and if the issues are found to be true, we make sure refunds are made. As of June 2021, we have facilitated the refund of N82.2 billion to customers.”

Represented by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN boss explained that “as of June 2021, not less than 23, 536 complaints were received from which N82.2 billion was refunded.”

He charged customers to always provide factual information to enable the apex bank fact-find.

Emefiele said the CBN was undertaking 37 interventions in the areas of credit, health, commercial agriculture, real and electricity market stabilization sectors, among others.

“During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we realized that the global economy was shut down, with families and businesses affected.

“The first thing CBN did was to roll out some interventions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and businesses. It was a health crisis, and we needed to up our game in terms of health infrastructure,” he stated.

On the exhibition, Emefiele said the event “is to create awareness on our policies, intervention, and programs, as well as getting feedback from Nigerians on how they are impacting their lives and businesses.”

He submitted that with the establishment of SANEF Agent Bankers, about 95 percent of Nigerians would have a bank account opened by 2023, but advised customers to demand ‘Agent Certificate’ from anyone who claims to be a agent.…

Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire to strengthen maritime trade – NPA MD

The Nigerian Ports Authority on Thursday expressed its readiness to strengthen relations with the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire in the areas of port and shipping operations.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, acting managing director of NPA, stated this in a statement signed by Mr Olaseni Alakija, NPA’s general manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, in Lagos.

Bello-Koko made the statement when he received a delegation from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, who paid him a courtesy visit at the NPA corporate headquarters in Marina, Lagos.

He said the relations would focus more on strengthening the capacities of both countries to participate competitively in global and regional trade. “The Nigerian government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has introduced far-reaching reforms to facilitate cross-border trade, particularly nurturing a multimodal port system to reduce the cost of shipments in and out of the country.

“The Buhari-administration has also invested heavily in major public infrastructure upgrades, including construction of modern rail lines and deep seaports, to boost the international competitiveness of the country’s trade.

“This will also position Nigeria as a gateway to the African economy,” he said.

Bello-Koko said one of the Greenfield Ports – the Lekki Deep Seaport, capable of handling ultra large cargo vessels, would commence business by the second quarter of 2022.

He also highlighted efforts by the Authority to give priority to non-oil export trade.

According to him, export processing terminals are now being established to take advantage of opportunities under African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).

He urged the Ivorian government and business sector to increase their share of trade with Nigeria.

The managing director assured the delegation that NPA would address non-tariff barriers and restrictions to trade between the two countries.

He added that there was room for information sharing, just as both countries needed to cooperate more in the areas of joint training of staff and technology transfer.

The NPA boss solicited the support of Republic of Cote d’Ivoire towards Nigeria’s candidate emerging as the next Secretary-General of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA).

He …

World Bank commends Gov. Bello over refund of $4.63m surplus funds

The World Bank has commended Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for refunding $4.63 million surplus funds under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management project.

The World Bank commended Bello in a letter of appreciation by its Regional Director, Shubham Chaudhuri.

It described the step as a sign of good leadership.

According to the World Bank, the action by the Governor has made it possible for the organization to extend its projects to other States facing deficit funds and to extend the closing date of its projects.

The World Bank has commended Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for refunding $4.63 million surplus funds under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management project.

The World Bank commended Bello in a letter of appreciation by its Regional Director, Shubham Chaudhuri.

It described the step as a sign of good leadership.

According to the World Bank, the action by the Governor has made it possible for the organization to extend its projects to other States facing deficit funds and to extend the closing date of its projects.

“This action was made possible by your Excellency’s leadership, and its timeliness helped the Bank’s decision to extend the closing date of the project from June 30, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

“The returned surplus funds will ensure that other States facing a deficit of funds are able to complete their civil works, while Kogi state focuses on completing its approved ongoing works.

“We look forward to your continued leadership in following up on the progress and completion of such works.

“We trust the project can be brought to an orderly closure in your state, while achieving its intended objective and contributing to transforming lives and alleviating poverty.

“We also take this opportunity to request that you kindly also expedite the issuance of a required Letter of Comfort.”…

Boomplay announces partnership with Turntable Charts

The ranking of music will provide music lovers access to collaborative content which seeks to recognize the top songs and artistes across the country.

Speaking during the announcement, Tosin Sorinola, Director of Artiste and Media Relations at Boomplay stated that this partnership affirms the company’s commitment towards the advancement and growth of music across Africa, “With this new partnership, we are bringing Boomplay’s leadership in digital music across Africa together with TurnTable’s definitive music chart to give creators, artists and fans access to even more credible statistics that they can rely on.”

This agreement is a natural extension of our music strategy to bring exciting music experiences to fans across Africa while helping them to find the hottest, most popular music hits and singles from all musical genres in Nigeria,” she concluded.

Her sentiments were echoed by Ayomide Oriowo, co-Editor-in-Chief of TurnTable Charts, “This new partnership is a landmark for TurnTable Charts as a music chart publication as it represents our first direct agreement with a DSP operating in Nigeria. The partnership makes the data points used for our charts better and bigger. Additionally, it offers an opportunity to provide better platform-specific analytics and reports.

“Finally, with Boomplay as the largest music streaming service in Nigeria, this is the first step to creating genre charts that puts the spotlight on other genres of music beyond popular music in Nigeria as well as an albums chart that gives the performance of albums across all platform. We are delighted to have Boomplay as a partner

The TurnTable Top 50 is the publication’s biggest music chart – the first ever standard aggregate music chart in Nigeria that combines radio airplay, TV airplay, freemium streaming and now Boomplay data, the most credible and a true reflection of what music lovers are listening to in the country.

TurnTable Charts publishes weekly music charts in Nigeria, mostly based on Friday to Thursday tracking.

About Boomplay

Boomplay is a music streaming and download service provided by Transsnet Music Limited. The company

FIRS makes historic tax haul, rakes in N650b in June

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has raked in over N650 billion in June 2021, the highest revenue realized in a single month since the COVID-19 pandemic started and the assumption of office of the current management.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Nami stated: “This feat was achieved as a result of the efficiency and effectiveness of the TaxProMax Solution, notwithstanding the challenges and resistance faced in the early stages of its adoption, and the downturn orchestrated by slow economic recovery.”

Nami recalled that as part of its efforts at modernizing tax administration in the country, the FIRS recently introduced the Tax Administration Solution (TaxProMax) for ease of tax compliance.

He had noted that the Solution “enables seamless registration, filing, payment of taxes and automatic credit of withholding tax as well as other credits to the Taxpayer’s accounts, among other features. It also provides a single-view to Taxpayers for all transactions with the Service”.

The TaxProMax platform, which took off on June 7, 2021, is a channel for filing Naira-denominated tax returns in the country.

The TaxProMax platform is accessible at

Nami reminded taxpayers of the one-off one-month extension granted earlier this month for the filing of Company Income Tax returns by taxpayers with December 31, 2020 accounting year-end whose statutory tax returns were due not later than June 30, 2021.

He urged them to take advantage of the extension as it “provides an opportunity to all taxpayers whose company Income Tax returns were due in June 2021 to file up to the 31st July 2021”.…

N84b misappropriated in four years by NSTIF — Senate

The Senate on Monday disclosed that about N84 billion was mismanaged by the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund within four years from 12 out 50 queries investigated so far.

The Chairman, Senate Public Accounts Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, who made this disclosure, said the agency is a cesspool of corruption with the investigation so far by the committee.

According to Urhoghide, 12 out 50 queries investigated so far by the Committee showed that over N84 billion was misappropriated.

He said: “Just unfortunate in a pace of four years, they depleted our resources.

“Just few human beings who are mindless.”

He added that it is unfortunate that the Management of NSTIF and board of NSTIF colluded between 2012 and 2017.

He said: They are all guilty, they are implicated, they stole the place dry.

“The agency is most defiant and most nutritious.”

One of the query reads: “Audit observed that the Fund had been implementing a salary structure that is not approved by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

“As a result, irregular payment of N38,219,919,530.32 by way of personnel cost was made to the staff of the Fund from 2012 to 2017.

“Implementation of unapproved salary structure may result in wastage of public funds as remuneration may be higher than the productivity level of staff.”

“Recommendation: The Managing Director is required to provide the approval of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission for the implementation of the Fund’s salaries structure.”

But the Managing Director of NSTIF, Dr. Michael Akabogu, claimed that the amount was approved by the through a letter dated July 4, 2019.

However, when the Committee looked at the letter from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission on the illegal salary at the commission, it was observed it was written five years after the Commission started paying the salaries.

The Committee further discovered in the letter from National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, an objection was raised about the payment of unapproved salaries by the commission.

The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages …

Andy Uba threatens N5b lawsuit against Heritage Bank over staff’s protest at his Home

A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, Senator Andy Uba, has threatened lawsuit against Heritage Bank over a trending video of its staff protesting at the entrance of his residence in Abuja.

About three days ago, some staff of the bank, while on a loan recovery drive, protested at the gate of the senator, asking him to come to the bank and repay his loan.

The protest by the bank staff trended and went viral on the social media.

In a letter dated June 23, 2021 and signed by his lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), Uba said the action of the bank staff had exposed him to ridicule, shame and embarrassment.

He asked the bank to tender unreserved apology in five national dailies and pay him N5 billion as damages.

Part of the letter reads: “Our client’s attention has been drawn to a video currently being shared on WhatsApp, showing not less than 25 [twenty-five] staff of the Abuja branch of Heritage Bank Plc., wearing customized Heritage Bank Plc., T-shirts; carrying placards and signages with defamatory inscriptions written on them, at the front gate of the residential premises of our client, in Asokoro Abuja. The said video which we have seen, had a voice over by one of your bank’s staff with the following narration:

“‘Good morning ladies and gentlemen, today is Monday the 21 st day of June 2001, and we have here the staff of Heritage Bank Plc., Abuja. We are in front of Senator Andy Uba’s house in Abuja. Senator Andy Uba has been owing the bank for a couple of years now and we are here for a peaceful meeting with him, very peaceful meeting to ask him to kindly repay those loans because those are depositors fund and those monies, if they are not repaid will throw the number of people you see here with their families out of work and we know the situation of the economy now.’

“Despite your veiled denial, the …

What Abuja Land Swap initiative means for real estate sector, investors

Once again, investors and the federal capital territory administration (FCTA) Abuja are back to the table following approval for resumption of the ambitious Land Swap Initiative by the federal executive council (FEC) early last week.

The Abuja Land Swap initiated by the Bala Mohammed administration was valued then at N1 trillion. It is the short form of the ‘FCT Land Infrastructure Swap Initiative’ designed to address the infrastructure deficit in the FCT.

In simple terms, the initiative means engaging the private sector to provide infrastructure in exchange for land. The aim, essentially, is to open up new districts in the FCT by constructing and completing access roads to those districts.

Apart from freeing government land for economic activities such as real estate and industrial development, the initiative also solves one of the major problems of urban or city development which is the provision of a good network of roads and associated infrastructure.

It is also an answer to real estate sector development in Nigeria where investors and property developers estimate the cost of infrastructure at 30 percent of total construction cost.

The implication is that the initiative will not only increase housing stock, but also reduce house price, and ultimately bridge the housing demand-supply gap in the country put variously at 17, 20 and 22 million units, depending on who one is speaking to.

It is expected that construction activities resulting from infrastructure development and housing delivery will have combined capacity to create, at least, 2,000 direct construction jobs on an ongoing basis. It is expected also that many of the workers, skilled and unskilled, will come from the catchment districts, thereby empowering the people economically.

As the federal capital city, Abuja, like Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve center, is experiencing a high influx of people and this is already putting pressure on available facilities in the city. The organization growth rate of Abuja is conservatively put at 30-40 percent per annum.

Similarly, the population of the FCT currently is estimated at 6 million whereas the Abuja Master Plan envisaged …

Lubricants import hits $500m, hikes maintenance cost by 300%

Lack of refining capacity in Nigeria for basic fuels and other petroleum products has left the nation dependent on the importation of lubricants, with yearly expenditure likely to exceed the $500 million benchmark going by the rally in oil prices.

Similarly, the calls for energy transition leading to a gradual switch from base oils to synthetic oils, currency devaluation and shutdown of many foreign refineries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted the importation of base oils for blending. These have led to at least 300 per cent rise in the price of lubricants from about N850 per litre to N2000 per litre.

At almost $2 a litre, Nigeria’s yearly base oil demand of 300 million litres puts the nation’s foreign exchange consumption at about $500 million or N205 billion ($1: N410).

In the first quarter of 2021, Nigeria spent N71.6 billion on the importation of lubricants that would be blended locally, according to the latest trade data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to data from the Lubricants Producers Association of Nigeria (LUPAN), the country’s lubricant market demand volume total  at 600,000 metric tons in 2019, accounting for about 20 per cent of Africa’s total lubricants demand. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has, however, affected demand volumes by at least 50 per cent.

With the cost of locally blended products higher than that of imported lubricants due to prevailing macro-economic challenges, many businesses with large storage capacities have resorted to raising Letters of Credit (LCs) for importation rather than buying locally.

Data from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) showed that the 34 lube blending plants in the country have 120.57 million litres of base oil storage capacity.

While the ​Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC)​​​ was the only refinery designed for the production of Base Oils, Asphalt (Bitumen) and Waxes, the non-performance of the refinery has left the nation largely dependent on the importation, as upcoming refinery from Dangote and modular refineries focus on fuels like the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil …

Ketron Investment Limited acquires Shoprite Nigeria

A deal has been reached in the acquisition of Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, owner and operator of the Shoprite stores in Nigeria, by Ketron Investment Limited, a Nigerian company owned by a group of reputable institutional investors led by Persianas Investment Limited.

The divestment by Shoprite International is in line with its strategy to change from an ownership model to a franchise model.

This change in ownership has also received the approval of the Nigerian regulator, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Speaking on the acquisition, Chairman, Ketron Investment Limited, Tayo Amusan, said: “We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of Shoprite, ensuring the continued operations of one of the biggest retail success stories in Nigeria.

Since its launch in Lagos in December 2005, Shoprite has expanded to 25 outlets across eight states and Abuja, FCT.

According to the terms of this acquisition, Ketron acquires 100 per cent ownership of Shoprite in Nigeria and will continue operations across all existing outlets.

It also plans to open additional stores and introduce more Nigerian-made products in the stores.

This, he noted, will also result in more opportunities for Nigerians.

“It is our vision to create fundamental change for the better within Nigeria,” said Amusan.

“With benefits from our knowledge of the ever-evolving Nigerian retail marketplace, well-grounded social and economic research, and hands-on experience from our team, we are confident that this acquisition will foster a robust and sustainable business model for the ultimate benefit of all stakeholders.”

Professional services firms, KPMG, MBO Capital Management Limited and Banwo & Ighodalo, advised Ketron on the deal.

Jide Ogundare, CEO, MBO Capital, stated that the deal signals an opportunity for Ketron to uphold a thriving business.

“It will be hard work,” Ogundare said, “but with the plans we have in place, and with the support of the larger Shoprite family in Nigeria including our staff and every Nigerian shopper that walks through our doors, we are confident of success.”

Shoprite Holdings is Africa’s largest food retailer, operating 2,843 supermarkets in 15 countries and serving …

Nigeria hopeful of $700m yearly from sugar backward integration

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has urged the government to faithfully follow through with the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) in the sugar industry as the nation stands to rake in foreign exchange up to $700millon yearly from Sugar production self-sufficiency.

Chairman of Dangote Sugar Refinery Aliko Dangote while addressing shareholders, at the company’s 15th yearly general meeting held in Lagos recently said, allowing for distortions in the sugar masterplan framework will adversely affect the target of the nation attaining self-sufficiency as projected.

He described the backward integration policy as commendable, which will not only reduce imports of raw sugar but save the nations enormous foreign exchange used for importation.

Dangote expressed delight that the BIP in the sugar industry is going on well, noting that if the national sugar master plan is followed strictly and the players follow the rules, Nigeria will save between $600 million to $700 million yearly as foreign exchange.

He stated that the backward integration policy of the company is recording appreciable progress even as he expressed the company’s commitment to the policy.

Dangote said despite the disruptions in the economy occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic, the company recorded an increase in production volume which rose by 13.7 percent to 743,858 tonnes in the financial year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 654,071 tonnes in 2019.

He stated that the company posted a group turnover of N214.3 billion, 33 percent increase over the N161.1 billion in 2019, while in the same period the Sugar Group also posted 6.9 percent rise in sales volume from 684,487 tonnes in 2019 to 731,701 tonnes in 2020.

Shareholders at the meeting, approved N18.22 billion dividend, translating to N1.50 kobo per ordinary share of 50k each.

Dangote said the company has revised its sugar production target to 550,000 metric tonnes achievable by 2024 in line with the revised plan on the BIP by the federal government.

In his remarks, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ravindra Singhvi, speaking on the results said the sugar group continued the growth path with commitments to …