FG Urged To Partner Chinese Investors On Power Supply

Image result for Mr. Festus MbisioguAs the 2018 Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit scheduled to hold in Beijing, China in October, and the Federal government expected to attend, a prominent Nigerian industrialists and chairman, Blue Diamond Logistics, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use the opportunity the summit will provide to engage Chinese investors to help tackle the challenges in the power sector.

FOCAC is a summit where Chinese and African leaders meet to discuss the policy of China-Africa, friendly relationships as well as explore new ways of deepening cooperation among African countries.

Mbisiogu said the complaints by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) operating at huge losses and the revelation by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) that most of the DisCos were technically insolvent, is a warning that something drastic and proactive needed to be taken to stave off the collapse of the sector.

“It is obvious that these firms are operating below optimal level. They are overwhelmed by the challenges in the sector and they have no solution to these problems.

“That has fallen short both in price structure and liquidity and that is why we are still yet to obtain a reasonable level in power distribution. Typical of everything Nigeria, the Federal Government has allowed the DisCos to take advantage of everyone and many Nigerians are paying for the services they do not enjoy,” he said.

“Besides epileptic and poor services, outrageous billings and lack of commitment to the provision of meters for electricity consumers to ensure fair billing have been the hallmark of these DisCos.

“How long are we going to continue to spoon-feed these firms from our national treasury without any corresponding positive effects,” the industrialist added.

He urged the Federal Government to review the contract with the local investors as well as declare a state of emergency in the power sector.

He said: “At no other time is it more appropriate than now for President Buhari to declare a state of emergency in power. A recent statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics says 7.6 million Nigerians lost their jobs between January and June this year. This is traceable to industries closing down every day because of unsteady power supply. How long would this continue? If this trend is not halted now, Nigeria should forget whatever claims we are making for industrialisation.”

Mbisiogu recalled that there has been an attempt by Nigeria to involve Chinese investors in the sector in the past especially during President Buhari’s last visit to China, insisting that more should be done now.

“Today, China’s bilateral cooperation with Africa has grown phenomenally in the past 40 years with trade leaping from $765 million to $170 billion a year. China is Africa’s largest trading partner. With the totality of Africa’s debt to China being economically sustainable and with the Chinese government saying it is willing to expand its economic relations with African states, this is the time that Nigeria should exploit the opportunity and turn around our energy sector.”

Abdulsalami Abubakar Urges Politicians to Play by Rules

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The former Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar,  has told politician to  shun bitterness and embrace politics of issues.

Gen. Abdulsalam spoke on Tuesday shortly after the Eid- el-Kabir 2 rakat prayers at the Minna Central Mosque, urged the politicians allow the citizens to decide through the ballot box who to lead them in all three tiers of government.

He said it was worrisome that Nigeria’s political space had been needlessly heated up by politicians who rarely consider the country’s interests above theirs in politics.

He said, “Enduring political culture can only be built when politicians focus on politics of issues and as well adhering to the rules of the game.

“It is pertinent for politicians to understand that leadership comes from God and not man.”

 “God bestows leadership on whomsoever he wishes, with such an understanding, I expect that prevalent issue of do-or-die politics should not have arisen in the first instance because Nigeria’s political space is enough for everyone,” he said

The 2019 general elections, Abdulsalam said, would be a test case that Nigeria democracy has come of age, adding that Nigerians should be able to put aside their differences by ensuring a hitch-free election instead of causing more division along ethnic, religious and political divides.

Abdulasami, therefore, urged adherents of the Islamic faith to imbibe the exemplary lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad and the lessons of the Eid-el-Kabir by living in peace with one another, particularly adherents of other religion.

FOREX: Naira appreciates to N359/$ in parallel market

The Nigerian currency, naira appreciated to N359 per dollar in the parallel market.

According to naijabdcs.com, the live exchange rate platform of the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators (ABCON), the parallel market exchange dropped to N359 per dollar from N359.6 last week Friday, translating to 60 kobo appreciation of the naira.

The volume of dollars traded on the window yesterday dropped marginally by 88 percent to $71.14 million from $606.21 million traded last week Friday.

However, the naira yesterday was stable at N362.50 in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.

Lagos state government earmarks N6.3bn to empower SMEs annually

The Lagos State Government at the weekend said it has earmarked N6.25bn to empower small scale business owners annually.

Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Lola Akande disclosed this at a Conference on Prostitution/Human Trafficking organized by the ministry at the Badagry Town Hall, in Badagry Local Government Area of the state. She said, Lagos state, through the Ministry of Information had trained over 50,000 in vocational skills acquisition.

Represented by Mrs Obayinka Kadiri, a director in the ministry, Akande said that the state had given 150 women working equipment such as grinding machines, sewing machines, hair dryers and monetary grants.

According to the commissioner,

“Governor Ambode, through this ministry, has evolved various measures to educate our people through seminars, and particularly the vulnerable class, through empowerment and vocational training, to alleviate poverty.’’

The commissioner said that government was more concerned with the issues affecting the security and welfare of its citizens.

NSE market capitalisation bounces back by 1.87%

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has closed trading activities for the week on a positive note with the market capitalisation rebounding by 236 billion naira or 1.87 per cent to close on Friday at N12,874 trillion, compared to Thursday’s closing of 12,638 trillion Naira.

Similarly, the All-Share Index which had closed on Thursday at 34,618.43 basis points, gained 647.86 basis points or 1.87 per cent to close at 35,266.29 basis points.

Although the 374 million shares traded on Friday was 138 or 0.57 per cent higher than the 238 million shares traded the previous day, the value of the traded stocks depreciated.

On Thursday, the traded shares were valued at N309 billion, while the value of Friday’s traded stocks stood at 272 billion Naira, a decline of 37 million naira or 0.12 per cent.

Also, 2,8750 deals were completed on Friday, 287 deals or 0.09 per cent less than the 3,162.00 deals that were sealed on Thursday.

TOP THREE TRADES

NEM Insurance Plc was the most traded stock with 130 million shares worth N521million traded.

It was followed by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc with 94 million shares valued at N241 million traded, while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc followed with 17 million shares worth N20 million sold.

At the end of Friday’s activities, 17 stocks appreciated, 24 depreciated, and 129 stocks retained their prices.

GAINERS

Airline Services and Logistics Plc led the gainers’ table after it appreciated by 40 kobo or 9.88 percent to close at N4.45 kobo per share – from an opening price of N4.05 kobo per share

UnityKapital Assurance Plc rose by two kobo or 8.33 percent from 24 kobo per share to close at 0.26 kobo per share, while Japaul Oil and Maritime Services Plc appreciated by 7.69 per cent or two kobo to close at 28 kobo, up from 26 kobo per share.

LOSERS

On the reverse side, Law Union & Rock Plc led losers after it declined by nine kobo or 10 percent from 90 kobo to close at 81 kobo per share.

Unity Bank Nigeria Plc also declined nine kobo or 10 percent to close at 81 kobo per share.

Also, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc which opened at 33 kobo per share fell by three kobo or 9.09 percent to close at 30 kobo per share.

Oyo State Partner IITA On Agric Policy, Agribusiness Park

 

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Abiola-Ajimobi

Udo ONYEKA

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Oyo state government on Thursday signed a pact to revolutionalise agriculture in the state, and the establish of agribusiness park.

The partnership aims at bringing about an agricultural policy which would outline the opportunities, strengths, weaknesses, threats, and more importantly what the state needs to do in the short, medium, and long -term to achieve agricultural transformation.

The second component of the deal is the development of an integrated cassava value chain in Gambari area of Oyo State on about 6000 – hectares. The integrated agribusiness park would be developed in phases, from primary production of roots, construction and installation of machineries and the processing of starch, ethanol etc. and marketing of the finished product to industries.

The project will be funded by Oyo State government, says the Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi.

“Our aim is to boost food production, create jobs and wealth for our people,” says Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Prince Oyewole Oyewumi at the Funds Release Program on Wednesday.

Initial investment for the first phase of the project will cost N55million, with additional investments expected to come in as implementation commences. Besides the development of an agric policy, this first phase will focus on the cultivation of between 50 – 150 hectares to cassava.

Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director, Partnerships for Delivery, commended the state for engaging IITA and committing resources to finance the project.

“We are glad to see Oyo State moving forward with an action plan to transform agriculture and are honored to be part of their team,” Dr Dashiell said.

Located in the south west Nigeria, Oyo state is characterized by Derived savannah in the north and Humid Forest in the south. These two agroecologies support a diversity of staple crops such as cassava, maize, soybean, yam, banana/plantains, and cash crops such as cashew and citrus among others.

“The collaboration goes to show how Oyo state has become serious with agriculture,” Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General said in a statement from Nairobi.

Under the policy component of the deal, IITA will work with the National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture, and the Oyo State Agricultural Development Program. It is envisaged that the policy will drive the agricultural sector by attracting private capital to the state, and in fact making the state the most preferred agro-allied investment destination in Nigeria.

The Director for Development & Delivery, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon described the event as a significant moment aimed at bringing genuine transformation to Oyo state in general, and resource-poor farmers in particular.

A statement issued by Godwin Atser, Communication & Knowledge Expert explained that in the last eight years, the Oyo State government has embarked on reforms to transform its economy through diversification with emphasis on agriculture.

 

France President To Grace 4th TEF Entrepreneurship Forum 

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Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF),one of Africa’s leading entrepreneurship-focused philanthropic organization, has announced October 25, 2018, as the date for its 4thannual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum.

The event which is expected to attract the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem will unite over 5,000 entrepreneurs, global investors, leaders from the African public and private sectors and developmental organizations in Lagos.

It will provide a unique opportunity to generate ideas, forge networks and bring policymakers and the private sector together, in a spirit of robust debate and interaction.

A statement from the Foundation said, the 2018 cohort from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, as well as mentors and partners, would be present, as the culmination of their intensive twelve-week induction.

President Emmanuel Macron of France will be one of the world leaders to grace the occasion which would bring politicians face to face with the new generation of young business women and men shaping Africa.

The Forum to be moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu will feature an interactive session with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, as well as witness the launch of the TEFConnect, the world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs, dedicated to connecting African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, stated: “In just four years, we have directly impacted 4,460 entrepreneurs, and we are beginning to see the results – job creation, ripple effects, but most importantly a recognition that Africa’s economic well-being is driven by entrepreneurs: female and male, large and small – they are the engine of our continent’s transformation. We will be championing and celebrating them.“

“This year, we are truly achieving scale and impact; we received over 150,000 applications in 2017 alone, up from 20,000 applications in 2015. We are now calling on the current generation of African success stories and others to partner with us to see how we can all further create impact, genuinely transform millions of lives and increase the number of inspiring stories we will be hearing in Lagos,” he said.

TEF CEO, Parminder Vir OBE stated: “The TEF Entrepreneurship Forum is the only event across the continent that brings together the complete African entrepreneurship ecosystem, demonstrating our commitment to capturing the whole continuum – from the entrepreneurs themselves, governments who must provide enabling environments, to capital, advice and perhaps most importantly access and network”.

Inspired by Tony Elumelu’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism and his vision to institutionalise luck and democratise opportunity for a new generation of African entrepreneurs, the Foundation has implemented one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes globally.

According to the statement, the programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs. Its goal is to invest in businesses that will generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.

In its 4th year, TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4,460 entrepreneurs with a total investment of USD20million; 4,000 funded directly by the Foundation and 460 have been funded by partners.

 

Nigerian inflation dips in July but remains above single-digit target

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Annual inflation in Nigeria slowed to 11.14 percent in July, its lowest level in more than two years, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, but it remained above the central bank’s single-digit target.

Inflation has declined in Nigeria since February last year, but the rate of decline has slowed compared with earlier this year. The central bank governor has warned that it may start to rise later this year as spending increases before a presidential election in February 2019.

Nigeria emerged from its first recession in 25 years in 2017 as higher oil prices and recent debt sales helped the country accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves. Growth remains fragile, though.

The central bank is now looking for ways to boost credit while keeping a lid on inflation.

The price index, which fell from 11.23 percent in June, was still above the central bank’s target of single-digit inflation. It had said it would consider cutting the main interest rate from the record high of 14 percent, which it has maintained for two years, if the target was met.

A separate food price index showed inflation at 12.85 percent in July, compared with 12.98 percent in June. Food inflation has been in double digits for almost three years, but has slowed for more than six months.

The statistics office said the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of potatoes, yam and other tubers, vegetables, bread and cereals plus fish and fruits.

“We see inflation edging up moderately in August and September, before slipping below 11 percent in Q4. However, there is upside risk to this view from the expansionary … budget, pre-election spending, potential wage increases and security challenges,” Yvonne Mhango, economist at Renaissance Capital, wrote in a note.

The central bank kept its main interest rate at 14 percent at its last monetary policy committee meeting in July to counter inflationary risk that could arise as a result of the influx of cash from Nigeria’s much-delayed 2018 budget.

NIMASA Floating Dockyard To Curb Capital Flight, Boost Local Shipping Capacity -Perterside

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Dakuku Peterside DG, NIMASA

By Udo ONYEKA

 The multimillion dollar floating Dockyard owned by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) which arrived the country recently will  curb capital flight once operational, even as the agency is making effort to create enabling environment for the growth of indigenous participation in shipping.

The Director General of the Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who disclosed this in an interactive session with maritime journalists in Lagos, said the facility which is billed to be operated on a Public Private Partnership model will be located at a facility of the Nigerian Navy.

The NIMASA DG said the Floating Dockyard would commence operations after the commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari. He added that when fully operational, Nigerian Shipowners and their foreign counterparts would no longer need to take their vessels outside the country for dry docking.

 “Nigeria looses up to $100m annually simply because when our shipowners need to dry dock their vessels, they mostly take them to neighboring countries like Ghana and Cameroun thus spending avoidable forex. When this facility is fully operational it has the capacity to drydock any vessel incountry and save the much needed foreign exchange”.

Further, Peterside disclosed that the facility would be operated in conjunction with the builders as technical partners. He also assured that it will create thousands of jobs for teeming Nigerian youths as well as provide training opportunities for seafarers, adding that the dockyard would also be available as a training facility for the students of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko and other maritime institutions in the country.

“We are planning to ensure that the permanent location of this facility would benefit our students for training and we have also engaged the builders to manage the facility for one year period at a Naval facility” while further arrangements are being worked out”, he said.

The director general said the Agency is working on a special foreign exchange intervention for vessel parts acquisition and loan repayment processes to enable indigenous operators compete favourably with their foreign counterparts. He added that there is a team working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on how best this policy can be implemented.

He said the agency is working towards the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) which will give room for a full-fledged Cabotage regime with more job opportunities.

Commenting on the Agency’s Survey, Inspection & Certification Transformation Programme, Peterside disclosed that 3,752 Certificates of Competency (CoC) were issued in 2017 to successful seafarers, which represents 149 per cent increase of CoCs issued in 2016.

Dr. Peterside said that the impact of this is the confidence of stakeholders who now willingly verify certificates without prompting. He further informed that a total of 1,880 certificates were authenticated for stakeholders in 2017 alone, a significant rise when compared to the 1013 CoCs verified in 2016.

The DG further disclosed that the number of Nigerian Seafarers placed onboard vessels from January to June this year  is 2,337, representing  58.9 per cent increase in the number of seafarers employed stating that this move has led to job and wealth creation in line with the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.

NIMASA Donates Relief Materials To IDP Camps  …As Peterside calls for more support 

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By Udo ONYEKA

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it has  donated relief materials to some Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across some affected states in Nigeria, in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

In a statement by the Agency and signed by Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi, said the Director General of the

Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside noted that people at the IDP camps across the country are integral part of Nigeria; hence they should not be neglected nor discriminated.

“We must share in the grief of our fellow citizens, as no one wishes to find his or her self in any camp, knowing fully well that the comfort there is minimal. Let me also assure you that in no distant time from now, you will all return to your abodes as the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that your safety is paramount. For us in NIMASA we are not just concerned about the well-being of the maritime sector, but as a corporate socially responsible Agency, we are concerned about your welfare; this is why we are here to support you the best way we can,” Peterside said.

 The DG who was represented in the camp by the Agency’s Director, Special Duties in charge of External Relations and Technical Cooperation, Hajia Lami Tumaka noted that the Agency will continue to support all initiatives by the Federal Government to ensure their welfare and safety is guaranteed.

Similarly, the Agency’s Director of Internal Audit, Mr. Victor Onuzuruike represented the Agency at the Gubio IDP Camp in Maiduguri, Borno State to present items to them.

 While presenting the items, he noted that NIMASA as a responsible Agency will continue to work with relevant institutions in the country to provide relief to all Nigerians experiencing one disaster or another.

 “As a sign of love and in recognition of the need to continuously offer succor to alleviate the challenges and the sufferings of our internally displaced brothers and sisters spread across Nigeria, NIMASA brings you glad tidings. We have come not with a heavy heart, but with a message of love and assurance, he said”.

 At the camp in the Odiereke-Ubie community of Ahoada West Local Government area of Rivers State and Bakassi area of Cross River State, the Head, Corporate Communications of the Agency, Osamgbi who also represented the Agency stated that NIMASA will not relent on its efforts to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in ensuring that the IDP’s across the country are well catered for.

  “we understand your circumstances, we feel your pains, we know your needs; therefore, we as an Agency of government will continue to extend our hands of fellowship to support you. We share in the pains you are passing through, hence this efforts which is aimed at reducing such pains. We are indeed touched by your situation and it is in the spirit of love that we make this donation. We hope that the gesture is taken in the spirit in which it is given”.

 Receiving the materials in the various States, Local Governments and Communities visited, the representatives of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and some of the local Chiefs in the visited areas were on ground to receive the items that were bought by the Agency. They unanimously expressed gratitude to the Agency and noted that the materials donated will be used appropriately.

 Some of the States the Agency visited includes; Adamawa, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Rivers, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.