Ortom Writes Oshiomhole, Demands Apology, N10bn

Image result for Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has demanded a public apology from the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole within seven days or he would face legal action.

Ortom in a letter written to the APC chairman, dated August 6, 2018 by his counsel, Samuel Irabor (ESQ), claimed that his reputation was injured by an alleged sponsored press conference held in Abuja on Friday, July 27th, 2018 at the instance of Oshiomhole.

The governor’s lawyer in the letter stated that the sponsored press conference which was entirely centred on the person of Governor Ortom, alleged very astonishing, unsubstantiated, wild and wide allegations against his client relating to the issue of allocation and payment of salaries, security votes expenditure and the insecurity in Benue state.

He stressed that the aggregate of the allegations emphasised that his client confessed to sharing Benue state money with party leaders and that despite collection of bail out and Paris Club refund monies, the governor could not pay workers salaries among others.

The letter added that the only inference to draw from the unproven allegations which was informed by a dangerously cultivated, albeit unwarranted malice against the governor was to demand for retraction, apology and a N10 billion payment for aggravated damages against the person of Ortom.

“A letter of retraction/apology addressed to our client in respect of the false, defamatory and libellous statement made against him in the sponsored press conference herein complained of.

“That the said retraction/apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels Tv, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi.

“An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future. Payment of #10,000,000,000.00k (Ten Billion Naira) only to our client as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages,” the letter reads in part.

 

Egina project, a testimonial of Ease of Doing Business – VP Osinbajo

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, says the successful anchor of the Egina FPSO is not just a celebration of local content, but a resounding testimonial of success of Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Sunday, the vice president made the remark during his visit to LADOL Offshore facility within the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC).
The statement was issued by NPA’s Assistant General Manager, Corporate Communications, Malam Isa Suwaid.
The vice president urged stakeholders within the industry to compete favourably and appreciated the facility.
Excellent work has been done here and they would be sacrosanct industry to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) of government in the long run as would be evident in the nation’s GDP in no distant time.
“I congratulate the Local Content Board for contributing effectively at bringing the facility and project to fruition,’’ Osinbajo said.
The vice president called for the support of stakeholders in the Federal Government’s fight against corruption in order to join other nations freed from corruption.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman, said that the successful berthing of Egina would facilitate trade.
Usman said that Egina berthed in Lagos as a result of operational efficiency and robust synergy between NPA and LADOL, including other stakeholders.
She noted that it was a testimony of enhanced capacity of NPA to handle greater responsibilities in the sector.
The NPA boss urged other operators to emulate the investments made by Total, LADOL, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), adding that government ventured into the provision of a level playing field through anti-monopoly policies which had yielded great dividends.
NPA, hereby encourage prospective investors to explore this and other opportunities that the reforms of our operations has engendered as we assure of NPA’s willingness to facilitate these ventures.
“We must, however, advise business organisations to ensure strict compliance with the country’s statutory rules and regulations.
“The multiplier effects of local content policy is evident in visible technological transfer; accrued revenue to the nation; employment creation; reduction in capital flight; attraction of hub status for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria amid the cost-saving attributes.
“We appreciated vast unflinching supports accorded the NPA management, LADOL and other stakeholders in this respect.
“The Egina project is a statement by government that the quest for hub status is real.
“Industrialisation is real and that private indigenous companies are able to thrive and support international projects and investors,” Usman said.
Other stakeholders who appreciated the LADOL facility and operation amidst the Egina FPSO project celebration were the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar; and Chairman LADOL, Mr Ladi Jadesimi.

Nigeria, ASEAN trade volume hits $7.7b

The Malaysia High Commissioner-designate to Nigeria, Gloria Tiwet, has said trade volume between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Nigeria in 2017  stood at $7.7 billion.

Tiwet  disclosed this when she led Embassies’ Heads of Missions and ASEAN member-states’ High Commissioners on a visit to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama,  in Abuja.

She said the envoys were in the ministry to intimate the minister on ASEAN Day and Film Festival scheduled to hold in Abuja, soon.

ASEAN comprises 10 countries, with only five represented in Nigeria. They are Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.

Tiwet said: “In 2017, the trade volume between ASEAN and Nigeria amounted to $7.7 billion. That is very promising and portrayed good relations between our countries and Nigeria.

“Trade is one area that we looked into to strengthen our bilateral relations, and respectively, we represent our countries here as ambassadors and high commissioners to strengthen our bilateral relations as much as we can.”

The envoy explained that the film festival was to strengthen relations between Nigeria and ASEAN and the film is targeted at promoting Nigeria and strengthening the bilateral relations in the area of culture.

In his remarks, Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Harry Purwanto, said ASEAN Day objective was to make ASEAN more feasible in Nigeria.

NCAA licenses MRO

Image result for NCAA nigerianew internationally licensed Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO),  seven Star Global Hangar, owned and managed by Nigerians, will start operations in the country next week.

The planned commencement came on the heels of  the granting of license by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in Lagos (NCAA)

According to the Chief Executive Officer, seven Star, the MRO is operations-ready to handle Boeing 737 Fleet.

The firm, he explained, will also stock a comprehensive spare parts inventory marketplace to be made available to airlines in Nigeria and across the West and Central African region.

Balami, who decried the high cost of maintenance of aircraft by airline operators in the region, said relief has come to the aviation sector, urging operators to take advantage of the opportunity.

He is convinced that with the granting of “Approved Maintenance Organisation,” millions of dollars will be saved for airlines and also greatly reducing capital flight.

Working with Jordanian, American and European technical partners, Balami said maintenance will be carried out on Boeing Classic along side new generation, Private jets Military/Para military Planes and other Aircraft types, over time.

MAN: reforms not helping manufacturing

Image result for manufacturers association of nigeriaTHE Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) yesterday said government reforms in manufacturing  are not deep enough to accelerate growth in the sector.

The Chairman of Apapa Branch of MAN, Olukunle Obadina, who spoke at the 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the branch, noted that despite the numerous reforms, which aimed at repositioning economy, the manufacturing sector continued to dwindle.

He noted that the lingering challenges facing the sector had not abated, stressing that long-term loans were needed.

Obadina said these challenges could be attributed to many factors, ranging from funding, especially long-term high interest rate, foreign exchange availability, poor support infrastructure, multiple taxes, levies by various tiers and arms of government, policy summersault/inconsistency, absence of core industries that would produce raw materials, insecurity, absence of inadequate support to encourage the growth of small and medium scale industries.

“Despite the these constraints, the national output grew in real terms by 0.72 percent in the Q2 of 2017 as against 2.06 percent, thereby indicating 2.78 percent point increase over the period under review,” he said.

Similarly, MAN nationaol President, Frank-Jacobs Udemba, noted that manufacturing sector was particularly hit with the hard times, with many firms operating minimally while some were forced to shut.

Udemba said: “The lack-luster performance of the national economy has made it imperative for us to rethink the country’s development strategy so that we would avoid the recent setback that befell the country. To this end, the Federal and state governments should work in synergy, carrying along relevant stakeholders in fashioning appropriate strategies to improve and stablise the economy.”

Udemba urged the government to make efforts that would encourage more investment in manufacturing by providing appropriate incentives and infrastructure that would encourage investors as well as taking a closer look at the regulatory functions of the organs of government that discourage investors.

Power: ‘70% of revenue losses come from unmetered consumers’

Image result for Mr. Sunday OduntanThe highest amount of revenue losses in Nigeria’s power sector come from areas that have high concentration of unmetered electricity consumers.

It was also gathered that about 70 per cent of revenue losses recorded by power distribution companies were from these areas.

The Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan, and the Managing Director, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Ernest Mupwaya, who confirmed this on Wednesday, stated that recent studies by power firms revealed that the companies earned more from areas with higher concentration of metered power users.

“Commissioned studies have shown that we incur more losses in areas where there are no meters. Our loss level in those areas is up to 70 per cent,” Mupwaya stated, while speaking at the inauguration of the second phase of the 222,728 mass metering programme of the AEDC in Abuja.

Power distribution companies are the revenue collection firms of the sector, as a percentage of the tariff they collect from power users is remitted to stipulated agencies in the industry and used to pay for the generation and transmission of more energy, among others.

Mupwaya added, “The losses are real and it is important to state that in areas where we have few meters, the resistance to pay is very high and the losses are huge. So, the losses are real because what is happening is that where we don’t have meters, it is very difficult to convince customers to pay on the basis of estimated billing.

“And because of that, you find out that we record low payment and when you calculate the amount of energy supplied and the amount realised, the gap is very high. Now, by installing meters, we are building confidence; the customers will be able to control their usage, match it with their resources and the willingness to pay will improve.”

On his part, Oduntan stated that it was wrong to state that Discos earned more from power users on estimated billing than from metered customers.

He said, “We incur more losses in areas where there are more customers on estimated billing, just as I explained to power users yesterday (Tuesday) in Nsukka, Enugu State, and today (Wednesday) in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

“The truth of the matter is that when we meter people, there is an assurance of revenue generation. It is only those who are mischievous that will continue to say that we don’t want to meter people because we enjoy estimated billing. The AEDC is rolling out meters and there is now assurance that we will make more money from those locations.”

On other causes of revenue losses in the sector, Mupwaya stated that the increase in the cost of energy sold by power generation companies without a commensurate rise in the tariff payable by power users was contributory to the liquidity squeeze in the industry.

He said, “There are also losses which are related to the tariff differential. The tariff at which we are buying energy is not very transparent to the public. Now, I can tell you that if you look at the period from 2015 to date, the price at which we buy energy has increased beyond 100 per cent; in fact, it is 105 per cent in the case of the AEDC.

“But there has not been a corresponding increase downstream. For the same period, the increase has been 16 per cent on the tariff and so that differential builds in a loss. So that is another form of revenue loss that contributes to the illiquidity in the sector because everybody relies on what we (Discos) are collecting.

“So if the price at which we are buying is already high, even if we are to make 100 per cent collection from customers, there will still be a gap and that is real.”

On the mass metering programme of the AEDC, he stated that the firm invested about N10bn in the second phase of the exercise, adding that the latest deployment of meters in the Disco’s franchise area had reduced its metering gap.

Operating surplus: Defaulting MDAs may face sanctions

Image result for Kemi AdeosunThe Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, wants sanctions to be imposed on the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government that fail to remit their operating surplus appropriately to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Speaking at the inauguration of a new template for the calculation of operating surplus in Abuja on Wednesday, Adeosun said it had become necessary to review the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 in order to accommodate sanctions and incentives.

The minister, who was represented by the Secretary, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, Dikwa Kyari, regretted that no MDA had met the set financial target in the past two decades.

The minister also proposed linking the tenure of chief executive officers of agencies to financial performance, adding that this would help to shore up the meeting of the financial goals of the organisations.

She said, “We have to extend these discussions beyond the template to see why we are not meeting the targets. For the last two decades, none of the MDAs has ever met 50 per cent of their target.

“There is a need for the review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to provide for sanctions and incentives so that at least there will be an improvement.

“There is a need to sanction defaulters; maybe by way of denying them promotion, or encouraging them by giving them some incentives. The FRC should take it up as one of the key issues so that at the end of the day, there is incentive for those who performed (well) and sanction for those who defaulted in meeting their targets.”

Adeosun frowned on the use of government funds to support charities and political parties and charged the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to begin to monitor the financial activities of the MDAs.

She added that the new template was articulated to address such abuses and others.

The minister said, “Most of these MDAs go outside the confines of their mandates to donate to political parties and charity organisations and give zero balance as surplus. So, we came up with this template.

“We cannot accommodate a situation whereby you are given a mandate as an MDA and you go outside your mandate to give out money while your mandate is to finance the budget.

“Over the years, government has been borrowing to finance the capital budget. We cannot continue like this. There is need for us to change the way in which we collect revenue to finance our budget.

“There must be a law in place to allow the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to go into the MDAs to look at their books, to find out how much they generated, how much they spent, and how much is due to government. If for any reason there is default, there must be sanction.”

NNPC chief urges firms to diversify

NNPC

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, has called on stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to explore other areas to boost economic diversification.

Baru spoke at the 2018 Nigerian Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Council titled: Diversification of the Nigerian Economy:  The Oil and Gas Industry as an Enabler held in Lagos. He identified the reliance on oil and gas as responsible for the economic recession experienced in the country recently.

The NNPC chief also urged the stakeholders to look for ways to create alternative funding for exploration activities in Nigeria.

He said: “This obvious lack of proactive action unfortunately exposed the country to economic shock occasioned by the global economic crises that culminated in the recession experienced recently, adding the theme was in line with the vision of the present administration of energising the national economy through robust sectoral development.”

He said with oil reserves of about 37 billion barrels and 199 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, the country was well positioned to generate resources and accelerate developments.

According to him, once this is achieved, Nigeria should be self-sufficient in providing general services, agriculture and manufacturing, among others.

Baru stated that the reform by the NNPC has centered on third party financing for Joint Venture (JV) operations, hence there is need to look for ways to design an alternative funding for exploration activities in Nigeria.

“I extend NNPC’s gratitude to our local banks, international lenders and Schlumberger representing the local service providers, for their continued faith in Nigeria and their support in providing funding. It is quite an exciting time ahead in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The industry is financing both the development and infrastructure through alternative funding means.

“The case in point is the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline that is being done under contractor financing with about $3billion. NNPC appreciates the cooperation of its partners and government financiers to move the industry forward. Our goal remains value delivery for all.

“So far, the financing is centred on production, I will like to see the industry to concentrate and develop innovative ways on how to finance exploration. This, I believe, will be the big take-away from this workshop as it appears this is an area that is high and tough. Can we create an industry pool that will be funding for exploration? This is a worthy idea that we should look into. I hope that deliberations in this conference will dwell on other areas that I might have left out today.

“We required an incremental annual capital funding of minimum of $7million  to cover the gap and to ensure growth, it was also clear to us that we cannot leave funding gap without looking out giving the outlook of government expenditures and strategic focus.”

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, represented by Sejus Ogun, said the country needed to pursue and develop an enabling environment that would promote transparency in the oil and gas sector.

Dogara said the Legislature had given tacit support to ensure that the industry was run in a more transparent way, adding that the House of Representatives had demonstrated the support through accelerated passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) now waiting for presidential accent. He also assured that the remaining three other bills would receive the desired attention as the legislators were concerned and willing to provide the investment climate to drive the industry.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, represented by Mr Johnson Awoyemi, said the industry required a robust legislation that would help in the ongoing Federal Government transformation.

Kachikwu  said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had demonstrated commitment towards strengthening the industry by giving approval to the oil and gas policies. He urged the conference to come up with suggestions and strategies that would engender transparency, reduce contracting cycle issues, bring about cost reductions and accelerate development across the value chain.

The Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Mr Chikezie Nwosu, called for immediate action to leverage the opportunities presented by the industry to develop other sectors. Nwosu regretted that the country had moved slowly in the quest to take advantage of the sector to fully transform the economy.

He said government should not lose focus of the opportunities in the National Gas Policy, “as gas is critical to support such agenda.”

Verdant Zeal Group Appoints Adesida  Pioneer COO

Dipo Adesida
Dipo Adesida

By Udo Onyeka

Verdant Zeal Marketing Communications Group, an emerging marketing and communications conglomerate, has appointed Mr. Dipo Adesida as its pioneer Chief Operating Officer effective from 1st of August, 2018.

This announcement was made by the Executive Vice Chairman of the organization, Dr. Tunji Olugbodi on behalf of the Board and Management of the organization.

In a statement signed byDr Olugbodi, the appointment of Mr Adesida is one of the strategic moves of advancing the operational innovation of the group. Adesida by this appointment would have oversight functions for Creative Content, Operational Excellence, New Market Development and Digital transformation of the entire organization.

According to him, “We are delighted to elevate Dipo Adesida to be the Pioneer Chief Operating Officer of the Group. He is a veteran of the Iconic Verdant Zeal class of 2007 who has been immersed in the workings of the organization.

“ This advancement is also a clear indication of the new spirit of adequate recognition and reward system as the organization continues to expand her footprint across Africa. We are building a world class organization where employees thrive and are allowed to express their creativity”, he said.

Adesida joined Verdant Zeal as a Deputy Manager in 2007 and has risen through the ranks to the position of the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to his appointment, he had served in various capacities within the Verdant Zeal Group such as Group Director, Content, Strategy and Innovation; Chief Operating Officer, Brainbox iMedia, the Digital Marketing Subsidiary of the Group and Creative Director. Adesida had earlier worked at SO&U Saatchi & Saatchi, Lagos as a trainee copywriter and Immersion Marketing Strategies (IMS Group) Lagos as a Senior Copywriter.

Dipo as he is fondly called, holds a first degree in Dramatic Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; a Diploma in Filmmaking from New York Film Academy, USA and a Certificate in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. He is also an alumnus of the British Council/University of Glamorgan (now University of South Wales) Centre for Creative Enterprise Development and associate member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

SEC Announces Second CMC Meeting 2018

SEC logo
SEC logo

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says the Second Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in 2018 has been scheduled for Thursday August 9th to Friday August 10th 2018 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

While the key stakeholders in the capital market will meet on August 9th, members of the media would be briefed on Friday on outcome of the CMC meeting.

SEC has however advised that admission into the venue would be upon presentation of the CMC Identity Card and strictly by invitation.

According to the SEC, “Attendance to both events is strictly by invitation. Invited participants are expected to come with their identity cards to be admitted into the venue and all invited participants are expected to be seated by 9.45am,”

The CMC was mainly established to serve as a medium for exchange of ideas among market stakeholders as well as for feedback to SEC on how to continuously improve the market activities and regulation.

It is an industry-wide committee comprising members of the commission, representatives of capital market operators and trade groups and other stakeholders. The CMC meets every quarter to deliberate on various issues affecting the market and other policy matters.

Issues bordering on implementation of the Ten Year Capital Market Master Plan as well as other relating to the capital market and the economy would be discussed and the outcome made known to the media.

The ten-year master plan for the Nigerian capital market which is expected to refocus the market and help double its size over time and grow the economy was unveiled November 2014.

Recall that the Commission has vigorously implemented some initiatives in the Master Plan with the aim of attracting more investors to the market.

Some of the initiatives, include direct cash settlement, dematerialization and e-Dividend Registration, as they promote transparency, protect and enhance investors’ confidence in the capital market.

The SEC therefore enjoins all shareholders to take advantage of the initiatives introduced in the capital market aimed, primarily, at strengthening the market and accelerating economic development.

This, SEC said is in consonance with the present administration’s economic strategy focused on deepening the capital market as a vehicle for encouraging a private sector-led economy with enhanced productivity.

Those who have been invited to attend the expanded session are Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all registered capital market firms (i.e Broker Dealer, Capital Market Solicitors, Custodians, Fund Managers, Issuing Houses, Rating Agencies, Registrars, Reporting Accountants, Trustees, and Consultants, etc.);

Others are Chief Executive Officers of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), The Financial Markets Dealers Quotations (FMDQ), Africa Exchange Holdings (AFEX), Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX), Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS); as well as representatives of relevant Financial Services’ Agencies, among others