Aviation industry needs serious attention, says Bi-Courtney

Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, the operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, has said the country’s aviation industry requires urgent attention from the government.

The firm, in a statement on Friday, said the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, look into issues of Public-Private Partnership towards the provision of infrastructure in the industry.

According to the BASL, the PPP model has worked in the development of sectors such as energy, mining, transport and telecommunication in other countries.

It added, “It would take more than words to achieve a PPP that works; and it is only when such collaborations work that a country can enjoy the benefits. The advantage of a PPP is that the management skills and financial acumen of private businesses can create better values for money for taxpayers when proper cooperative arrangements between the public and private sectors are used.

“However, in Nigeria, there is apathy towards the practical operation of this model stemming from the attitude of the government, lack of investor security, lack of respect for the sanctity of contracts and the rule of law. Under this scenario, the case involving Bi-Courtney Limited, operators of the MMA2 airport terminal, is certainly not a good poster for the country.”

BASL noted that despite developing the MMA2 terminal to make it easy for the travelling public to get better service than any other airport in the country, the terms of the PPP, which brought the firm in, had continually failed to encourage more of such developments.

The firm said the only way for development to happen in the country was to attract the private sector to play a critical part in the journey.

It said the government, through its agencies, needed to encourage the investors by honouring binding contracts and agreements.

The firm said, “There have been ongoing engagements and sensitisation by officials of the same government on development, transformation, collaboration, among others, on the need to give PPP a chance since government alone can no longer shoulder the responsibility of providing all necessary critical infrastructure for the country at large.

“But how best do you convince serious-minded investors about the PPP arrangement when local investors are being treated as unwanted partners when relevant agencies, which are to create the enabling environment for genuine private sector participation in the infrastructure development of the nation’s aviation sector, across all levels, routinely breach binding agreements and contracts with sheer impunity and pay lip service to the ease of doing business in Nigeria.”

Federal Government resolves conflict in Digital Switch Over implementation

The Federal Government has resolved the brewing crisis threatening the implementation of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) from analogue television broadcasts in the country.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno, had summoned the critical stakeholders in the Digital Switch Over to a meeting to resolve some of the issues.

At the meeting were Senator-elect and Chairman of the Board of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Alhaji Ikra Bilbis, Director- General NBC, Malam Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu, the CEO of Details Nigeria Limited and operators of Goth, John Ugbe.

The meeting was also attended by Chairman, Pinnacle Communications Limited, Mr Lucky Omoluwa, whose efforts to make the meeting possible was acknowledged by the NSA, and the CEO of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Mr Dipo Onifade.

The NSA told the stakeholders that the Federal Government was determined to uphold its policy on Digital Switch Over (DSO) and continue encouraging private investment in the nation’s economy.

The meeting facilitated a resolution of the five-year dispute which had challenged the smooth implementation of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) and led to missing of its set deadline twice.

The meeting facilitated the protection of the Federal Government policy on DSO from legal interpretation in law courts as well as salvaged private investment in the nation’s economy and attendant jobs creation.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), in 2018, issued a warning notifying leading pay television service providers, DStv and GOtv, operating under MultiChoice, that their operations in Nigeria might be terminated in 2019.

The action of the regulatory agency not to renew the service operators’ licence, which was issued in 2014, was hinged on non-compliance with DSO White Paper.

The House of Representatives in April 2017, instructed its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to investigate Multichoice Nigeria’s ‘exorbitant charges’ for its DStv and GOtv packages.

DSTV, which is one of the South African brand’s biggest markets, has been around in Nigeria for about 22 years.

NLNG to take FID on Train-7 in Q4 2019

Image result for NLNG to take FID on Train-7 in Q4 2019The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company on Friday announced that it would take a final investment decision on its new eight million metric tonnes per annum Train-7 gas plant by the fourth quarter of 2019.

It said funds were being sourced by the company in order to actualise the project, as the plant would grow the NLNG’s production capacity from 22mtpa to 30mtpa when completed.

The Managing Director, NLNG, Tony Attah, who disclosed this in Abuja, noted that plans for the FID to happen had advanced considerably.

He explained that the NLNG’s shareholders, consisting the Nigerian government (represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation), Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, were supportive of the Q4-2019 FID.

On how far his firm had gone in sourcing for funds, Attah said, “We are not far off as a matter of fact;  when you start a project of this nature, you will have estimates in mind. In the course of the presentation, the executive secretary (of the NCDMB) mentioned that this particular project is in the region of $4 to $5bn. But when he referenced the value network, it is beyond the $4 to $5bn that we will be spending in Bonny.

“It is also about the upstream development, which is the real gas that will come to us. That also is a huge investment of $5 to $6bn. So, potentially, the full value network is almost $12bn. We have gone to the market to raise that fund and we are very positive.”

Attah added, “This is the biggest opportunity I will say for Nigeria today. We have 600tcf (trillion cubic feet) of gas, which puts us as number nine in the world, but we are very aware of the 600tcf scope that would be proven. The issue with gas is the receiver and that is what the NLNG represents today as the receptacle for gas.

“We are here to enable gas. It is time for Nigeria and I am even challenged that Nigeria has ridden on the back of oil for more than 50 years, it is now time to fly on the wings of gas.”

The NLNG boss said his firm was focused on remaining competitive in the global LNG market and would prove that to the world with the Train-7 project, as well as end gas flaring in Nigeria.

“What we talk about is not competition but competitiveness, essentially as we stay competitive, we believe that we will continue to be in business,” he added.

Nigeria. ng domain grows to 134,320 in three months

Image result for Nigeria. ng domain grows to 134,320 in three monthsThe registration of Nigerian domain name, .ng country code top-level domain, grew by three per cent to reach 134,320 from December 2018 to February 2019.

An analysis of the data obtained from the Nigeria Internet Registration Association showed that the number of .ng domain increased by 1,197 between December and January 2019, and by 2,123 from January to February this year.

The data showed that about 14,696 new domain registrations were recorded in the three months under review, with 8,411 domain renewals and 280 domain restorations to other registrars.

The Nigerian domain name report showed that there were 114,325 active domain names at the third level and another 19,995 active domain names at the second level, 4,772 new registrations, 2,797 domain renewal and 88 domain restorations, making a total of 134,320 domains as of February  2019.

According to NiRA, the growing number of registration shows that Nigerians continue to embrace the .ng brand and indicates the efforts of the NiRA accredited registrars in growing the .ng brand.

The association stated that the .ng ccTLD was the second fastest growing registry in Africa.

The Internet traffic has also been on the rise with many global content providers localising their contents and driving traffic by 10, 000 per cent in the last five years.

The Chief Executive Officer, IXPN, Mr Muhammed Rudman, in a statement recently, explained that the measurement of the growth in traffic was from 2013 to 2018, adding that it could be largely attributed to the connection of some international content service providers to the Nigerian exchange point.

Rudman said Facebook, Akamai, China Telecoms, Angola Cables and a huge number of the service providers in the country were recently connected to the exchange point, driving traffic locally.

“For us, hitting 10,000 per cent traffic and exchanging over 110 gigabits per second in the last five years is a huge success. It goes to show that we are achieving our mandate, which is to facilitate Internet operations in Nigeria and to localise traffic as well as reduce local Internet routing cost,” he said.

CBN injects $268.60m, CNY39.09m in retail SMIS

The Central Bank of Nigeria, on Friday, injected $268.60m and CNY39.09m in the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales of the foreign exchange market.

A statement from the CBN said that the figures of the sales consummated on Friday, revealing that the sums were injected to meet requests of customers in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors.

The  apex bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, also confirmed that the sum of CNY39.09m was for the payment of Renminbi-denominated letters of credit for agriculture as well as raw materials.

Friday’s transaction was in addition to the $210m injected into the Wholesale, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Invisibles segments of the market on Tuesday, the bank said.

Okorafor expressed satisfaction on the performance and stability of the economy, especially after the country’s 2019 general elections.

He attributed the level of stability to the bank’s transparency in foreign exchange transactions and interventions aimed at the diversification of the economy.

The Naira exchanged on Friday at N360/$1 on Friday in the Bureau De Change segment of the market.

NEITI lauds NNPC, DPR others on compliance

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has applauded its stakeholders in the oil, gas and mining sectors of the nation’s economy for implementing the principles of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). It said this had led to the ranking of the country’s as making “Satisfactory Progress”.

Its Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio, expressed delight over cooperation extended to NEITI by government agencies including the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and its agencies like the Mining Cadastre Office, Mines Inspectorate Department, were outstanding.

In a statement, Adio also expressed appreciation to the companies under the canopies of Companies Forum, Miners Association of Nigeria and Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) operating in the extractive sector that had given NEITI  support during the validation.

In addition, the civil society organisations including Publish What You Pay (PWYP), Media Initiative for Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI) and the Media among others had contributed in no small measure towards the ranking in the highest category of Nigeria by the EITI.

“This highest ranking by the EITI is a major milestone for Nigeria and the invaluable roles of relevant millennium development agendas (MDAs), Companies and civil society organisations (CSOs) working to push for reforms in the sector are hereby duly acknowledged and deeply appreciated by NEITI,” he said.

He said the current trend of reforms in the country’s extractive sector made possible by the determination and commitment of its stakeholders to see change happen in a sector that is considered for now to be the life wire and mainstay of the economy was one of the determining factors for the ranking of the country.

Adio, who had earlier personally written letters to the different stakeholders to officially inform, congratulate and thank them about Nigeria’s achievement of the highest status in EITI implementation noted their support during the validation exercise which saw Nigeria make history again was  phenomenal and should be sustained.

He reiterated the commitment of NEITI to continue to work closely with its stakeholders to push for reforms and enthrone transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in Nigeria.

“On our part, we are committed to keeping Nigeria in this leadership position in the EITI community which our country voluntarily joined in 2003 and we will continue to crave your support to us as an organisation and to the full actualization of the NEITI mandate as enshrined in the NEITI Act 2007,” Adio said.

Continental Re’s profit rose by 22% in 2018

Image result for Continental Re’s profit rose by 22% in 2018Continental Reinsurance Plc said its pre-tax profit rose by 22 per cent in the 2018 financial year.

In a statement on Thursday, the company said its pre-tax profit rose to N4.36bn in 2018, from N3.57bn in 2017, while investment income grew by 44 per cent to N5.36bn.

The statement said its gross premium income increased by 15 per cent to N34.19bn, while underwriting profit stood at N1.18bn.

Given the potential cyclicality of reinsurance underwriting business, it stated that the composition and structure of earnings reflected the benefits of the group’s geographically diversified operations.

It added that these gave it flexibility in generation of topline, enabling it to offset the impact of localised adverse claims experience with better quality premiums from other regions,broad asset mix and investment management prowess that smoothened the volatility of underwriting earnings.

The Group Managing Director, Dr Femi Oyetunji, stated, “Market and business-cycle insight are key. It is about deploying the right strategy and having the right operational balance. We have resources with deep local knowledge of the diverse environmental dynamics across Africa which marry their insights with strong technical capabilities to achieve sustainable positive outcomes in our underwriting and asset management activities.

“I must say that our group has once again shown resilience with our teams optimising production and maximising return on investments.”

According to the statement, the group’s topline growth was driven by its deepening pan-African presence.

From a segment perspective, it stated, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa and Francophone Western Africa grew at double-digit rates of 48 per cent, 25 per cent, 24 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, while Northern Africa and Anglophone Western Africa grew by six per cent and four per cent respectively.

The company said product mix remained stable with fire and engineering accounting for 54 per cent, followed by general accident at 16 per cent, life at 12 per cent, energy at eight per cent, marine at seven per cent, and liability accounting for five per cent of the gross written premium.

“Going forward, the work of orchestrating the strengthening of our regional operations persists with a focus on continuous renewal of our talent base, our solutions offering, our operating model, our core processes and the technology we deploy, in order to embed the assimilation of our brand and our distinctive value proposition into the evolving, and increasingly sophisticated African market,” Oyetunji added.

NB to launch solar-powered brewery

Nigerian Breweries Plc and CrossBoundary Energy Limited have signed a Solar Power Purchase Agreement for the installation and operation of a 650 kilowatts solar plant located in Ibadan.

The firm, in a statement, which was made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday, said the solar energy plant would become operational this year.

It said the project would be the first of its kind in Nigeria as it would supply one gigawatt annually to the Ibadan Brewery at a significant discount to the current cost of power.

The statement read in part, “The project will also reduce the brewery’s carbon-dioxide emissions by over 10,000 tonnes over the lifespan of the plant. In addition to helping to power our world-class brewery in Ibadan, the solar plant will enable us to deliver on our ‘Brewing a Better World’ initiative.

“This will support our parent company’s (Heineken NV) global ‘Drop the C’ programme for renewable energy, which is aimed at growing production-related energy sourced from renewables from the current level of 14 per cent to 70 per cent by 2030.”

FCMB demonstrates commitment to employees’ welfare

First City Monument Bank has said it will continue to encourage and execute programmes that will promote healthy living and work life balance of its employees.

In a statement made available to our correspondent on Thursday, the bank said this during the employees’ health week.

The bank stated that the week long programme was aimed at promoting the well-being and reducing the health risk factors of employees, as well as their respective family members.

It stated, “The objective is to generate sustainability through several health and exciting activities that ultimately enhance productivity. It focuses on good nutrition, exercise and early detection of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, among others.”

The highlights of the programme, it added, were free and comprehensive medical check-ups for all employees of the bank, free mammograms for female employees to help detect early signs of cancer, counselling and tips on healthy eating and lifestyle, especially the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables.

It added that these were carried out in partnership with a team of highly experienced nutrition experts, health coaches’, medical specialists and counsellors.

More millionaires emerge in Fidelity Bank promo

Twelve winners emerged during the fifth edition of Fidelity Bank’s monthly draw on Get Alert in Millions promo season 3, which took place at the bank’s head office in Lagos on Tuesday.

During the promo, 11 customers won N1m each, a grand winner from Lagos won N2m, while other consolation prizes of television sets, refrigerators and generators were given to other winners.

The winners, who were selected through an electronic process, emerged from different zones in the country.

During the event, the Regional Branch Head, Chinwe Illoghalu, said the promo was a way of giving back value to the bank’s customers.

She said, “This is the fifth monthly draw in our series of the game season 3 of the bank and people are winning millions. It is just a promo for our savings’ customers and it is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion policy and a way of showing our appreciation to our customers and engendering customer loyalty.

“We have given out N13m today and other consolations prizes and we are set to have more draws. What we are trying to do is to build customer loyalty and encourage savings culture among Nigerians.”

While noting that customers were already familiar with the traditional method of opening bank accounts, she said Fidelity Bank was encouraging people to open account through the digital method.

“We have taken it a step further to capture more of the value chain and you can open accounts through our USSD channels, social media channels,” she said.

She said that Fidelity Bank’s programmes were transforming lives as many of its customers were entrepreneurs.

“You can’t spend all that comes to you, savings will transform your life,” she said.

She said the bank was expecting more winners to emerge at subsequent draws as it still had a total of N31m and several consolation prizes yet to be won.