Carex Chemistry Challenge Winners Visit PZ Cussons

Riding on the success of the third edition which climaxed last December, PZ Cussons Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to nurture the winners in industrial chemistry by taking them on a facility tour of the company’s Lagos administrative office in Ilupeju, and the factory at Ikorodu.

The four finalists of the 2015 PZ Cussons Carex Chemistry Challenge who went on the tour were Anthony Ekene Ike-Okoro of Top Grade Secondary School, Surulere, Wajud Kareem and Samuel Joseph, both of Abibat Mogaji Millennium Senior Secondary School, Agege, and Jude Nnaemeka Chineke of Great Esteem Secondary School, Surulere. The students were accompanied on the tour by Mr John Nna Odinibe and Mr Tolulope Joseph Odusanya, both Chemistry teachers.

Mr Christos Giannopoulous, Chief Executive Officer of PZ Cussons Nigeria, alongside the Corporate Affairs Director, Mrs Yomi Ifaturoti, welcomed the students and their teachers to the organisation and also congratulated them on their emergence as finalists of the rigorous competition.

Giannopoulous said: “I congratulate you on your success at the just concluded chemistry challenge. The company is focused on chemistry because of its importance to the society. I particularly salute your courage and enthusiasm to study chemistry and I hope in the nearest future you will be working in the corridors of this organisation and making an impact.”

The group was received at the PZ Cussons Group training centre by Mr Pieter Stroek, Head of Research, Development and Innovation, who conducted them round the laboratories, while Mr Alex Goma, Managing Director, Family Care, encouraged the students to pick up some other skills while on internship with the company to help them become better in terms of management, organisation and accountability. At the Ikorodu factory, Mr Fred Omoiya, Administrative Manager, explained to the group basic safety precautions and emergency procedures of the organisation before they were guided around the factories.
On his thoughts about the facility tour Ike-Okoro, the 2015 grand prize winner, expressed satisfaction with the tour. “I want to thank PZ Cussons for this wonderful opportunity and I hope the competition will spur other students to take Chemistry and other science subjects seriously.”
Kareem, the first runner-up, said: “I really enjoy the experience; the factories, the machines and the way they work is really breath-taking. This tour of PZ Cussons’ facility has enlightened me and with this I hope it will engineer my enthusiasm.”
Joseph, who finished in third place in the competition, expressed his readiness for the internship, while Chineke graciously said: “I am very delighted with the experience of this facility tour and it has further boosted my confidence in the pursuit of my career.”
As part of its commitment to reach out to everyone, not just secondary school students, Carex, the competition’s sponsor, instituted an online challenge that is open to all individuals residing or working in Lagos State. Entry is absolutely free and the quiz is not strictly based on Chemistry. The online challenge will run monthly until April, this year and two winners will emerge every month.


Farmers record $200m net income from rice scheme

The rice revolution initiative has made Nigerian farmers to record an estimated $200m (N39.4bn) in net incomes in the past two years.

The development has therefore created wealth for the farmers and their communities, according to a policy expert and Coordinator of Africa Regional Climate Change Programme under the United Nations Environment Programme, Dr. Richard Munang.

He believes that diversifying into other sectors such as an optimised agro-sector, services and manufacturing will help boost growth in the sector.

Munang spoke in Abuja during the inauguration of the Nigerian chapter of Ecosystem-based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly, with the theme, ‘Reshaping Nigeria’s food security and climate resilience through EBAFOSA.’

At the event, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, who was represented by the Director of Administration in the ministry, Chris Ezeilo, said EBAFOSA which seeks to combat food insecurity, climate change, ecosystems degradation and poverty in Africa, using innovative approach, now has a membership of 2,000 in Nigeria.

Manung said that although Africa holds 65 per cent of the world’s arable land and 10 per cent of internal renewable fresh water sources and a projected agro-value chain worth $1tn by 2030, the reality on the ground was appalling.

While quoting the World Bank reports that in Africa, a 10 per cent increase in crop yields translates into approximately a seven per cent reduction in poverty, the policy expert said Nigeria was already demonstrating high potential of an optimised agro-sector.

He said, “Unleashing a rice revolution has produced 1.8 million metric tonnes of rice paddy within two years and created 460,000 jobs, especially for the youth. In addition, farmers’ net incomes increased by an estimated $200m, creating wealth for farmers and their communities. This is only a fraction of the potential Nigeria can realise.

“Distinguished guests, when Nigeria succeeds, Africa succeeds. Nigeria holds about one-fifth of the continents population. If empowered, this will be the largest consolidated market in the continent.”


Telcos disregard minister’s ultimatum on unused data

Telecoms companies, Internet Service Providers and other companies offering Information and Communications Technology products and services have yet to commence the rollover of subscribed and unused data/Internet services after expiration.

This was discovered on Friday; exactly two weeks after the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, issued an order for the enforcement of data rollover.

The minister had at a meeting with the telecoms operators asked them to roll over subscribers’ unused monthly data to the new month.

Shittu had told the operators that, “Many Nigerians have sent in petitions to the ministry over unauthorised charges and deductions for unsubscribed or unsolicited messages.”

In the wake of fixed wireless and Global System for Mobile operation in Nigeria, some operators had given subscribers between three and seven days to make use of their unused credit or lose such to the operator. Later, it was moved to 15 days.

Today, credits loaded directly can now be made use of up to 90 days.

However, promo-generated credits still have very short expiry dates.

Reacting to the development, the President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, described the operators’ refusal to comply with the minister’s directive as “a bad omen for the industry.”

The NATCOMS president said he was also pained by the failure of the Nigerian Communications Commission to implement the order.

“The operators have been credit depleting and riding on subscribers with the adoption of the Timed Guaranteed Income Policy, which denies consumer the right to satisfaction and the right of choice,” he said.

“The NCC must ensure immediate compliance by all telcos, ISPs and other ICT companies in order to put some smile on the faces of subscribers,” Ogunbanjo added.


Easter: Passengers Besiege Abuja Airport, Many Stranded


Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was a beehive of activities on Thursday as passengers tried to travel for the Easter celebrations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had declared Friday and Monday public holidays for Easter celebrations.

NAN reports that there was heavy traffic in the departure hall and the booking points of the domestic wing of the airport.

NAN also observed that some passengers were stranded as there were no available flights for them to travel to their destinations.

An official of the airport, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said all flights for Thursday were fully booked and that there was no more available flight for the day.

The official said that the upsurge was as a result of the long holiday.

Mr Saroke Abdullahi, Deputy Station Manager, Azman Airlines, said there was an upsurge in passenger turnout and that all domestic flights for Thursday were fully booked by Wednesday.

Abdullahi said that flights to Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt were the most patronised.


Agro Export Can Earn Nigeria $40bn Annually If…-Sotonye

Sotonye Anga, an agribusiness strategist and an expert in the non-oil export sector has affirmed that agriculture has what it takes to save Nigeria’s economy and if the agro export is taken seriously, the country can generate and earn 40 billion dollars annually as revenue.
> He said that there is the need to boost production and add value to Nigeria’s agricultural exports. According to him, “If we take agriculture seriously and deliberately build our capacity in production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, we can generate and earn $40 billion annually as revenue.”
He stated this while speaking as a keynote speaker at an international export trade and investment in the non oil sector conference organised by OG2 Tech Consulting and Investment Limited in Lagos. Speaking on the theme: “The Multibillion Dollar Business for a non-oil sector in Nigeria,” he explained that at this critical period of our national life, Nigerians must do everything to boost production, value addition and export of its agricultural products.

According to him, activities within the agricultural value chain has great potential for the reduction of hunger, job creation, wealth creation, food security and economic development. He said Nigeria has the landscape of Mangrove forest to deserts and different ecology in between, suitable to grow a wide range of crops in large commercial volumes and that the country grows a diverse variety of crops making the list of important products for food and industrial uses. Listing some of them to include cocoa, cashew, giner, sesame seeds, gum arabic, sheanuts, chilli pepper, soybeans, sorghum, maize and cassava.

Others are groundnut, millet, potato, hibiscus, banana, plantain, pineapples, tomatoes, yam, rubber, honey among others. Calling for a greater focus on value addition to farm produce as opposed to exporting them in their raw state. He said, “As agribusiness people, our wealth comes from growing the crops, selling them and everything in-between. Exporters can earn more by adding value to famr produce,” he said. On how to attract funding, he stressed that one must be creative, gather adequate information on preferred agribusinesses, come up with a business plan, create a transaction dynamics and share your plan with investors.

Godwin Okoh, Managing Director, OG2 Tech Consult and Investment Limited, the organiser of the conference, explained that the non oil sector is very lucrative currently and people must get the right information to tap into this opportunity hence the reason for the conference. He also said the company discovered that there is a knowledge gap in the export business which OG2 aims at bridging stressing that he wants young entrepreneurs to know how to use the opportunities in the sector and how to make money from Nigeria’s numerous cash crops. “We want young young entrepreneurs to know how to use the opportunities in the sector and how to make money from Nigeria’s numerous cash crops.” “Our aim is to bridge the gap by providing relevant information and skills to young entrepreneurs. The non-oil sector is very lucrative currently and we want people to have information about the potential of agribusiness and how to be agro exporters,” he added.


Power generation drops to 2,841MW despite Buhari’s promise


The output from power generating plants in the country as at Thursday dropped to 2,841MW, despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s pronouncement that his administration will generate 10,000 megawatts, MW before the expiration of its term in 2019.
According to reports in the Nigerian Systems Operations Department of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, website,, power generation dropped to 2,841MW.

The President’s declaration, Tuesday was greeted with lots of skepticism from various stakeholders, who argued that it was a mission impossible given the current state of the Nigerian power sector, which is characterized by weak and obsolete system.
TCN stated that the Federal Government’s target of 10,000MW was not feasible, stressing that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had also made the same promise in 2010 but never came to pass.

It advised that to achieve the set target by 2019, 3,333MW must be generated yearly for the next three years.

TCN however observed that the challenges meeting this target is that the weak transmission network, which cannot wheel that amount of power, given that the much talked about transmission grid has not been constructed.

“The transmission system in Nigeria comprises 330 KV and 132 KV circuits and substations and the highest maximum daily energy wheeled nationwide was the one-off 109,372MWH, which was attained when generation output hit a record 5,074MW on February 2, 2016.
“Also, except new capacities come on stream, all the existing power plants in Nigeria cannot generate 10,000MW, while the 11 existing distribution companies, DISCOs, cannot accommodate the 10,000MW due to weak tools and equipment.”

Meanwhile, reports from the Systems Operations however did not state any reasons for the drop in power generation.


Capital Flight from International Carriers Hits $4billion Yearly


Findings have revealed that revenues from ticket sales by foreign airlines, salary emoluments from expatriate pilots and engineers, and cost of aircraft maintenance overseas have climbed to over $4 billion yearly.

The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA, revealed that as much as $2.3 billion was generated by Nigerian travel agents in 2014 from ticket sales for foreign airlines and tour services.

Of this amount, $1.4 billion was generated from ticket sales alone. Besides travel agents, foreign airlines sell tickets through the banks, airports and city offices, which generate almost the same amount with the travel agents.

Checks from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, revealed an increase in passenger movements, particularly overseas travels, notwithstanding the sliding economy. It was confirmed that overseas travel has been rising steadily as more airlines increase their frequencies to Nigerian destinations.

Apart from ticket sales and services, the Nigerian aviation industry is highly dependent on foreign personnel for aircraft maintenance, aircraft parts acquisition and services.

Major technical personnel from pilots of modern aircraft fleet, including business jets, which are over 140 in the country are majorly maintained overseas and largely have foreign cockpit crew, as many of them have foreign registration.

According to NANTA, foreign airlines record the highest foreign exchange remittances out of Nigeria, after oil and gas and mobile phone companies.

“Majority of pilots operating in Nigeria are foreigners, the same with aircraft engineers, they are paid in dollars. Aircraft parts are paid for in dollars, simulator training for pilots are done overseas and are paid for in dollars; so after oil, the industry makes the highest demand on foreign exchange,” said a Nigerian pilot, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Nigeria has over 5,000 exportable products – Expert

A trade professional and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Koinonia Ventures Limited, Mr. Olufemi Boyede, has said Nigeria needs to begin to explore its over 5,000 exportable products.

He stated this in Lagos during a press conference to announce a one-day workshop on non-oil export.

Boyede said that the country’s quest to diversify its economy could only be achieved if the government would create the enabling environment.

He said, “The 5,000 products I am talking about are not my invention. It is the result of a research carried out by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council about 10 years ago.”

“Under its new zero oil plan, the NEPC had enumerated 21 products, which it believes, if adequately developed and promoted, can immediately replace oil as Nigeria’s leading revenue.”

Boyede, who is also President, Koinonia Global Services Inc, Canada, said Nigeria should be looking at its processed fruits and vegetables, its entertainment industry, the handicraft sector and the manufactured products for the ECOWAS market.

On the workshop, he said, “Our aim is to develop Nigeria’s export industry by helping to prepare desiring entrepreneurs with the requisite knowledge of exporting.  We at the KVL see exporting from three sides: the supply side, the finance side and the market side. The March workshop will address all these sides and deliver to participants all they need to know about exporting.”

He said the workshop would have in attendance one of the world’s top consultants on quality issues, Prof Ken Ife, coming to deliver a hands-on guide on international trade compliance issues.


Stock transactions rose by 39.44% in February —NSE

The total transactions at the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased by 39.44 per cent from N84.10bn recorded in January 2016 to N117.27bn (about $0.60bn) in February 2016.

In comparison with the same period in 2015, the total transactions decreased by 36.44 per cent from the N184.49 recorded in February 2015, the NSE posted on its website on Thurday.

Domestic investors significantly  outperformed  foreign  investors  by  27.04 per cent. Domestic transactions increased from 48.43 per cent in January 2016 to 63.52 per cent in February2016, while Foreign Portfolio Investment transactions decreased from 51.57 per cent to 36.48 per cent over the same period.

The monthly  foreign outflows outpaced  inflows  and this  was  consistent  with  the  same  period  in  2015. Foreign  outflows increased by 20.79 per cent from N26.36bn in January 2016 to N31.84bn while foreign inflows decreased by 35.68 per cent from N17.01bn in January 2016 to N10.94bn in February 2016.

The    total    domestic    transaction increased  by  82.89 per cent  from  January  to  February  2016.

The  institutional  composition  of  the  domestic  market increased   by 75.05 per cent from   N21.85bn in   January   to N38.25bn in  February while  the  retail  composition increased   by 91.95 per cent from N18.88bn   in   January   to N36.24bn    in    February    2016.

This, the Exchange said indicated that institutional  investors slightly  outperformed their retail counterparts in the period under review.

In 2013, there was a major rebound in the domestic   component   which   led   to   an almost  equal  split  in  foreign against  domestic transactions.

This     dropped     in     2014     where     FPI outperformed domestic transactions.

In 2015, the FPI  dropped  compared  with  2014. However,      it      slightly      outperformed domestic transactions in the same period.


Lagos, Kebbi Sign MoU to Meet 70% of Nigeria’s Rice Needs


The Lagos and Kebbi State Governments, on Wednesday, March 23, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which they said would see to  the production of 70 per cent of Nigeria’s ricerequirements yearly.

The agreement was sealed at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos wednesday by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, along with representatives of the two governments.

The signing of the MoU was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council from the two states, representatives of the two Houses of Assembly, leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC), traditional rulers, community leaders among others

The agreement, which principally centres on boosting the production of wheat, ground nut, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, cows among others, was the first state-to-state relations in the country.

Before signing the agreement, Bagudu unequivocally disclosed that the goal of Lagos-Kebbi partnership on food production was “to produce 60 to 70 per cent of Nigeria’s rice needs, and replicate same in other food items.”

He therefore explained that in the world of genetically modified food, the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi States was an additional motivation to provide certainties for the people in terms of food production and sufficiency.

Bagudu noted that both states “have had a long history of trade, and that the signing of the MoU was another way of cementing the relationship with the view to making the people get richer. Lagos is the most entrepreneurial part of Nigeria.

“Lagos, if it were a country itself, is a country that other states will be going to establish a relationship with, and so why not state to state. So, what we are doing is to pioneer a collaboration that will bring other states on board later as we believe that our potentials are enormous, and we must have pacesetters to start that process of joint collaboration for our collective good.”

Giving an insight into the signing of the agreement, Ambode acknowledged that the ceremony was to formalise an agreement between Lagos and Kebbi States “to enter into a partnership for food processing, production and distribution.”