Nigeria’s over $13bn annual crude oil exports to India may be under threat as the South Asian country plans to tap its $40 billion worth of oil and gas reserve by attracting $25 billion investments into the sector in a policy aimed at reducing dependence on imported energy.
According to FT, India expects to attract $25 billion in investments within the next few years for exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the country, following the implementation of reforms known as “HELP”. Under HELP, companies will now enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with the government as opposed to the profit-sharing mechanism now in place. Firms will be able to bid for E&P rights for all hydrocarbons in blocks of their choosing.
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan also said recently the new hydrocarbon exploration and licensing policy (HELP) and a more liberal gas pricing structure that would help India reduce reliance on oil imports over the next 10-15 years. The country currently imports 75% of its oil, out of which Nigeria has had a sizable share of India’s crude imports.
Lagos – Nigerian internet provider ntel is seeking more than $1 billion to invest in 4G mobile broadband by 2020 as the owner of the former state landline company seeks to take advantage of a rising number of smartphone users in Africa’s most populous country.
“We are speaking to investors and to banks who are interested in a growth story for Africa,” Chief Executive Officer Kamar Abass, 51, said in an interview on March 31. “We are seeing the very beginnings of a shift from a voice-oriented communications market in Nigeria to one that will be dominated by mobile broadband.”
Sub-Saharan African mobile Internet companies are attracting investment because of a lack of fixed-line infrastructure to support rising demand for online access. Smile Telecoms Holdings raised $365 million in August to expand its wireless Internet network in Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania, while Lagos-based MainOne Cable said in July it plans to raise $300 million.
Africa’s biggest economy had about 149 million active mobile-phone lines as of end January, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission, yet most users are restricted to 2G voice and text messaging due to the low penetration of smartphones. Nigeria’s population is forecast by the World Bank to reach almost 207 million by 2020 from about 170 million now, and ntel expects Nigeria’s mobile-broadband customer numbers to rise significantly by 2020, Abass said.
MTN Group, Nigeria’s biggest mobile-phone operator, plans to expand Internet services after agreeing to buy broadband provider Visafone Communications in January. MTN went ahead with the deal, which was challenged in court by Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecommunications Group Co, even as the Johannesburg-based company battles to reduce a record $3.9 billion fine in the country for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers.
ntel’s investment target includes the $252 million that the company paid to acquire state-owned landline provider Nigerian Telecommunications and its mobile unit MTel in 2015. It is owned by Nigerian investors including Olatunde Ayeni, the chairman of Skye Bank, and has a partnership agreement with closely held Hong Kong Telecommunications, according to the company.
ntel will compete with Nigeria’s four mobile-phone companies, MTN, Etisalat, Bharti Airtel of India and local provider Globacom. The company will start services in in Lagos and Abuja, the capital, on April 8.
Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
– Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
Fate is not what drives men to their conditions or situations, but decisions and actions, or lack thereof. The ubiquitous and perennial market fires in Nigeria are mostly caused by poor design, mismanagement and greed. And the toll would keep rising, unless we face these simple truth, if the case of the fire that gutted Kano’s Abubakar Rimi Market (better known as Sabon Gari Market), penultimate weekend, is anything to go by.
Said to have started in the wee hours of Saturday last week, from just one shop, the inferno raged on for hours, and by the time it was finally extinguished Sunday evening it has, according to The National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA], gutted about 3,800 shops, because the access road was blocked by hundreds of wheelbarrows chained together for the night. The market traders’ association estimated property losses at over N2 trillion, adding that over 75 per cent of the market has been burnt. Given the usual habit of many traders, especially of northern extraction, of keeping their cash in their shops, we could be safely assume that the losses were much more, amounting to almost half of our Federal Budget.
All these are before adding the tens of thousands who have illegal kiosks, “attachments”, stalls, tables, sheds and what not, who daily make a living from this market. Many more have shops and stalls elsewhere and use the market as a convenient wholesale source, often getting these goods on credit from its bigger shopkeepers. Then there are food and “pure water hawkers, potters, mobile barbers, shoe-shiners, nail-cutters and other “service providers” who make their daily bread from the market.
Kaduna — The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Kaduna has sealed the Kaduna office of Tosco Standard Yogurt, a multi-billion naira business over lack of good manufacturing practice.
The SON officials who stormed the premises of the yogurt and water company located in Kakuri in Kaduna South Local Government frowned at the way and manner the products were being produced in a dirty environment.
Daily Trust reports that the environment was smelly, the floors, widows and walls were covered in smudge, the tiles were cracked, the wall was covered in decades old dirt and the production area was below standard.
State Coordinator of SON, Abba Adamu Bauchi said the company had been given warning letters to sanitise their environment or face seal adding that the company will remain closed pending when they meet up to standard.
“We have to seal the factory pending the time they put in place all the necessary requirements to run such a factory, this is necessary because they are dealing with edible products and it is hazardous to human health,”he said.
On his part, Managing Director of Tosco, Muhammad Gazali who disclosed that the 20 years-old company has a staff strength of 60, added that they do not compromise on their standard.
Labour yesterday threatened to mobilize workers, students, civil society groups, market women, among others, to shut down Kaduna over alleged anti-workers polices, among other alleged excesses of Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, warned that should El-Rufai continue his perceived unfair policies against workers and other ordinary Nigerians in the state, what labour did in Imo State in February 2016, when Governor Rochas Okorocha sacked 3,000 workers, would be a child’s play to what would be done in Kanduna State.
TUC, in a statement by its President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama in Abuja , lamented that all efforts by the TUC, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Joint Council in Kaduna State to prevail on Governor El-Rufai to cease his alleged siege on workers and trade unions in the state had been treated with contempt.
It reads: “As we write, the Kaduna State Governor is compelling workers in the state against their will to choose whether to belong to Trade Unions or opt out of the Trade Union system completely.
“By his bizarre actions, Governor El-Rufai may think that he is destroying the trade unions in the state but what he is actually displaying is his lack of elementary knowledge of labour laws in the country because even though the law permits the worker to opt out of trade union, it is not the responsibility of the Governor to force him or her to do so.
“El-Rufai further exposed his ignorance when he told a national newspaper recently that he decided to destroy the union in Kaduna State because N2,000 was deducted from a worker’s salary as union dues and that when he multiplied that amount with the number of Kaduna State Government employees, including the local government staff, he came to the spurious conclusion that the union collects N170 million as check-off dues.
“It is really a pity that a governor of a state in Nigeria does not know that union dues is not a flat rate of N2,000 for every employee and that there are about 15 unions in the public service of a state that are entitled to union dues based on a rate approved by the Registrar of trade unions. El-Rufai even wants the workers to pay tax on union dues deducted from their own salary.”
TUC noted that Labour Matters, which included the trade unions were listed under item 34 in the Second Schedule of the Exclusive Legislative List in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and as such the Kaduna State governor has no legal authority to write his own labour laws.
“Besides, El-Rufai is neither the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment nor the Registrar of Trade Unions and so should desist forthwith from rewriting Nigerian Labour Laws through the backdoors to massage his bestial ego. Section 5(3) of the Labour Act and Section 17 (a) and (b) of the Trade Unions Act clearly provide that: ‘upon the registration and recognition of any of the trade unions specified in Part A of schedule 3 of the Trade Unions Act, the employer SHALL make deduction from the wages of all workers eligible to be members of the union for the purpose of paying contributions to the trade unions so recognized.’
“The law didn’t give El-Rufai or any other person for that matter the latitude to start asking workers to indicate whether they want to join a union or not. Check off deduction by law is automatic.
“By his action, El-Rufai now sees himself as headmaster dictating to his pupils on what to do and what not to do. He has no such powers,” the Union reiterated.
Lagos – French telecommunications company Orange is to invest 75 million euros ($85 million) in Nigerian e-commerce group Africa Internet Group (AIG) and become a shareholder, the two companies said on Tuesday.
AIG, which was founded in Nigeria in 2012, already counts Goldman Sachs, South African telecoms group MTN and Germany’s Rocket Internet among its shareholders.
It owns several technology firms across 26 African countries including online retailer Jumia, delivery app , hotel booking platform Jovago and online real estate marketplace Lamudi.
“With this strategic investment, Orange now has the capacity to play a leading role in the fast-growing e-commerce market in Africa,” Stéphane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange, said in a joint statement with AIG.
“This investment will enable us to significantly develop our ability to market products and services developed by Orange Middle East and Africa over the Internet,” he added.
Orange said last week that it plans to grow in Africa, among other regions, after its talks to buy French peer Bouygues Telecom collapsed.
“We are thrilled by Orange’s equity investment and are eager to translate our strategic partnership into unique offers for our customers,” said AIG founders and co-CEOs Sacha Poignancy and Jeremy Hodara.
Last month AIG announced additional funding worth a total of 225 million euros ($245 million).
The Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, Chief Innocent Chukwuma yesterday said the company will, in the next five years, commence local manufacture of vehicle engine to achieve 100 per cent local content in the auto industry.
Currently, the firm is doing 60 per cent local content with the assembling of vehicle parts and the purchase of vehicle engines from foreign markets.
He reiterated the company determination to make Nigeria one of the 20 top world‘s industrialised nations by 2020.
Speaking while he led the management team of the company to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja, he said Innoson, being the first indigenous motor manufacturing company, was set to reduce drastically, the prices of vehicles and cut down the country‘s dependence on imported vehicles.
Informing the minister that the beginning was tough and rough, the chairman urged the government to assist in the area of efficient power supply to power the over 100 industries that have made Nnewi, the Taiwan of Africa.
“Our major request is to help us in accessing foreign exchange to enable us keep and maintain our over 7, 200 employees. We wish to also request for a government policy to ensure that home-made goods are protected and patronized by all levels of governments and agencies,” he pleaded.
This, according to him, would ensure that the youths were employable or self-employed, pointing out that 200 youths were currently undergoing training from Niger Delta under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Responding, Dr. Onu assured the team that the ministry would support, cooperate and collaborate with the company, pointing out that after the budget was out, the ministry, alongside all the agencies under the ministry would, henceforth, drive only made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
He urged the management team to upgrade the company‘s facilities and work towards manufacturing the engines in Nigeria, as another way of creating employment opportunities to Nigerian populace.
For the third consecutive month of 2016 (Q1), production level, employment data and general business activities recorded disappointing outcomes, with raw material inventories and new orders data, among others, which are facilitated with foreign exchange, falling at a faster rate.
This verdict was contained in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s March edition of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing. Although the report noted a marginal shift to 45.9 per cent in the period, compared to 45.5 per cent in February, it only showed that the segment remained in the negative line.
The weak numbers in the first quarter of 2016 are an indication that growth in the manufacturing sector is below trend and a reflection of the macroeconomic challenges that have bedeviled the country.
Of the 16 manufacturing sub-sectors, 12 reported decline in the review month, led by transportation equipment; furniture and related products; plastics and rubber products; textile, apparel, leather and footwear; printing and related support activities; non-metallic mineral products; paper products; fabricated metal products; and primary metal, among others.
The production level estimated at 46.6 per cent was also an indication of decline and for the third consecutive month, although at slower rate than the preceding month.
Still, 12 of the 16 manufacturing sub-sectors reported decline in production during the review month, while the appliances and components sub-sector reported no change.
Employment level index in the month of March stood at 45.5 per cent, indicating another decline, but made worse as it also recorded the 13th consecutive month poor performance.
Of the 16 sub-sectors, 13 recorded decline, led by electrical equipment; plastics and rubber products; fabricated metal products; furniture and related products; paper products; appliances and components; primary metal; textile, apparel, leather and footwear; food, beverage and tobacco products; petroleum and coal products; and non-metallic mineral products, among others.
Still, employment level index in the non-manufacturing segment also failed at 43.9 per cent in March 2016, which is the third consecutive month and at a faster rate when compared to the preceding month.
Fifteen sub-sectors reported decline in employment level index, with management of companies; utilities; construction; real estate, rental and leasing; information and communication; arts, entertainment and recreation; public administration; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; finance and insurance; transportation and warehousing; agriculture; and accommodation and food services, among others, leading the negative data.
The general business activities declined for the third consecutive month, with 11 out of 18 sub-sectors reporting declines led by finance and insurance; wholesale trade; construction; professional, scientific and technical services; management of companies; utilities; real estate, rental and leasing; accommodation and food services; repair, maintenance/washing of motor vehicles; water supply, sewage and waste management and transportation and warehousing.
The development, which is similar to the manufacturing sector, is particularly worrisome as it marks the first time that the sector recorded contractions consecutively since the beginning of the data series.
Again, the sector has been the major driver of growth and highest contributor to absolute nominal and real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years and an indication of poor performance 2016 Q1 GDP numbers.
The Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Nteranya Sanginga, on Sunday said the Federal Government would launch N59.7 billion Youth-In-Agriculture Scheme in September.
Mr. Sanginga, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan, said the scheme would be sponsored by the federal government and the African Development Bank, AFDB.
The director-general said IITA would train those enrolled in the scheme, adding that beneficiaries would be trained on how to make agriculture a business with good networking.
“The programme tagged “Enable Youth Empowerment Agribusiness programme, will engage youths in agribusiness for 18 months to enable them learn how to make agric business plan.
“Each will be given between 25,000 US Dollars and 300,000 US Dollars as loan to start a business.
“The programme started by IITA in 2012, was taken over by the federal government and AFDB to create employment in agric sector.
“To support this objective, the programme will be extended to 36 states and Abuja in September.
“After the programme, we expect the youth to become chief executive officers of factories, companies and creators of jobs rather than job seekers,” he said.
Mr. Sanginga urged the youth to develop positive mindset in agriculture and take good advantage of the programme.
“They should be serious with the training because at the end of it only those who did well will be rewarded,” he said.
Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd. on Saturday, said its 116 million dollars modular refinery would come on stream before the end of 2016.
Group Managing Director of the company, Mr Anthony Iheanacho, told newsmen in Lagos that the company had been given provisional licence to commence preliminary work for a 20,000-barrel capacity modular refinery.
Iheanacho, who conducted the newsmen on tour of site of the proposed refinery at Tomaro Island Port, off Takwa Bay, Lagos, said that the preliminary approval was received from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He said that work had commenced on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and other necessary requirements to facilitate the final approval for the refinery.
He said that funds for the project would be sourced from local and foreign financial institutions
Iheanacho explained that the refinery would produce Automated Gas Oil (AGO) otherwise known as diesel, kerosene, export quality aviation fuel and fuel oil.
According to him, the refinery does not have the capacity to produce Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol.
“Tomaro Island with about 90 hectares is designed as one-stop shop which will comprise refinery, flour mill, ship repair yard, helipad site and resort centres.
“It will also create massive employment for our teeming youths. Crude would come to the refinery through vessels for refining,” he said.
The GMD said that the company was still awaiting some documents to start construction on the island, contrary to claims by one resident of the area, who petitioned that work had commenced at the site.
“We have not even started construction by the way; we are just going through the pre-application process.
“I am ready to stand by the truth and what is right at all times. I am not the one to go and appropriate property to build a refinery.
“I am not going to put my hands in your pocket and force money out of it. I am not going to force you to tell me what you do not know about building refineries.
” Refineries are very important infrastructure in the country and it will enhance the image and prestige of the country.
“If I think that I can articulate a business plan, that I can talk to the bank and they will then lend me money to build the refinery, while will I not do it? I do not want anybody to be deceived or fooled by fake or funny stories,” he said.
Iheanacho, however, appealed to Federal Government to support indigenous oil companies which are striving to grow the oil and gas sector, adding that government should also support local companies with funding.
“We are in absolute support of growing indigenous capacity in every facet of our oil and gas industry.
“This is because the local companies are paying their taxes, reinvesting their capital and creating enormous job opportunities for the larger community.
He said that with such encouragement, Nigeria’s participation in the industry would rise significantly in line with government’s aspirations with the Nigerian Content Act. (NAN)