Stakeholders Groan As Calabar Export Processing Zone Is Thrown Into Darkness

NEPZA logo
NEPZA logo
The Calabar Export Processing Zone (EPZ), has been thrown into utter darkness following the inability of the management to meet its financial obligations.

The EPZ our findings reveal was thrown into darkness following its inability to meet its obligations to Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc, the DISCO supplying energy to the EPZ Community.

We gathered that trouble began when the EPZ started under paying for their electricity consumption on the pretense that they doubt the integrity of the PHED metering.
It was at this pont that NEMSA – Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, NEMSA, was invited to check the accuracy of the metering, and following NEMSA’s report, a reconciliation was done and a demand was made on the EPZ for the outstanding payments.
Despite the report confirming the accuracy of the PHED meter reading and the reconciliation achieved by NEMSA, the EPZ has refused to pay the outstanding arrears of N71,965,299 owed PHED. Consequently, power supply to the complex was disconnected, leaving the entire EPZ community in total darkness, and despite several entreaties made to the EPZ, they are yet to make payment due to mismanagement and alleged internal fraud rocking the organisation.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the complex have begun agitating; describing the situation as worrisome and very disturbing.
Some who spoke to our correspondent on anonymous grounds berated the management of the EPZ for subjecting them to such harrowing experience.

They wandered how they can remain in business and production, let alone make profit when a major ingredient of production is lacking.
They therefore called on the management of the EPZ to urgently resolve issues with PHED by paying the power supply company that has over the year made life and business good for them, noting that they are confident once the issues are resolved, power will be restored to the complex without further delays.

Automation : NIMASA Comenses Digital Manifest Management — Sets To Reduce Human Interface And Improve Vessel turnaround time

NIMASA
NIMASA
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has commenced total digital manifest management regime for all vessels calling at all Nigerian Ports. The Physical transactions concerning Sailing Certificates and cargo manifest processing are being phased out completely as stakeholders are encouraged to fully embrace the Agency’s initiative by visiting the NIMASA portal.

The Director General of the Agency Dr. Bashir Jamoh said that the automation is aimed at further reducing human interaction, improve efficiency and block revenue leakages.

According to him, “In line with the Federal Government’s Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business, we are committed to improving turnaround time of vessels, reduction of human interface in majority of our transactions with our stakeholders and this is in our bid to ensure transparency and professionalism that the sector require to grow.”

“We have improved our operational relationship with our sister Agencies, as we speak, we have made tremendous progress in our determination to convey sailing clearance for Vessels to the NPA electronically. We also receive and process manifests electronically” . This has improved efficiency leading to improvement in the turn-around-time of vessels calling at the nation’s Ports. Jamoh said.

“Right now we have ensured that the process of submitting and processing manifests is reduced from 72Hours to 5hours for VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) and larger container vessels whereas it would only take two hours or less for smaller vessels), you would agree with me that these are marked improvement and its still work in progress.

The NIMASA DG noted that the benefits that would be derived from the total digitalization of all the Agency’s processes expected to be completed by 2022 would be enormous not just for the Stakeholders, but for the country at large including helping to improve balance of trade, and improved commercial shipping activities in Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the Dr. Bashir Jamoh led administration had always advocated the automation of the Agency’s processes for enhanced and effective delivery of services. This renewed drive is seen as another stride in the total transformation of the maritime sector for economic benefit.

FG Extends NIN-SIM Verification To 31st March 2022

Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami
Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, (Pantami) FBCS, FNCS, FIIM, says the Federal Government has further extended the deadline for the National Identification Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data verification to the 31st of March, 2022.

The move follows requests by stakeholders, including citizens, legal residents and Nigerians in the diaspora. According to a statement jointly sigbed by Dr. Ike Adinde, Director Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission , NCC, and Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head of Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, the Federal Government has extended the deadline of the exercise to the 31st of March, 2022. This extension is to enable the Federal Government to consolidate the gains of the process and accelerate the enrolment of Nigerians in key areas like the remote areas, diaspora, schools, hospitals, worship centres, and the registration of legal residents.

Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim also implored Nigerians and legal residents to enrol for their NINs and link with their SIMs during this period of extension as more services will be requiring the NIN for identification. He also reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to support the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in ensuring that the objectives of the exercise are achieved.

The Honourable Minister, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, and the Director-General/CEO of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, wish to thank all Nigerians and stakeholders for their commitment and support towards the success of the project. They also applaud the efforts of the respective staff in ensuring a seamless NIN-SIM linkage and urge citizens and legal residents to complete the process of enrolment, verification, and SIM linkage on or before 31st March 2022.

Mmeanwhile, stakeholders have applauded the Federal Government on the significant growth in the number of NIN enrolments and the increased drive to enlighten Nigerians and legal residents across the country. As of 30th December 2021, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has issued over seventy-one million (71m) NINs with over fourteen thousand (14,000) enrolment centres set up across the country.

Furthermore, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has also set up enrolment centres in over thirty-one (31) countries to cater for Nigerians in the Diaspora. The unprecedented growth in the National Identity Database to over 71 million unique NINs in such a short period, with about 3 to 4 SIMs linked to a NIN, reflects the concerted effort of the Federal Government, the Nigerian populace and legal residents and this is truly commendable.

Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) Assures Fire Incident Is Under Control

NNPC logo
NNPC logo
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company ltd has stated that a minor fire incidence that occurred this morning 01/01/2022 at the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) has been put out.

The incidence which was contained in less than two hours according to a press statement made available to BusinessUpdate, was caused by a spark while a 33,000 litre truck was discharging naphtha into a tank at the PHRC.

The management of the refinery led by the Managing Director, who was at the scene supervising the operation, the statement further adds, immediately mobilized the safety structure at the PHRC and with support from the Federal Fire service, successfully brought the fire under control.

The management of the PHRC, it noted, “wishes to reassure Nigerians resident in the neighbourhood of the facility that they have no cause to worry about the incident; and to also affirm that the safety of life and of property is at the top of its priority list.

The incident affected only the discharging truck and the pump bay. No other property was damaged.”

The management and staff of the PHRC is therefore expressing its profound appreciations to all those that contributed in bringing a speedy end to the incidence; while wishing all Nigerians a very happy and fulfilling New Year 2022.

Enter Year 2022 With Optimism, Renewed Trust In God -Archbishop Martins Urges Nigerians

Archbishop Adewale Martin's
Archbishop Adewale Martin’s
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr Alfred Adewale Martins has enjoined Nigerians to be optimistic and embrace a positive mind-set as they enter the New Year 2022, filled with renewed trust in God Almighty.
In his New Year message signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the prelate admitted that there were indeed numerous challenges that characterized the outgoing year for the country as a whole and for majority of Nigerians. He, however, urged Nigerians to look beyond the shortfalls and negatives of the past and approach the New Year with optimism and positive expectations.
He advised them to shun every attempt to create fear and apprehension by the predictions of doom that are being circulated in the social media space. He counselled that we should simply be full of prayers, committing all our experiences to God rather than dwell on such predictions that can only lead to depression and further mental anguish.
“We thank the good Lord for making it possible for us to see the New Year. As we celebrate, let us remember our brothers and sisters who passed on during the year, thereby ending their earthly journey. We pray that their souls find lasting peace with God.
“For those of us who are still alive, let us remember the admonition of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace to us: not to fret or fear over tomorrow, but to live with the courage and belief that each day is in the hands of God, and He has the blueprint by which He will make our lives better in the coming year. On our part, we must do that which is right and good towards our neighbours, living in peace and harmony with everyone. We must not allow the predictions of doom and other challenges that we face to lead us question the presence of God even in our circumstances. He is able to turn around all things for good.”
Archbishop Martins also sounded a note of caution for the political class in positions of leadership, particularly the executive arm of government, to be more proactive in addressing the fears being expressed by many Nigerians.
“There are very many issues plaguing the nation and agitating the minds of citizens. These call for the urgent attention of our rulers especially the Legislature and the Executive. The most pressing on people at this time is in the area of insecurity which claimed thousands of lives in the outgoing year. It is such a serious problem that Government needs to explore new and better ways of dealing with this issue in such a way that Nigerians would be assured of better security in the new year.
“Another area of concern that touches people every single day is the economy. The inflation level is too high even as the value of our currencies are nose-diving daily. We can all feel the consequences of high inflation rate and the value of our currency that has nose-dived. As we begin the Year 2022, the Federal Government must be taken further steps to reappraise its economic policies and inject fresh ideas to cushion the effects of the harsh economy on the masses and mitigate the suffering that would arise from the projected economic challenges of the new year,” he added.
On the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and its new Omicron strain, Archbishop Martins commended the Federal Government for its efforts so far in curtailing its spread. He implored Nigerians to embrace COVID vaccination in order to reduce the rate of infection and ensure that the effects are light even if one contracts the virus, reminding all to be mindful of the presence of the pandemic as we begin the new year. “Unfortunately, we still have to battle the pandemic in this New Year. Let us start each day with prayerful optimism and go about our daily activities with utmost caution and in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. Thus, as we pray for divine intervention, we must also be prepared to work hard and do the needful since heaven helps those who help themselves, he said.
The Archbishop urged government to do more in addressing the health care needs of Nigerians. He advocated for improved funding in the area of research and development in the health sector in order to buoy local production of drugs and vaccines to reduce over-reliance on foreign aid, which have become embarrassing for a nation as vast and blessed as Nigeria.
Finally, he called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to leave any stone unturned in his efforts at safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians in the new year and where necessary, to inject fresh personnel with first-rate minds in the top hierarchy of our security Agencies.

Burna Boy Electrifies FirstBank Decemberissavybe Campaign With Sterling Performance

 

FirstBank logo
FirstBank logo
gGrammy award winner Burna Boy electrified fans at the FirstBank Decemberissavybe campaign with a sterling performance at the ‘Burna Boy The Live Experience’. The 30-year-old singer expressed how delighted he was to have relocated back to Nigeria at the concert.

The self-claimed ‘African Giant’ performed a catalog of his songs from 2012 to 2021 at the Eko Convention Center Lagos which was filled to the brim with fans.

FirstBank – through its yearly DecemberIssaVybe campaign – unveiled the 2021 calendar of events earlier in December as it reiterates its impact on the arts and entertainment industry. The campaign which started in 2018 has been making waves across the cities in the country and Nigerians.

Speaking on Burna Boy’s concert as one of the events lined up for campaign, the Group Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, FirstBank, Ms Folake Ani-Mumuney said: “We are delighted to be back with DecemberIssaVybe”.

“Burna Boy’s concert further shows that the 2021 edition is enriched with loads of impactful and celebratory activities as we witness the year-end.

“As a bank woven into the fabric of society, we have ensured that the events are spread across the country and there is an event for everyone, irrespective of age. “We remain committed through resourceful partnerships to nation building; empowering all including the youth to achieve their dreams as these events promote the continued growth of the entertainment industry, unarguably an economic game-changer in the global business landscape, especially a country like ours that is blessed with talents and amazing creative minds,’’ she concluded.

Here are some of the highlights from his performance:

Returning to Nigeria was my best decision

Amid his performance, the Burna Boy proudly told fans that the best decision he has ever made was returning to Nigeria. “Coming back home is the best decision I’ve made.” He took the opportunity to thank his fans for the love shown towards him since his career berthed.

Practise what you preach

The African Giant was reborn when Burna Boy decided to practise what he preaches. For his first outfit of the night, Burna was dressed like a full African royalty. He was decked in a tuxedo adorned with a Gorilla fur design on both arms. And he swayed from left to right as he elegantly showed off the richness of African tradition.

The African Giant

The Nation observed the high point of Burna Boy’s 3-hour long concert was when he showed that truly his aim is to unite Africans in Africa through entertainment. During the show, Burna Boy invited his African collaborators ‘Black Sherif’ and the ‘Yaba Buluku’ singers on stage to perform alongside him. The moment was one of the memorable moments of the night.

And fans got a thank you message

Burna Boy performed so many songs from his classics which saw the fans singing along. After the show, he appreciated his fans for coming through and the love they’ve shown him thus far. Burna Boy returned to Nigeria after leaving the United Kingdom to continue his quest for fame and stardom. His decision paid off after the hit single, ‘Like to party’ kicked off his career in full swing in 2012.

Written by Gbenga Bada and Sampson Unamka

Culled from The Nation

FirstBank Driving Dollar Remittances, Economic Growth Via IMTOS

FirstBank HQ
FirstBank HQ
For centuries, there have been heated debates over the sources of economic growth in developing economies and why some countries reflect strong economic growth compared to others.
The hypotheses have often centred around crude oil, agriculture, revenues, private capital, bubbling stock market, stable security, low unemployment rate, high standard of living amongst others. But in recent times, one factor that has been added to this list is diaspora remittances as it is one of the major international financial resources, which sometimes exceed the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Remittances promote economic growth by increasing household income and increasing income creates the opportunity to boost consumer spending, accumulation of assets, promotion of self-employment, and investment in small business.

Data from the World Bank in 2014 indicates that global remittances stood at $430 billion dollar in 2011 and was 0.31 per cent of global GDP in 2009. The impact of remittances on any economy is more profound in developing countries because they receive $307.1 billion of the total N416 billion inward remittances, amounting to about 74 percent.

Remittances also account for about 27 percent of the GDP of developing countries. According to the World Bank, remittances flows to the developing world have reached $414 billion in 2013 (up 6.3 per cent over 2012), and are now, behind foreign direct investment, the second largest source of external financial flows to developing countries.

Daily Sun investigations reveal that the enormous upward movement in remittances payments may be attributed largely to two factors, namely; immigration between developing and developed countries which increased dramatically in the past 20 years and declined in transaction costs as technological improvements have allowed for faster, lower cost mechanisms for the international transfer of payments between individuals.

This means that it is different from other external capital inflows like foreign direct investment, foreign loans and aids due to its stable nature. Little wonder why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a new policy in 2020 that granted unfettered access to forex from the diaspora and other money transfer remittances like Western Union and MoneyGram.

The bank also clarified transactions that are eligible under the policy in line with global best practices. The policy allows beneficiaries of diaspora remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to henceforth receive such inflows in the original foreign currency through designated bank of their choice. It explained that the new regulation was part of efforts to liberalise, simplify and improve receipt and administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria.

Under the new policy, recipients of remittances may have the option of receiving such funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.

“These changes are necessary to deepen the foreign exchange market, provide more liquidity and create more transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria,” the apex bank stated.

It explained that the changes would help finance a future stream of investment opportunities for Nigerians in the Diaspora, while also guaranteeing that the recipients of remittances would receive a market- reflective exchange rate for their inflows.

Backed by these words, several commercial banks swung into action to tap into this virgin zone by introducing a variety of offers that yield fruits as more remittances started coming in.

However, the CBN in March 2021, in a bid to encourage more inflows, introduced a new incentive tagged “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme”. In a circular signed by Saleh Jibrin, CBN ‘s Director, Trade and Exchange Department, said, the scheme would allow all recipients of diaspora remittances to be paid N5 for everyone dollar received.

This explains why First Bank of Nigeria Limited chose to expand diaspora remittances inflow into the country by increasing its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) targeted at easing accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner.

Before then, it was on record that FirstBank has maintained a long-standing partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The Bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs including Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflows into the country, thus putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the bank’s 750 branches especially in this Yuletide season.

For potential customers without an existing domiciliary account, they can have their dollar account automatically created for their remittances and can also receive inflow directly into their account through Western Union.  In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, and FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said, “At First Bank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are across the world.”

Having been at the forefront of pioneering international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago, it is safe to say the bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

With its total principal standing at N100 billion and over one million customers to service in 2020, FirstBank is providing prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand, a credible financial partner, thus promoting economic growth and development.

By Chinwendu Obienyi 

Culled from The Sun 

Access Bank CEO Gives Hint Of Company’s Expansion Plans

GMD, Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe
GMD, Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe
The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe has disclosed that the bank’s plan to have a strong presence in all the major trade centres in thde continent.

Speaking in an interview on CNN’s First Move with Julia Chatterley, Access Herbert Wigwe who gave hint of the company’s expansion plans in Africa and beyond, efforts to provide financial services to women and digitization said

“It’s something that we’ve been planning as part of our corporate strategic planning 2017, and the whole idea has been to support our correspondent banking business, to support our payments business and to basically ensure that there is greater trade within the continent. So, for us, what are we doing? We’re basically making sure that we have a strong presence in all the major trade centres in the continent.”

Wigwe expressed optimism on the expectations of the bank in 2022. He declared

“I think we’re on track. I think in terms of profitability our different franchises are doing exceedingly well. And I think 2022 perhaps is actually going to be a big, big year for the institution.”

 

On the bank’s support for women:, Wigwe explained, “In 2014, we created the W-program which is a more robust program, and it’s about inspiring, it’s about connecting and it’s also about empowering women. Right from the professional lady who perhaps whether they’re seeking re-entry, or their businesswoman who needs to be supported or the more – more you know sophisticated businessperson who is thinking about succession and wants a bank that can help them. All of those things were provided. We took it deeper and deeper into maternal health care schemes. Schemes that no other institution in the world have basically looked at. It’s the reason we won several, several awards.”

He further added that
“Coming back to Nigeria, and what it has done for women, half of our customer base today are women, all right. And because they know that they will be served by Access. And if they needed financing, they will be supported by Access. Most times, they have gotten the money, it’s about supporting them with respect to various programs that would help educate them on what to do, how to grow their businesses, all of those type of things. So, that is what has made us so different and the fact that most women would rather bank with Access than anywhere else.”

 

NNPC’s Petroleum Products Sales For July 2021 Hit N203b, As Gas Production Rose 4%

NNPC Maga Station
NNPC Maga Station
A total sum of ₦203.73billion was made on the sale of white products in the month of July 2021 by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a downstream subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd.

This was contained in the July 2021 figures of the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), the 72nd edition of the Report.

The report also revealed that total revenues generated from the sales of white products for the period July 2020 to July 2021 stood at over ₦2.563 trillion where PMS contributed about 99.67% of the total sales.

Similarly, a total of 1.544billion litres of petroleum products were sold and distributed by the PPMC, in the month of July 2021 with PMS accounting for 99% of total volume.

Total sale of petroleum products for the period July 2020 to July 2021 stood at 19.535billion litres and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) accounted for 99.73% of total volume, the report stated.

The report also indicated a 5.23 percentage increase in the average daily gas supply to power plants in the month of July 2021 which stood at 759million standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMSCFD), equivalent to power generation of 3,250MW against the June 2021 figure of 721mmscfd to generate 3,181MW.

According to the report, national gas production in July 2021 increased by 3.99% at 232.69Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) compared to output in the previous month, translating to an average daily production of 7,502.28mmscfd.

For the period July 2020 to July 2021, a total of 2,891.53BCF of gas was produced representing an average daily production of 7,305.43mmscfd.

Period-to-date production from Joint Ventures (JVs), Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and NPDC contributed about 58.67%, 20.45% and 20.89% respectively to the total national gas production.

In the Downstream sector, to ensure sustained increase and effective distribution of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), across the country, the NNPC has continued to diligently monitor the daily stock of petrol to achieve success in this regard.

In July 2021, the MFOR noted that 42 pipeline points were vandalized representing 10.64% decrease from the 47 points recorded in June 2021.

This month, Port Harcourt area accounted for 40% and Mosimi Area accounted for 60% of the vandalized points.

In the Upstream, NNPC recorded total export receipt of $191.26million in July 2021 as against $188.00million in June 2021.

Receipts from crude oil amounted to $12.95million while gas and miscellaneous receipts stood at $78.69million and $99.61million respectively.

Total crude oil and gas export receipt for the period July 2020 to July 2021 stood at $1.73billion.

NPA Elevates  Nasiru, 6 Others to Position Of General Managers

Ibrahim, Nasiru, NPA
Ibrahim, Nasiru, NPA
The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has announced the promotion and appointment of six  Assistant General Managers (AGM) to the positions of of General Managers (GM) and another ten senior Staff to the positions of Assistant General Manager.

A press statement from the organization says the appointment which takes immediate effect is in line with the management’s commitment to motivate employees for service excellence.

Notable amongst the newly promoted GMs are former Asst. General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, Ibrahim Nasiru, who becomes the General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications. Moltok Josephine Adar, formerly the Asst. General Manager, Overseas Office now General Manager Servicom; Ahmad M. Umar, formerly the Asst. General Manager Accounts now General Manager Human Resources; Sheidu-Shabi Khadija Ife, formerly the Asst. General Manager Environment now General Manager MD’s Office; and Ngini Chukwuma, formerly Asst. General Manager Facility Management now becomes the General Manager, Lands and Asset Administration.

Others include the former Asst. General Manager Finance, Odunsi Opeoluwa, who becomes the new General Manager Finance; and Mohammed Shehu, formerly Asst. General Manager Procurement, now to oversee Tariff & Billing as General Manager .

The Ag Managing Director Mohammed Bello Koko while congratulating the new appointees enjoined them to give their best for the attainment of the vision of NPA.