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… 1-year TBill rates hit 11.1% … Stocks becoming attractive relative to bonds iheanyi nwachukwu & MICHEAL ANI

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ields in the money market space and treasury bills in particular have continued to see a decline for the fourth consecutive week, leaving investors scratching their heads on alternatives to invest in or where Continues on page 38

NASS presents 2018 budget today ... as Senate, Reps joint Committee seeks additional N2bn for unspecified projects KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja

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arring last minute changes, the 2018 budget will be laid today, Tuesday, 19th May, 2018 during plenary session, BusinessDay reliably gathered. Though the Committee on Rules and Business was not in possession of the details of the Continues on page 38

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news you can trust I **TUESDAY 15 may 2018 I vol. 15, no 54 I N300

How falling yields could reshape investing landscape

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Nigerian seaports are least efficient in West Africa Apapa cargo dwell time of 22 days doubles Abidjan’s Delay forces importers to pay more as demurrage, storage charges

AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE

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mported cargoes stay longer days in Nigerian seaports before being taken to importers’ warehouses, compared to other competing seaports in four different countries in the West African sub-region. By implication, it becomes more time consuming, cumbersome and expensive for an importer to bring in consign-

ment through any Nigerian seaport, but much cheaper and faster to clear similar consignment, if brought by an importer in other competing seaports in West Africa. Therefore, importers using seaports like the ones in Nigeria where cargo dwells longer than necessary, pay more as demurrage to shipping companies and storage charges to terminal owners for not taking delivery of their consignments as and when due.

Recently, two surveys conducted by Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organisation (ALCO), a sub-regional intergovernmental organisation that promotes development, reveals that in 2010, it took a minimum of 21 days to clear a consignment and take delivery of cargo from Port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast; 24 days from Port of Tema, Ghana; 18 days from Lome Port, Togo; 19 days from Port of Cotonou, Benin Republic and 20 days from

Apapa Port, Nigeria. However, statistics provided by ALCO in a latest survey conducted in 2016, revealed that while other seaports in West African sub-region have been able to significantly reduce the number of days cargo dwell at their ports, the number of days in Nigerian port, has gone up. Currently, cargo dwells in Port of Abidjan for 11 days; 15 Continues on page 4

DMO wins best Africa sovereign bond issuer, most innovative Bond at EMEA awards

Inside

BUNMI BAILEY

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Malabu: Italian court postpones corruption case P. 4 against ENI, ​Shell Nigeria’s broken middle class and why the pieces P. 20 are falling apart

fgn bonds

Treasury Bills

L-R: Mark Napier, director, Financial Sector Development Africa (FSDA); Gil Lacson, director, strategic partnerships, Women’s World Banking; Paul Musoke, director, financial services, Financial Sector Development Africa (FSDA), and Uzoma Dozie, CEO, Diamond Bank plc, at a dinner hosted by Diamond Bank plc in Lagos.

he Debt Management Office (DMO), a government agency established to centrally coordinate the management of Nigeria’s debt has won several recognitions at the Prestigious EMEA Finance awards. The government agency won in four categories which include the Best Sovereign Bond in Africa for Nigeria’s US$3bn DualTranche 10 and 30 year EuroContinues on page 38


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Kuber Developers raises construction standards in Lagos with ‘The Belomonte’ ... wins Real Estate ‘Project of the Year Award’ ODINAKA ANUDU

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igeria’s real estate giant Kuber Developers Limited has raised design and construction standards in Lagos with its state-of-the-art edifice, “The Belmonte.” In recognition of this stride, “The Belmonte” has received “the Real Estate Project of the Year Award” from Nigeria’s foremostorganised private sector group. The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) honoured Kuber Developers for its luxurious project—seen by industry players as a masterpiece. Kuber Developers director, Ashish Chaudhary, confirmed this at a recent event, saying, “Our vision is for The Belmonte to be a landmark building in terms of quality and luxury.” Starting with its location on Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi, the highbrow area of Lagos Island, “The Belmonte” is a 20-storeyed tower, which is envisaged to set a new hallmark for a sophisticated urban living, with spacious apartments,

lavish duplexes and penthouses. Its apartments are equipped with high technology and high-end facilities, including fire and safety system, multi-tier security, 24 hour CCTV security, and a Club Floor that has pools, spa and wellness center, lounge, kids’ play zone and a panoramic gym—all contributing to a modern life style in Lagos. Given that citizens love luxury and spaciousness, “The Belmonte” is perfect for the Nigerian market since it adds a touch of sophistication to its residents’ lifestyle. Serenity is also a key feature. “We have made sure each home has large balconies and each bedroom has access to a balcony in so people can contemplate the beauty of Lagos and Ikoyi,” stated Chaudhary. Checks show that “The Belmonte” has engaged the best architects, structural engineers and consultants from Nigeria and across the world, and this fact confirms Chaudhary’s statement that the “quality of construction is on a par with any international standard.” This prestigious project has

improved the skyline in Lagos city, and one real estate player pointed out that “The Belmonte” is a testament that there are still real estate developers willing to redefine the sector in the country. “Our large population of 180 million and the housing deficit in the country indicate a positive prospect for the real estate industry,” says Nike Akande, immediate past president of the LCCI, at a recent event organised by the chamber entitled, ‘Standardisation and Sustainability: A New Era in the Real Estate Industry.” The country’s 198 million people are constantly in search of better housing, blending space and efficiency together. There currently is a 17 million housing gap in the country, with population experts expecting the number to rise, given the country’s 2.6 to 3.2 percent growth rate per annum. Fortunately, “The Belmonte” is also attracting investors who appreciate the country’s demographic strength. Blending luxury, comfort, style and technology, “The Belmonte” is a tower that has added a positive touch to the construction caliber in Nigeria.

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Malabu: Italian court postpones corruption case against ENI, ​Shell DIPO OLADEHINDE

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he corruption case in an Italian court involving executives of oil giants (ENI and Shell) and Nigeria’s ex-oil minister Dan Etete, described as one of the largest corruption scandals ever witnessed in the global oil industry has been postponed till June 20 2018. An Italian court in the city of Milan on Monday postponed the case after the judge in the preliminary hearing forgot to read a page of the charges against Shell, leading to shell lawyers calling for a restart. Eni’s current CEO Claudio Descalzi, former CEO Paolo Scaroni, and Chief Operations and Technology Officer Roberto Casula are standing trial alongside four former Royal Dutch Shell staff members including former executive director for Shell’s Upstream International operations Malcolm Brinded and two former MI6 agents Guy Colegate, a business adviser; and John Copleston, a strategic investment adviser employed by Shell for paying millions of dollars in bribes in order to acquire a lucrative oil exploration and drilling license in an oil block, which is said to have about 9 billion barrels of crude oil. The deal was struck only five days after the company was incorporated with three shareholders; Moham-

med Sani Abacha , Kweku Amafagha (a fake name allegedly created by Etete) and Hassan Hindu (wife of a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK) as Etete illegally awarded himself the oil block and paid only $2 million out of the $20 million legally required by the state. The trial was originally scheduled for March 2018 but was postponed to May 2018. It all started in 2011 when Shell and Eni reportedly transferred $1.3 billion into a Nigerian government bank account. The two companies wanted to secure the rights to an oil field called OPL245, which according to estimates by the oil companies was worth $3 billion. However, the majority of the payments did not end up in the Nigerian treasury but went to a company called Malabu Oil & Gas, which was controlled by then oil minister Etete. For years, Shell had claimed that it only paid the Nigerian Government for the OPL 245 oil block. But after the joint investigations of Global Witness and UK investigative journalism group Finance Uncovered, Shell confessed it had dealt with convicted money launderer and former oil minister Dan Etete. Etete had awarded the OPL 245 oil block to his secretly owned company, Malabu, while serving as Oil Minister. •Continues online at www.businessdayonline.com

Nigerian seaports are least efficient in... Continued from page 1

days in Port of Tema; nine days in Lome Port; 14 days in Port of Cotonou and 22 days in Apapa Port. Reacting to this, Jonathan Nicole, President Shippers’ Association of Lagos, who confirmed that Nigerian importers spend as long as 21-22 days in clearing goods from the port, pointed to the need to reduce cargo dwell time in Nigerian seaports to two days (48 hours), to help reduce the cost of doing business at the port. According to him, Customs officers and all other service providers that work from 9am to 5pm, need to put mechanism in place to be available 24/7 in order to attend to importers and their agents, and they can achieve this by running 12-hourly shift on daily basis. “If port service providers operate 24/7, Nigerian seaports would become user-friendly and more efficient and the dwell time of cargo would reduce. This will also ensure faster turnaround time for ships calling the ports,” Nicole said. For instance, in Nigerian ports, an importer of 20 feet container is expected to get five days demurrage free from shipping companies and to pay daily charges of N2,850

for 6-10 days; N4, 400 for 11-24 days and N6, 600 for 25 days and above. Presenting a paper recently in Lagos recently on, ‘Trade Barriers along Abidjan- Lagos Corridor,’ Moustapha Gnankambary,permanentsecretary of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) Task Force, who blamed existence of multiple government agencies for delay in cargo clearance at the ports, said that the inability to fast track cargo clearance, reduces the ability of the West African national economies to attract investment, create jobs, wealth and improve the standard of the living of the people. Gnankambary, who pointed to the fact that cargo clearance delay has caused intra-regional trade in West African countries to remain very poor at just 10 to 20 percent, also said that governments of member states also lose huge revenue to low trade growth in the region. “Nigerian importers prefer ports in the neighbouring countries due to the unfriendly business environment in the country. Customs documentation and clearance processes have remained the same and largely manual,” lamented Tony Anakebe, managing

Ashish Chaudhary, Kuber Developers director (l), receiving an award from Hakeem Ogunniran, MD, UACN Property Development Company (UPDC), during the presentation of Real Estate Project of the Year Award to The Belmonte at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Industry Awards in Lagos.

director of Gold-Link Investment Limited, a clearing and forwarding company in Lagos ports. Anakebe said that all the containers coming into the port is subjected to 100 percent physical examination due to non-utilisation

of the faulty state of the multi-billion Naira scanners at the various port terminals. “This poses serious threat to smooth movement of goods and also increases cost of doing business as importers experience man-hour

loss over Customs’ use of manual cargo inspection procedure to examine goods in Nigerian ports.” Anakebe added that the use of automated clearing system such as scanners has the capacity to fast track cargo clearance at the ports.


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Reforms throw up vacancies in Edo Marriott leads Africa’s hospitality growth with 93 new hotels

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d o St at e g ove r n o r, Godwin Obaseki’s revamp of the civil service and drive to reposition the state for optimal service delivery have thrown up vacancies in the building, maintenance, emergency services and agricultural sectors in the state. This is coming on the heels of the state government’s renewed commitment to inject new life in the civil service in pursuance of impactful infrastructural and social development projects in the state. The vacancies, according to a release by the chairman, Edo State Civil Service Commission, Ekiuwa Inneh, are for engineers, surveyors, firemen, architects, veterinarians, and forest officers, town planners, among others. The recruitment is an affirmation of a number of policy pronouncements made by the governor in recent times, particularly the setting up of ambulance service to facilitate the work of first responders in emergencies; setting up structure for management of the state’s forest assets; establishment of livestock farms and reviving the state’s real estate and agricultural sectors. It was gathered that the state government was keen

on ensuring that professionals man the key offices that would be interfacing with the private sector, which is increasingly expanding since the governor’s unrelenting expression of commitment to industrialising the state. Nothing less than 42 vacancies in various disciplines are open and applicants are to apply through the state civil service commission. Recall that in his Workers’ Day speech, Governor Obaseki said the state had not sacked any worker since his administration came to power, rather provision had been made to employ more. “ T h i s g ov e r n m e n t i s proud that it has not sacked any worker even those that were moribund in their functions. Rather, we have done so much to reabsorb, retrain and reassign these workers. “About 186 staff of the moribund Edo Line and Edo Courier have been redeployed to the Ministry of Infrastructure while we are working out ways of liquidating its debt of about N1.5bn. In a few weeks, the Civil Service Commission will advertise to recruit more civil servants to fill critical vacancies in the system,” he said at the Workers’ Day event.

… as experts express caution on forecast of future expansion OBINNA EMELIKE

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i t h d e ve l o p ment pipeline of 93 new hotels comprising 17,708 rooms in Africa, 50 percent of which are already under construction, Marriot International leads Africa’s hotel growth. The Bethesda United States of America-based hotel chain, which currently operates 100 hotels and 13,708 rooms across the African market, looks to double its presence in Africa, hence toping this year’s table for the most planned new hotel rooms under construction in Africa, according to the 2018 edition of the annual hotel survey by W Hospitality Group. Aside the acquisitions of Protea Hotel Group in 2013 and Starwood Group in 2016, Marriot International is fuelling its expansion plans in Africa with the over 17,000 pipeline rooms of which 8,587 rooms are already under construction with the likes of Marriot Accra, Sheraton Bamako opening second quarter of this year. Trailing behind Marriot

is the Hilton chain, which ranked second, with 6,352 rooms under construction, while the Radisson Hotel Group is third with 4,840 rooms currently being built across Africa. Most of the deals by Accor Hotel, which ranked fourth in the survey, according to the influential annual hotel pipeline survey by W Hospitality Group, are fairly new, signed in 2016 and 2017, and therefore it is not surprising that only 36 percent of rooms in its pipeline are under construction. Best Western has just over 91 percent of its pipeline rooms onsite. Louvre and Meliã both have all their pipeline rooms under construction. The W Hospitality Group ranking for individual hotel brands has Radisson Blu with the largest number of rooms under construction – beating the Hilton brand by over 300 rooms. Hilton has two other brands in the Top 10, Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton – boosted by the chain’s $50 million Hilton Africa Growth Initiative. This year’s pipeline report, now in its 10th edition, has 41 contributors, reporting 418

deals with over 100 brands. Year-on-year performance for Africa in 2018 shows growth, but more muted than in recent years – 25 percent growth in the number of pipeline rooms in 2015; 19 percent in 2016, and 13 percent in 2017, much the same as the 13.5 percent growth in 2018. On a good note, Mangalis, a new hotel brand launched in 2011, has already managed to build a significant pipeline, with 1,746 rooms in 14 hotels, growing the existing portfolio of 425 rooms in 3 hotels by more than four times. Currently five of the 14 hotels in the pipeline are under construction. But there is a word of caution from Trevor Ward, managing director, W Hospitality Group. He noted that, “Of the total 76,322 rooms in the African pipeline, almost 34,000 rooms are said by the chains to have scheduled openings this year and in 2019. The reality on ground, however, is that 4,000 of those rooms were not even under construction as at the time of our data collection - which was the first quarter of 2018. It would not therefore be amiss of us to suggest that there is a degree

of over-optimism on the part of the chains regarding their expansion plans.” The managing director of W Hospitality also assured hospitality investors that details of the 2018 annual report would be one of the key discussions at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), which the Kenyan Ministry of Wildlife & Tourism recently announced will return to Nairobi, in October this year. AHIF, which is supported by the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, is attended by leading international hotel investors, business leaders and politicians. It has a proven track record of driving investment into tourism projects, infrastructure and hotel development across Africa. Meanwhile, Matthew Weihs, managing director, Bench Events, AHIF’s organiser, said: “This report from W Hospitality Group contains the sort of hard data that serious investors want to see. It, and other analyses from numerous expert advisers to the industry, will be the core content that makes AHIF a must-attend event, alongside unrivalled networking opportunities.”


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WHO unveils new strategies to fight trans-fat in foods ANTHONIA OBOKOH

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orld Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday released an initiative called REPLACE that would provide guidance for all countries on how to remove artificial trans fats from their foods, possibly leading to a worldwide eradication. The new REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially produced trans fats from the food supply, and has a step-bystep strategy on how to do so by 2023. It includes review of dietary sources of industrially produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change. Others are to promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils, legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats, assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans-fat consumption in the population, create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public, and enforce compliance of policies and regulations. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said, “Implementing the six strategic

actions in the REPLACE package will help achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular disease. “WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industriallyproduced trans-fatty acids from the food supply. “WHO is also using this milestone to work with governments, the food industry, academia and civil society to make food systems healthier for future generations, including by eliminating industrially-produced trans fats.” Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives, as WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease. Industrially produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food. According to WHO, action is needed in low- and middleincome countries, where controls of use of industrially produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world.

Power: India offers $100m credit to Nigeria … to invest additional $74.96m on solar power projects GODFREY OFURUM, Aba

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overnment of India says it fully supports Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan with predominant focus on building a globally competitive economy. Shri B.N. Reddy, India’s high commissioner to Nigeria, made this known weekend in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, at a Symposium and Cultural Fiesta organised by Indian Universities Alumni Association, Aba area chapter. Represented by Subhash Chand, India deputy high commissioner to Nigeria, Reddy explained that India offered line of credit of $100 million to Nigeria for three power projects in 2016, stressing that his home country had already approved $60 million in respect of Kaduna and Cross River states power projects, while that of Enugu, which would gulp $40 million wais being processed. He stated also that India had offered to construct solar power plants (Solar PV Renewable Micro-Utility (REMU)) in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, at the cost of $8.36 million, and 50mw solar power plant in Bauchi at a cost of $66.60 million He explained that the decision was a fallout of the recently concluded international conference and solar summit that took place in March 11, 2018, in New Delhi.

The Indian high commissioner stated that India-Nigeria trade and commercial relations had remained steady, despite the year-and-a-half long recession in Nigeria. India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria, and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa. India’s owned or operated companies in Nigeria are estimated to be one of the largest employers of labour in Nigeria. India’s export to Nigeria in 2016 stood at $1.74 billion, as against India’s import of $7.41billion from Nigeria, leaving the trade balance of $5.74 billion in Nigeria’s favour. Reddy observed that there were signs of improvement in trade figures between the two countries in 2017, with considerable potential for diversifying the trade basket. He also affirmed that Nigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari’s visit to India in October 2015, and the visit of the Vice President of India to Nigeria in September 2016, had further strengthened the bonds of friendship between the two countries. The Indian Universities Alumni Association (IUAA), Aba area chapter, an association of Indian trained graduates, said they organised the programme to share ideas on issues that would deepen Indo/ Nigeria relationship.

L-R: Anthony Osae-Brown, editor, BusinessDay; Blessing Obi-Ajunwo, executive associate, Alliance Law Firm; Frank Aigbogun, publisher/ CEO, BusinessDay; Susan Adeoye, managing associate, Alliance Law Firm, and Simeon Oyakhilome Okoduwa, partner, during a courtesy visit by Alliance Law Firm team to BusinessDay head office in Lagos, yesterday. Pic by Olawale Amoo.

Housing deficit drops as 150 more homeowners emerge in Lagos CHUKA UROKO

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he numbers may not be wonderful but taking 150 families out of the housing market through its rent-to-own housing initiative is a significant shift by the Lagos State government towards closing its housing demand-supply gap estimated at 3 million units. Keysto150housingunitswere handed over to 150 new homeownersattheweekend.Takingan average of five persons per family, itmeansthat750peoplearetoday living in comfortable and decent accommodation at various parts of the state where houses for the scheme have been provided. Last year, the scheme produced 500 homeowners who receivedkeystovariousapartments. Added to the new homeowners, it means the scheme has produced 650 homeowners since its introduction by the Akinwunmi Ambode administration as a replacementfortheLagosHomeownership Mortgage Scheme (LagosHOMS). What this implies is that about 3,000 people have so far benefited fromtheschemegivenanaverage of five persons per family.

The rent-to-own housing scheme,justliketheLagosHOMS before it, is Lagos response to its housing challenge. The state is a thriving city where everyone findsvalueandeconomicactivity, resulting in population increase, which further compounds its housing inadequacy. ‘‘In a bid to address this challengeandpreventthecontinuous emergence of slum settlements, the state government came up with the rent-to-own scheme which aims at ensuring that all Lagosians irrespective of status, income and affiliations have access to decent and affordable housing in order to improve their quality of life,” Gbolahan Lawal, thestate’scommissionerforhousing, said. Lawal added, ‘‘Under the scheme, all prospective homeowners need to do is to make 5 percent commitment fee, take possession and pay up the remaining balance towards the ownership of the property over a period of 10 years. “About 5,008 housing units in 12 different locations across the state have been dedicated to this scheme. Some have been allocated and occupied while

others are at different stages of completion. “It is a promising time for the Lagos residents in the area of housing which is a major social problem.Thestatehasnineidentified slum areas and it is estimated that 65 percent of the residents live in rented accommodation, spendingabout50percentoftheir income on paying rents.” But the commissioners assured that besides the Rent-toOwn housing scheme, the state government had also introduced the Rental Housing Programme targeted at persons with regular sourceofincomebutwhomightbe more interested in rental housing than homeownership and were not able to meet the requirements of 5 percent commitment fee required in the rent to own scheme. Another housing initiative being put in place by the state to make housing more readily available to residents is the Lagos Affordable Public Housing Initiatives, which Lawal explained was a joint venture arrangement between the state government and private investors aimed to deliver 20,000 housing units over a period of four years.

ing in a develop, finance, build and sell arrangement. The plan also makes room for joint-venture partnerships. Executivechairman,EDPA,Isoken Omo, in a release, said the state governmentwouldbeexploringthe private-public partnership (PPP) optionindevelopingaffordablereal estate projects across the state. She said, “The projects will be sited on various strategic parcels of land pooled into the Edo State HousingDevelopmentLandBank domiciled with the agency. “Other sites for the projects include new sites of land that will be identified in line with the proposals submitted by prospective developers and investors who are interested in partnering with the

state government in developing, financing, building and selling housing units across the state.” Recall that Governor Obaseki had, in his Workers’ Day address, promised social housing for workers and other residents in the state. “In delivering Housing to workers, plans are on between the FederalMortgageBank,NigeriaLabour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress(TUC),NigeriaEmployers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Edo State Government to provide Housing for Edo State workers. The repositioned Edo DevelopmentandPropertyAgency (EDPA) is also working on social housing for Edo workers by private investors,” the governor said at the Workers’ Day event.

Affordable housing plan opens Edo’s real estate sector to private developers

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do State governor, Godwin Obaseki’s reforms in private property management and plans for affordable housing have opened up the real estate sector to private developers. The state government had ratified a law banning activities of Community Development Association,settingupaPrivateProperty Protection taskforce to ensure that developers and property owners do not fall prey to land-grabbers and other unscrupulous elements in the property sector. It is against this backdrop that the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) is calling on developerstotapfromthegrowing real estate sector in the state for development of affordable hous-

RCM takes campaign against voter’s apathy to Kano

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ollowing the success recorded at North East regional launch in Gombe State, the Red Card Movement Nigeria (RCM) is set to take Kano by surprise. RCM has taken its revolt against bad governance and abysmal leadership across the streets of Nigeria, in its wellcoordinated campaign against leadership failure and bad governance. The call has always been a call to register and vote. According to Oby Ezekwesili, convener of the movement – the Gombe launch, which was held on May 14, is coming on the heels of the Abuja and Jos outings, which have consistently shown that Nigerians are beginning to understand the nexus between voter apathy and bad governance. Just like she did in the previous launches, Ezekwesili reminded Nigerians of the crucial roles they have to play to make Nigeria the country of their dreams. The first step toward this is for them to register and collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC). Coming out on election dates to vote out bad leaders that have held Nigerians down through bad and incompetent governance styles should follow this. She pointed out that bad governance had led to the cyclical truncation of democracy in Nigeria, and where we have had democracy it turned out to be a far cry from what true democracies represented. This has been the norm since the termination of the First Republic in 1966. As a result of these abnormalities, key institutions, systems, principles and ethos that underpindemocraticpracticehas remained extremely problematic and largely underdeveloped. One of such key institutions is dynamic, strong, inclusive and accountable political parties that can articulate sound policy positions and inspire confidence that they – the political parties - are capable of governing effectively when voted in by the electorate. As a result of Nigeria’s weak political structure, it has been quite challenging producing credible, competent and capable leaders who have the interests of the nation at heart.


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Tuesday 15 May 2018

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Codeine ban & the implications of a knee-jerk response

MAZI SAM OHUABUNWA OFR sam@starteamconsult.com

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ecently codeine has been in the news, essentially for the wrong reasons. Codeine which came into use in 1832 has been a very useful medication for treating pain and more recently as a cough suppressant in cough syrups. Codeine or 3-methyl morphine is an alkaloid found in the opium poppy- Papaver somniferum . In 1848, a German pharmacist discovered how to isolate morphine from the opium poppy, which eventually gave rise to the discovery of codeine by Pierre Robiquet, a French Chemist in 1832. Subsequently, codeine was extracted from the black tar opium which constantly put the drug manufacturers in constant conflict with illicit drug cartels, but later was now synthesised from coal-tar. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), codeine is the most widely and commonly used opiate in the world and is also regarded as the safest of all the opioids and seen as least addictive as well. The most common medical use of codeine is related to its ability to suppress chronic cough, hence it is regarded as an antitussive. Additionally like other opiates, it helps to reduce nausea and diarrhoea and being the weakest opiate, it is used in many of the compounds and will treat these symptoms without causing as

STRATEGY & POLICY

MA JOHNSON Johnson is a marine project management consultant and Chartered Engineer. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, UK.

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n Nigeria, the normal financial year starts in January and ends in December in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. In the last nineteen years of democracy, budgets have always been delayed. It is now a culture to delay budget submissions and approvals. This year’s budget baptized “Budget of Consolidation” has gone the way of those in previous years. Reasons given for the delay by lawmakers are most times flimsy. You will hear expressions like “failure of ministries, departments and agencies to present their budget proposals to the legislature.” This writer is concerned about annual delays in preparing national budgets for necessary constitutional processes that leads to untimely appropriation and assent into law. Are we saying these government institutions

many side effects and has a lower probability of physical addiction. Some of the side effects, especially in children include unusual sleepiness, confusion and difficult breathing. In many countries, codeine is regulated by narcotic control laws, but some countries do allow its purchase over the counter, without a prescription, which, as we have seen, can readily lead to abuse or addiction. In Nigeria codeine has been freely available either as pain relieving tablets or in cough syrups since early 20th century. It was classified as an over the counter (OTC) product, which meant that you did not need a doctor’s prescription to obtain the product. However in the last couple of years, following reports of increased abuse of cough syrups containing codeine, the National Agency for Drugs Administration and control (NAFDAC) reclassified it and made a product that can only be accessed through a doctor’s prescription or pharmacist’s recommendation. Beyond this restriction on consumer access, importation of the product as raw material for manufacturers became controlled and in the last ten years or so, manufacturers have had to obtain import permit. In the recent months, there have been reports in the media of increasing abuse of cough syrups containing codeine in Nigeria, just as it is happening globally. I am not aware that Nigeria’s government took any actions to see how to deal with what has become a growing social malaise. Indeed, the reports indicated a growing incidence of drug abuse and drug addiction especially among the youth and women. Rampant use of illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, LSD etc has been reported by the National Drug Law Enforcement

Why should government treat ordinarily respectable companies this way? How does this kind of treatment attract new investors into a country that claims it is looking for investors? Agency (NDLEA) and other reports have indicated very disturbing trends in antisocial behaviour. People are reported to be inhaling all types of gases some from nauseating sources like pit latrine or lizard dung so as to get high. Beyond traditional abuse of alcohol and other stimulants, people abuse other pharmaceutical products especially pain killers, including the well known paracetamol and such stronger analgesics like tramadol. The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has over the years drawn the attention of the government to the growing twin menace of drug misuse and abuse and often made far-reaching recommendations on how to curb the social malaise. But much of these recommendations have been ignored by successive regimes as both the federal and some state governments have continued to put revenue generation above the safety of the people. Additionally, the governments have chronically failed to involve the experts on drug matters which are primarily pharmacists and pharmacologists when policies and decisions regarding medicines and drugs are being made. This failure to consult experts in a proactive manner became very evident and injurious in the recent precipitate, knee-jerk response of the federal government. The British Broadcasting Cor-

poration (BBC) ran a documentary on the abuse of cough syrups containing codeine in parts of Northern Nigeria. Based on this documentary, the federal government immediately banned the use of codeine in Nigeria. Immediately, NAFDAC moved on to seal up the syrup lines of some pharmaceutical companies producing cough syrups containing codeine, the most prominent being Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries ltd. After taking these precipitate actions, both the Minister of Health and the DG of NAFDAC travelled outside the country, keeping the operations of the affected companies paralysed. I am even told that some pharmaceutical inspectors are beginning to go to retail shops to either seize all codeine containing products or to incriminate pharmacists who run those retail shops. All of a sudden, the pharmaceutical supply chain is in panic leading to unnecessary disruption. I hear that a meeting is being called involving the pharmaceutical manufacturers group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health. What is the purpose of this meeting? Perhaps to discuss how to manage the disruptions and damage already caused by the knee-jerk reaction of the federal government. Would it not have been better if this kind of meeting was held before the hasty action of government? First, I do not think it is right for government to take such precipitate and far-reaching action based on a documentary from a media house. It was not even as if the report showed anything that was previously unknown about codeine. The documentary did not show any new adverse or dangerous actions of the drug. It only highlighted the level of abuse, much of which has always been associated with

the drug. In normal circumstances, even if there was a report in the media of newly discovered adverse effects of any drug, the line of action would be for the government to set up a team of experts to investigate the matter and submit a report. If some credibility is established, then the government would do a detailed study to establish with verifiable data that the adverse effects outweighed the beneficial effects of the drug and then a rational decision would be taken to restrict or withdraw the product. Thereafter the government would invite the stakeholders to discuss the findings. At such meeting, notice is given to manufacturers as to the plan to restrict, withdraw or ban such product. Then current stock of raw materials and goods in the pipeline are considered and the quantity of products in circulation estimated. A withdrawal plan is then agreed that will ensure minimum disruption to all stakeholders. No sudden media announcements are made to minimize panic and irrational patient response. This procedure is most appropriate when the real reason for the ban is that a drug is being abused not because it is causing much harm to those who are using the product rationally as prescribed or recommended. Even if the drug had become very dangerous or poisonous, an ordered recall procedure is worked out. Nothing is ever done in the manner we have just done with this codeine matter. Typical Naija!

due to unhealthy executive-legislative relationship. The Presidency and the NASS know that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Nigerians are frustrated and are eager to know why they have not benefitted much from democracy in the last nineteen years. Those in power, “are reluctant to help the poor,” some analysts say. What is the portion of the poor in Nigeria? Less privileged Nigerians have been forced to look for other means of survival as jobs are not readily available. It is not a hyperbole that the relationship between the executive and legislature at the federal level is not smooth since 2015 when the APC-led government came to power. Recently, the Senate delayed the confirmation of government nominees presented by the executive. Often, the Senate drags its feet on matters of national importance. This was reflected in the sluggish manner the appointments of 27 INEC Resident Commissioners, and nominations of CBN deputy governors and members of the Monetary Policy Committee were confirmed. When the NASS presents bills to the executive for presidential assent, expression of approval by Mr President has not been forthcoming on a few instances. Due to the rift between the executive and the legislative arms of the government, the country cannot face squarely its security, economic and political challenges.

Mr President has been accused by the NASS of violating the constitution for disbursing funds from the federation account to procure twelve Turcano jets for the Nigerian Air Force without due process. Nigeria is in a dire situation where both the executive and the legislature constitute themselves into laws. This is dangerous for democracy. Contravening the provisions of the constitution by both the executive and the legislature gives Nigerians and other international observers the feeling that democracy in Nigeria is in troubled times. Those in the government must learn to respect the rule of law and protect democracy. Anything to the contrary is setting a corrupt example to the rest of the society that they need not obey the constitution. When will the 2018 budget be passed? The Economic Recovery Growth Plan (EGRP) of the federal government, we were told, is private sector driven. But how will the economy grow when there is very tense relationship between the NASS and the Presidency? It is time to get the budget cycle right. The country must give consideration to having one budget for the first term of four years of any elected government to forestall delay in the passage of annual budgets.

Note: the rest of this article continues in the online edition of Business Day @https://businessdayonline. com/ Send reactions to: comment@businessdayonline.com

Where is the 2018 budget? are not under command? Someone is responsible for the efficient running of these institutions. So Nigerians should not be made to wait infinitely for the budget to be appropriated by the National Assembly (NASS) because some people in the government are irresponsible. The 2018 budget was submitted to a joint session of the NASS by Mr President on 7 November 2017. Since then, members of the NASS have always expressed their willingness in spirit to pass the 2018 budget but their flesh is weak. The attitude of our federal lawmakers with respect to late passing of the budget is below acceptable standard. The delay of the 2018 budget, according to reports, is the longest in nineteen years of the nation’s democracy. This has negative consequences for Africa’s largest economy. Contrary to the expectations of the federal government, there is no “consolidation” of the country’s economy. The unemployed and underemployed have adopted the “watch and pray” strategy for their survival. The private sector gurus are studying carefully the tide of events in the political and economic arenas. Our lawmakers have lost their priorities by not passing the budget on time. This deliberate and unjustifiable delay of the 2018 budget is not good for democracy. This writer wonders whether both the

executive and the legislature are in tune with events in other parts of the world. The State of Israel has passed its 2019 budget while that of the United States of America is already awaiting the approval of Congress. It beats this writer’s imagination why there is a delay in passing the budget. Whatever reasons advanced by the NASS is not acceptable to most Nigerians. The delay in appropriating the budget is a violation of the relevant provisions of the Constitution. Our lawmakers must not forget that the nation’s economy is still fragile. We are in a season where serious issues affecting production and trade should be at the front burner of national discourse. But what has taken the centre stage of public debate is how to curb banditry, killings and looting. Yes, the debate is imperative as national security is severely compromised. But those in government have not proffered workable solutions. The government has not devoted ample time to discuss how to create wealth for citizens. And how best national income is to be distributed with a view to ensuring that Nigeria is a prosperous nation of almost 200 million people. The Senate President and other lawmakers have tried to justify why the 2018 budget has not been passed in the fifth month of the year. They say, budget appropriation is demanding and they need to take their time to do a “good job.” But Nigerians know the budget is delayed

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Mr Idris, visit the Senate RAFIQ RAJI “Dr Raji is chief economist at Macroafricaintel. He was previously an Africa Economist at Standard Chartered Bank, London, UK. (Twitter: @ DrRafiqRaji)”

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brahim Kpotun Idris, Nigeria’s Police chief, has rebuffed the invitation of the country’s Senate to appear before it to render explanations for myriad security issues thrice already. When Mr Idris first “shunned” the distinguished senators on 25 April, he did not do so carelessly. He sent a representative. The Senate or anyone else could hardly disagree with his reasoning for not showing up at the time; albeit it was probably a God-sent excuse. He accompanied the president, Muhammadu Buhari, to Bauchi, a security hotspot; a planned event known to the Senate and in fact, the wider public. The second time he missed his appointment with the “Red Chamber” on 2 May, he was clearly more in con-

trol of his itinerary. Just like in the first instance when he sent his deputy to the Senate to act on his behalf, one of his subordinates could similarly have gone in his stead to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna, where killings had just occurred. So on the second occasion, at least, he likely made a choice not to attend. The most recent summons by the Senate was on 9 May. Mr Idris simply went about his day; much to the chagrin of the Senate. How is the impasse to be resolved then?

…whether we like the current crop of senators or not, they are our representatives. A slight on them is a disregard for “We, The People.” But when you hear the legal arguments, you are awakened to the reality that the Senate may not have acted wisely

Know the law you make It is tempting to quickly decry Mr Idris’ supposed disrespect of the Senate. Not that it would not be justified: whether we like the current crop of senators or not, they are our representatives. A slight on them is a disregard for “We, The People.” But when you hear the legal arguments, you are awakened to the reality that the Senate may not have acted wisely. One senior lawyer categorically stated in a widely aired television interview that the Senate did not have the powers to summon the Police chief. Instead, they should have invited the interior minister, who has supervisory authority over the Police (in part) and other internal

security agencies. The well-spoken and oft-impassioned lawyer was very persuasive. But he only spoke about the side of the elephant his hands chose to feel. Another silk –“Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)” in these parts – weighed in on the same medium subsequently. He revealed the powers of the Senate extend beyond that: they can invite anyone. The more practical insight, in my view, came from neither of them. A bright young lawyer, who regularly comments on such issues, gave a very brilliant assessment. (If you follow my Twitter handle, @DrRafiqRaji, you’ll know who.) He explained how because the legislature’s right of summon is qualified and restricted to issues of public policy,

national security and so on, the inclusion of the travails of a particularly colourful senator in the hands of the Police as one of the reasons for summoning Mr Idris may have vindicated his actions. I agree. Restrain yourself In any case, should one summoned refuse to show up, the legislature has the powers to issue a warrant of arrest. The dilemma, of course, is that the Police is the body that implements any such warrant. Who would arrest the Police chief then? His subordinates? True, a former Police chief has been arrested before. But the order came from the president of the country at the time, not the legislature. And it was for an entirely different matter. Were President Buhari to order the arrest of anyone in this country at this time, it will happen. But is Mr Buhari likely to allow the arrest of Mr Idris in the event the Senate issues a warrant of arrest against him for failing to honour its summons? I doubt that very much. Lest I forget, the Senate once summoned a senior lawyer and he refused to show up on the basis of law. Well, that ended that matter. To put it bluntly: the

Police chief was well-advised, the Senate was not. The mistake of the latter, I believe, was in allowing its hurt about the supposed maltreatment of a member of its chamber by the Police to cloud its judgment. In its summons of the Police chief, it should not have given the slightest hint the legal troubles of one of its own was a matter to be discussed. Having done so, Mr Idris had the backing of law in shunning the Senate. Change the headline The Police and the Senate have both issued elaborate statements explaining their positions. The Police says the Senate was primarily interested in questioning its chief on the case of their embattled colleague. The Senate says this was never the case, insisting its main interest has always been to find a solution to the spate of killings going on in the country unabated. The terms of reference are now very clear, at least. Bearing in mind the fragility of power and how those who wield it effectively know not to allow it be pushed to its limits, Mr Idris should kindly now send a positive “signal” to the Senate. Send reactions to: comment@businessdayonline.com

The nihilism in Biafranism

TOCHUKWU EZUKANMA Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached @ maciln18@yahoo.com and 0803 529 2908

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ollowing the July 29th 1966 mutiny that killed AguiyiIronsi, the rallying call of many Northern Nigerians was Araba! Araba!, meaning secession. The clamorous secessionists were led by a 28 year old army major, Muritala Mohammed. Muritala Mohammed evidently was made giddy by an inebriating mix of youth, power and the gun. The northern political class, older and more experienced, advised Mohammed and his band of youthful junior officers against secession because it will be most disadvantageous to the peoples of Northern Nigeria. Mohammed and his men, in reverence for the wisdom of the elderly, Northern power structure and the established Northern political consensus, jettisoned the idea of secession. Some months later, secessionmania held sway over the peoples of Eastern Nigeria. Led by a 34

year old Lt. Colonel, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, they sought to secede from Nigeria. Although there were a number of alternative responses to the political crisis bedevilling Nigeria at the time, Ojukwu choose the most dangerous and reckless option for the Eastern region: secession. Like Muritala Mohammed that championed the secession of Northern Nigeria from Nigeria, Ojukwu was rendered giddy by an inebriating blend of youth, power and the gun. Like the Northern Nigerian political class, the Eastern Nigerian political class was opposed to secession. But unlike Mohammed, Ojukwu tolerated no opposing view, and was therefore not receptive to the advice of the political class. However, a few of the political elite were gutsy enough to express their opposition to secession. Unfortunately, they all paid a heavy price for it. O j u k w u ’s f a t h e r, L o u i s Odumegwu-Ojukwu disagreed with his son’s methods and objectives. He urged him to be more circumspect and restrained, and to seek the advice of the very knowledgeable and experienced politicians in Eastern Nigeria. According to some Ojukwu family members, Ojukwu discouraged his father’s visit to the State House by instructing the guards to conduct humiliating and embarrassing searches on him each time he came to the State House. According to a politician of the First Republic and a friend of the Ojukwus, to intimidate his father, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu pulled out

a gun and shot it into the air. However, the elderly Ojukwu continued to visit his son. On one of such visits, after a heated argument with his son, the exasperated old man, who was already ailing from a heart ailment, had a heart attack and died. Nnamdi Azikiwe also advised Ojukwu against secession because it will be most detrimental to the Igbo. According to some apocryphal sources, he slapped Azikiwe. He also slammed Zik into house arrest (“protective custody”, in the colorful parlance of the Biafran government). And with time, with the aid of his propagandists, he besmirched the reputation of Azikiwe. Up till this day, in line with the Biafran propagandistic disparagement of Azikiwe, many Igbo still believe that Azikiwe was a saboteur. Another courageous opponent of secession was Mokwugwo Okoye. The proceedings of the Ojukwu-appointed Consultative Assembly, which ostensibly approved of secession, were manipulated by Ojukwu’s henchmen. The decisions and actions of the Assembly were pre-determined and pre-scripted; and members of the Assembly merely acted a script. Tired of these shenanigans, at a meeting of the Assembly in Owerri, Mokwugwo Okoye refused to play along. He demanded that members of the Assembly be allowed the freedom to express their true feelings and opinions. He was promptly arrested and taken into custody. Like a nihilist, with an inexorable scorn for the status-quo in Igbo land, Ojukwu, essentially dismantled the then existing Igbo power

structure, fenestrated the long established Igbo politico-economic consensus on one Nigeria, and set out on his path to secession. Lamentably, the Igbo masses swayed by his propagandistic exaggerations and downright falsehoods blindly followed him on what was essentially a suicide mission. Inevitably, Biafra collapsed, but, not before it had decimated the flower and promise of the peoples of Eastern Region, starved more than one million to death, and left the Igbo reeling from a psychological blow they may not recover from in 100 years. The last nearly fifty years in the annals of the Igbo was a saga of relentless, conscientious and dexterous endeavor by an energetic, resilient and resourceful people to re-establish themselves almost from scratch. It is a testament to the Igbo’s laudable cultural skills, attended with vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, hard-edged work ethics and irrepressible optimism, that the Igbo, against enormous odds, have successfully re-established themselves in every spectrum of the Nigerian social life. Although, we have fallen short in some areas of human endeavor, it will be wrong to insinuate that all we have achieved in the last 50 years do not deserve respect and protection. And thus, can justifiably be imperilled by another nihilist. Therefore, the emergence of Nnamdi Kanu, was deeply troubling to me. Like Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, he exhibited incontrovertible nihilistic tendencies. He was undeniably disdainful of

Igbo institutions, power structure and political modus operandi. He talked and postured as though the eradication of Igbo power structure and emasculation of Igbo institutions were the necessary prelude to the establishment of his Biafra. At 46, Kanu was not exceptionally youthful. So, unlike Mohammed and Ojukwu, his problem was more of psychosis than youthful indiscretion. In his foolhardiness, he behaved as though he was above the law. In his megalomania and flamboyant egotism, he pontificated as though he had a monopoly on knowledge and wisdom, and, as such, anyone that did not agree with him must be severely punished. Ranting and raving like a deluded zealot, he stridently denounced Igbo kings, elected leaders and institutions, as though, there is no individual worthy of veneration or institution worthy of protection in Igbo land. In his reckless demagoguery, he incited his followers to hate; inflaming their passion against non-”Biafrans” and Igbo opposed to his Biafranism. Lamentably, the Igbo masses adoringly followed him. My fear and distress over the danger Kanu portended for the Igbo, and the willingness of the Igbo, in repudiation of reason and reality, to, again, follow a man to their doom were ripping me apart. Then, came the Python Dance, and Nnamdi Kanu disappeared. Thank God Almighty for Python Dance.

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

Editorial PUBLISHER/CEO

Frank Aigbogun EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Prof. Onwuchekwa Jemie EDITOR Anthony Osae-Brown DEPUTY EDITORS John Osadolor, Abuja Bill Okonedo NEWS EDITOR Patrick Atuanya EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING Kola Garuba EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS Fabian Akagha EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL SERVICES Oghenevwoke Ighure ADVERT MANAGER Adeola Ajewole MANAGER, SYSTEMS & CONTROL Emeka Ifeanyi HEAD OF SALES, CONFERENCES Rerhe Idonije SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Patrick Ijegbai CIRCULATION MANAGER John Okpaire GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (North)

Bashir Ibrahim Hassan

GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (South) Ignatius Chukwu HEAD, HUMAN RESOURCES Adeola Obisesan

Tapping opportunities in the drug challenge

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or individuals, companies as well as nations, crises are a critical inflection point. Character shows in what people make out of an emergency. A Nigerian aphorism says that we know the real worth of a man in a crisis. Smart people make the most of their crisis. They learn valuable lessons about themselves, about certain situations and how not to tackle some issues. They distil the learning and take corrective action to ensure outcomes that are so much better there is a temptation to give a backhanded compliment to the crisis for opening their eyes. Rwanda is an oft-cited example of profiting from the key learnings from a disaster. Nigeria has spent the last fortnight acting in crisis mode following exposure by a global broadcaster of the abuse of codeine syrup in major cities of the country. Northern Nigeria has been the epicentre of the drug challenge for many years. It has now taken frightening dimensions. Unfortunately, the official response to the codeine syrup challenge has in many instances and areas been suboptimal. There have been avoidable lapses in strategy, timing and communication of issues and actions. There is as yet no clear direction. Then there is a deaf-

ening silence by the governments of the states most affected by the drug abuse challenge. Following the BBC documentary, the Federal Ministry of Health reacted in knee-jerk fashion by announcing curbs on the manufacture and marketing of codeinebased cough syrups. It followed on May 7 with poor communication of a regulatory audit process that is standard procedure in handling matters of a breach in the chain for controlled substances. NAFDAC, in a news release, announced the closure of three drug manufacturing firms in Lagos and Ilorin. The NAFDAC statement stated, “Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our inspection on May 2, 2018 at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, it has become necessary to shut down all product lines of the three companies…” A reading of that statement led to only one conclusion: NAFDAC had shut the entire production activities of the three firms. Alas, it turned out NAFDAC closed only the production units for cough syrups. The media found out just because of checking with Emzor the consequence of the announced closure. As at the weekend, NAFDAC did not bother with a clarification leaving the media and the public to depend only on a message from Emzor confirming that production was

ongoing on other lines. Poor communication led to such a massive misunderstanding by the media and the public. It ignited severe debates on social media and offline. It also played into Nigeria’s ethnic fault lines for citizens so inclined. NAFDAC at the weekend came out with specific administrative fines for specific offences committed by the three firms. It also ordered the reopening of the shut production lines. We commend the speed in taking corrective action. There are other concerns. What have NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health outlined as a strategy for tackling the drug abuse challenges mainly in the Northern states but also across the rest of the country? Beyond the documentary that rehashed what Nigerian media have reported on over the years, what studies have NAFDAC and the Federal Ministry of Health carried out or commissioned on the youth drug abuse challenge? Which drugs are mainly responsible for the problem? Is it codeine in cough syrups or other painkillers? In Australia, their study found out that paracetamol or ibuprofen was involved in 55 percent of the 1200 codeine-related deaths recorded between 2000 and 2013. Australia is now looking at how to control the use of codeine implicated in 150 medications. Youths here abuse Tramadol, itself containing the opiate, and several

other substances. Nigeria needs to articulate a holistic strategy for tackling an evident national challenge of drug addiction by the young and vulnerable. No one has yet heard from the Kano State Government what it plans to do about the drug abuse challenge on its doorsteps. Nary a word. How does Kano State Government plan to tackle this problem? What resources is it deploying? What assistance does it need? Across the world, countries are now questioning the continued use of codeine because of the tendency to abuse it. There is an opportunity here for Nigeria to join nations of the world to study and find out alternatives to the opiates in medication. Can we be one of the first countries to find alternatives to codeine? Can the Ministry of Health work with the Pharmacy Council, universities, pharmaceutical firms and our research institutes to fashion out alternatives. Can we add insights and perspectives from natural medicine for which we already have a federal agency? Leadership and collaboration are needed and critical. The Health Minister has the experience and exposure to lead cross-cutting teams that should work collaboratively with various institutions, organs and state governments. We should treat the drug abuse issue as a national emergency and engage all our troops in tackling it.

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

BUSINESS

COMPANIES & MARKETS

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JAIZ Bank declares N894m PBT in 2017

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Mutual Benefits Assurance returns to profit on investment income …posts N1.02bn profit in FY’17 BALA AUGIE

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utual Benefits Assurance Plc h a s n av i gat e d t h e storm of headwinds as the insurer returned to profit on the back of increased investment income. This stellar performance means the company is steadfast in its primary objective of maximizing the stakeholders’ wealth. For the year ended December 2017, Mutual Benefit’s posted a profit after tax of N1.02 billion from a loss of N1.34 billion recorded in 2016. The impressive performance was driven by a 174.09 percent surge income from treasury bills of N910.82 million in the period under review. Income from treasury bills form part of investment income of insurers. Some financial institutions made money from short term government se-

curities when yields were between 18 percent and 22 percent from late 2016 to September 2017 as government intensified issuance of treasury bills to fund a budget deficit and curb inflation. However, yields on treasury bills have fallen to an all time low of 12 percent as government launch an aggressive Eurobond issuances in order to reduce domestic debt and reduce borrowing costs. Mutual Benefit’s gross premium written increased by 15.66 percent to N14.03 billion in the period under review from N12.13 billion as at December 2018. A breakdown of gross premium written shows Mutual Plc Nigeria, a subsidiary of Mutual Benefit Assurance, recorded a 10.79 percent in increase in gross premium written. Mutual Limited Nigeria, another subsidiary of the Group, saw gross premium written increase by 14.02 percent to N4.96 billion in the period under review. With respect to insurance claims paid out, the insurer’s

NERC alerts on safety around electrical installations as raining season draws nearer HARRISON EDEH, Abuja

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he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has placed electricity operators on alert to ensure that threats posed to electricity installations and related infrastructure by expected raining season are well managed. Usman Abba Arabi, who heads the Public Affairs Department in NERC said in a statement that directive by the regulatory body is in line with its mandate to ensure that electricity is produced and consumed in strict observance of the electricity industry’s health and safety standards. This seasonal natural disruptions occasioned by the rainy season, the statement said has further imposed on the industry

operators additional responsibilities to operate in strict compliance with the terms and conditions of their license and health and safety standards in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). Electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies are by this statement reminded of their responsibilities to be on the alert and clear faults along their lines and installations as when and when due as claim of natural disaster will not serve as tenable defence to avert sanctions in instances of accidents. Consumers of electricity are also advised by this statement to report damaged and vandalism of electric installation at the nearest service or business units of their electricity distribution companies to avert loss of lives and property.

insurance claims, net claims, and underwriting expenses form total underwriting expenses which increased by 26.23 percent to N8.07 billion in December 2017 from N6.51 billion as at December 2016. Further scrutiny of the financial statement shows net claims grew by 54.19 percent to N5.15 billion in December 2017 from N3.34 billion the previous year. Change in life fund, a component of net claims expenses slumped by 97.35 percent to N4.27 million period under review from N161.53 million. Claims expenses ratio otherwise known as loss ratio increased to 44.93 percent 31.21 in December 2017 from 32.15 percent as at December 2017. This means the insurer has spent more on claims expenses to generate every N100 in premium income. Underwriting expenses were flat at 8.13 N2.94 billion in the period under review. Underwriting expenses fell to 25.63 percent in December 2017 from 28.91 percent the previous year.

This means the insurer has spend less on marketing, sales expenses relating to underwriting activities in generating each unit of premium income. The year 2016 was horrendous for firms in Africa’s

largest economy and populous nation as a slump in crude oil price resulted in a severe dollar shortage that made it practically difficult for firms to source dollars. Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc has announced

plans to raise additional capital of N2billion through right issue to boost operation and grow market share. The issue will enable the insurer strengthen its capacity for bi ticket risks and as well as competitiveness.

Eaton West Africa offers fire safety measures for homes, businesses CHUKA UROKO

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aton West Africa, a power management company has identified solutions to incidences of electrical fire, which is one of the major issue for homes and offices. Eaton says the need for a stringent policy on the administration of the fire code is part of solutions to incessant electrical fire in commercial and residential buildings in Nigeria. Losses to fire incidents are generally unquantifiable and have rendered many homes, offices and other business premises useless. For this reason, the discovery of solutions to this problem will not only save household income, but also increase companies’

bottom-line. Charles Iyo, Regional Manager, Eaton West Africa, says it’s important for families, organizations, builders and other stakeholders to begin to take more than a cursory look at fire safety measures right from buildings’ planning to the completion stage. Faced with increasing spate of fire incidents in residential and commercial buildings across Lagos State, Adebiyi Adeyinka, director of Safety Training and Education, Lagos State Safety Commission, advises a proactive strategy to minimize risks and enhance fire safety. “Ever y building must have a fire safety polic y that must be available to the occupant within the premises clearly stipulating preventive measures for fire

incidences”, said Adeyinka who spoke at one-day stakeholders’ engagement forum organised by Eaton Nigeria in Lagos recently. “The role of government is to support with laws and regulations governing fire safety. However, every individual or corporation must be willing and ready to comply with the national building code”, he added. Substandard electrical equipment are key challenges that should be tackled decisively and Peter Ewesor of Nigerian Electricity Management Service, argued that this has to be done urgently if fire outbreaks in buildings are to become a thing of the past. “As long as there are cheap and substandard alternatives, every other solutions may fail,” he said, adding that there was

need to close-mark the borders and ensure substandard goods were not allowed to filter through. Eaton assured of its commitment to an all-round safety policy, saying that safety didn’t happen by accident. “At Eaton, we’re continually engineering and implementing safer products and processes to protect people, buildings and reputation using innovative technologies to solve some of our country’s challenges when it comes to safety in buildings”, assured Sumaya Abdool, Head Marketing, Eaton Africa, at the event in Lagos. He also expressed the commitment to engaging and uniting with associations and regulatory bodies to promote best practice towards ensuring that fire incidences become a thing of the past.


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COMPANIES & MARKETS JAIZ Bank declares N894m PBT in 2017 …positive about future

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Onyinye Nwachukwu

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igeria’s premier non-interest Bank in Nigeria, Jaiz Bank Plc has reported increased Profit before Tax of 161 percent from N343.02 million in 2016 to N894.01 million in 2017. The audited report and accounts of Bank for the year ended December 31, 2017 showed that pre-tax profitmargin-which measures the underlining profitability of the company- doubled from 5.5 per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent in 2017. The pre-tax profit margin denotes the efficiency of the core operational and administrative cost management, and it is usually taken as a more definitive index of performance than top-line margins. According to the report, gross earnings rose by 40 per cent from N6.18 billion in 2016 to N8.10 billion in 2017. Gross profit grew by 34 per cent to N6.705 billion in 2017 as against N5.003 billion in 2016. Profit before tax jumped by 160.6 per cent from N343.02 million in 2016 to N894.01 million in 2017. The report also revealed that its Balance Sheet grew by 32 percent from N66 billion in

L-R: Ifeanyichukwu Agwu, managing director, BKG Exhibitions; Jonathan Maduka, executive director, sales and strategy, Coscharis Group; Justin Ngini, assistant general manager, Ford Division, Coscharis Motors; Amira Obi-Okoye, Ford enthusiast, and Abiona Babarinde, general manger, marketing and corporate communications, Coscharis Group, during the inauguration of the new Ford Escape at the 2018 Lagos Motor Fair in Lagos

December 2016 to N87 billion in December 2017. Income-Generating Assets also increased by more than 36 percent from N35 billion in December 2016 to N48 billion in December 2017. Customer Deposits grew by about 35 percent from N50 billion as at December 2016 to N68 billion in December 2017. At the bank’s Annual General Meeting held Abuja, the Managing Director/CEO, Hassan Usman raised the optimism that 2018 would deliver even more profitabil-

ity, and that the bank needs to demonstrate that it has the capacity to grow safely and sustainably. He said: “We are using a number of measures to spark progress in that regard, some of which include the automation of our retail financing business, focus on unreserved markets and the financially excluded, institutional alliances, nimble workforce and effective performance tracking amongst others. “Gradually, we kept sur-

passing our challenges and are waxing stronger. Looking at what we have achieved over the short existence as a bank, I have a strong faith that Islamic banking is going to command a lot of respect and a force to reckon with in this country in the nearest future.” The chairman, Board of Directors, Umaru Abdul Mutallab said the Bank was able to attain the feat it achieved in 2017 because of “our unique business model and in particular the strength of our organic retail growth.”

Nigeria to benefit from currency swap deal on competitive advantage – FSDH HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

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igeria needs to develop competitive advantage in the production of certain exportable goods that China currently imports in order for the country to get the full benefits from the currency swap deal, according to FSDH Research, a subsidiary of FSDH Merchant Bank limited. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently signed a bilateral currency swap agreement with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) worth about $2.4 billion. In local currencies, the swap is worth 15 billion Renminbi (RMB) or N720 billion. The deal is expected to reduce the demand for U.S Dollar by Nigerians importing

from China and consequently strengthen the value of the Naira. The deal will reduce certain barriers for Nigerian importers of goods from China and reduce the cost of transactions in multiple currencies. FSDH Research’s analysis of the trade relationship between Nigeria and China in the last five years shows that Nigeria has a negative trade balance with China. “While we believe the currency swap agreement may improve foreign exchange stability and aid external reserves management to a certain extent, it has some downside risks”, Ayodele Akinwunmi, head of research, told Journalists in Lagos . Speaking at the monthly Economic and Financial Markets Outlook, titled Local Competitiveness and Cur-

CWG appoints Obioha chairman board of directors

rency Swap Deal, Akinwunmi expects a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 3.55 percent in first quarter of 2018. This positive recovery in the economy he said should drive credit creation, both in the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors. The improved macroeconomic environment in the Nigerian economy strengthened the foreign exchange inflows and boosted the external reserves in April 2018. The favourable developments in the crude oil market and consistent inflows from the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window (I&E Window) were the major inflows into the external reserves. The 30-day moving average external reserves increased by 2.66 percent to $47.49 billion at the end of April, 2018, from $46.26bn at

end of March. The inflows through the Importers’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window (I&E Window) between April 2017 and April 2018 stood at $46.08 billion. The highest amount was recorded in January 2018. FSDH Research expects the positive domestic and external environment to further lead to external reserves accretion in the short-term and this development should provide further stability for the foreign exchange rate. FSDH Research forecasts a further drop in inflation rate to 12.43 percent in April 2018. “We expect the inflation rate to drop to a single digit in July 2018 provided there is no food shortage in the country on account of the current rising crisis in the food producing areas in the country”.

he board of Directors of CWG Plc, Nigeria’s largest system integration company has announced the appointment of Phillip Obioha as the Chairman of its Board of Directors. Anthonia Ehanmo, company’s group head, Brand and Marketing Communications said this appointment follows the stepping down of Abiodun Fawunmi, who remains on the board as a Non-Executive Director. The statement described Obioha as a highly experienced technology expert, who until his recent appointment was a Non-Executive Director on the board and served as the Chairman of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee (FARCOM) of the Board. He was from inception, one of the strategic steering members of the then Computer Warehouse Group, and held several key positions in the business. He led the former Communications Division of Computer Warehouse Group Plc to become the foremost provider of Networks to corporate organizations, which was instrumental to the establishment of Online banking in the Nigerian Financial Industry Obioha, also held the position of the Chief Operating Officer of the Group for about 18 years’ and contributed to the planned growth of Computer

Warehouse Company, into a group with diversified interest in Communications, Software Engineering, and Hardware Infrastructure. He saw to the geographical diversification of the group with the establishment of Subsidiary Companies in Ghana, Uganda and Cameroun. He also saw to the institutionalizing of the company, implementing systems and processes up till the successful listing of the Computer Warehouse Group at the Nigerian Stock exchange. His portfolio under the umbrella of the group operations included, the Group Finance, Projects, Human Resources, Quality & Metrics, Internal IT systems and Administration. He has more than 28 years of cognitive experience in the Information Technology industry. He trained as an Electrical Engineer, with specialization in Digital Electronics at West Virginia University, USA. He also holds an MBA from the Lagos Business School / IESE. Phillip is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Information Management. He is also a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer (IEEE, USA), Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG, corporate) and the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS). He was conferred with the Titans of Tech award by Technology Africa in 2015

Vatebra extends corporate social responsibility to orphanage

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oremost software solutions provider, Vatebra Limited has mobilised support for orphans with a charity walk to the Living Fountain Orphanage in Lagos, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives tailored towards alleviating the plight of orphans and the less privileged in society. Tagged ‘Vatebra Walks for Charity’, the CSR effort also saw Vatebra donating bumper consumables and toiletries to the Victoria Island-based orphanage founded by Lady Bethy Obieri in 2007, as corporate support for the daily upkeep and well-being of residents. Mike Aigbe, deputy managing director, Vatebra, said the company has been involved in pockets of CSR initiatives targeted at youth development, but deliberately included charity for orphans in its programmes to enlist public support for their well-being. Aigbe, who assured that the initiative, would be institutionalized going forward, also hinted that as an innovative and forward-looking ICT player,

Vatebra would in the near future bring like minds together to discuss revolutionary strategies to leverage technology for economic growth. “We take CSR very seriously and wish to show our support for the growth of the Nigerian economy by walking for charity,” said Chinyelu Chikwendu, Head, Strategy and Branding, Vatebra while presenting the gift items to the visibly elated founder of the orphanage. “Through this effort, we are complementing our CSR initiative in ICT education, where we train budding graduates to become seasoned developers,” she added. L a s t m o n t h , Va t e b r a equipped youthful tech buffs with hands-on software development and programming training at the maiden edition of it’s CODIFY meet-up in Lagos. The initiative seeks to bridge the technical skill gap in innovation technologies and provide firstclass pre and post-graduate technology training which will impact the ICT space and business environment in sub-Saharan Africa.


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COMPANIES & MARKETS Clean Tech Hub raises concern over lead acid battery recycling

Business Event

...says pollution threat imminent HARRISON EDEH, Abuja

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lean Technology Hub, a pioneering hub for research, development, demonstration and incubation of clean energy technologies in Africa said approximately 110,000 tons of Used Lead Acid Batteries(ULABs) are generated in Nigeria annually from the automotive and renewable energy sectors with only 13 percent of this amount recycled. The organisation raised further concern that the ULABs is mostly in informal shelters located in residential areas which leads to high cases of lead pollution. The Organisation made this know in a workshop with stakeholders, which focused on Nigeria’s renewable energy sector, and how to properly manage used lead-acid batters (ULABs which are used for energy storage. The workshop is also geared towards ensuring that nongovernmental organizations and policymakers address the growing concern on poor management of used lead-acid batteries which has harmful effects on the environment and public health. “There is a mini-grid revolution about to take off in Nigeria, such as the World Bank and the Rural Electrification Agency $350m project as well as other investments into the sector.

This means that there will be more batteries. As such, it is imperative for the sector to create a battery management framework that will feed into government policy on used battery disposal, create investment opportunities and tackle a growing problem before it gets severe,” Ifeoma Malo, the Chief Executive Officer of Clean Technology Hub, said in a statement made available to BusinessDay. Terseer Ugboh of the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of Nigeria (REDIN), a clean energy-focused NGO said in the statement that the issue of ULAB management has been their focus for the past four years with several workshops and trainings on how to decide the best possible ways for its management in Nigeria. Although the current focus is on secondary batteries which are rechargeable such as lead-acid batteries, they hope to extend the focus to primary batteries such as alkaline batteries, mercury batteries and zinc-carbon batteries. “In the course of our work, we have decided to champion an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program in Nigeria to set the template for how renewable energy companies and other companies across the country including importers of batteries and recyclers should manage used batteries. It will work with international best practices using the stan-

dard benchmarks accepted globally,” Ugbo said. An expert on used-battery management, Gilbert Adie added that proper management of ULABs can create investment opportunities with the price of lead globally going for as high as $2200 per ton. He also suggested a benchmark assessment tool for ULAB management with focus on areas such as assessing best practices for the collection of ULABs and ensuring battery recycling plants are located only in industrial areas. There is currently only one recognized battery recycling facility in Nigeria run by Ibeto Group and based in Nnewi, Anambra State. There is also no specific policy for battery recycling in Nigeria at the moment. However, guidelines such as the National Environmental Base Metals, Iron and Steel Manufacturing and Recycling Regulation (2011), National Environmental Vehicle and Miscellaneous Assembly Regulations (2012) are applicable to ULAB management. The statement further expressed optimism that these existing regulations together with the guidelines of the Alliance will provide a basis for the enactment of a proper policy with the Ministry of Environment on battery recycling as well as the domestication of the Basel Convention on Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Waste.

L-R: Kunle Elebute, Co-Chair Steering Committee Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG); Dabney Shallholma, former director, commercial shipping services, Nigerian Shipping Council; Bukar Kyari, chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG); Muhammad Ahmad, pioneer director general, National Pension Commission and chairman technical committee of National Council of Privatization, and Gabriel Aduda, representing Secretary to the federation, at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group roundtable on Nigeria’s Transport Industry Theme; Regulating Nigeria’s Transport Industry in Lagos.

L-R: Oluwasijibomi Ojajuni, director, research and development, HACEY Health Initiative; Adonri Osaretin, assistant country director, UNFPA; Sylvia Adebajo, country director, Population Council; Omasanjuwa Edun, state team leader, Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, and Omolaso Omosehin, assistant representative/head, Lagos Liason Office, during the 1st Private Sector Conference on harnessing Demographic Dividends in Lagos.

GSK enlightens Nigerians on proper management of asthma

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igerians have been urged to address and treat cases of airways diseases as soon as they notice the symptoms rather than wait for the situation to deteriorate (Early detection and instituting appropriate management plays a significant role in disease prognosis). As in the case of asthma, early diagnosis and treatment will help in reducing frequency and severity of asthmatic attacks, the Company said. The advice was given during the commemoration of the 2018 World Asthma Day by GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria at Young Pharmacists Meeting held Lagos. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Never too early, Never too late”. In his remarks, the Medical Director, GSK Nigeria, ‘Laja Odunuga said this year’s theme is a call to action for both patients and healthcare providers across the globe to join hands in addressing asthma. Healthcare providers should follow

a guidelines-based approach in the diagnosis and management of asthma while patients should use their inhaler medications as advised by their healthcare providers and keep following appointments. “He concluded by saying that appropriate use of inhalational medicine and regular visits to the doctor for follow will significantly reduce, the mortality and morbidity associated with Asthma.” The disease burden of Asthma is huge in Nigeria, with about 12.5 million Nigerians living with asthma1,2 and 235 million worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, people who have asthma usually have symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing.2 Most asthma deaths occur in low and lower-middle income countries.3 Asthma is underdiagnosed and under-treated, creating a substantial burden to individuals and families and

possibly restricting individuals’ activities for a lifetime.3 Although a cure is yet to be identified for asthma, the condition can be prevented and controlled. it is critical that we work together to improve health of our populace and achieve better asthma control The Marketing Director, GSK Nigeria, Kunle Oyelana, also provided insights to GSK’s commitment to the management of asthma in Nigeria. As part of its advocacy activities, GSK Nigeria will continue to partner with Healthcare Providers and help ensure continuous update on the management of asthma. “We are proud to join people all over the world to mark the World Asthma Day as part of our commitment to improve the quality of human life by helping people to do more, feel better and live longer. As a responsible company, GSK will continue to identify with and play a leadership role in supporting asthma patients and their healthcare providers.

L-R: Adekoya kazeem, head digital marketing, Lucky fibres Ltd.; Queen, Giwa oluwafunke, Lagos State Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists Association (LABHCA); Olowookere Yomi, LABHCA vice president, and Ndubuisi Mojisola, marketing executive Lush extensions, at LABHCA day 2018 sponsored by Lush hair extension held in Lagos.

L-R: Ashish Chaudhary, managing director, Kuber Developers (Belmonte), and Hakeem Oguniran, managing director, UAC Property Development Company, during the presentation of the Real Estate Project of the Year Award to Belmonte at the 2018 Commerce and Industry Awards in Lagos.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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Harvard Business Review TALKING POINTS

40: In the early days of Ford, Henry Ford’s workers would work 48-hour weeks. Eventually, Ford realized that working more than 40 hours per week was causing workers to make many mistakes, so he limited them to 40, according to his autobiography, “My Life and Work.” + NASA Budget Peaked in 1960s 0.5%: In 1966, during the Apollo program, NASA’s budget comprised 4.5% of the overall federal budget in the U.S. Today, it is less than 0.5% of the budget. + High Demand for Copper 25 million: About 25 million tons of copper are produced each year, and that number is expected to grow, according to figures from the International Study Group. + Uptick in Licenses 23%: About 5% of workers in the U.S. in the 1950s had occupational licenses - or licenses that required extra training and education for certain jobs. Today, the number is 23%. + Healthy Revenue at Facebook $12.7 billion: Facebook had a revenue of $12.7 billion in the last three months of 2017, netting a profit of $4.26 billion.

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Tips & Talking Points Invest in positive relationships at work

A 40-Hour Work Week

BUSINESS DAY

Research shows that we find our jobs more fulfilling when we have positive relationships with the people we work with. This isn’t something that will happen on its own, so be purposeful and systematic about it. For example, you could organize a social event with your colleagues to get to know one another better. Or, you could offer to help a new or younger employee navigate the company as they settle in. Or, you could consider what you don’t know about the co-workers you see every day — What motivates them? Why did they join the company? What do they hope to accomplish in the future? — and set aside time to find out. Even a mundane job can

be meaningful if you do it alongside people you care about and connect with.

(Adapted from “To Find Meaning in Your Work, Change How You Think About It,” by John Coleman.)

Ask a younger colleague to help you stay relevant

Reduce distractions by figuring out what’s causing Them

It w i l l h a p pen to all of us someday: A younger generation enters the workforce and becomes the most soughtafter consumers, and the rest of us feel left behind. One way to keep up is to ask a younger colleague to mentor you. This is especially important when it comes to technology, since the best tools for the job may be ones you haven’t heard about. Ask your younger mentor what trends they’re noticing and what new technologies they’re experimenting with. Your junior coworker can also help you avoid dating yourself. It’s easy for older workers to start saying things

Stress and distraction can form a dangerous cycle. When we can’t focus at work, we often feel stressed about not bei n g p ro d u c t i v e — which causes us to focus even less. You can break this cycle by using selfawareness. Pay attention to what’s going on the next time you get distracted: Are you bored by what you’re doing? Pulled away by a ringing phone? Also, notice how you feel: Are you anxious because you can’t remember an important detail during a high-stakes presentation? Do you feel tense because you’re trying to

like, “Back in my day…,” but that will make you seem less relevant. Ask your mentor to point out when you’re referring to the past too often. It’s better for someone you trust to mention it than for customers or colleagues to secretly think it. (Adapted from “Why a GenX CEO Hired a Millennial to Help Him Keep a Learning Mindset,” by John Barrows.)

find just the right words for an important email? Your answers to these questions will help you pinpoint the source of your distractions. Before you can take steps to reduce your stress, you have to understand the underlying cause of the problems. (Adapted from “Break the Cycle of Stress and Distraction by Using Your Emotional Intelligence,” by Kandi Wiens.)

Resolve a Turf War by being patient and open-minded If you and a colleague are in a tug-of-war over who owns a project or who gets to decide how to use your team’s budget, you might feel frustrated or threatened. But getting angry won’t help you reach a resolution. Forget the win-lose paradigm; approach the situation by focusing on a common goal. Try to show the other person that you’re open-minded and that you want what’s best for the organization (and make sure that’s true). And don’t think of the colleague as your mortal enemy, tempting as that may be. Chances are they aren’t out to get you — sometimes people’s responsibilities simply conflict. Ask your boss to step in if the two of you can’t figure out a way forward. Most important, be patient. Addressing the tug-of-war is likely going to take some time, so don’t try to force a resolution. (Adapted from “How to Navigate a Turf War at Work,” by Amy Gallo.)

Only express emotions during a conflict if they’ll help you resolve it When a disagreement with a colleague gets heated, it’s normal to feel all sorts of emotions: disappointment, anger, or frustration, for example. But should you express what you’re feeling? It depends. If you’re experiencing what psychologists call a hot emotion — one that comes with an urgent sense of entitlement or even revenge (“I have to tell him exactly how I feel!”), it’s better to find a way to calm down first. If the emotion is cold, meaning you can control it and use it to help the situation (“I want to tell him how I feel so that he’ll understand my perspective”), then it’s probably OK to express it. But don’t just name the emotion;

c 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

explain what’s causing it. Telling someone you’re angry is less helpful than sharing that you’re disappointed they didn’t follow through on their commitment to you. (Adapted from “Should You Share Your Feelings During a Work Conflict?,” by Susan David.)


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Professional academies can save Nigeria multibillion naira spent on overseas training Stories by Daniel Obi Media Business Editor

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rogramme director of Market Research Academy, Seyi Adeoye has said that the objective of capacity building professional academies in different fields of the economy is to empower Nigerians and save the country about N3 billion spent on such training overseas annually. It is calculated that about 1,000 Nigerians embark on such training and capacity building abroad annually with a cost per individual at N3m. Nigerians also spend about N360 billion on medical treatment abroad annually while undergraduate courses in international schools cost Nigerians in search of education overseas about N1.5 trillion yearly. Countries who benefit from this include UK, India, United States, Ghana other countries in the Middle East. Following the revenue shortfall occasioned by recent development in the international oil market, Nigerian government in 2014 placed embargo on foreign trainings and international travels as a cost-saving measure. Adeoye said the reasons for the establishment of Market Research Academy to equip market researchers and practitioners of business advisory that they can give their best to

L-R: Arne Rust, marketing director, International Breweries Plc; Alain Degroot; Igwe Nnaemeka Afred Ugochukwu Achebe, His Royal Highness, Obi of Onitsha ; Annabelle Degroot, business unit president, International Breweries Plc; Godwin Ochie, national sales director, International Breweries Plc and Michael Ajukwu, director, International Breweries Plc, during the knighting of a new Red Crown Cork and the title “Mmanya Ejiri Mara” on Hero Lager Beer, at the King’s Courtyard, Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha.

organisations. “The academy is not only tailored to established consultants but fresh graduates looking for work. Over time, these fresh graduates from Nigerian universities, either due to the fault of theirs or the system have found it difficult to fit into work places. This academy is designed to close that gap and accelerate meaningful integration in the Nigerian workforce. “The Market Research Academy

Lagos is a professionally run academy by industry marketing practitioners for marketing researchers. From our state of the art purposely fitted training facilities within a serene environment; we run ‘outcome’ oriented programs. Our model is simple: we invite facilitators with hands on proven knowledge of different target topics to teach and we then leverage a central advisory board to push the envelope via inclusion of new approaches and

Expert links increased consumption of local food to better health

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itness expert and founder of Fitness fair, Uganzi Eke has said that gaining fitness and healthiness is not only at gym as she directed attention of Nigerians to local food to promote better health. Speaking during the launch of a new Fitness Fair store and company website in the Lekki axis of Lagos, she said Nigerians must begin to own their health by learning the local nutrition wellness procedure and seeing the physical aspect beyond visiting the gym. Eke, who is also a pharmacist, stated that contrary to popular thinking, people can actually exercise even at their workplace and have a better lifestyle eating Nigerian natural local foods. According to her, this is what Fitness Fair and its Corporate Wellness project aim to promote among Nigerians by providing holistic information on how to maximise their environment for a healthy lifestyle. For example, the new fitnessfair.ng website, she noted, was meant to

encourage a business extension and ease of access to information for individuals and corporate entities interested in joining the wellness lifestyle. “Corporate Wellness is aimed at taking wellness to the work place. To know that as you are working, you can exercise and eat well. To imbibe the information needed to stay alive and enjoy what you have

worked for. We currently do this for ExxonMobil, Unichem and First Bank Insurance. It’s also available for individuals”.

Eke noted an unfolding problem in the country as young people keep coming down with lifestyle diseases; diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol related diseases and cancer. She said this development has been discovered to be a result of a major change in lifestyle and key factors that could be changed such as diet, lifestyle and physical activity level. “So we are raising awareness for everyone to understand that you can take ownership of your health and prevent a lot of these illnesses. We have the Fitness Fair Training on how to make the change. We teach you where you start from, who you are and where you should at least try to get to. The major thing about your life is what you eat, hence Fitness Fair Nutrition. We supply you with information on foods you need to support the lifestyle”, she added. She said that Nigeria is blessed with good foods contrary to the belief of many. “Our people need to be taught how to make food their medicine.

methodologies”. Some of the programmes include Graduate Launch which is graduate level training programme. There is also a monthly session with an industry expert in the pipeline. Another programme is Master Classes for Mid/Senior Level Marketing Research Consultants. It is an intensive one to two-day programmes aimed at up-skilling mid/ senior level marketing research consultants.

CSR-in-Action launches ‘The Good Citizen Radio Show’

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SR-in-Action, Nigeria’s foremost advocacy and sustainability enterprise has commenced the Good Citizen Radio Show on Inspiration FM. The Good Citizen Radio Show is one of the expressions of The Good Citizen initiative which is designed to encourage a unified and collective approach for solving national issues, stimulate community dialogue and discussions on good citizenship and recognise and reward outstanding efforts. Launched on the 19th of November, 2015, in Abuja by Yemisi Ransome Kuti; Wale Omole, Chairman, CSR-in-Action Advocacy, and Chief Executive of CSR-inAction, Bekeme Masade-Olowola, The Good Citizen has an overarching goal of undertaking initiatives that encourage and advance individual contribution to national development through value reorientation, especially through the younger generations – our future leaders.

MTN unveils new Campaign

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or the past week, Lagosians have engaged in lively conversation about the smartly-dressed gentleman spotted in an intriguing display elevated along Lekki express way. The so called Maninthebox was working day-and-night, come rain and sunshine; in what appeared to be an office-in-a-billboard displaying the phrases - “We know what keeps you up, let’s talk’ and #Maninthebox. MTN is the Maninthebox! This announcement was made at the formal relaunch of MTN’s Enterprise Business Solutions arm, otherwise known as MTN Business, after days of suspense, speculation and social media chatter. Through this campaign, MTN hopes to raise public awareness about its ability to cater to the communication, collaboration and connectivity needs of all businesses – start-ups, small medium and large scale enterprises, and public sector organisations.

Hero lager beer rebrands, wears a new look

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ero, a premium lager on the stable of International Breweries Plc, a part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev, (AB InBev) has been knighted with a new crown cork -a Red Cork and the title of “Mmanya ejiri mara Igbo.” The Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Highness, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe gave his blessing to commence the Red Cap ceremony in Onitsha, Anambra State recently amid applause and excitement by hundreds of Nigerians who thronged the venue of the event, the King’s Courtyard, Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha. The red cap ideology is of high importance to the South Eastern people of Nigeria as it represents the peak of achievement, societal status and recognition for any individual or brand. Launched into the Nigerian market in August 2012 without much fanfare, Hero lager beer warmed its way into the hearts of consumers in the South Eastern region and became a symbol of inspiration. The success of the brand draws from its strategic cultural resonance with the people and has catapulted Hero Lager from zero to a market leader in the region. Furthermore, consumers have christened Hero, ‘Oh Mpa’, in reverence and as a mark of respect (Mpa means father in Igbo language). Arne Rust, Marketing Director, International Breweries Plc., said in a statement that the ceremony represents the essence of the brand. “Through this ceremony, we hope to inspire consumers to be heroes every day and in every way”.


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Marketing&Pr

CSR: How Accenture is working with partners in nation building Many organisations are embarking on amazing projects under their CSR initiatives to improve the lots of Nigerians. Daniel Obi writes on Accenture Nigeria projects which is working with partners for nation building.

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ver time, relationship between the gown and the town in Nigeria has strained. It has become a concern that conventional education now exists in isolation. This has raised the quest for teaching of saleable and entrepreneurial skills in tertiary schools. School system ordinarily should equip all students for appropriate skills and competencies for their economic well-being and for nation development. Lack of these entrepreneurial skills or inability to apply them where the skills exist has assisted to jack-up the unemployment rate, currently standing at about 20 per cent of Nigeria’s 170 million population. Unemployment is high among the youth (under 35 years) who account for about 70 per cent of the population. It was this concern of high unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial skills among Nigerians with their attendant societal consequences that spurred Accenture Nigeria, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company to come up with Skill-toSucceed initiative. The initiative is about helping to improve the readiness of individuals to either get a job or improve their businesses. It is simply about employability and entrepreneurship, bridging the gap between gown, town and reducing unemployment rate. “For us, Skill-to-Succeed is our own way of working with noncommercial clients and giving back to society. In the last 8 years, we have been able to help 500,000 Nigerians who have been impacted by various skills under the initiative”, Niyi Yusuf, Accenture country managing direc-

tor told BusinessDay recently. Accenture with its partners executes the initiative in three approaches - by financial grants, employees volunteering their time, and by pro-bono consulting. According to Niyi who declined to comment on Accenture’s total financial commitment in the last five years, said some of the 500,000 empowered entrepreneurs have grown and are even providing services to Accenture. He simply said that Accenture has so far committed over 10,000 hours free to empowering Nigerians. “The choice of our local partners such as Fate Foundation, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI and LEAP Africa is deliberate as we work with partners that are reputable and credible and have structures in place”. On monitoring of the trained entrepreneurs, he said the partners set up monitoring and evaluation team that does constant monitoring of the entrepreneurs

during the programme and after the programme. “We get such reports on annual basis on who is doing well and challenges”. These non-commercial partners, Niyi said either mentor, empower small businesses on leadership or financial literacy. “We work with Junior Achievement of Nigeria which is an international NGO and its focus is on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. This is one way through Accenture is impacting youths in school and those out of school. “We train them beyond just vocational skills but also financial literacy skills, how to develop and business plan, how to keep records and accounts to ensure their businesses will thrive. This is to ensure that the youth leave the streets and begin to run their businesses. “Overall in the last 5 years, we have spent more than 10,000 hours free supporting these various notfor profit and using them to impact

Nigerians and small business. Given that Accenture focuses on large corporates, but this is our way of giving back to the society and making the country a better place”, Niyi who described Accenture CSR as corporate citizenship said. In a move to expand the programme and impact more Nigerians, Accenture last two years brought into Nigeria the Accenture Development Partnership, ADP a way of working with multilateral donors to make significant impact. The international NGOs include Save the Children, Society for family health, Sight Savers. Dangote Foundation, Danjuma Foundation, MTN Foundation. “At the same time Accenture provides services for the private sector organisations that fall within the development sector, besides the multilateral and bi-lateral organisations, like DFID, as USAID”, Osato Noah, who is ADP lead in Accenture said. Osato further said that Accenture’s vision is to leverage innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. The ADP model brings this to life. According to him ADP leverages the capability, resources and tools in Accenture. Under ADP, according to Osato, Accenture focuses on areas such as agriculture, energy, livelihood, humanitarian services. “We offer almost all the services Accenture offers such as digital, technology, strategy and partnership. We have supported quite a number of initiatives in these areas. We have worked with a leading global philanthropy to digitise the process for a social investment programme which is aimed at enhancing financial services, availing financial services to the poor.

“The financial exclusion in Nigeria is about 42 per cent. The plan is by 2020 and with the support of the digitisation of this progarmme we will half that number through beneficiaries of this initiative of about 10million which cut across women, youth and urban and rural poor “We have also supported a Pan African trade finance organisation to set up a medical facility that focuses on the treatment and management of non-communicable diseases. Today, Nigeria spends over $1 billion on medical tourism annually. This facility when established will definitely help us contain capital flight in search of medical care”. Osato also said that with ADP partnership, Accenture has worked with a Nigerian state to develop an ICT cluster which aimed at enhancing the economic potential of the state by helping to create an enabling environment for start-up in technology and innovation such that they will be able to contribute significantly in unleashing the economic potentials of the state. On how the projects are selected, he said the projects come from organisations that are working in some communities. When they see challenges they discuss it and raise proposal. Such projects are a multi-stakeholder involvement; it can be community or government, multilateral donor and Accenture. The kind of stakeholder will vary based on the particular issue of opportunity that is addressed. Nation building requires strong private sector participation and that is why it is laudable that Accenture is making such contributions under its corporate citizenship working quietly with partners for this course.

X3M Ideas wins grand Cristal for ‘Goodvertising’ at African Cristal Ad Festival

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3M Ideas’ sponsored anti – depression social service advertising tagged “Look Beyond” which came out last year to support the Lagos State effort in fighting the sudden surge in the rate of suicides, has won a grand Cristal at the just concluded African Cristal Advertising Festival which held recently in Marrakesh, Morocco. The campaign which featured a series of ads including online film is one of the agency’s deliberate attempts at being a social contributor and dependable voice in supporting the Lagos State government in enhancing and keeping a sane and save society for all. The increasing spate of suicides according to the agency, is considered antithetical to the nation’s global recognized as the “happiest people” on the globe despite all the

odds. This is why we, as X3M Ideas, cannot keep silent in the face of this ugly development, Steve Babaeko, Chief Executive Officer, X3M Ideas had explained when the campaign broke May 2017. The campaign which won a Grand

Cristal an equivalent of a Grand Prix, in the Social/CSR category, was a major voice that permeated the social media and youth focused TV channels, to drum up support for the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s battle cry against suicides

in Lagos state and the country at large. The agency has dutifully pursued its DNA ingrained passion to consistently find the time and resources to churn out campaigns to promote social causes despite its busy work schedule and scarce resources, in a bid to combat tendencies for the society to travel the descent route. As a company, X3M Ideas is passionate about youth, the business is positively youthful and its crop of its staff, so when begin to see a trend of the odious happening and almost becoming like a way of life, we would not want to keep silent. In fact that is not our way of life. This is the main reason behind this awards winning social advocacy campaign tagged “Looking Beyond” an agency source told our correspondent during an interactive session. In the campaign, the agency

deployed the ‘huge popularity for social media’ to paint the picture of how depression makes hostage of the victim. The victim hides the “depression” behind written words especially on social media pretending “all is well” either because he has no one to talk to or because he did not know such platforms exist or he simply lose confidence in the people around him. The short “social-mercial” which was heavy on HipTV also trended heavily on youtube, twitter and other social media platforms, discouraged youth from the growing painful decision to “end it all” which had earlier caused the nation immeasurable loss such as the loss of a young medical doctor who took a plunge into the lagoon from the popular Lagos third mainland bridge among numerous others.


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BUSINESS DAY

Tuesday 15 May 2018

21

Special Economic Report

Nigeria’s broken middle class and why the pieces are falling apart

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ust a few years ago, Nigeria’s income was rising and its middle-income class was expanding, bringing with it the transition from a low-income country to a middleincome country. Following Nigeria’s recent economic slow growth and economic recession in 2016, the as pirations of the middle class have not only been shattered, it has shaken the very foundations of Nigeria’s future economic growth and prosperity. In its place are fears and hopelessness. “Nigeria’s Broken Middle Class”, prepared by

Time Economics, traces the rise of Nigeria’s middle class since the turn of the century and how that section of the Nigerian economy is now virtually decimated. Nigeria’s Broken Middle Class Akeem and Idorenyen are two hardworking Nigerians each with a family of four – a wife and two children. Akeem’s annual expenditure is the Naira equivalent of between US $730 and $1460, while Idorenyen’s annual expenditure is between US $2190 and $3650. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) 2010 report “the middle of the Pyramid: Dynamics of the Middle Class in Africa”, building on established definitions of the 2008 work by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo in “What is Middle Class about the Middle Classes around the World?”, if your family’s income is within that range, you are considered part of the Nigerian middle class. Your middle income status is a description of your expenditure on the basics such as food, clothing, and shelter, and as it grows, on other forms of consumption follow, such as entertainment, leisure, luxury goods, philanthropy and social activities. Economists have often found that the expansion of this group of consumers, and the expansion of their incomes, has often meant that the economy can rely on them for future economic growth and prosperity. According to Banerjee and Duflo, there are three main arguments typically made to explain why the middle class is so important to the growth and development of a country. First, the middle class have a higher capacity for delayed

gratification and as a result, are more able to invest and create employment and productivity growth for the rest of the economy. Second, middle class values such as accumulation of human capital and savings makes them a vital source of inputs for entrepreneurs. The third, which is the most common attribute, focuses on the increased spending power of middle class consumers. The view that Nigeria’s middle class would play a similar role in Nigeria’s development gathered momentum this century as the middle class expanded rapidly in the new millennium. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita grew 104.5% between 2000 and 2014 rising from $1253 in 2000 to a high of $2563 in 2014 (See Graph), while real GDP grew over the period growing from US$ 157.5 Billion in 2000 to a peak of US$452.3 Billion in 2014. Fig 1: The rise of Nigeria’s average income Observing the trends of that expansion period, one would have been forgiven for thinking that it was only a matter of time until the Nigerian middle class would assume its historical role and act as the foundations for continuous significant foreign investment inflows, sustainable growth and jobs. However, since the dramatic decline in oil prices in 2014, and the economic recession in 2016, the middle class has shrunk, along with the expectations for the role it was to play in expanding Nigeria’s potential future growth and prosperity. The Akeems, who had previously hoped to eventually become Idorenyens, have fallen back into poverty while the Idorenyens are fast becoming Akeems. In three years, Nigeria’s middle class and its dreams have been shattered and broken. The rise to the Peak The Nigerian middle class re-emerged after the two lost decades of the 1980s and 1990s, coinciding with Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, and following the rise in oil prices during the 2000s. At the turn of the century in 2000, oil price was an average of US $27.6 per barrel. By 2005, it has risen to nearly double at US $50.59, and by 2008, it was US $94.1 per barrel. Between 2008 and 2014, oil prices remained above US $60 on average, with the average price exceeding US $100 per barrel in 2011, 2012, and 2013. While the rise in oil prices set the foundations for the rise in per capita income and the rise of the middle class, it was complimented by pivotal macroeconomic and microeconomic reforms of the 2000s. These economic reforms, such as banking consolidation, changes to pension schemes, establishing defined contributory schemes, telecommunications and the rise of mobile telephony, health reforms, and the rise of the entertainment sector, expanded the private sector, a critical plank of any rise in the middle class. Following these reforms, the Nigerian middle class appeared to be adhering to the Banerjee and Duflo theory. First, Nigerians, some of whom left the country during the lost decades of 1980s and 1990s, started returning as entrepreneurs across sectors that include information, communication and technology (ICT), consulting, agriculture, real estate etc. Second, a significant number were

being employed in the banking and broader financial services industry, telecommunications, and government sectors. Third, and this highlights critical role of middle class, there was a rise in the number of people with incomes high enough to sustain demand of products and services in excess of the basics of food, clothing and shelter. The combination of the rise in oil prices, the debt cancellation of 2005 and the economic reforms of the 2000s delivered Nigeria’s longest and strongest stretch of economic growth in history. Real GDP increased by 187% between 2000 ad 2014 compared to an estimated 47.9% increase in the population from 119 million to the 2014 estimated 176 million, leading to an increase in real GDP per capita from $1253 to $2563, a 104.5% growth rate over the 14-year period or a 7% annual growth rate. In addition, between 2000 and 2014, the Nigerian economy added 11.74 million jobs, according to figures from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This remarkable growth in GDP per capita pushed 23% of Nigerians, according to the AfDB, into middle class status as they experienced rising incomes and increased access to goods and services typical of the global middle class, such as consumer electronics and cable television. The AfDB report found that 4.1 million households or about 20 percent of Nigerian households were in the middle class. This translates to an approximate population of 35.3million within the middle class threshold. Demographically, Northern and Southern Nigeria have different statistics of the middle class spread. Southern Nigeria, especially the Southwest has the largest concentration with about 30 percent living above the threshold. Other Southern regions hover around the 25percent levels and the North between 9 and 18 percent. At the peak of the rise in Nigeria’s middle class, McKinsey’s 2013 report “Africa’s Growing Giant: Nigeria’s New Retail Economy”, captured the driver of the rise in the country’s middle class“: “Nigeria’s oil and gas sector has been the key driver of the economy for many decades, constituting more than 14 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. But today, new engines are helping to power Africa’s most populous nation. Consumer-facing industries have quietly grown into a significant economic force and are poised to continue growing. Over the last decade, the Nigerian telecommunications and banking industries have experienced rapid expansion, serving pent-up demand and a fast growing middle class. We expect that the next chapter of emerging middle class growth will be in the retail sector. Fueled by a new generation of Nigerian consumers, wholesale and retail sales are already the third largest contributors to Nigeria’s GDP, contributing 16 percent to the total. In Nigeria, the trend toward a more prosperous consumer class is unmistakable. Although 90 percent of Nigerians have limited discretionary income, there is an important and growing opportunity within a subset of the population. Given the country’s large population (174 million, 37 million households), the portion of people defined as middle and upper class represent a sizeable pool of potential consumers. A significant 11 to 18 percent of urban households – numbering over 2 million – have purchasing power and annual incomes over $10,000, which puts them in the modest affluent class. Half of the country’s growth in wealth will come from these households. On the next rung of the income ladder – the emerging middle class – there is also considerable growth. Nigerian households with incomes of more than $5,000 a year will increase from a current 20 percent of the population to 27 percent by 2020, putting them within the target customer base of formal retail chains. Indeed, the numbers illustrating the growth of the Nigerian middle class are mindboggling. For instance, domestic travel by air increased from less than three million persons in 2000 to over 15 million passengers in 2014, though partly due to poor road infrastructure. Mobile cellular subscriptions increased from thirty thousand in 2000 to approximately 139 million in 2014, while mobile phone sales increased to 20 million in 2014. International airline passengers increased from 507,396 passengers in 2000 to a peak of 4,7 million passengers in 2011 before a slight decline to 4.4 million in 2014. Shoprite, the South African supermarket brand opened its first store in 2006 but has since expanded to all major cities in the country, with Lagos and Abuja with at least three each. According to data from the International Telecoms Union (ITU), the number of Nigerians using the Internet grew from 5 million in 2006 to 92.6 million in 2015.

Fig 2: The rise of the use of mobile symbolizes the rise of the middle class Besides expenditure on luxuries, Nigerian middle class also developed capacities to leverage the failure of Nigeria’s public services. For instance, the last decade also saw many Nigerians travel to the United Kingdom, India and the United States for medical reasons, reflecting both the collapse of Nigeria’s health system and the rise in income. Additionally, luxury brands started arriving Nigeria to leverage on the rise of Nigeria’s middle class. Luxury stores like Louis Vuitton and Cartier opened in Nigeria. The race to the bottom and the exodus of Nigeria’s middle class The McKinsey report provided its clients with an estimation of eight million households with incomes of more than US$7,500 per year (about 4US$ per capita) for 2013, a level sufficient to meet all basic necessities and have money left over to start buying more and better food as well as health and education services. It went further to estimate that in 2030, about 35 million households or about 60% of future Nigerian population could be living above this threshold presenting more opportunities for retail investment. However, in 2010, AfDB estimated that “about 60 percent of Africa’s middle class, approximately 180 million people, remain barely out of the poor category. They are in a vulnerable position and they face the constant possibility of dropping back into the poor category in the event of any exogenous shocks”. This warning turned out to be prescient for the Nigeria middle class. The optimism by studies such as that of McKinsey that the middle class had expanded enough to provide a resilient response in the face of falling oil prices belied four unique economic weaknesses, and responsible for the dramatic fall in the size of the country’s middle class and the loss of its aspirations. First, was the nature of the expansion of the middle class. The middle class had expanded on the back of industries that were most vulnerable to decline in oil prices. Service industries such as financial services, telecommunications, real estate, and government sectors rely extensively on oil prices themselves. So in essence, while the growth since the turn of the century translated to increased consumption, it did not translate to productivity gains across a broad base of economic sectors. Second, and a corollary of the first is that the economic reforms of the 2000s did not go far enough to deepen Nigeria’s economic and productive base, improve productivity across many sectors, attract sustained foreign direct investment to fuel the continued growth and the expansion of the middle class. More so, the reforms have not deepened across sectors such as power and health. So, it became obvious that the touted international investment in Nigeria around the emergence and rise of a middle class was generally premised on the growth of a large consumer class and a continued rise in the price of oil. Third, the expansion of the middle class in the last decade had been on the basis of income, rather than wealth. The rises in incomes have not translated sufficiently into wealth creation. This means that many members of the middle class are one unfortunate incident, such as a layoff, a serious illness or even death, away from dropping back into the low-income group. Fourth, and very critical, the rise in Nigeria’s middle class belies the unsustainable level of inequality in the country. An interesting study by Kainos Edge, an economics consulting firm in Lagos, showed that middle class consumption was 33.17 percent in 2004, but declined to 29.14 percent in 2013, and slightly rose to 30.26 percent in 2016, reflecting rising inequality despite significant rise in per capita incomes during the period. Indeed, the share of for top income earners rose from 54.92 percent to 54.42 percent in 2013, though it fell slightly to 58.39 percent in 2016. Therefore, as a rising economic class, the middle class was still at the time very vulnerable and yet undeveloped to cope with the shock of significant decline in oil prices and the economic recession that followed. Nominal GDP, which had grown to 568.5 billion USD as at 2014, spiraled steeply down to 481.1 billion USD in 2015 and tanked further to 405.1 billion USD by 2016, a loss of over 100 billion USD value in domestic economic activity. According to NBS, Nigeria’s consumption expenditure decreased from USD 416.7 billion in 2014 to 272.9 billion in 2016 despite a population growth from 176million to 190million over the period. In 2017, 4.07million Nigerians became unemployed which increased the total number of unemployed people to 15.99 million. The unemployment rate jumped again to 18.8 percent as at September 2017 whilst the number of the underemployed

increased to 18million giving a combined increased of both unemployed and underemployment rate of 40 percent up from 37.2 per cent from the previous quarter. The response of the middle class to the deteriorating economic conditions in the country has been swift. Nigeria is witnessing one of the most significant outward migration in the last three decades. In the two years prior to 2017, the NBS reported that over 3.8 million Nigerians processed documents to leave the country, while the wave of informal migration through North African borders into Europe is estimated at over 30,000 annually in the last three years. Hit hard by the dramatic decline in the value of the Naira, significant numbers of Nigerians withdrew their children studying abroad, and curtailed or stopped holidaying abroad. The rising phenomenon has got Nigerians talking. In a tweet thread started by Seun Onigbinde, the Co-Founder of Budgit, Nigerians’ comments demonstrate that the scale of migration we have seen in the last three years is perhaps the largest in three decades. Using his twitter handle @ seunonigbinde wrote that “this is a time in Nigeria when people who earn 600K (thousand) in this country are so eager to migrate. It’s really hard to be hopeful. Every random professional now on their way to Canada”. He added “and then US is organising free tuition up to PhD level for our university first class students. Our young doctors are flying out in numbers and even the ones in medical school are being locked out because of N100K” In response, Yemisi Adeojo (@Yemisi_Adeojo) said “90% of the youth corpers I have spoken to so far are doing their youth service so they can get a scholarship to travel out. The brain drain taking place in this country is very alarming”. Pius Adesanmi (@Pius_Adesanmi), a Nigerian Professor based in Canada said “the thing is crazy. Millionaires, middle to upper class in Nigeria abandoning everything to start over in Canada”, while Austin Okere (@Austin_Okere), the founder of Computer Warehouse Group added “this is quite disturbing. Add to this those whose parents have sponsored abroad for studies and not been encouraged to come back home and use their skills here. We may be in the process of losing a whole generation of Nigeria’s best and brightest”. And very recently, Africa Check reported that the United Kingdom registrar for doctors now lists 5,250

Nigerian doctors as at April 2018, a 10 percent rise on the 2017 figures, showing an average of 12 doctors per week. Picking up the broken remnant Therein lies the danger for Nigeria’s future economic growth. For the average middle class Nigerian, the fall in income and the inability to maintain their standard of living they had become used to in the last decade, not only leaves them fearful for today, but hopeless about tomorrow. Indeed, for many of those that were still able to maintain a semblance of their former standard of living, it is the uncertainty of what the future holds that has made them to look elsewhere. The harsh lesson of the last three years is that, despite significant economic growth, the decline in oil prices and the absence of further reforms exposed Nigeria’s vulnerabilities and that of its middle class. It is clear that the ranks of the middle class have been decimated by the economic decline of the last three years, although the exact extent remains to be precisely determined. However, since a defining characteristic of membership in the middle-class is possession of significant human capital, which by definition can never be taken away, the middle class can be expected to re-emerge once there is a more robust recovery. If the Nigerian middle class is to play the role the middle class has played in the economic and political development of other countries, the economic recovery must be based on the ingenuity and inventiveness of the Nigerian middle class rather than rising oil prices. And for this to happen, there must further and deepened economic reforms in oil and gas, health, civil and public service, and increase in productivities in these sectors. In conclusion, a strong and expanding middle class depends on a strong and expanding Nigerian economy. And a strong and expanding Nigerian economy requires a broad based increase in productivity growth, exports, and savings. In the past, the policy reforms, when implemented, have been weak, shallow and not deepened enough. A vibrant middle class capable of anchoring long-term and broad-based economic growth will not emerge by accident. It will require efficient and sustained investment in human capital and infrastructural development. Otherwise the new middle class, whenever it re-emerges, will be just as vulnerable to oil price shocks.


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Energy Report Oil & Gas

Power

Renewables

Environment

Bonga achieves 763 million oil barrels production since inception in 2005

subsea trees in 2015 at a fabrication yard at Onne in Rivers State, the first in SubSaharan Africa with Nigerian engineers and technicians playing key roles. The feat is consistent with the growth of support industries from Bonga operations which have boosted demand for a range of goods and services including offshore vessels and platforms, materials, floating hotels, helicopters and manpower, creating

jobs and providing a range of training and maintenance services to the industry locally. Working in close collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC,) the concessionaire and co-venture partners, SNEPCo has implemented a robust social investment portfolio that has made visible impact in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Ojulari paid tribute to the staff and contractor personnel who have worked hard to ensure sustained production at Bonga, thereby creating a stable source of revenue for all stakeholders particularly the Nigerian government. He added: “We are working hard to strengthen the Nigerian connection. It is not a coincidence that, since 2005, the Managing Director of SNEPCo has been Nigerian and today, 96% of SNEPCo’s staff is Nigerian. SNEPCo is also committed to further unlocking Nigeria’s deep-water resources and along with its co-venture and government partners is evaluating opportunities to further increase production of the Bonga field in an efficient and cost-effective way.”

be lower because the cost of uranium, which serves as nuclear fuel is comparatively low when compared with fossil fuels, used in powering gas and coal turbines. He further explained:

“Even though the cost of constructing a nuclear power plant is quite high, the cost implications of operating them are quite low. The average lifespan of a modern nuclear reactor is 60-80 years. This variable,

OLUSOLA BELLO

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he Bonga deepwater has continued to achieve mile stones which have been contributing in no small measure to the economic growth of the country through revenues accruing to the government in form of tax and royalties. The deep water field operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has delivered a total of 763 million barrels of oil from the Bonga field between first production in 2005 and 2017, while at the same expanding the field with further drilling of wells in Bonga Phases 2 and 3 and through a subsea tie-back that unlocked the nearby Bonga North West field in August 2014. The success stor y at Bonga is not only that it is Nigeria’s first oil and gas production project in more than 1,000 metres of water, or that it increased Nigeria’s oil production capacity by 10% in 2005, said Bayo Ojulari, managing director SNEPCo, while reviewing the

operations of the company to journalists in Lagos. “The main point is that Bonga is a Nigerian venture delivered by Nigerians using global expertise and processes offered by Shell that have launched Nigeria into the league of notable deep -water players.” He identified the Bonga turnaround maintenance in March and April 2017 as a significant milestone in SNEPCo’s operations. This

was the most complex and largest of the three previous turnaround maintenances in the 12-year history of Bonga, and has helped to ensure safe and sustained production and reduced unscheduled production deferments. More than 1,000 people and more than 50 Nigerian contractor and sub-contractor companies participated in the exercise. Another milestone was the refurbishment of five

Stakeholder’s discussions to centre on conflicts and security management in extractive sector

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anaging conflicts and security would be the major focus of discussion at this year’s SITEI 2018 which will revolve around creating awareness about the causes, impact and management of conflict in Nigeria’s extractive sector so as to maximise the potential inherent in the sector. The discussions are also meant to inspire government to develop and implement strong legal and regulatory frameworks for conflict and security management in the oil and gas and mining sector. The two-day event is structured to deal with various aspects of the extractive industries with the first day focusing on the Oil and Gas sector. This would also include an open dialogue with Ibe Kachikwu, minister for petroleum resources on re-assessing the 12-point agenda to end militancy in the Niger Delta, a as well as panel discussions which with a theme ‘Pathways for natural resource management and conflict prevention – people, environment and infrastructure’.

Nuclear energy can stabilise price of electricity OLUSOLA BELLO

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stablishing a Nuclear power plant as it is currently being proposed by then federal government could offer Nigerians a cheaper and stable source of electricity pricing because of its lower operating costs. The country with a population of almost 200 million generates between 3,000megawatts and 4,000 megawatts of electricity that barely serviced less than 20 million because of lack of gas supply occasioned by lack of infrastructure that can take the gas from the fields to the generating station and also weak transmission and distribution lines. This situation has led to high rate of unemployment in the country because many of the industries that should served as job generation centres are now dormant because of lack of power. According to Viktor Polikarpov, Vice-President, ROSATOM Sub-Saharan Africa, he said that the Nigerian Government, last October, signed an agreement with ROSATOM

- Russia’s state owned nuclear energy corporation for the construction of a nuclear power plant and research centre in Nigeria. This is with a view to diversify Nigeria’s current energy generation mix – which

relies mainly on thermal and hydroelectric sources. Throwing more light on how nuclear energy, offers lower operating costs as opposed to other energy sources, he explained, the price could

Power generation situation last week

Source: Power Advisary Team

Olusola Bello, Team lead, Analysts: Kelechi Ewuzie, Isaac Anyaogu, Graphics: Joel Samson.

when taken into consideration, make the expense of delivering power from a nuclear plant quite low.” If the cost of uranium doubles, for instance, the cost of electricity produced by nuclear, he stressed, will only increase marginally. This, he noted, cannot be said about conventional energy sources. “However, if the price of coal doubles, it implies that the final cost of electricity will be 70 percent more; same applies to gas. However, the cost of uranium, which is produced on a nuclear power plant, has just a three percent implication on the cost of electricity. Even if the cost of uranium rises, electricity consumers may not even feel the little impact it would have on electricity,” Polikarpov pointed out. This, he emphasized, portends huge benefits for electricity consumers in Nigeria. He shed more light: “If you have predictable prices for electricity for the next sixty years, which is the minimum time to operate a modern nuclear power plant, it really helps to grow the economy.

Email: energyreport@businessdayonline.com, Tel: +234-8023020011; +234-7037817378; +234-8036534708


Tuesday 15 May 2018

C002D5556

BUSINESS DAY

Energy Report

23

Tellcol Europe Nigeria deepen off-grid energy investment with SolarLed solution …Woos MSMEs KELECHI EWUZIE

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ligning with Nigeria’s energy prospects for the future, Tellcol Europe Nigeria in strategic partnership with TELLCOL EUROPE has unveiled SolarLed solutions to deepen renewable energy needs of the country. The investment is in response to the Federal Government clamour for private sector involvement in power solutions and further reiterates government commitment to diversifying the economy through creating favourable climate for both local and foreign investors. Power is a critical component of the nation’s infrastructure and renewable energy is an inextricable growing pathway of the future supply mix now disparagingly needed for Nigeria, without which future sustainable economic growth and development will be a mirage. A larger percentage of Nigerians power their businesses and homes, depending on fossil fuel at a fright-

ening cost of nearly $14 billion or N5 trillion yearly, with added negative public health and other socioeconomic hazards. Nigeria presently has the biggest and most attractive off-grid opportunity in Africa, and one of the best locations in the world for mini-grids and solar home systems says Wale Omole, Chairman, Tellcol Europe Nigeria. The SolarLed solution according to Omole pres-

ents an opportunity for the development of robust offgrid alternatives to complement the grid network that creates, through a $9.2B/ year (N3.2T/year) market opportunity for mini-grids and solar home systems that will save $4.4B/year (N1.5T/ year) for Nigerian homes and businesses. Omole observe that the solution will unlock a never yet seen scale of massive powering of MSMEs sector in a most efficient, af-

LPG guidelines set for review by stakeholders OLUSOLA BELLO

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etermined to promote the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and also ensure safety in the subsector, the Department of Petroleum Resources [DPR] is to engage stakeholders in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas [LPG] realm with a view to fashioning out new guidelines on life threatening things being taken for granted by operators in the industry. Some of the life threatening things include using trucks that are not properly certified good enough for the business and not taking safety tips seriously among other things. Oluwole Akinyosoye, zonal controller, DPR in Lagos‘said the agency is talking to stakeholders such as NNPC, as well as companies like NIPCO and other players in the industry as well, to ensure that they don’t just load the products ,but ensure that those trucks are fit for purpose. ‘’If you load trucks that is not fit for the purpose, and there is an explosion in your facility ,God forbids , on the way to the plants ,or at the plants ,it will be on record that the truck loaded from

your company ,that is why we are looking at the LPG guidelines once again “,he pointed out . According to DPR boss correspondence will soon go to all operators on how to be up to speed with regards to loading and ancillary issues stressing the stakeholders know better than the agency officials because they do it every day and we may be theoretical in ways ,we do things ,but we relate to all sectors of the industry ,and we know where the shoes are pinching , and those guidelines we are fashioning out “ He said the guidelines would spell out what need to be in place before truck loads ,ensuring that they have the right shut out valves and correctly installed as well trucks being fit for purpose . Recalling the sad experience of January 15, 2018 when one of the bottling plants operator lost huge investment, the DPR Controller enjoins both the investor and customers alike to adhere strictly to safety rules to avert such incident in future Oluwole Akinyosoye who made on safety in LPG operations on the occasion of NIPCO Safety week celebrations to commemorate World Day for Safety

& Health at Work held at the company’s premises on Dockyard Road ,Lagos, gave pat on the back to NIPCO management for the high level of safety consciousness and excellent housekeeping being exhibited by the company. The Controller also commendable the management for the investment they have put in place in terms of infrastructure for commercial gas in Nigeria. He implored the of the company staff to understand that whenever an investor is putting his money in any economy, that investor has a hope to make descent profits and that can only happen if the workforce gives its best. Sanjay Teoti managing director NIPCO Plc, had earlier while declaring open the Safety Week events, NIPCO Plc, said that good Health Safety and Environment (HSE) performance is an integral part of efficiency in the downstream sector of the nation’s oil industry. He reiterated the commitment to sustain its safety culture which has manifested in zero incidents and fatality in the entire 14 years of its operations adding that the HSE policy of company is hinged on prevention of injury to employees, assets, and environment.

fordable (Pocket-Friendly) and sustainable manner, with co-benefits of socioeconomic and demonstrable livelihood benefits for the climate, homes, farms, healthcare facilities, communities, businesses. According to him, “Continuous investment by private sector in off-grid innovative solutions will tackle the electricity challenges that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) face and unshackle them

to contribute to economic development. “That will soon impact enormous market opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa and across the continental Africa with over 600 million people in countries with smaller demand and/ or less-robust economies”, he said. He further said that electrification has the added advantage of opportunity to make work more productive, living safer, more gratifying, and promote higher standard of living in an enviable developing economy that will soon be seen as continental envy among African member states. To him, “It is also recognised that electric supply system also supports other critical infrastructure systems such as transportation, healthcare facilities, water supplies for cities and farms, manufacturing centers and business ecosystems”. Aisha Abubakar, Minister of State , Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said government believe that supporting small businesses through promoting green Micro

Small Medium Enterprises initiatives is essential for increasing productivity, job creation and boosting Nigeria’s economy by mitigating the effect of climate change and epileptic power supply in the country. Abubakar observe that the capacity of MSMEs in Nigeria to perform the critical role as the engine growth development, industrialisation , wealth generation and empowerment creation is hampered by numerous challenges such as access to finance , access to modern technology , government policy inconsistency , unfair competition from imported goods , multiple taxes and levies , skill gap due to unskilled labour among others. “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises all over the world have played and continue to play significant roles as the driver of economic growth and development of many economies and Nigeria not being an exception recognises the relative important of MSMEs in contributing to socio-economic development of the country” said Abubakar.

‘Fluctuating policies stifling meter production in Nigeria’ KELECHI EWUZIE

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oncern industry watchers have observed that fluctuating policies have negatively impacted meter production in Nigeria saying that installation and not production of meters is a major crux in the metering space. Metering statistics by the NERC conservatively puts electricity customers with verified accounts an estimate of over six million throughout the country. While 3.1 million of them had meters, the other 2.9m did not have; hence they are placed on the estimated billing methodology. Kola Momoh, a power sector operator observes that the non-challant attitude of the DisCos in metering consumers should be discouraged. Momoh opines that the Discos are scared they will not be able to survive. This

set of “investors” needs to up their game or they risk being replaced in the future. He further disclosed that basically estimated billing is discos’ lowest hanging fruit to accruing “quick-profit”. Discos are simply illiquid. To him, “This is the only way they can make money without investment. A bad person sees a loophole and makes use of it” he said. Despite the directive by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commissions that all electricity distributors in the country should provide meters to all the unmetered electricity consumers so as to effectively end the regime of the indiscriminate billing of customers. The solution remains the same as Nigerians still complain of being exploited. The Nigeria power sector has over the years faced several challenges across the value chain with estimated billing topping the current challenge. Sola Adeyemo, from

Ibadan Disco observed that Metering is a business adding that people are actually fed up with estimated billing as the average cost of a prepaid meter is 53,000. Adeyemo disclosed that there is an average shortfall of 2billion naira monthly in the Ibadan Disco, adding that this is occasioned by the fact that there are entire communities in various states in Nigeria, where meters are expertly bypassed. Ayodele Oni, energy professional said a good government sees providing electricity as a major responsibility. Nigeria however needs to bring together power system engineers home and abroad to lead this project of power systems. Otherwise, no show! If this process is followed, only then can it be attractive to real investors and not looters. “What a government does is to build a power system. When the power system is stable, other governments have privatised the industry. When Nigeria needs electricity, she will remove politics from it. When things deteriorate so much, even those benefitting from the rot will help. Level of poverty, authority stealing without impunity, low self esteem, unemployment and many factors are involved.

Maika


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BUSINESS DAY

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

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Wapic Insurance Plc: Gross premium drives underwriting profit …Net premium income up 23.62 percent in Q1’18 BALA AUGIE

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apic Insurance Plc recently released i t s f i na n cial statement for the first quarter ended 31st March 2018 showing an impressive growth in gross revenue and efficient underwriting capacity. The Nigerian insurer has been recording solid growth in earnings in the last 10 years as it continues to reward shareholders with a steady dividend payment. A stellar performance could see more investors buy into the company’s stock, signaling their confidence in management’s growth plans. Significant growth in revenue For the first three months through March 2018, Wapic Insurance grew gross premium written by 18.30 percent to N4.46 billion from N3.77 billion the previous year. The rise in revenue was largely on the back of significant rise in Motor Insurance segment which surged by 81.75 percent to N761.86 million and revenue for non life of N823.69 million the period under review. Gross premium income increased by 17.67 percent

to N2.53 billion in the period under review as against N2.15 billion the previous year while net premium income grew by 23.62 percent to N1.57 billion in March 2018 from N1.27 billion as at March 2017. The company’s efficient underwriting performance and its ability to introduce market driven product are mainly responsible for the uptick both at the top (revenue) and bottom line (profit). The company’s net income from underwriting activities spiked by 26.23 percent to N1.15 billion in the period under review as against N911.01 million while underwriting income increased by 25.35 percent to N1.78 billion from N1.42 billion the previous year. Fees and commission income rose by 40.10 percent to N214.48 million in the period under review from N153.09 million as at March 2017. Other operating profit decreased by 56.26 percent to N11.03 million in the period under review from N25.34 million as at March 2017. The decline in other operating income was due to zero balances in net realized gains in financial assets and net realized gains on financial assets FVPTL.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, chairman

The company’s pretax profit fell by 16.85 percent to N319.37 million in March 2018 from N384.10 million the previous year. The drop in pretax profit was due to a share of profit of associate by 16.37 percent to N308.34 million in March 2018 as against N358.68 million as at

March 2017. Profit after tax dipped by 12.26 percent to N265.35 percent in the period under review from N265.74 million the previous year. The drop in after tax profit was due to a 27.23 percent decline in taxes to N86.12 million in March 2018 from N118.36 million the previous year. Efficient underwriting performance bolsters underwriting profit Wapic Insurance is efficient and there is no threat to going concern as combined ratio (CR) of 64.33 percent is lower than the 100 percent regulatory threshold. The 64.33 percent CR resulted in real underwriting performance of N560.01 million real underwriting profit. Under writing profit was up 81.40 percent to N772.60 million in March 2018 from N425.91 million the previous year. With respect to insurance claims paid out, the insurer’s insurance claims, net claims, and underwrit-

ing expenses form total underwriting expenses which increased by 26.23 percent to N1.15 billion in March 2018 from N911.01 million as at March 2017. Further scrutiny of the financial statement shows net claims grew by 6.57 percent to N691.47 million in March 2018 from N648.84 million the previous year. Claims recoverable, a component of net claims expenses surged by 235.58 percent to N218.43 million in the period under review from N65.09 million the previous year. Underwriting expenses were up by 8.13 percent to N324.19 million in the period under review from N352.88 million the period under review. Claims expenses ratio otherwise known as loss ratio increased to 43.97 percent from 50.86 percent as at March 2017. This means the insurer has spent on claims expenses to generate every N100 in premium income. Underwriting expenses fell to 20.60 percent in March 2018 from 27.62 percent the previous year. This means the insurer has spend less on marketing, sales expenses relating to underwriting activities in generating each unit of premium income. Improved underwriting ratios are responsible for Wapic Insurance’s improved efficiency in the period under review. Asset quality reflects earnings growth The company’s balance sheet shows sizeable changes in total assets, net assets and total liabilities in March 2018, when compared to the previous period. Total assets increased by 17.09 percent to N33.49 billion in March 2018 from N28.60 billion as at March 2017. The key drivers of total assets include an increase in financial assets to N10.48 billion from N9.49 billion; 196.82 percent surge in trade receivables to N2.16 billion from N707.48 million the

BD MARKETS + FINANCE (Business Team lead: PATRICK ATUANYA - Analysts: BALA AUGIE and LOLADE AKINMURELE)

previous year; 36.79 percent to N2.68 billion from N1.58 billion as at March 2017. In terms of obligations, total liabilities increased by 42.48 percent to N15.16 billion in March 2018 from N10.64 billion as at March 2017. Liabilities key drivers entail insurance contract liabilities which increased by 34.45 percent to N9.60 billion in March 2018 from N7.14 billion as at March 2017; 444.18 percent surge in trade payable to N2.81 billion from N516.37 million. Wapic is a leading West African full line insurance company offering a diverse range of products and services covering life, general and special risk businesses. Founded in 1958 and licensed to underwrite all classes of insurance, such as fire and special perils, goodsin-transit, all risk insurance, and has been listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) since 1990. Over the last half century, Wapic has garnered experience across Nigeria in risk management and underwriting, and assisting corporate entities and individuals with various classes of cover. Wapic operates two business lines; Wapic Life Assurance Limited which operates in Nigeria, and; a regional footprint in Ghana, Wapic Insurance (Ghana) Limited. In order to bolster the company’s ongoing repositioning and restructuring initiatives, Wapic merged with Intercontinental Properties Limited; a development which has significantly enhanced Wapic’s underwriting capacity and placed it amongst the top five insurance companies in Nigeria. Wapic seeks to be a truly diversified financial services institution that provides protection against all forms of insurable risks to all customer segments and become one of the top twenty financial services institutions in Nigeria by 2017.


BDTECH

BUSINESS DAY

Tuesday 15 May 2018

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In association with

The future of hardware technology in Nigeria Stories by JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON

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ocal content; how to encourage production and patronage of local content is probably one of the most talked about subject in Nigeria’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Several seminars, conferences and ICT events have been held in the past few years, where industry stakeholders continue to clamor for the immediate implementation of Nigeria’s local content policy. In fact, the federal government, a few years ago, mandated that all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) use only locally developed or produced ICT solutions and equipment. However, it has become apparent that the focus on ‘local content’ promotion is geared mainly towards software solutions while hardware production is still somewhat ignored, as Nigeria heavily depends on China for technology hardware supply. Data from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) shows that Nigeria, with a population of over 180 million people has only about six functional local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Listed on the NITDA website are; Brian, Zinox, VEDA, RLG global, BETA computers and Coscharis Technologies. Sadly, it seems that Omatek computers has stopped operating since the death of Florence Seriki, its founder and CEO. This is a huge difference in

numbers compared to the over 100 registered corporate members of software practitioners recorded by the Institution of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) in 2017. Paul Uzoechina, Admin Secretary, ISPON told BusinessDay that “the list of local software developing companies is quite exhaustive and a good number of applications developed by our members are currently used in banks, financial institutions, MDAs and other organisations.” Apart from the earlier mentioned popular OEMs that assemble hardware technology in the country, smaller hardware startups have been stifled by sev-

eral factors including government policies, funding, importation restrictions and the inability to produce refined inventions that meet global standards. With the very few number of indigenous IT assemblers, it is no surprise that patronage of laptop and desktop computers and mobile phones is still largely foreign. According to Pius Okigbo, Past President of ISPON, “We have to begin to look for a way to start manufacturing the basic components needed and there are a certain number of things that must be in place to help us begin that step of producing basic components.” Okigbo told BusinessDay that, “the manufacturing of electronic

components in Nigeria would still be a bit of a challenge because there are some things that are required like power which is an absolute necessity. For some of these equipment, you cannot turn on the system and there would be a power outage. We need 24 hours’ electricity generation, so until we can get steady power, then the government can begin to enforce the kind of electronics that can be manufactured locally.” Last week, Zinox Technologies Ltd announced its plans to expand its hardware assembly and production capacity with the acquisition of a 129,166.925 square feet warehouse in Ikeja Lagos. The company also said that it

was considering the deployment of robotics in handling the certification processes in the new assembly plant where devices of other multinational OEMs will be assembled in a bid to domesticate technology and generate employment opportunities for many unemployed but skilled Nigerians. Although this new plan has been applauded by many industry stakeholders, as Zinox which has over the years endured the peculiar challenges that have stifled many businesses in Nigeria’s technology sector, will significantly boost its assembling capacity and target the future of technology by creating products for the savvy consumers in areas such as Internet of Things (IOTs), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence etc, some believe that the Nigerian market is mature enough to go beyond computer assembling. Chijioke Anthony Eke, Cofounder, Sidmach Technologies, told BusinessDay in an interview a while ago that; “most people have smart phones and smart devices but none is made in Nigeria and the challenge before us is to find a way, over the next few years to begin to manufacture these devices, not just to assemble because we can see the effect of assembling. “Those who assembled IT systems like servers, desktops, laptops are huffing and puffing because the market is not there. Someone needs to be in control. We must go beyond that with the active cooperation of government, and let them know that it is time to deliberately develop the indigenous IT market,” Eke added.

IoT solution for healthcare wins Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Nigeria competition

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non-invasive device that monitors the flow of intravenous fluid during IV treatment and notifies medical staff in real time has been developed by two young undergraduates of Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and has won Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Nigeria 2018 competition. The IoT solution aimed at improving the healthcare sector was

developed by Taofeek Olalekan Afeez and Alayande Abdulwaheed Abiola who are both undergraduates of Physics Electronics & Electrical Electronics and collaborated to form TEAM TREP to present the solution called Real Drip - a device that reduces the risk of blood clot or deep vein thrombosis. The device monitors the rate at which intravenous fluid drops (flow rate) and notifies the medical staff

on duty in real time, for the timely removal of intravenous needle to prevent back flow of blood which may lead to pulmonary embolism if necessary action is not taken on time. Akin Banuso, General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria says: “Today’s students are the makers and doers that will build and change the world, as we know it. At Microsoft, we believe this new generation of innovators have the potential to address some of

humanity’s most pressing problems; from how to predict and monitor diseases like Alzheimer’s and depression, to identifying ‘fake news’ or increasing response times during natural disasters.” “Through Imagine Cup, the world’s young, aspiring entrepreneurs and developers collaborate to build a technology application, create a business plan and gain a keen understanding of what is needed

to bring a concept to market. In a cloud-first, mobile-first world, creators and makers must work together to create a cloud for global good,” Banuso said. Taofeek Olalekan Afeez, The Team Lead for Team TREP, says “We are excited about this win. We would like to thank Microsoft for this opportunity. We look forward to competing at the global stage and do our country proud.”


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BUSINESS DAY

Tuesday 15 May 2018

BDTECH

E-mail: jumoke.akiyode@businessdayonline.com

The promise of autonomous technology for Nigeria

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A new world In this environment, Nigerian businesses can look towards a new world where cost and efficiency become everything. Using this as a foundation, autonomous delivers on the promise. So, while customer education forms an important element of its success, IT

JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON

can use the ICT requirements of organisations and establish these through partnerships to build the skills needed to make students employable in a digital environment. Of course, it all starts at secondary and primary school by encouraging children to appreciate science and mathematics and embrace them as achievable pursuits. With data becoming the currency of business today, establishing skills must be a priority. This leads to an understanding of how data can deliver on what is required and help guide autonomous systems to extract the best value out of it.

ADEBAYO SANNI, MD of Oracle Nigeria

utonomous technology has many connotations, with the perceived threats to jobs one of them. However, this does not have to be the case as it unlocks so much potential for people to embrace opportunities in the digital age. Forget self-driving cars and the mainstream consumer perceptions around what autonomous entails. For business, it refers to driving better efficiency without human intervention. By this notion, are databases not already automated? Is machine-learning (artificial intelligence in popular parlance) not already driving a self-learn, self-recurring ICT environment in an organisation? Given the lack of understanding around autonomous technology, there is resistance to some elements of it around the world. However, every organisation wants to lower cost, improve efficiency, and be more competitive. As long as these business fundamentals do not change, autonomous enables this and reduces company downtime significantly.

EStoreSMS launches innovative mobile marketing solutions

L-R: John Obaro, managing director/CEO SystemSpecs, Doyin Salami; member of Adjunct Faculty, Lagos Business School and Pan Africa University, Segun Aina; president Fintech Association of Nigeria and Damilola Salawu; managing Associate Oil and Gas practice group of Olaniwun Ajayi, during the annual Law Week by the Nigerian Bar Association (Lagos Branch) held in Lagos at the weekend.

departments also need to be guided in terms of the practical benefits of using this anew form of innovative technology. If IT departments fully embrace autonomous cloud technology, they can move beyond an environment where their main goal is to maintain technology and enter one where they can drive the data management strategy of a business. In turn, this means they can focus on innovation and delivering improvements faster than in the past. From a country stand-

point, Nigeria is ready to start the drive towards autonomous cloud technology. Now the focus is on getting the skills in place to capitalise on the willingness to change. Resourcing people Nigeria is incredibly blessed with people as a natural resource. Roughly 60 percent of the population is youth. This sees the country in the enviable position where it can start building skills for the data-driven environment. Of course, none of this would be possible without partnerships

between government and private sector organisations. Looking at it from a people perspective, companies must ensure their employees are ready for an autonomous cloud technology-driven environment and are able to capitalise on its benefits. And then there are the opportunities for graduates who are entering the job market ready to use the skills they were taught at tertiary institutions. The next segment to be targeted are students currently at university. Institutions

African innovation Nigeria, and the rest of the continent, are in prime position to benefit from the increased global focus on using autonomous technology. Africa is rich in terms of people and minerals with the focus now being on transforming that into consistent revenue generation to allow the continent to grow. Furthermore, there is no point in reinventing the wheel. Nigeria, and other markets in Africa, can replicate and support the autonomous technologies strategies developed elsewhere and customise it to suit the unique local market conditions. In Nigeria, we have the people and the opportunity with skills development to drive autonomous cloud technology in all facets of business and public sector growth.

Experts proffer tech solutions to data quality, risk and finance integration in African banks JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON

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s one of the most regulated industries in the world, banks are under pressure to not only comply with constantly changing regulations but also to modernise their systems, so that they can reduce compliance costs, improve efficiency and effectiveness in risk management processes, stay competitive in the age of the FinTech, and be innovative on risk assessments during new product development, to better serve their customers. Banks in Africa face additional challenges, including risk analytics skills shortages, data management issues and integrating their risk management and finance processes across the enterprise. But, on the positive side, they have started con-

sidering technology as away of eliminating these challenges and have access to new streams of data that are also helping to advance the financial inclusion mandate, says Charles Nyamuzinga, senior business solutions manager, pre-sales risk practice, SAS. Nyamuzinga who spoke at the SAS Risk & Finance Analytics Roadshow in Lagos last Tuesday says that” SAS as a technological partner for banking institutions has always played a proactive role in fostering innovation and transformation of processes and systems, from regulatory compliance to strategic decisions support, from digitisation to risk assessment in realtime. Analytics solutions allow banks to adapt more quickly to regulatory changes minimising costs.”

As with banks all over the world, African banks should already be compliant with the new IFRS 9 accounting standard, which changes the way they calculate expected credit losses. There is also need to start thinking about the new ‘Basel IV’ framework, which impacts on how banks calculate their risk weighted assets and the amount of capital they need to offset those risks. Another source of regulatory pressure that banks are grappling with are the requirements, questions and challenges related to conducting stress tests, as the regulators become more stringent on stress testing processes. Technology experts and bankers present at the SAS roadshow unanimously agreed that the biggest causes of incor-

rect modelling are data management and quality issues and skills shortages. Banks have to obtain and analyse enormous amounts of detailed data and to comply with IFRS 9, banks must look at millions of customers with hundreds of data points. Typically, banks in Africa draw data from a number of disparate systems, thus impacting on the quality of the data used. For example, the credit department may come up with different figures to the risk department, making it difficult to know which data to trust. If a bank miscalculates an individual’s credit score, for example, it could end up granting a loan to someone who can’t afford to repay it, which has implications for IFRS 9 expected credit loss calculations.

Data gathering and manipulation from disparate data sources wastes time and resources that banks could have used to develop new products and find more convenient ways to serve their customers – something their competitors in the FinTech space are very good at. Banks need to modernise and integrate their risk management systems if they hope to stay relevant in a rapidly changing market. Compliance is no longer their single biggest consideration. Their technology should help them quickly adapt to regulatory changes, promote enterprise-wide collaboration in risk management activities to enhance risk management strategies, uncover new revenue streams, manage costs and improve their customer

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StoreSMS.com recently launched its latest suite of mobile marketing solutions that include instant airtime top-up, mobile data recharge and voice call services. Speaking at the launch, Michael Simeon, CEO of Vogue Web Solutions the owners of eStoreSMS.com said that SMS is still one of the most attractive ways to reach customers with timesensitive information in Nigeria. Simeon highlighted that despite the impact of social and mobile platforms, SMS still outperforms other channels. Comparing SMS to other marketing channels, he noted that “65 out of 100 people open SMS messages within 5 minutes of receiving it whereas other channel can only boast of less than 20 percent open rate.” Also commenting on the new platform, Ojikutu Quam, co-founder and chief operations officer of Vogue Web Solutions noted that the platform is an income generation kit entreprenuers who can now make additional income as reseller of the services by selling airtime to other people. He remarked that each eStoreSMS user can monetize their 4 percent discount by dispensing airtime at full price from their own account while business owners that have website can automate this process by integrating with eStoreSMS. com via API or by adding a widget to their website. The company’s operations manager, Temitope Olarewaju, remarked that the eStoreSMS.com has key differentiating features that most bulkSMS companies in Nigeria cannot compete with, like its instant airtime top-up and mobile data recharge option that supports more than 760 telcos globally which makes it easy to recharge for yourself and your loved ones. Olarewaju remarked that users also get 4 percent discount for every airtime and bulkSMS they purchase on the platform and he further noted that the technology that powers the platform supports SMS delivery to numbers active on do-notdisturb (DND) via its corporate route services. He also said that users can send broadcast messages with custom sender ID, thereby making it easy for the recipient to recognise the sender of the message.


BUSINESS DAY

Tuesday 15 May 2018

EDUCATION

Weekly insight on current and future trends in education

Primary/Secondary

Higher

Human Capital

Beyond access: Nigeria’s education system bleeds quality STEPHEN ONYEKWELU

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ome Grown School Feeding programme initiative, which was part of the Buhari-led government’s N500 billion worth social intervention programmes, in the 2017 budget, was designed to improve access at the basic education level. Whilst some Nigerians and experts say it is unsustainable because rather than design a social intervention that dignifies and improves the economic wellbeing of the parents, the programme targets pupils. Bolanle Victoria, owner of Twitter handle @bolaNLee_c, in a tweet, captures this sentiment in clear terms “You don’t need to feed our wards with billions under the pretense of school feeding programme! Just increase our salaries, protect the farmers from herdsmen attack, provide jobs, project Nigerian goods to investors and reduce fuel price. And leave us to feeds our children ourselves.” On another level, those who agree the target audience is appropriate think the Home Grown School Feeding programme has had mixed results. On October 23, 2017, a video alleging that public primary school pupils in states covered under the school feeding programme were poorly fed went viral on the internet. The video sparked a lot of controversy with Nigerians labelling the feeding exercise a huge scam, while organisers of the programme maintained that the video was fake.

L-R: Kemi Adewoye, head, Meadow Hall Foundation; Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, former vice-chancellor, University of Lagos; Kehinde Nwani and founder/CEO, Meadow Hall Group; Nike Akerele De Souza, CEO, PeoplePrime Ltd at Meadow Hall Foundation’s Education Convention held recently at Landmark Event Centre in Lagos

BusinessDay correspondent’s undercover investigation in 10 public primary schools in five states (South, East, West, North represented) of the federation benefitting from the feeding programme, however, shows that criticisms against the programme are not in any way unfounded. Over the past few decades, Nigeria has made great strides in improving access to education. Nigerian children are starting school earlier and staying in school longer than they ever have before. But Africa’s most populous nation has made relatively little progress in improving educational quality and

learning outcomes. Education data report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in February 2016 shows that the country had 62,406 public primary schools in 2014 with a total enrolment of 23 million children. These schools have 574,579 teachers, resulting in an average teacher to student ratio of 1 to 40 comparable to what obtains in most parts of Africa but twice higher than what obtains in Europe and America and even most parts of Asia. The high student teacher ratio means that most students in these classes are not getting enough attention from teachers, since the classes

IVTEC matriculates 123 pioneer students SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin

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he International Vocational, Training and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC), Ajase-Ipo has matriculated 123 pioneer students, with a pledge to focus on creating jobs after the training. The number includes indigent students, who are beneficiaries of the scholarship provided by the Kwara State Government and drawn from the 16 local governments (LGs) of the state. Speaking at the matriculation ceremony on May 10, Ade Somide, the acting rector of IVTEC, disclosed that 125 students were admitted but only 123 of them have commenced training at the College. He added that 10 independent students, who benefited from the

70 per cent reduction in tuition fee approved by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, were also part of the matriculating students. Somide further explained that the training which is a threemonth special certificate programme cuts across 14 different programmes in 7 departments of the College. He listed the departments to include Building construction Technology, Information and Communication technology, Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC), Welding and Fabrication Technology, Automotive Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Hotel and Tourism Management. Somide disclosed that after the training, the students will be awarded IVTEC Special Certificate in their respective fields of study. He added that the stu-

dents can re-enroll in the college for advanced studies or a twoyear national innovation diploma programme. Speaking on the college’s partnership with the Kwara State University (KWASU) Malete, Somide said the partnership stems from the fact that the college is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, which students from KWASU can benefit from. Also speaking, Abiodun Adimula, the chairman, Board of Directors, IVTEC, urged the students to be diligent while undergoing their training and work towards becoming employers of labour after their training rather than seeking for jobs. He also urged them to collaborate and seek partnership with one another after the training in order to build a sustainable business.

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are overcrowded. This poor attention is compounded by the fact that only 11 percent of teachers in public primary schools actually have an educational degree while 56 percent have the minimum National Certificate of Education (NCE). The remaining 33 percent of teachers have other undefined qualifications. This shows that besides the fact that majority of Nigeria’s future generation are studying in overcrowded classrooms, many of the teachers imparting knowledge into them do not have the qualifications that will guarantee that they can get the best education on offer.

Vega-Orange Academy Workshop offers training ‘Design Thinking for Innovation’

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range Academy, a practical school of Integrated Brand Experience, in collaboration with Vega School of Brand Leadership, South Africa will hold a practical workshop on ‘Design Thinking for Innovation’ in the city of Lagos. The two-day practical workshop which is the second in a series is scheduled to hold on May 22nd and May 23rd, 2018. Participants at this international certificate training workshop will get the opportunity to acquire skills to solving complex issues and offer desirable solutions to some of the many challenges encountered daily at the place of work. Tunde Owoeye-Phoster, a board member and facilitator at the Orange Academy in his remark stated that “the Academy’s collaboration with VEGA school is an on-going effort that is aimed at re-engineering employees school of thought and their attitude to work. The feedback from participants of last year workshop is an attestation that this workshop is indeed addressing a need in the human capital market.” To facilitate some of the sessions at this workshop will be Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, 141 Worldwide Ltd, Michele Venter-Davies, a Brand Strategist and Educator and Collin Morris, otherwise known as the ‘Pitch Doctor’ across Africa. In her reaction, Michele VenterDavies of VEGA school added that “All businesses depend on creative thinking to solve problems and challenges in innovative ways. The 2018 VEGA-Orange Workshop will explore the principles and practice of Design Thinking as it is gaining impetus and also relevant to any business in a highly competitive marketplace.”

Experts say coaching creates sustainable businesses STEPHEN ONYEKWELU

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xperts from various walks of life last week deliberated on the importance of coaching and how it builds sustainable businesses. The Nigerian Chapter of the International Coach Federation explained that coaches can come with formal or informal training but leave an impact that lasts the life span of the business. According to Titi Akisanya, the president of the Nigerian Chapter of the International Coach Federation at the Breakfast Panel Discussion held in commemoration of the 2018 International Coaching Week, “coaching is a foundational skill for every person looking to develop others, whether direct reports, peers or your own children. Although coachspecific training is wonderful to

have, you can actually make an impact without it by using three simple words: “Tell me more.” Welcoming the guests to the session, Adeyanju Olomola, Chairperson of the ICW, emphasised that at its core, coaching is not about a coach giving advice, telling people how to go about their lives or how to teach people do specific tasks. “That would be consulting. Coaching is really about listening and creating an awareness in someone that enables them to find new possibilities for action that include thinking, being and doing.” Speaking at the event was Juliet Anamah, CEO Jumia Nigeria raised a key point about a cordial relationship being key to fostering an environment for productive coaching. According to her; “it is this aura of respect and trust that can yield in results for both parties to the relationship.”


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EDUCATION

Tuesday 15 May 2018

HUMAN CAPITAL

‘When we ask, answers gravitate to us’

Ngozi Adebiyi

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eadership has always been serious stuff. We can’t simply navigate its terrain any way we think we can, at least not without consequences.

Hu m a n h i s t o r y h a s been created over and over again by people who ask questions – right or wrong. It follows that the quality of a person’s leadership can never rise above the capacity and capability of the person to ask the right questions. When we ask, answers begin to gravitate towards us. The power of asking is a power that has not been harnessed fully. Time and again people attribute asking to not knowing or being less knowledgeable. One needs to be deliberate, tactful, cautious, skillful and asking the right questions enhances the leader-

ship journey. There’s a certain level of authenticity that comes with asking the right questions, there’s a certain level of confidence that enables one ask the right questions and there’s definitely a certain level of charisma that a leader exudes that makes them not shy away from asking questions. Now, operative phrase is asking the right questions. Focus here is not the person who just asks questions or repeats questions asked others just to sound smart or portray some type or cerebral horsepower. Regardless of our answers, what we can’t take away from the story is that a

hidden skill which links successful people in all walks of life and helps them make smart decisions is the ability to ask the right questions at the right time. Questions convey interest, feed curiosity, and reveal answers that can change the course of both a person’s professional and personal life. Questions provide opportunities Learn to question these areas of life to get a head start and ask more questions about how these areas impact you as a leader. Are you approachable? Are you willing to hear the answers to these? If so, then challenge yourself.

Your Vision: Sometimes, a recalibration of our vision becomes necessary and it is then imperative to constantly do a vision check by asking yourself if we’re still moving in the direction you’re purposed to go or you have changed focus unknowingly. Your personality: Before you conclude that your strengths and weaknesses are just who you are and you can’t do anything about them, can you stop for a moment and question that belief? Other people: Learn to be inquisitive. Ask people questions about their welfare, their motivations, their

aspirations and more. What this does for a leader is to position you in a place where you better understand those around you. Your beliefs: this helps you identify and change limiting beliefs that have kept your leadership ability and performance at a particular level. Your strategy: There may just be a better, cheaper, faster and easier way to get things done. Find it through the habit of questioning your strategy. Ngozi Adebiyi is the Lead Consultant at OutsideIn HR; contact the author: Ngozi@ outsideinHRng.com

Right form of feminism drives social, economic development

OYIN EGBEYEMI

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s mu c h a s t h e world has come a long way on the subject of gender equality and there have indeed been so many female empowerment movements recently, sometimes it feels like women work more against each other than with or for each other. Women do the absolute most these days, and it is rather impressive that they can now find themselves in the same positions or with similar or even higher earnings than men; with the likes of popular figures such as Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde, Theresa May, Oprah Winfrey, Jacinda Arden, Ibukun Awosika, Bola Adesola, Deola Sagoe, Beyonce and many others in the world and in Nigeria who have made prominent names for themselves in their respective fields. Back in the mid-20th century and prior to then, it was rare to find women outside of their homes or in more conservative careers such as secretaries and teachers. This is not to say

that these careers are any less important, but women are now able to thrive in careers and do those things that were traditionally set aside for men. So it was a really big deal when Amelia Earheart became the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979 and Funmilayo RansomeKuti became the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. Having female leaders of organisations and countries and doing what they wouldn’t dare attempt in the past was a fine definition of breaking barriers. Now this is becoming the norm as women are growing more in confidence and traditionalists are becoming more accepting. It is very encouraging to see that there are many initiatives that women take on these days to unite and support themselves both on the global and local platforms (through movements such as the Women’s March and organisations such as Women in Management and Business in Nigeria “WimBiz”, She Leads Africa, and many other support groups). It is necessary that women stand for and support each other what some may view as “a man’s world”. By nature, women tend to think and act more with their emotional minds than with their logical minds. So when mixed with professionalism, there may be

some blurred lines or grey areas in supporting each other. Women are sometimes defensive and could feel threatened by what they may view as competition As a result, women seem to be under a lot of pressure these days. Our Nigerian society holds a peculiar case in that it is really not enough to have a career alone. Women must have a husband, children and also play a role in the social or not for profit scene to be viewed as successful. If they lack one or two of these attributes, they may be viewed as a failure or not doing enough. How could women overcome this situation and feel secure with who they are and whatever their achievements are, regardless of how little they may seem? How should women seek self-encouragement and not underrate themselves? Well, this may be a different context, but the title of Steve Harvey’s book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”, could be applied to this situation. It would not be easy, because naturally, women are delicate and sensitive creatures, and they cannot run away from this nature. But with a dose of that sort of testosteronedriven self-confidence and more support from the society, women would not need to feel so insecure. Oyin Egbeyemi is an executive administrator at The Foreshore School, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Meadow Hall Foundation aims to improve quality education in Nigeria

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e a d ow Ha l l Foundation, a non-profit organisation organised its second edition of its Education Convention and Inspirational Educator Awards (INSEA) on April 21 2018 at the Landmark Event Centre in Lagos. The Education Convention was put together for teachers, school owners, parents, government officials, policy makers and other educational stakeholders to gain fresh perspectives on pertinent issues in the sector. The theme for the Convention was “Addressing the Quality Question in the Education Sector”; the event had a great line-up of speakers and panellists that addressed various areas of concern. The Keynote address was delivered by Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos;

other speakers and panellists include Fela Durotoye, Lolu Akinwunmi, Folasade Adefisayo among others The Education Convention drew over 500 delegates from within and outside Nigeria. Speaking at the event, Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, the keynote speaker said that there has to be a general quality standard for the Nigerian education sector to be great again. He frowned on the quota system currently in place where cutoff marks for university admission examinations differ based on geo-political zones or tribe. He gave examples of first-world countries and explained that everything we do as a nation must be merit-based, that is the only way we can get the best hands to do the job of developing the country. He recommended that teachers should be evaluated every

term just like the students they are teaching. Fela Durotoye, president at GEMSTONE, a nonprofit leadership organisation said Nigeria has to take the job of educational development seriously, as education is the sector that births all other sectors. He believes in a Nigeria where emphasis is placed on education and mental development, which will in turn drive other aspects of development. Kehinde Nwani, CEO of Meadow Hall Group emphasised the need for the Education Convention. She said the 21st Century professional is not one that has spent many years in any given profession, but one who is open to learning and constantly developing him or herself. According to her, quality education is vital for the holistic development of children and national transformation.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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In association with

How spaces in homes, offices influence creative performance and productivity …understanding ‘beauty and beast’ concept in space psychology Stories by CHUKA UROKO

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ost times, people who live in homes, work in offices or find themselves in other spaces don’t sit down to think about the influence such spaces they occupy make in their lives, thoughts, creative performance and productivity. There is a bit of psychology in the space people find themselves and the psychologist insists that the spaces people occupy, to a large extent, shape their performance, productivity and, ultimately, their results. “A large part of our lives is spent in physical interaction with the space around us”, confirms Udo Okonjo, CEO, Fine & Country West Africa, explaining that “the spaces we occupy directly influences our psychological well-being and creative performance; space has the ability to shape who we are and how we behave, and because many of us spend large amounts of time, even years, working in the same space, it makes sense to optimize that space for maximum benefit”. ‘Feng Shui’ is a Chinese idea described as a system of laws that govern spatial arrangement and orientation of space in relation to the flow of energy. It is a belief that the way people arrange objects in their space affects their success, health and happiness. This perhaps explains the marked difference between the lifestyle, creative thinking, performance and productivity of those who live in highbrow urban areas and those who live in the slum areas of a given city. City dwellers are generally more proactive, swift, quick and amenable to change and innovation than the slum dwellers whose worldview is generally short and narrow. Okonjo recalls that, in 2005, a study looking at a range of organisations found that allowing employees an element of control over their working

space and environments engendered increased satisfaction and productivity. Today, it is interesting to note that lots of developers, urban planners, designers, architects and business owners are accepting the knowledge that a large part of how people define themselves and success is caught up in the close relationship they have with the spaces they occupy and the way in which they inhabit them. In reality, space has so much influence on the way people live and work such that it can easily empower or dis-empower their lives. Juxtaposing two concepts— Beauty and the Beast—in the psychology of space, Okonjo says the beauty psychology of space creates a synergy between recreation, relaxation, serenity and work. “It provides for more flexibility and room for relaxation and enjoyment, creating a contented and happy work environment”, she notes. Out there, there are beautiful spaces that present environments with wide open spaces for networking and collaboration with a clear and relaxed mind to get work done easily. One of such environments is ‘The Finery, Ikoyi’, a beautiful well-spaced green landscape located in the heart

of Ikoyi, Lagos- Nigeria. The Finery provides a serene environment for collaboration and co-creation, equipped with a well-trimmed garden, a studio for events, generous car-park space and a work-fun experience. The Beast mode’ is generally believed to connote the concept of hard-core, high impact activity. The Beast Space, for instance, is a high rise building in the middle of a busy business district that provides a good working space environment meant to produce, store and maintain enormous volume of knowledge and information rather than a place to simply perform work and relax. Spaces in Beast mode are characterised by their structure and construction; they are mostly high-rise buildings with creative architectural urban designs that gives a big visual effect to people so that it is considered a critical factor for a conducive work environment. ‘Beast’ spaces emphasize on mostly brick, mortar, glass, structure and form. There are a couple of office spaces in Lagos that fall within the Beast mode. One of such buildings is ‘The Post Square’, a Grade A office buildung situated on the intersection of Adeola Odeku and Ologun Agbaje

streets in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The Post Square is a premium office space that offers flexible spaces to suit the ever changing and dynamic needs of fast growing organizations. It also offers a generous underground parking. The experience in a space like this contrasts sharply with what obtains when one finds oneself living or working in a forest with tall trees all around. It is difficult to imagine how one feels in such an environment. The question to ask is whether the sound of the breeze on the trees and woody scents helps people you concentrate. People generally feel uncomfortable working in such environment. “But looking at your work environment, how does it make you feel? Do you feel challenged by the space around you; does it limit or enable you? Does what you see, feel and smell help you stay focused and relaxed, or does it distract you and keep your mind wandering?” asked the Fine and Country CEO. Right answers to these questions, inevitably, lead to the search for the right space for positive impact and influence on performance and productivity, especially in the work place.

Exploiting the power of PPP for infrastructure renewal …a win-win situation for investor, govt

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n a any economy where government is determined to promote growth through private enterprise, publicprivate-partnership (PPP) initiative is always a preferred option for either developing or renewing infrastructure. This is because government has no business in business and therefore finds it hard to manage or maintain existing assets. Many public assts and even monuments are rotting away because of this. Management Development (CMD) is a massive federal government property sitting on 5.02 hectares of land in the Magodo area of Lagos. The facility was concessioned recently to Allied Trust and Systems Nigeria Limited (ATSL) on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) lease agreement. By that single action, CMD has been transformed into a one-stopshop for fun and entertainment centre which will be yielding income for both the concessionaire and the federal government. By the terms of the lease agreement, the concessionaire is expected to renovate the existing 30room facility (serving as the Guest House), construct a 102-room guest house with four-star facility, build and operate a 1,000-seat conference facility and pay a graduated annual rent to the federal government in three tranches over the lease period. It is unimaginable the number of jobs this will create or may have created and the impact this would have on individual and household economy. For the Lagos State governments, income will from both company taxes and personal income taxes to be paid by people to be employed at the centre.

“The aim of concession agreement with CMD, a federal government parastatal, is to develop CMD Guest House, a property owned by the institution; not only has ATSL succeeded in transforming the guest house, but also gone beyond that to develop the property, turning it into a five-star relaxation centre through the establishment of several other businesses within the property, with the latest being Funplex Event Centre”, Emeka Nwasike, ATSL managing director, explained. The event centre, which is part of a mix called Funplex Resort, is a one-stopshop for fun and entertainment. “Our goal is to provide Nigerians with an event centre that can cater for all their corporate and social needs,” he said. The event centre houses a gym, spa, beauty saloon, cinema, a bush bar, an underground club house and event halls that have the capacity to sit over 2000 guests comfortably. This provides a relaxation centre for the residents of the two phases of Magodo Estate who, before now, had to travel long distances, spending time and money in search of fun places for relaxation. Former director general of CMD, Joseph Yakubu Maiyaki, who was in office when the institute and ATSL signed the agreement, described the project as a good example of a public-private partnership. He affirmed that the concession was done as an alternative means of generating income for CMD. “Though the institute is government funded, we felt there was a need to develop other ways of generating more funds in alliance with the federal governments’ vision for the concession programme.


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Tuesday 15 May 2018

29% yield on hotel room at The Oceanna sets stage for new investment interest CHUKA UROKO

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or the yield-hungry investors, 29 percent annual return or yield on a N4.034 million investment in a hotel room is not only historic but also compelling at a time in Nigeria when viable investment asset class is hard to find, and that signposts a new trend for savvy investors. This is what The Oceanna, an iconic development in Lagos, Nigeria, is at the moment offering and the promoters are inviting potential investors, especially those with long term view of the property market, to be part of history own a luxury hotel room with high return on investment. Th e O c e a n na Ho t e l Apartments is more than just a location; it is the portal to a plethora of opportunities and experiences and a shift away from the box to something more organic and more natural. This explains why the return on investment is one of a kind. Despite all the hidden and latent charges that characterize real estate transactions, investors are still sure to take home up to 2 percent monthly or 24 percent yearly return on their investment. The investment journey to The Ocenna Hotel begins with subscribing to a studio unit or a Lot, to earn a lifetime stream of increasing income which is estimated at 29 percent or to live-in. With this, the Developers

are pioneering a new trend whereby the apartment will be operated by a world-class hotel management brand that would deliver high yield on the investment. A seamless transition to upscale living is assured and there will be no maintenance obligations, repairs, dealing with agents and no yard to maintain. Again, investors get shortened payback period as the Hotel Apartments offer 7-8 years post construction payback period based on an average yield of 14 percent while investments in typical real estate assets offer between 17-20 years payback period based on yield of 5-6 percent. By this arrangement, the investment opportunity is open not only to Nigerians at home and those in the Diaspora. A Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN)report puts remittances by Nigerians in Diaspora at $22 billion which experts say could have been more because these are ones captured by the apex bank. It is estimated that 10 percent of these remittances was invested in real estate. More of these funds would have gone into real estate if asset quality and trust issues which have been a major challenge in Diaspora investment in Nigeria had been resolved, said Olukayode Olusanya, the Oak Homes CEO, whose company was in London recently to woo Nigerian investors to invest back home. A novel property investment opportunity with rare facilities overlooking

ocean, The Oceanna is the most iconic development done with lightness and elegance, offering investors and homeowners the opportunity to live, work and play, while harnessing the advantage of great returns on investment. The project prides itself with a tapestry of diverse top professionals in architecture, engineering, interior designing, brand & marketing, hospitality, costing, finance and construction. Designed by HOK Architects, the designer of Dubai Marina, Emirate Stadium and The Flames of Azerbaijan, the Oceanna was Branded by Brash Brands, the creative branding agency that breathed life into the world’s tallest building, Burj

Khalifa in Dubai. Situated in Water Corporation Drive, off Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, The Oceanna is beauty set to redefine the skyline of Lagos and consists of four towers; two mixed use and two residential blocks in its first phase. Its build quality, stunning features and strong value proposition easily lends to savvy investors. This is a place where the air is wild and free; it is a little haven built just for living, working and playing. The Oceanna is a rewarding investment with excellent re-sale value and high yield. The scarcity of oceanfront properties allows it to retain value over a longer period as compared to properties in the city hub.

What architects should do to improve quality of life of everyone in society

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rchitects, whose main specialty is in housing design, play very strategic role in housing development which is why much is expected from them to impact the quality of life people live in society given that housing or shelter is an important need of man. Expectation has always been high from Nigerians, especially those who are in need of homes, for the architects to come up with housing designs that can drag down house prices to affordable levels. This explains the advice by Samuel Oghale Oboh,former President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), that from their privileged position, architects should ensure that they do not create an elitist profession but, as professionals, should impact the quality of life of everyone in the society. Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital city, appears to be chaotic, especially with squatter settlements that adorn the slum areas of the city. But within the chaos one can still find a functional system that speaks of the unique status of Lagos on its urban renewal and standard. “Generally, what you see in Lagos are a reflection of what the society permits and the architect occupies a unique position in shaping the direction where things can be in terms of urban regeneration,” said Oboh, who spoke at the just concluded Lagos Architects Forum (LAF) orgainsed by the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA). The forum, on yearly

basis, gathers stakeholders in the built environment to discuss housing and urban development/regeneration. This year’s edition with the theme, ‘Architectural Regeneration 1: A Lagos Response’ focused on the architect and regeneration of the built environment. This underscores another level of role which the architects can play that has direct impact on the lives of people in society. Urban regeneration and renewal is an uphill task in this part of the world because regenerating the environment needs pulling down old structures and erecting new ones. But because Nigeria is an import-dependent economy, cost is always a big issue, particularly in a high exchange rate regime. The onus is, therefore, on the architects to look inwards with a view to making local inputs in their designs that can ultimately, engender local demand. Joe Osea-Addo of Principal Constructs which has offices in Accra and Tamale, Ghana, Washington DC and Los Angeles, USA, called on professionals in the built environment to adapt their work to suit local demands. Osae-Addo, whose firm synergizes architecture, urban planning, landscaping, and building technology into a single unit geared towards bringing modern architecture and building techniques to create ‘innonative’ design solutions to contemporary African architecture, affirmed that architects in Africa appeared to be elitists in their design, and urged them to simplify their designs for artisans.

Hope for investors as FM professionals tackle post-recession real estate market challenges

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xpectations are high for both investors and consumers of real estate products as facilities management (FM) professionals and other stakeholders in different parts of Nigeria gather tomorrow to tackle the post recession

challenges faced by the real estate market. It is hoped that the outcomes from that coming together will reposition the market and proffer solutions for existing problems that are still holding it down and marking fresh investment

unattractive. The real estate market was one of the worst hit sectors during the 15-month period of economic recession which lasted from Q1 2016 to Q2 2017. The sector saw its growth potential dim as it the market was defined by low

L-R: Wole Olufore, ED, Commercial; Wale Odufalu, DMD; Femi Akintunde, GMD; Babatunde Green, MD, Alpha Mead Healthcare Management Services (AMHS) and Amaebi Fiderikumo, ED, Finance, all of the Alpha Mead Group at 2018 Nigerian FM Roundtable pre-event press conference in Lagos recently

demand, widening vacancy rates, increasing case of rent service charge defaults and slowdown in construction activities. Though these market characteristics are gradually fading away owing to improving macroeconomic indices, it is also pertinent to note that the market is still struggling to recover from the lull. What this means is that investors are also struggling to remain in business in the midst of uncertainty in the market over a gradual, fragile and vulnerable recovery in the economy. A Q1, 2018 report by International Real Estate Partners (IREP) Nigeria raises the fear that rents in commercial properties such as Grade-A office space could lightly fall below the current average of $700 per square metre, as the market anticipates the arrival of 37,000 square metre

in Victoria Island and Ikoyi, while demand for this class of office space is not growing at the same pace. These market realities are some of the things that agitate the minds of investors and FM operators whose businesses revolve around the performance of the real estate sector. These operators believe that for the market to receive a new lease of life, the FM industry has a role to play in enabling the positive experience garnered by stakeholders during the crippling recession. “But how will FM aid employee productivity and business profitability? How will it help landlords attract the right tenants and retain them? How will it improve the experience in the healthcare space and rescue our nation from the challenges of medical tourism? queried Femi Akintunde,

GMD, Alpha Mead Group at a press conference in Lagos. When the practitioners gather for an FM Round Table promoted by Alpha Mead, answers will also be provided on how FM will deliver stronger return on investment to private real estate investors and developers, and how they can improve collaboration between private and public sector to leverage global standards of living and working through provision and management of quality public space and infrastructure The increasing interests in the public-private partnership (PPP) model by both states and the federal government will be given attention and the aim is to optimize performance of existing national infrastructure assets and explore strategies to build new ones in response to the infrastructure deficit.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

C002D5556

BUSINESS DAY

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FEATURE Remaking Edo into industrial focal point: How plausible? When the chicks come to roost, owner takes count to ensure none is missing. This has been the case of Edo State in the past two years, as there may be a number of models for industrialising a state, but in the many years that Nigeria has tinkered with some of these models, only very modest success has been recorded, writes Osa Victor Obayagbona.

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ot only is it seemingly impossible to diversify the economy to allow for more earnings from other productive sectors, the dilemma with providing adequate infrastructure, especially power, to boost industrial growth, has made mockery of the quest to leapfrog the country into a viable manufacturing hub. But in all of these, there is still a glimmer of hope in some quarters, as the desire of Edo people heightens, the state government is not relenting in matching expectations with performance. Amid the dull landscape, an investment buff, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, is taking the bull by the horn, courting industrialists, and opening up his state for industrialisation in steady, measured steps. The man was made ready for the task. After years in the boardroom, he comes off as an avant-garde industrialist, who goes into investment negotiations with clinical finesse, armed to the teeth with raw data and guarantees as well as a deep understanding of the sanctity of contracts. As the chairman, State Economic Team, he understood the developmental needs of Edo State and only bided time to be on the saddle to actualise his dreams. This was demonstrated in his skills in brokering for investment in the globally acclaimed, recordsetting 450mw capacity Edo Azura Independent Power Project (IPP), among others. Industrialisation: When the plan was unveiled In what can be termed a declaration of intent at the 2017 Alaghodaro Investment Summit, Obaseki was unequivocal about his dream to industrialise the state. “We are pursuing an aggressive industrialisation drive. Our goal is to utilise our endowments, particularly the available energy and logistical advantage so that we can become a major industrial hub,” he said. Ever since, the government has been committed to its grand plan to reincarnate the state as an industrial city serviced by gas-powered power plants, housing refineries, seaports, industrial clusters, innovation hubs, smart neighbourhoods and a number of other investments. Experts believe that what makes Edo stand out is the centrality of its location, its closeness to onshore gas and other supporting structures and the extensive raw material deposits. But many have wondered how easy it is to pull off a ‘revolution’ in such a place. The plan for the Benin Industrial corridor is quite elaborate and easy to relate, in a manner of speaking. Little wonder investors are falling over themselves to get a cut from the pie. For instance, there is a lot of talk about the Benin Industrial Park and how it will attract big companies across the world to the state to do

L-R: (sitting) Representative of China SINOPEC Consortium, Mr Yang Hongtao; Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki; Managing Director, ICMG Securities Limited, Micheal Osime, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a 5,500bpd modular refinery between Edo State Government and SINOPEC of China, at SINOPEC headquarters in Beijing, China on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

business. Critics are wont to ask, who are those to work at the park? But the governor has that covered. As he goes around courting investors, Obaseki has commenced an extensive overhaul of the Government Science and Technical College, formerly known as Benin Technical College. The revamp is in order to train a new breed of technicians and scientists that will be absorbed by investors in the new companies expected to sprout from the Industrial Park and other projects that will be requiring technical manpower. The government has, in the same vein, been training youths in enterprise development and other critical skills required in the 21st Century workplace through its EdoJobs platform. Obaseki assured that these trainings were geared towards ensuring that residents in the state do not fall short of skills required for these projects, and that they get the first opportunity to be employed before any other person. The grand projects During the commissioning of Okomu Oil Extension II Plantation, Obaseki revealed that his government is committed to pursuing a number of legacy projects that will usher in unprecedented and rapid socio-eco-

nomic growth in the state. This, according to him, include the Gelegele Seaport Project, the Benin Industrial Park, Modular Refinery, expansion of plantation size and capacity of the two Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)-listed oil palm companies in the state, Okomu Oil Plc and Presco plc, development of critical manpower, exploitation of raw materials and conversion into finished goods by private investors and many more. The Benin Industrial Park, hailed as a landmark project, is to be handled by three co-developers, who have indicated interest to partner with the state government in development. Preliminary work on the project is ongoing and the people are excited to be part of the project. Expected to benefit from the gas assets at Ologbo, the park will be an integrated facility, housing a cluster of industries. Link road to the facility is already being constructed and work is picking up at the project site. According to the governor, “Three groups have registered to be codevelopers and by October 2019 the first tenant will move in. When the park is ready, we will have over 1,000 companies in that park, generating an excess of $3 billion annually.” The Gelegele Seaport being built by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Limited is already on

A layout of the Benin Industrial Park at the site in Iyanomo, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, in Edo State

course after initial hiccups. Preliminary soil testing has been completed and the CHEC are ready to commence to move to the next phase of the project. But the story of Gelegele is that of persistence. Once renowned as the port through which the Portuguese entered the ancient Benin kingdom, the port facility suffered neglect all these years until Governor Obaseki decided to reinvent the area’s old legacy. The Edo modular refinery project is also another landmark project promoted by the state government. A Chinese consortium has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government for the development of the facility. The consortium is made up of Peiyang Chemical Equipment Company of China (PCC); Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation (SIPS) which is a subsidiary of Sinopec, the top Chemical giant in the world and African Infrastructure Partners (AIP), a Nigerian Infrastructural company. Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Governor Obaseki expressed delight at the local content component of the deal, which will ensure that Edo citizens are trained in welding, refinery operation and fabrication works to enable them participate in the construction of the refinery as well as its operation, post-commissioning. Obaseki also assured that the refinery construction would provide jobs for several unemployed Edo youths including the Libya returnees. He expressed deep appreciation to the management of PCC and SIPS reiterating that with their support, Edo State is well on its way to becoming a hub of skilled manpower for the oil and gas industry and give boost to Nigeria’s local content policy. Equipping Edo people for work in the industrial city A critical sector that the state government has beamed light is the education sector, which is expected to supply the needed manpower for

the lofty ideas of the government. Reforms in basic and technical education are ushering in a new breed of human resources to drive the state’s development efforts. The Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) is particularly tipped to be a rallying point for sourcing manpower for the industries. Undergoing an overhaul, the college is expected to train artisanal and technical hands, and also serve as a retraining ground for engineers to be deployed at the industrial clusters. The governor said the project would be an example of sustainable development pathway, stressing that students at the College get the best of technical education, work with latest tools and equipment, and provide the essential technical expertise needed in the state and the country at large. “My long-term vision for this site is to ensure that we build a light Industrial Park. This will ensure that business and knowledge seat sideby-side, working for the benefits of the Edopeople. We are including solar power, harvesting water in the design. We have ensured that there is a strong framework for local participation at the project design stage,” he averred. The lead consultant for the rehabilitation, Mr. Giles Omezi, said the project is in its first phase, which would stretch for 18 months, during which new classrooms and dormitory blocks would be built. He said about nine existing buildings would be refurbished while a number of workshops and laboratories would be constructed. As this is ongoing, the state government, through the Edojobs platform, is building a database of unemployed youths and organising skills acquisition training for them. The youths are being retrained for jobs in the 21st century workplace. Why should investors come to Edo? Investors in Edo State stand to benefit from the state’s unparalleled support for businesses. The state plays host to the two biggest oil palm companies in Nigeria, both of which are currently expanding their plantain size rapidly due to the state government’s unflinching support for their business. The guaranteed investment-friendly climate provided for investors by the state is also attributable to successes recorded by the 450mw Edo Azura IPP. Joseph Eboigbe, special adviser to the State Governor on Economic and Development Planning, said that the state is committed to supporting investors and providing them with the needed guarantees and infrastructure to do business. He said, “The Benin Industrial Park (BIP) was conceived as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project. The bulk of the funds to go into the development of the park will come from the private sector. Edo state government will provide the land and key access roads linking the park and necessary guarantees to whet the appetite of local and foreign investors.”


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Tuesday 15 May 2018

BUSINESS DAY

THE BIG HEART DIGEST In association with Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Developement Agency (DEMSMA)

Living and doing business in Asaba: How Okowa fights flooding with N11.5Bn storm water project •Court to punish those pouring refuse in drainages MERCY ENOCH, Asaba

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n a matter of months, residents and business operators in Asaba, Delta State capital, who yearly experience flooding and its effects, would bid farewell to the monster as Gov Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration is already executing three major storm routing projects valued at N11.5 billion in the city. This is said to be in keeping with his campaign promise of developing the economy of the state. Every rainy season, most people in the state lament over the huge loss they encountered following torrential rainfall that submerged their residential and or business premises thereby rendering them homeless or out of business. They are often left with the option to appealing for the state government’s intervention to address the flooding issue. Those in business usually appeal for the state government intervention in terms of funding, to enable them bounce back to business. As a listening government, the Okowa-led administration embarked on the storm water projects execution, a measure aimed at mitigating the flooding experienced in various parts of the state capital every year. It is expected that when the projects are completed, the storm drains would effectively check incidences of flooding in the city. James Augoye, Commissioner for Works, who appeared at the on-going 2018 press inter-ministerial briefing holding at the conference hall of the ministry of informa-

tion, listed the three major storm water routing projects as follows: Continuation and completion of the construction of storm water control measures in DLA/Jesus Saves Corridor in Asaba: This project comprises of surface drains and underground sewers ranging from1.2 metres to 1.8 metres diameter, which are at depths of up to 8 metres in some sections. The project would control the flooding along DLA road and the Jesus Saves basin. The project covers a length of 2.44 kilometres and was awarded to Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited on May 15, 2017 at the sum of N1.7 billion. He explained that the project has attained about 80 percent completion. Construction of storm water discharge channel along DBS/Cabinet/Umeje Adudu Way to Amilimocha River, Asaba: This 4.33 kilometers long network of drains and sewers is designed to channel storm water from Mariam Babangida, WAEC and DBS Roads to the Amilimocha River through Cabinet Road. It includes 2,500 metres length of 3.0m diameter sewer channel at depths of between 6 and 9 metres in most sections. The project is being executed by Setraco Nigeria Limited at the cost of N5.2 billion.” Construction of Storm Water Drainage along Amb Ralph Uwechue Way to Anwai River, Asaba: This 3.5 kilometers network of channels would collect all the flow from the Okpanam Road drains as well as other discharges from the uphill areas of Okpanam town that arrive through the adjoining streets including Chief

Governor Okowa

T.A. Ikukaiwe Avenue, Ifeanyi Uzogo, Dr. Louis Esenwa and Hon Ken Mozea Streets. The scope includes 1050 metres length of 2.4 metres x 3.0 metres sewer channel, 8.5 metres deep some sections and 1470 meters length 3.0mX 3.0m open channel along the route. The contract was awarded to Messres CCECC Nigeria Limited on January 25, 2018 at the sum of N4.6 billion and scheduled for completion in twelve months”. Gov Okowa satisfied with pace of work During his recent inspection of ongoing projects in the state, Gov Okowa assured the people of the state that the storm drainage projects embarked by his administration were designed to stand the test of time and ensure that Asaba is free of flood. After inspecting construction works at the ultra-modern multi-billion naira state secre-

tariat and the storm drainage projects in Asaba, the governor expressed satisfaction with the pace of work done on the projects. “Though the contractor has 18 months to deliver on the project, (Drainage) from what we can see with the level of work done so far, the project will be delivered in 12 months. So, the people will only suffer the effects of flood only in this rainy season”, he explained. Okowa who was fielding questions from journalists, said: “these projects were designed to stand the test of time. The storm drainage project will empty flood water from Mariam Babangida, WAEC and DBS Roads to the Anwai River.” Most people often drop their household wastes into the drainages and this could result to blockage of the drainage system, if not cleared. The governor seized the opportunity to inform such people that “the

Ministry of Environment has already mapped out holistic solutions to the discharge of wastes in Asaba; there will be revenue courts to try those who will dump their refuse indiscriminately and we are confident that once that is in place, people will restrain from engaging in illegal disposal of wastes”. Continuing, he said, “The drainages are also, being constructed with means of controlling wastes that will empty into the underground sewage, we don’t want to experience flood in Asaba again after this period”. Project Manager of Setraco Nigeria Limited, Jihad Yaghi who expressed joy that Gov Okowa was encouraging them to speedily execute their job, disclosed that to enable them work during the rainy season, they would use precast drains to ensure that their activities does not affect other residence of the town. “The precast will be used during the rain, we will excavate step by step, you excavate like 20 metres and fix the precast, with such, you control the effect of the rain,” he said Anwai River and Amilimocha Stream to be dredged, other cities to keep hope alive Also, while inspecting the drainage projects recently, Gov Okowa said that Anwai River and Amilimocha Stream in Asaba would be fully dredged to check the effects of storm water that would empty into them from the on-going massive drainages being constructed in the state capital. “We are conscious of the volumes of water that will pass

through the storm drainages and we have asked the Ministry of Environment to dredge the Anwai River and the Amilimocha Stream. Our interest is to ensure that flood water is effectively channeled in the capital city and other parts of the state where there is need to control flood water.” He observed that during his recent town hall meeting in Warri, the issue of constructing drainage in that area was raised, stating that work was ongoing in the area and the contractor handling the drainage by Effurun round about promised to complete the project by July. “Two days ago (April 3), we inspected the drainage at the Warri/Sapele Road; that drainage is essentially to drain that particular road which is being done into three lanes on both sides, that is, from Enerhen to Effurun junction, but, at the town hall meeting, the people of Warri South asked for a proper drainage that will be done in the whole of Warri. Unfortunately, in the past, we have been doing a kind of make-shift drainage without having any study and I promised them that we will first of all, carry out a proper study of the area by setting up a team with a consulting firm along with some selected elders from that area who understand the topography so that a proper design could be created.” By the governor’s explanation, other major cities in the state should keep hope alive that gradually, the issue of flooding plaguing them would be studied and addressed squarely. Indeed, there is hope for the living.

attention and follow up. As we celebrate the notable achievements in the last two-and-half years, we are also mindful of the fact that there is still plenty of work to be done. Many families are still reeling from the harsh effects of the recession. Many of our youths are leaving school without the skills they need for the 21st century

marketplace. Many small scale businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Therefore, we must give serious attention to putting our people to work and providing the enabling environment for small enterprises to thrive. This administration is determined to build a more prosperous, inclusive and secure Delta State.

Editorial coordinator’s corner:

Understanding Delta’s 2018 fiscal direction:

General Administration IGNATIUS CHUKWU

G

ov Ifeanyi Okowa explained what he wants to achieve in General Administration. He said: We have commissioned the construction of a new ultramodern Central Secretariat complex in Asaba, located between the two state existing secretariats

along Marian Babangida Way. Government also intends to complete the on-going construction of the Office of the Head of Service. The sum of N1.5bn has been earmarked for the Secretariat Annexe Complex, while N150m is provided for the Office of the Head of Service in the proposed capital budget of the 2018 fiscal

year. Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) In line with the funding prescription of the law setting up the Commission, the sum of N28billion is set aside for DESOPADEC in the 2018 fiscal year. Conclusion In concluding, I wish

to reiterate that we are determined to build a State anchored on inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. This administration has not wavered from its promises to the people of Delta State. In line with those promises, many programmes/projects have been executed; several are on-going while few need urgent


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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Politics & Policy

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I will restructure Nigeria if voted as President - Atiku MIKE ABANG,Calabar

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ormer Vice President and presidential aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, says he will restructure Nigeria if voted into power come 2019 general elections. Atiku stated this, Monday, at the Cross River State executive council chambers in Calabar, when he led his team, including former governors of Ogun and Imo states, Gbenga Daniel and Achike Udenwa, on a courtesy visit to Governor Ben Ayade. Atiku commended the governor for being broad-minded in his approach to governance, which had ensured peace and tranquillity in the state. According to Atiku, “Your inclusiveness of governance has led to a number of achievements, which are not only known in Cross River but the whole country. “There are very few states that are actually very regular and prompt in payment of salaries like this state. Honestly, we tend to praise and commend Cross River for paying as at when due. This achievement has resonated all over the country and you are seen as an example of good governance.” The former Vice President noted that in spite of the lean resources of the state, the

Atiku Abubakar

governor, through application of intellect, was rapidly industrialising the state, thus creating thousands of jobs for the teeming unemployed youths. He listed industries build by the Ayade-led administration to include the Cross River Garment Factory, the Calendar Pharmaceutical Company, the Rice Seeds and Seedlings Centre, the Banana Plantation, Rice Mill, and Cocoa Processing Plant in Ikom. While describing the governor’s decision to built a superhighway and a deep seaport as remarkable, he assured of the Federal Government’s support in ensuring the state achieved its dreams. “I am not living here but we get news of all these because if you goggle Cross River and

Ben Ayade, you will see all these. This is technology and it is digital. Your achievement, like the rice seedling centre, which is undergoing a test run now, and is a major development in the agricultural sector and will employ a large number of unemployed youths. You are indeed a talk and do governor.” Disclosing his intention to run a lean Federal Government through his restructuring agenda if voted as the President, Atiku assured, “If you give me your support you can expect more than what you have given me,” adding, “I can assure you that because of your impact in my life you will continue to receive my priority in the sense that you will always have federal support to ensure that you continue to

achieve whatever you want to achieve in this state.” Responding, Ayade maintained that the state was rich in both mineral and hydrocarbons, but lamented a situation where the mineral resources cannot be explored without the approval of the Federal Government. The governor therefore expressed happiness that restructuring was part of Atiku’s agenda, stating that “we will like to see a Federal Government that will respond to our yearnings and create that platform that will allow us exploit our wealth and create a new hope for our people.” Ayade, who disclosed that the state had found huge oil deposits in its offshore locations without licences to exploit them, questioned, “To what extent would the Federal Government continue to hold and sequester everything that belong to the nation to herself?” On Atiku’s presidential ambition, Ayade said: “As an aspirant of the PDP and somebody who has been a Vice President, I believe that the experiential calculus shows clearly that you are capable, competent and qualified to aspire for the position of President.” Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a book titled, “Restructuring as a pathway to unity and development in Nigeria,” by the presidential aspirant to the governor.

Court throws out suit challenging Odigie-Oyegun tenure elongation FELIX OMOHOMHION

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Federal High Court, Abuja, Monday dismissed the suit challenging the tenure elongation of the John Odigie-Oyegun led National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling, All Progressive Congress (APC). Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, the trial judge, in two separate judgments on the matter, held that the suits had become hypothetical and academic, as the party had reversed the decision to extend the tenures of the officials. Dimgba said that the party had commenced congresses to elect its officials at wards and local government levels and had slated June to hold its national convention to elect officials of the party at the national level. He observed that: “Having read and carefully examined all the attachments to the suit, I hold that there was an attempt to extend the tenure of members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), due to expire on June 30, 2018, for another one year”, the Judge held. Dimgba held that the resolution of the NEC of the part, in its meeting held on the 27th February, 2018, was a case of party

2019: We’ll never work with Obasanjo’s ADC – Afenifere

Mass defection looms in APC

…As group kicks against Buhari’s re-election bid

… as nPDP 7-day ultimatum expires today

INIOBONG IWOK

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eader of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Ruben Fasoranti, has said the Southwest would never work with the Olusegun Obasanjo-inspired political movement, Coalition for Nigerian movement (CNM) which formally merged with the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to contest the 2019 general election. The movement coordinated by former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola had last week merged with ADC. Oyinlola cited the urgent need to rescue Nigeria from the current state of misgovernance and social despair as reasons for the movement fusing into a political party. But speaking in a telephone interview with Busi-

nessDay, Fasoranti revealed that the group does not believe in the ideologies of the coalition or ADC as a political a party, adding that working with Obasanjo was totally impossible because the former president had rebuffed Afenifere in the past. The Afenifere leader said the ADC was not the solution to the problems bedeviling the country, adding that it could not work with politicians who he said were only seeking for their personal interest. When asked if the group may support the re-election bid of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, the elder statesman said the current administration has failed Nigerians in all its ramifications, adding that it would never work for its return. He said the group would

soon meet to take its position on the 2019 general election and who the group may likely support, adding that the country was sliding into a monumental chaos. “We are not interested in working with Obasanjo’s ADC or any of his coalitions; Obasanjo has rebuffed us in the past when there was pressing issues that we needed him and there is no reason we should work with him now or with his coalition,” Fasoranti said. According to him, “Whatever they are doing we don’t know if they are the way forward for the country. But we would meet soon to decide and take our position. But I can also tell you that we would not work with this Buhari government, his reelection bid, he has failed Nigerians; look at the state of the country,” Fasoranti said.

JAMES KWEN, Abuja

T

he ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will soon suffer mass defection of its members who until the merger that produced the party were in the new PDP (nPDP). This is as the seven-day ultimatum given by the nPDP block in APC expires today with obviously nothing done to address the grievances and concerns raised by the group. The nPDP had last week stormed the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, where they presented a protest letter signed by the chairman, Abubakar Baraje, and secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, demanding an urgent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and APC leadership to address their grievances. The nPDP in the letter decried marginalisation, non-

Tuesday 15 May 2018

inclusion and harassment of its members despite the huge contribution the group made to bring APC to power in 2015. “There has been no significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies, such as Chief Executives and Executive Directors of government agencies and parastatals, as members of our block of the party continue to helplessly watch as these positions are shared by the erstwhile CPC, ACN, ANPP and even APGA blocks of the party, and those who have no party at all. “There has been general lack of consultation, non recognition and even persecution of former New PDP members and leaders by the party and government. For example, some of our leaders are denied the security cover necessary to visit their constituencies, even though they are elected representatives of

John Odigie-Oyegun

organ trying to extend its tenure, which he noted was different from the case the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where it was the National Convention of the party that set up the Care Taker Committee. He said if the attempt to extend the tenure of the John Odigie-Oyegun-led executive committee of the APC had matured, it would have amounted to a violation of the constitution of the party and that of the country. A member of the party in Imo State, Okere Uzochukwu had, in his suit, marked, FHC/ABJ/ CS/219/2018 and filed on March 2, 2018, challenged the moves to extend the tenure of the John OdigieOyegun led executive of the party. The second suit, challenging the decision to extend the tenure of the Odigie-Oyegun led NWC of the APC was filed by some aggrieved members of the party, led by Ademorin Aliu Kioye.

the people in a government they sacrificed so much for,” the letter read in part. However, as the ultimatum ends today, APC has done nothing tangible regarding the nPDP demands as the national publicity secretary of APC, Bolaji Abdullahi Sunday, said he was not aware of anything had been done at the moment. “It is possible that some things have been done. But it is not I am aware of. It is possible discussions or things are happening beyond my clearance level. But it is not what I am aware of,” the APC spokesman said. Meanwhile, another faction of the nPDP led by Abdullahi Adamu, senator representing Nasarawa West, yesterday debunked the claims of the Baraje group, alleging that their views do not neither reflect the reality nor represent the position of the entire nPDP.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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Live @ The Stock Exchange Top Gainers/Losers as at Monday 14 May 2018 GAINERS

Market Statistics as at Monday 14 May 2018

LOSERS

Company

Opening

Closing

Change

Company

Opening

Closing

CAVERTON

N2.61

N2.74

0.13

NESTLE

FIDSON

N5.38

N5.49

0.11

OKOMUOIL

DANGFLOUR

N11.5

N11.6

0.1

NB

CUTIX

N3.05

N3.15

0.1

ETERNA

N6.93

N7

0.07

Change

N1580

N1530

-50

N90

N86.1

-3.9

N124.5

N122

-2.5

VOLUME (Numbers)

DANGCEM

N245

N243.5

-1.5

VALUE (N billion)

OANDO

N8.15

N7.75

-0.4

MARKET CAP (N Trn

ASI (Points) DEALS (Numbers)

Stock investors lose N125bn ...Nestle, Okomu, Nigerian Breweries top list of 32 laggards

S

price declined from N1, 580 to N1, 530, down by N50 or 3.16percent; Okomu Oil Palm Plc followed from N90 to N85.5, down by N4.5 or 5percent; while Nigerian Breweries Plc lost N2.5, from N124.5 to N122, a decline of 2.01percent. On the gainers table, Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc rallied most from N2.61 to N2.74, up by 13kobo or

4.98percent; while Fidson Healthcare Plc followed with a record 11kobo or 2.04percent gain, from N5.38 to N5.49 . The volume of stocks traded increased by 1.95percent, from 214.581 million to 218.773 million, while the total value of stocks traded decreased by 47.32percent, from N4.234 billion to N2.231 billion in 4,109 deals. The Financial Services

Union Bank grows Q1 profit by 16% to N5.4bn

U

nion Bank of Nigeria Plc has recorded considerable growth in key performance indicators in the first quarter of this year, giving prospects of better returns for the 2018 business year. The bank’s interim report and accounts for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 showed that gross earnings rose by 15 percent while profits before and after tax grew by 16 percent and 17 percent respectively. The first quarter earnings report, which was released alongside the audited report for 2017 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), showed that Union Bank improved on its commendable performance in 2017. The three-month report showed gross earn-

ings of N39.5 billion in first quarter 2018 as against N34.3 billion in first quarter 2017. Profit before tax rose from N4.7 billion in first quarter 2017 to N5.4 billion in first quarter 2018. Profit after tax also increased to N5.3 billion in first quarter 2018 compared with N4.5 billion recorded in comparable period of 2017. Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said the first quarter results reflected the bank’s renewed focus on driving efficiency and productivity with a view to fully leveraging resources including human, technology and new capital to maximize the bottom line. “While we are just in the early stages of this drive, we are already

starting to see positive results,” Emuwa said. The top-line performance was driven by improvement in net interest margins from 7.1 percent to 8.7 percent and 18 percent increase in non-interest income due to enhanced trading income and increased volumes on alternate banking channels. Interest income had grown by 14 percent to N31.7 billion in first quarter 2018 as against N27.7 billion in first quarter 2017. Net interest income before impairment increased by 22 per cent to N17.8 billion in 2018 compared to N14.6 billion in 2017, driven by 14 per cent increase in interest income and a lower six per cent increase in interest expense. Non-interest income also rose by 18 per cent from N6.6 billion to N7.8 billion.

3,550.00

sector led Monday activity chart with 170.007 million shares exchanged for N1.335 billion; followed by 12.468 million shares traded for N51million. United Bank for Africa Plc, FCMB Group Plc, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, FBN Holdings Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc were actively traded stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday.

174,018,709.00 1.737 14.735

First Registrars launches mobile app to enhance investors’ experience

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Stories by Iheanyi Nwachukwu

tock investors at the Nigerian bourse lost a whopping N125billion on Monday May 14, 2018. This comes on the heels of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Okomu Oil Palm Plc and Nigerian Breweries respectively leading the basket of 32 companies that recorded share price decline against just 11 gainers. At the close of trading session on Monday May 14, 2018, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All Share Index (ASI) which tracks the performance of stocks listed on the Bourse decreased by 0.84percent while the Yearto-Date (ytd) return stood at 6.37percent. The All Share Index closed at 40,677.61 points against the preceding day close of 41,022.31 points. The Market Capitalisation closed at N14.735 trillion against preceding day close of N14.860 trillion, down by about N125billion. Nestle Nigeria Plc stock

40,680.94

irst Registrars and Investor Services Limited has set another standard in the share registration industry with its Mobile App. “The First Registrars Mobile App is the first of its kind in the share registration industry in Nigeria. With the Mobile App, shareholders and investors now have instant and unlimited access to their shareholdings and other related information about their shares, dividends, bank mandates, and so on under the purview of First Registrars”, Bayo Olugbemi, Managing Director/CEO, First Registrars and Investor Services Limited said at the unveiling ceremony of the App. In its bid to enhance shareholders and investors’ experience, First Registrars has committed a significant investment in the development of the mobile app which now brings the register of members to the fingertips of the shareholders/investors. Shareholders can access their share transactions, dividends information, bank mandates, address confirmation and even pre-register for AGMs/EGMs and lots more.

A security measure has also been factored into the development of the app such that an OTP is sent to the shareholders’ mobile phone number (phone number must have been registered with First Registrars) at the point of registration which then serves as the login PIN. “Customer Service Excellence is at the center of our operations, hence we will always invest in human capital and technological innovation that will at all times add meaningful value to our customers (both the clients and their shareholders). First Registrars Mobile App undoubtedly will enhance our customers’ experience and at no fee as the Mobile App is absolutely Free,” said Abayomi Oluwato, Group Head Business Development and Services at First Registrars. “We are in a digital age and we must continually take our products and services to the customers wherever they may be rather than wait for the customers to come down to our office before getting their queries resolved”, said the Head, Business Development Division, Yaya Lawal.

Vetiva announces final distribution of N12.50 per unit to unitholders of S&P Bond ETF

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etiva Fund Managers Limited (Vetiva) has announced a final distribution of N12.50 per unit of the Vetiva S&P Bond ETF for the year ended December 31, 2017. This will be the third distribution made by the Vetiva S&P Bond ETF since its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in October 2016. The Fund Managers noted that the Fund paid an interim distribution of N2.50 per unit, thus bringing the total dividend for 2017 to N15. The VS&P Bond ETF is the first Bond ETF to be listed on the NSE and FMDQ, and is designed to track the performance of the S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Index. The Index tracks the performance

of local currency denominated sovereign debt publicly issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria. “The distributions are in line with the structure of the fund to remit distributions to Unit Holders twice a year,” the director, Asset Management of Vetiva Fund Managers Limited, Oyelade Eigbe said. She also mentioned that the Vetiva S&P Bond ETF continues to represent a convenient investment vehicle for exposure to

Nigerian Federal Government Sovereign Bonds. In addition, Eigbe explained that “Prior to now, access to Federal Government long dated securities, in practical terms, has been restricted to institutions who can buy or sell wholesale lots of these securities. Even for individuals who purchase these securities from the primary market, avenues to sell and trade at will are restricted. The Vetiva S&P Nigerian Sovereign Bond ETF however, gives all investors’ exposure to Federal Government Bonds for less than c.N200 per unit. This, with the ability to buy or sell at any time on the stock exchange, creates a convenient platform for every Nigerian to save and invest for the future.”


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Tuesday 15 May 2018

STRATEGYBRIEFING IDEAS THAT POWER HIGH PERFORMANCE

Building a great sales department

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ow is your sales doing? There are three answers I can expect: very well, still pushing, not well. I meet with several senior business executives in several industries every year and I usually get such answers in confidence. No executive talks about how lousy his/her sales is, they only talk about how great it is when its doing great(and even when its not). But as every executive stands in the shower each morning, one thought that keeps him/her company is, ‘what do we need to do to capture maximum value from our efforts?’ And capturing more value is a function of a well articulated and executed strategy. That’s thesame thought that bothered a dejected man whom Bruce Burton, American advertising legend talked about. The man was a sales manager reputed for writing winning sales letter. But he lost his job and was at the verge of committing suicide. Burton led the man to a window and began, Look out there at those buildings ” Barton said, Offices of people All filled with people who have goods to sell and most of whom don’t know how to sell them ” You say you can write sales letters.This is your great chance to prove it.Write those people a letter that will sell them the idea that they need you to help them sell their goods.The man accepted the challenge. Six month later his earning were over $25,000 a year! The question is how did such a great sales man loose his job? Did his company file for bankruptcy? How could that happen with such a great sales man? Well the answer is that great sales people does not translate to a great sales department. And by the way ‘a

great sales department’ on its own is a pretty big term that may need to be broken down. A great sales department is one which its policies, culture and behavior are in alignment with the strategic direction of the whole organization. That’s dealing with the sales department that does the right things as against doing things right. A confusion between efficiency and optimization plagues many sales efforts. But while sales efficiency initiatives — like CRM, training, and KPI dashboards — improve your corporate engine horsepower. Sales optimization decisions — like aligning sales tasks with business strategy, customer selection, and sales force deployment across opportunities — set the route which the company takes. Like the aphorism, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” But if you’re going in the wrong direction, getting there faster is not the solution. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, doing the right things such as targeting high-value customers and deploying sales resources with strategically-appropriate criteria, have more than three times the impact on revenue growth than doing things right. The implication is that effective allocation of available sales resources can be a strategic asset and a leverage for more profitable growth. At the core of sales effectiveness is an effective sales culture. Having a productive sales culture is the effective way to harness the potentials of your sales people and put their ability to the best use. My research shows that effective sales

organisations focus on building four important capabilities as the framework for building a productive sales culture. Strategy and planning: there are two things most companies do wrong here. The first is a siloed approach to strategic planning irrespective of their go-to-market approach which often spans the whole organization. Secondly the planning process often takes four to five months. While this is going on, business has to go on, sales people have to keep working based on their individual capacity rather than what the company strategy should direct. This is why survey of 1,800 executives more than half (53%) of the respondents said their employees don’t understand their company’s strategy. Customer targeting and cost of service: All customers are equal but some are more equal than the others. This principle is what underlies prioritizing customers so as to make real the crucial “scope” component of a coherent strategy — i.e., decisions about the customer segment to target. Geography, frequency of order and order size dramatically determines the cost of serving customers. Many capital costs are embedded in cost-to-serve differences which affects your return on investment. Sales efficiency efforts usually do not take capital cost into consideration. If this cost is not measured sales people will simply chase after competing price proposals. When sales people focus on price and volume and are rewarded based on that, sales resources cannot be optimized. This also expose the business model and ultimately profit to risk. Performance assessment and

reviews: successful organization take assessment and review very seriously. Consider Toyota, when they reorganized their performance evaluation system although Toyota usually develop their system themselves, they had to seek the help of outside consultants who worked with them for three years to develop a new process. That’s how seriously they take review. Yet many sales managers tend to treat reviews as cursory, drive-by conversations that are mainly about compensation, not evaluation and development. Reviews are where strategy is revealed and emphasized. It is where sales behaviours are defined and data applied to customer interaction. Review meetings can consider issues like changing prices to reflect cost to serve, reducing technical support for certain customer segments, changing the locus of relevant support, determining different ordering or delivery options, and perhaps instituting a channel strategy that offloads some cost-to-serve to resellers whose economies of scope allow them to perform these tasks more efficiently. Sales capacity and resource allocation: sales productivity depends on the capacity of the sales people and how much they can do to reach target customers. Since do-

ing the right thing is the key to high performance, resources should be effectively allocated towards sales optimization efforts like customer selection, and sales force deployment across opportunities. Evaluating sales with the expense-to-revenue ratio can shed light on the relative cost efficiency of selling activities, but not (by itself) on their cost effectiveness, which is a more complex relationship between selling costs, revenues, profit margins, and customers acquired through one or another means of organizing sales resources. While big data can be a great way of evaluation, they are not an end on their own. High performing companies understand that data are not just numbers; they are a way of viewing reality by the people who should use that data. And sales people will ignore analytics that they can’t apply to where they live: in daily encounters with customers. Bottom line: performing the right sales activities is the foundation of a great sales unit which is the only way to capture optimal value. Among other things, performing the right sales activities allows sales leaders to grow the top line using the resources they already have by deliberately focusing selling efforts on what will really make a difference.

Brian Reuben(@brianoreuben) is an advisor on strategy and leadership. He regularly conducts keynote presentations and senior executive workshops with companies around the world on strategy and leadership. He heads BusinessDay Training Was this article helpful? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook @bdtraininglive or email us on trainings@businessdayonline.com

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Tuesday 15 May 2018

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37 NEWS

BUSINESS DAY

Strike paralyses medical services at public hospitals in Lagos

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eneral hospitals in Lagos State are discharging patients with skeletal services offered only at the emergency unit following a total nationwide strike action embarked upon since April 17, 2018. The ongoing strike will not end, if government continues its lackadaisical attitude towards the union’s demands, warns the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU). Nigerians are facing the risk of more deaths, as fewer people will access adequate care as the ongoing indefinite nationwide strike continues, stakeholders say. A visit to General Hospital Apapa, Ajeromi General Hospital, Ajegunle, and General Hospital, Ikorodu, showed skeletal services were offered at the emergency unit with fewer than three doctors, while the few remaining patients had to wait endlessly believing they would be attended to. These general hospitals were seen deserted, although some of the health workers turned up at work, they did not attend to patients. One of the patients, who spoke with BusinessDay at the Apapa General Hospital, but does not want to be identified, said, “I was directed to get the registration card for consultation and later was told I cannot be attended to because they are on strike.” According to her, “I will

wait; maybe God will touch their heart to attend to me because I am very sick. Government needs to call off this strike, we do not want to die in our homes because we cannot access care.” Another patient, Margret Udoh, called on the Federal Government to look into the issue, as she lamented that the strike was causing death among Nigerians. According to Udoh, “As I speak, I do not know if I will be attended to, but government need to take actions because doctors working alone is making the work very slow. “I am here for my ante-natal checks and I have not been attended to by any of the nurses or other hospital workers,” she said. BusinessDay’s investigations found that policemen fully armed surrounded the environs of these facilities. Doyin Odubanjo, chairman, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, Lagos chapter, said hospital could and would continue to function with doctors alone. However, given that they cannot function maximally, they will attend to fewer people, Odubanjo said, saying, “If this continues, there will be more deaths as fewer people will access healthcare. “There is a lot of breakdown already; checks in the facilities have shown that essential services and healthcare delivery at the state and local government levels have significantly dropped as a result of the strike.”

Shareholders want Oando to resolve standing rift with Ansbury Investment HARRISON EDEH, Abuja

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group of shareholders on Monday called on the management of Oando plc to settle its lingering rift with its foreign investor, Ansbury Investments Incorporated. Ansbury, a majority shareholder in Ocean and Oil Development (BVI), holds 99 percent of OODP Nigeria and 56 percent equity stake in Oando plc, an entity with dual listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Recall that in September 2017, Ansbury petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the alleged corporate governance abuse by the management of Oando. Ansbury’s petition led to the suspension of Oando on both the NSE and the JSE, resulting to SEC ordering a forensic audit of the oil firm. Speaking in Lagos on Monday, Concerned Oando Shareholders asked the management of the company to open talks with Ansbury Investments with a view to resolving the dispute. At o b at e l e Mu s i b au , spokesman of the group, said the prolonged media war, protests and unnecessary bickering between the management of Oando and Ansbury was not serving the best interest of shareholders and that of the company.

“These days, Oando is always in the news and the negative exposure the company has experienced for almost one year running has a telling effect on not just on the shares, but the entire fortune of the company,” Musibau said. According to Musibau, the earlier the matter is resolved, the better for the company and its shareholders. “Believe it or not, this unending war has impacted the company negatively. The best option is to open dialogue and I believe both sides are matured enough to seat together and resolve areas of conflict in the interest of the company and its shareholders.” He said the recovery in oil prices was a sign that the company’s fortunes could improve “under the right atmosphere. One must state that Oando has not recorded any meaningful capital gains, nor has it paid dividend to investors in more than four years.” He advised the management of Oando not to miss out on the opportunity provided by the turnaround of the oil industry to improve on the fortunes of shareholders. “We want to see better returns, capital appreciation of our shares and payment of dividends in the not too distant future. This can only happen if the management resolves all pending rifts to enable it concentrate on running the company,” he said.

L-R: Bamidele Alegbe, senior software engineer, First Bank of Nigeria Digital Lab; Daniel Bloch, CEO of Seso Global; Steph Mekwuye, co-ordinator, Blockchain Africa; Abiodun Dabiri, lead of winning team; Olamide Adeosun, managing director, Gidi Ventures; Eseoghene Mentie, software engineer, Consensys, and Bolaji Onibudo, founder/president, Xendbit, at the Blockchain hackathon organised by Seso Gloabal and the Canadian High Commission​at Workstation in Victoria Island Lagos. ​ Pic by Olawale Amoo.

N264bn exports recorded at Lekki Free Trade Zone … as FG earns N1.6bn duties

JOSHUA BASSEY

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total of $735.8 million (about N264bn) exports of finished goods have in the last three years been recorded at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) in Lagos, with N1.6 billionpaidasdutiestotheFederal Government. The trade zone sits on about 16,000hectarestotallandspacebut onlyabout241.3hectaresofthefirst phasehavesofarbeenutilised.The freetradezonewasconceptualised to develop an offshore economic growth zone, attract foreign investments, promote export, create job opportunities, transfer technology, minimise capital flight and establish a one-stop business hub, and currently operates with 22 Free Zone Enterprises (FZEs) and 18 manufacturing firms. Olayinka Oladunjoye, Lagos Statecommissionerforcommerce, industry and cooperatives, said on Monday, that measures had been taken to ensure that goods produced within the zone met international standard for export. According to Oladunjoye, the

Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and other supporting agencies are coordinating the exporting processofthegoodsinconjunction with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON). Oladunjoye also disclosed that to date, the joint venture with the Chinese Consortium had a total equity investment of $180.4 million and had received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) totalling $140.2 million out of the $200 million FDI expected from the consortium. Besides,shesaid125investors had registered, while 59 investors hadtheirLeaseAgreements,adding that 726 Nigerians had been employedbytheFZEsandN376.5 millionspentonexecuting14CorporateSocialResponsibility(CSR) projects for host communities. Shelistedotherachievements in the Lekki Free Zone to include $500 million FDI from FZEs in operation, while a Customs Processing Centre (CPC) for Nigeria Customs Service was established to improve the ease of doing business and eliminate bottlenecks. Thegovernment,shesaid,has

opened doors to investors willing to partner the state in the provision of inter-modal transportation infrastructure within the Lekki free zone with emphasis on road and rail system to accommodate the massive investments coming into the corridor and solve the attendant traffic challenges. She said with the emerging industrial revolution within the Epe-Ibeju-Lekki corridor of the especially the Lekki free zone, the Lekki deep seaport, the Dangote refinery and fertilizer plants, the axis is fast becoming the preferred investment destination across the globe. She said the state government was not unmindful of the need for an integrated transportation system critical to the success of the emerging business activities along that axis when all the ongoing businesses come on stream. “However, we are not unmindful of the fact that one of the critical success factors, that is, an integrated transportation infrastructure, must be catered for along with these various investors’ endeavours within the corridor for us to harness the full

values that these projects will bring on board when they all fully come on stream,” she said. Shesaidplansarealreadyintop geartoprovideaholisticinter-modal transportationnetworkcomprising rail, road and water transportation systemssoastomitigatefuturechallenges especially traffic congestion in view of the envisaged estimated 6,650dailytrucksmovementwithin the corridor when all the ongoing businessestakeofffully. “We do not want to have another Apapa on our hands. This government is responsive and it’s a government that is futuristic. In realisation of the enormity of the required funding vis-à-vis the compelling need for transportation infrastructure, notably road and rail within the Lekki Free Zone corridor, the state government has encouraged investors to express interest in of the planned axial roads that would take vehicular traffic away from the adjoining towns of the area and to Ogun State and there are other roads that we are working on,” she said.

Nigeria’s PFI initiative a check on fertilizer subsidy fraud - NSIA DANIEL OBI

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EO of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Uche Orji, says the careful and committed implementation of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), in partnership with the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), has succeeded in eliminating various channels in fertilizer subsidy programmes through which previous governments were defrauded of billions of naira annually. Orji, who spoke in Abuja over the weekend, according to a statement, also noted that the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative had also significantly improved the quality of fertilizer available for Nigerian farmers, a development, he said, had also

helped improve yield, thereby increasing the income of agro businesses. He said the PFI programme had been the biggest single investment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, adding that if sustained, the country was on a sure path towards food security. “This is single biggest investment the NSIA has ever made, but I am glad to report that it has been successful. In one singular action, the fraud in the fertilizer distribution programme of the government has been eliminated from the system. In the past, the subsidy was a conduit where someone would sweep all the money and pretended to have imported fertilizer, when there was really nothing but this PFI programme has changed it all,” he said. He revealed that through the PFI scheme, fertilizer has

become available and affordable, saying that with increased capacity utilisation and opening of new blending plants in different parts of the country, the Federal Government was sure to achieve its target of food security, thereby saving billions of naira that would have gone into importation and its associated leakages. He observed that with the programme, price of staples like rice and maize had dropped while hitherto moribund blending plants are working at full capacity, a development he said, has also helped create employment opportunities along various layers of the value chain. “These 11 blending plants were shutdown or moribund before this programme but now, they are working and employing people. Over 50,000 direct jobs and over 200,000 indirect

jobs have been created in this country and these are significant values to the economy. “But the most important thing is we are able to deliver good quality fertilizer because quality control is taken very seriously and directly supervised and monitored by us,” he said He said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ensuring the development of the agricultural sector as a critical plant for employment generation and food security, expressing the hope that with the quick successes recorded in the PFI programme, a new vista for successful public-private partnerships for national development may have been dawned in the country. “We started with 12 blending plants but we want to get to 20 blending plants,” he said.


38 BUSINESS DAY NEWS NASS presents 2018 budget... Continued from page 1

Notice Paper and Order Paper to ascertain whether the 2018 budget will be listed or not, as at the time of filing this report, key members of the House Committees on Appropriation and Finance told BusinessDay that the budget will be laid. Chris Azubogu, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation said: We are just icing the cake, but we will work throughout the night to ensure that it comes out.” On his part, Austin Chukwukwere, House Committee on Finance told our Correspondent that the leadership is in a better position to give the details. He however noted that the “budget will be laid anytime from now.” BusinessDay further gathered that the leadership of the House held a crucial meeting last night. The source however, declined to give details of the meeting. Part of the budget documents seen by BusinessDay showed that the joint Senate and House Committee on Culture and Tourism is pushing for additional sum of N2 billion for nine agencies under the purview of Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in the 2018 budget, without specifying the projects. They are: Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC); National Commission for Museums and Monuments; National Council for Arts and Culture; Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization; National Troupe of Nigeria; National Theatre; National Gallery of Arts; National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Development Studies and National Institute for Culture Orientation. However, the breakdown of the budget of NTDC showed that the reduction of N29 million from recurrent expenditure and N17 million from overhead costs; N9 million from Miscellaneous as well as N6 million from capital expenditure; reduction of N50 million construction/provision of recreational facilities. From the total sum of N189, 102,558 proposed for the hosting of UNWTO-CAF Conference, the joint Committee on Culture and Tourism reduced it to N169, 102,558 (representing N20 million reduction).

However, the budget for Federal Ministry of Information and Culture was reduced from N6, 665,005,666 to N5, 998,005,646 representing N670, 000,000 reduction. Total sum of N220 million was removed from the sum of N660.507 million proposed for recurrent expenditure, out of which N20 million is for office stationeries/ computer consumables; N5 million for maintenance of office building/residential quarters and N5 million for maintenance of office/IT equipment; N60 million for publicity and advertisements; N20 million for welfare package. However, the agency’s capital project was increased by N34 million for research and development budget line. On the other hand, the joint committee also slashed the capital expenditure by N450 million from the proposed sum of N1,919,966,941 for acquisition of non-tangible assets; reduced N20 million from the total sum of N337,548,066 for Anniversary/Celebrations; reduced N480 million from total sum of N1,488,464,621 proposed for governance/institutional reform. •Continues online at www.businessdayonline.com

bonds issued in November 2017, Most Innovative Bond for Nigeria’s US$300mn Diaspora Bond issued in June 2017, Best Naira Bond for Nigeria’s N100billion 7 year Inaugural Sukuk issued in September 2017 and Global Capital Award for Best African Borrower. The Federal Government through the ministry of finance successfully sold $2.5 billion of Eurobonds to compliment the $3 billion it raised in November last year, as part of its on-going debt restructuring strategy aimed at increasing external debts from 23 percent to 60 percent, and cutting down on domestic debts from 77 percent to 40 percent. Patience Oniha, director general of Debt Management Office (DMO), said that “for government to plan and execute its plan enunciated by the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF) and other associated fiscal strategies, it has to spend

How falling yields could reshape investing... Continued from page 1

Issuer: Tenor:

Nigerian Breweries PLC 91-days

182-days

to get favourable re- Discount Rate: 10.71% 11.14% turns. Implied Yield: 11.00% 11.80% N5million However, analysts Minimum Investment: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 alongside some fi- Offer Opens: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Closes: nancial advisors have Offer Allotment Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 outlined ways inves- Funding Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 tors can maximize Issuer Rating: Aa (Agusto & Co, valid till 30 June 2018) AA (Global Credit Rating, valid till 30 April 2019) returns on invest- Free and clear of withholding taxes ments despite the Tax Consideration: of the Notes: Senior Unsecured downward trend in Status Working capital financing Use of Proceeds: interest rates. Rates are gross of management fees. “Given the declining interest rate environment, term remains largely positive. investment in equities becomes The NSE All Share Index (ASI) the best bet and are more attrac- reached a nine-year high in Janutive especially given the fact that ary 2018 as the bull-run which oil prices are rallying,” a financial began in 2017 received greater expert who craved anonymity said. push from the recovery in global Nigerian stocks are up 6.37 oil prices, increased domestic repercent year to date. serves, greater FX market stability The average daily value of stocks and declining inflation. traded across all products on the At the end of Q1 2018, the averNigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in- age price/earnings (PE) ratio of the creased by 96.31percent in Q1, 2018 Exchange’s listed equities stood to N6.98 billion ($22.84 million), up at 24.91 compared to 18.83 in the from N3.56 billion in the correspond- previous year; while the equity ing first-quarter period of 2017. turnover velocity also increased by The dividend yield for listed 1.44 percentage points to 11.72perstocks in the 52-week period ending cent, from 10.28percent in Q1 2017. March 29, 2018 was 4.61percent. Yields on One-year government Despite recent decline in stock Treasury bills are currently a short market breadth, analysts at Lagos- crawl away from 10 percent, from based Afrinvest Securities say as high as 22 percent last year, on outlook for the market in the near- the back of a supply cut back by the

L-R: Abdulsalami Abubakar, former head of state; Thabo Mbeki, former South African president; Patricia Scotland, secretary-general, Commonwealth Agencies of Africa; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Yakubu Gowon, former head of state, at the 8th annual general meeting and conference for the heads of anti-corruption agencies in Commonwealth Africa, with the theme ‘Partnering Towards Assets Recovery and Return’ in Abuja, yesterday.

DMO wins best Africa sovereign bond issuer... Continued from page 1

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and borrowing is a mechanism to do that.” As at last year December, Nigeria’s total public debt stock is N21.725 trillion, according to DMO. Here are more information on the categories for which the DMO won: Nigeria’s US$300 mn Diaspora Bond issued in June 2017 (Most innovative bond for Nigeria) – The country sold a US$300mn diaspora bond in late June, targeting wealthy Nigerians living abroad, which also proved to be a success with investors as the transaction was 130 percent oversubscribed. Nigeria’s N100 billion 7 year Inaugural Sukuk issued in September 2017(Best Naira Bond for Nigeria) - In December of last year, the ministry of finance tweeted that the N100billion Sukuk bond was released in October .The Sukuk bond which the Federal Government acquired recently then will be used to finance projects on 25 major highways across the country. “Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-politi-

cal zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b,” President Muhammed Buhari said in his New Year speech to the country. * Nigeria’s US$3bn Dual-Tranche 10 and 30 year Eurobonds issued in November2017(BestSovereignBond in Africa) - In November last year, the government embarked on a road show announced the floating of a $3 billion Eurobond, offering an aggregate principal amount of dual series notes under its US$4.5 billion Global Medium Term Note programme (increased from US$1.5 billion). “The 10-year series would bear interest at a rate of 6.5 per cent, while the 30-year series will bear interest at a rate of 7.6 per cent, which will be repayable with a bullet repayment of the principal on maturity,” Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said. The offering attracted significant interests from leading global institutional investors. The successful pricing follows issuances in 2011, 2013 (two series) and earlier in 2017. “Successfully extending out debt profile in the international market to 30 years is a key element of that strategy as it establishes a basis for

the longer term financing required for transformational infrastructure investment,” Adeosun further added. The EMEA Finance magazine is the complete information source for the finance industry in the EMEA region and is the only periodical dedicated exclusively to report financial events, happenings and triumphs initiated and influenced by the international financial industry. The key financial personalities who make things happen are regularly profiled, creating a platform for readers to gain a more complete and thorough understanding of their peers and industry news. According to EMEA, Nigeria has become the first sovereign in Africa to issue a green bond, and hopes are growing that other countries will dip their toe into the region’s nascent market. Nigeria, rated B2/B/B+, printed its debut NGN10.69bn ($29.65m) 13.48% five-year bullet bond at the end of December 2017, with the trade settling on 22 December. The borrower went on an investor roadshow in Abuja and Lagos on 14 and 15 December.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

federal government to manage its rising debt service costs and free up credit to the private sector. The CBN issued N38 billion in Treasury bills at a primary market auction on May 03, for rates between 10.7 percent and 11.1 percent, according to data from the central bank website. This sustained decline has been caused by a number of factors, including a reduction in the rate, volume sold and the frequency of sales of open market operations (OMO) treasury bills by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “Investors can also shift take their eyes to money market mutual funds which is a collective investment scheme that can bring favourable returns especially for the retail investors,” Ayodeji Ebo, Managing Director at Lagos based Afrivest securities said on phone. “Money market funds are an excellent way to maximize returns on your short term investments as they are safe; provide easy access to your funds, while providing maximized returns on your investment. With the moneymarketfund,youarealsoable to position for other investment opportunities, bearing no penal charges upon liquidation,” Ebo added Some major money market funds now available for investors include the Stanbic IBTC money market fund, FBN money market fund, ARM money market fund, Abacus money market fund and the AXA Mansard Money Market Fund among others. Money market funds account for over74percentofFundmanagement and have assets under management worth some N409 billion, according to data obtained from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stanbic IBTC controls major part of outstanding money market funds with about 53 percent worth N215 billion, followed by FBN Capital Asset Management Limited with 25 percent worth over N105 billion. Asset and Resource Management CO Ltd, Axa Mansard investments and Investment one Funds Management limited accounts for 9.80 percent, 3.94 percent and 1.73 percent worth N40bn, N16bn and N7bn respectively. Other interesting trend analysts havepointedtoisthatratesattheOMO auction typically close higher than Treasury Bills of corresponding maturitydatesinthesecondarymarketand this often presents an opportunity to get more value for investments. OMO auctions are conducted at the discretion of the CBN, and announcements are made within a short period during trading hours Commercial Papers (CP) also present opportunities to lock in at higher returns in a low rate environment. Nigerian Breweries CP is currently on offer and others are in the pipeline. The rate of inflation has continued its downward trend for fourteenth straight month since late last year where it peaked at about 18 percent. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), inflation currently stands at 13.34 percent (March 2018) down from 15.13 percent in January 2018, with the potential to remain on this trajectory. The Monetary Policy committee (MPC) left its policy rate at a record high of 14 per cent since July 2016 in its first meeting this year, pointing to higher inflation which is well still above its target of a single digit. As a result of this, the CBN has hinted at a more accommodative posture by taking actions to reduce interest rates in the market.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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BUSINESS DAY

39

NEWS

N143.6bn is Osun’s debt profile – government ... says MKO Airport remains top priority BOLADALE BAMIGBOLA, Osogbo

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sun State AccountantGeneral, Kolawole Akintayo, has put the state debt portfolio at N143.6 billion, as Governor Rauf Aregbesola assured that the debt would be fully repaid by 2019. Kolawole, when asked the exact amount the state owed during an all-night interactive session with the governor at the weekend in Osogbo, said the total debt, which Governor Aregbesola would be leaving for the state to pay would be N143.6 billion as against the false figures being circulated by members of the opposition parties. The Accountant-General said: “Total debt of the state was put at N171.4 billion in the last seven years. A sum of N28 billion had been paid, leaving a balance of N143.6 billion debt.” Corroborating Akintayo’s statement, Governor Aregbesola said Osun would settle all the debts in 2019, saying, “There will be no kobo left of the N30 billion conventional loan in 2019, and by September 2020, N11.4 billion Sukuk would have been settled.”

Oil races to $80 as US drilling rises KELECHI EWUZIE with agency report

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il prices steadied below 3-1/2 year highs on Monday as resistance emerged in Europe and Asia to US sanctions against major crude exporter Iran, while rising US drilling pointed to higher North American production. Brent crude was up 20 cents at $77.32 a barrel by 1315 GMT and US light crude rose 10 cents to $70.80. Both oil futures contracts hit their highest since November 2014 last week at $78 and $71.89 a barrel, respectively as markets anticipated a sharp fall in Iranian crude supply once US sanctions bite later this year. It is unclear how hard US sanctions will hit Iran’s oil industry. A lot will depend on how other major oil consumers respond to Washington’s action against Tehran, which will take effect in November. China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and Iran all remain in the nuclear accord that placed controls on Iran’s nuclear programme and led to a relaxation of

economic sanctions against Iran and companies doing business there. The surge in oil prices comes at a time of tight supply amid record Asian demand and voluntary output restraint by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers, including Russia. Analysts say with a renewed output cut agreement in place through the end of 2018 that brings Libya and Nigeria into the fold, OPEC enters the new year brimming with confidence that its market rebalancing efforts will remain on track. The primary restraints to prices going up even more are declining global oil demand; a flood of new crude production, the ineffectiveness of the OPECRussia agreement to cap oil production. However, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and OPEC all agree that demand has been growing. In fact, all three have reported in recent weeks that the balance between supply and demand is arriving

quicker than anticipated. Second, there is definitely plenty of excess extractable volume worldwide, especially with the largess in shale and tight oil now available for pumping in the US. Now, this oil in the ground will prevent prices from a medium-term race back up to the $100 a barrel range. However, while it will discourage the most diehard believer in long-term, triple-digit oil pricing, it has no genuine effect on the current price unless it is actually lifted. Natural field declines in several countries notably crisis-ridden Venezuela, and continued strong production discipline could likely be enough to keep the bloc’s output within the bounds of its ceiling under the deal. For sure, OPEC has defied critics by maintaining extremely robust conformity with its quotas to date. But with oil prices nearing a new high of $80 several analysts believe compliance could slip if some OPEC members are tempted to overproduce to capture more revenue.

Nigeria’s current investment in JV stands at $7bn - NNPC HARRISON EDEH, Abuja

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igeria’s joint venture (JV) investment in the oil and gas sector is currently put at $7 billion annually, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says. Minister of state for petroleum, Emmanuel Ibeh Kachikwu, maintains that the corporation needs to attract $100 billion worth of investments to enable it create the needed impact into the Nigerian economy. But a report presented by the corporation at the recent stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on oil sector validation, the NNPC states that it manages 14 JVs for the country. It stated that 12 of the partnerships were actively producing, while two were green-field investments that would mature next year. Mele Kyari, group general manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, NNPC, explained in the report that it was the duty of the corporation to manage the country’s interests in the oil and gas industry. On Nigeria’s investment profile, the NNPC manages all upstream investments on behalf of the state, he said, adding that these include

14 JVs, nine Production Sharing Contracts and one Service Contract. For the JVs, Kyari said, “Out of the 14 JV partnership, 12 (five international oil companies and seven indigenous companies) are actively producing, while two are green-field investment to be matured by 2019. The quantum of government investment in JV is about $7 billion per annum.” In JVs, the Joint Operating Agreements (JOA) is the basic, standard agreement between the NNPC and the operators. The JOA sets the guidelines/modalities for running the operations and is different from the memorandum of understanding. While it contains the basic understanding on the JV, the MoU is a response to the specifics of fiscal incentives. In JVs, one of the partners is designated the operator. The NNPC said it reserved the right to become an operator, as all parties were to share in the cost of operations. Each partner can lift and separately dispose its interest share of production subject to the payment of Petroleum Profit Tax and Royalty. The operator is the one to prepare proposals for programme of work and budget of expenditure joint on an annual basis, which shall be shared on share holding basis.

NDDC chairman boosts UNICAL, wants increased funding for universities IGNATIUS CHUKWU

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L-R: Olubunmi Oguntuyi, secretary general, ICC Nigeria; Dimiri Dike, chief risk officer, Heritage Bank plc; Omolara Akanji, vice chairman, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Banking Commission; Raymond Ihyembe, chairman, ICC, Nigeria Banking Commission, and Nneka Oshobi, head, international services, during the Banking Techniques and practice meeting, hosted by Heritage Bank plc at its office, in Lagos.

Osinbajo seeks greater funding to tackle corruption in Africa TONY AILEMEN, Abuja

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ice President Yemi Osinbajo Monday charged African leaders on the need for effective funding of anti-corruption agencies, if the continent must tackle the corruption menace effectively. Osinbajo spoke at the Eeighth Annual General Meeting and Conference for Heads of Anticorruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa, in Abuja. “I call on governments of African States to more actively provide funding for anti corruption agencies. The fight against corruption is far more sophisticated, vicious and nuanced than ever before. In many of our countries it is in the nature of State Capture, where the strongest

arms of the polity is the corrupt superstructure represented in the formal and informal structures of the state and society. “So, when Corruption fights back in such systems the courage and commitment of agency operatives is not enough. We must provide adequate resources to investigate, adequately equip operatives, protect their families, protect whistleblowers and witnesses,” he said Osinbajo, while also seeking greater partnerships among countries in tackling corruption on asset recovery and returns, noted that fighting corruption was futile without ensuring that the proceeds of corruption do not find safe haven. According to Osinbajo, the proceeds from corruption must be fully recovered and promptly

repatriated to make the fight against corruption more meaningful, adding, “Recovering stolen assets not only accomplishes the goal of restitution, it also serves as a potential deterrent to future corruption.” Article 51 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption states unequivocally that return of assets is a fundamental principle of the Convention, and mandates States Parties to afford one another the widest measure of cooperation and assistance in this regard. Similarly, Article 16(1)(c) of the African Union Convention for Preventing and Combating Corruption obligates States Parties to adopt such legislative measures as to enable repatriation of proceeds of corruption. The Vice President sees the

effective implementation of these Conventions as depending to a considerable extent on the willingness, cooperation and the assistance of States in the areas of mutual legal assistance (MLA), law enforcement cooperation, asset recovery and return, and technical assistance. “Regrettably, the procedures to obtain Mutual Legal Assistance to seize, confiscate and repatriate proceeds of corruption are often complex and problematic, and in urgent need of reform. “The absence of a legal basis for cooperation in some countries, differences in legal and procedural frameworks, language barriers, bank secrecy, jurisdictional issues, a lack of funding – are some of the obstacles standing in the way of effective mutual legal assistance”

hairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board, Victor Ndoma-Egba, has emphasised the need for adequate funding of university education in the country. Ndoma-Egba, who spoke during the 31st convocation ceremony of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), lamented that funding constraints had hindered education in Nigeria, stating that many public universities were in various stages of decay on account of poor funding. He observed that funding of universities had consistently fallen short of the 26 percent of the total national budget recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). He regretted that between 2003 and 2014, education funding had fluctuated between 8.2 percent and 10 percent, a situation he described as dissatisfactory. He said that as we move into the future, education must be visionary and innovative. “We must not just fund education. It must be funded adequately as it remains the bedrock of our future,” he declared. Ndoma-Egba noted that between 1980 and 2017, the number of recognised universities in the country grew from 16 to 152, adding that “for the first part of the growth, higher education capacity building was primarily in the public sector, driven by federal and state governments. By late 1990s,

the Federal Government had liberalised and encouraged the setting up of private universities. This resulted in a dramatic growth in the number of private universities.” “As at 2017, private universities constituted about 45 per cent of all Nigerian universities, growing from three in 1999 to 68 in 2007. About two-thirds of these private universities were affiliated to religious organisations.” The NNDC chairman was conferred with Doctor of Laws, (Honoris Causa). Other awardees were the Emir of Borgu Kingdom (Niger State), Muhammad Sani Haliru Kitoro, who was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration, and the late chief, Michael Archibong, who was given a posthumous honorary doctorate degree. The NDDC chairman, who responded on behalf of the awardees, expressed gratitude to the university authorities for finding them worthy of the honour. He declared: “While we celebrate excellence, it is also an opportunity to reflect on certain issues of the moment, one of which is the state of education in our country.” He assured the authorities of UNICAL that the three beneficiaries of the honorary doctorate degrees would continue to contribute to the growth and development of the university to ensure that it was able to prepare its students for the future. He also pledged to step up his sponsorship of the Faculty of Law building in the university, declaring: “It will be completed, furnished and provided with a state-of-the-art E-library.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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FINANCIAL TIMES Eurozone bonds fall as ECB policymaker points to move on rates

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Anbang: the downfall of China’s global dealmaker Page A4

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World Business Newspaper

UK ‘held to ransom’ by hard Brexit demands, says David Miliband Former foreign secretary returns to political fray to join cross-party campaign GEORGE PARKER

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av i d Mi l i b a n d , former Labour foreign secretary, returned to the British political fray on Monday to join a cross-party campaign for a soft Brexit. “Britain is being held to ransom by demands for a hard Brexit, severing links with the customs union and single market,” Mr Miliband told Radio 4’s Today programme. Mr Miliband will share a platform with Nick Clegg, former Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, and Nicky Morgan, Tory chair of the Commons treasury committee, calling for Britain to retain very close ties to the EU. He said that his own party should back a House of Lords amendment calling for Britain to stay in the single market — a policy opposed by Labour leader

Jeremy Corbyn. “Jeremy Corbyn has to be careful not to be the midwife to a hard Brexit,” said Mr Miliband, who has run an international aid charity in New York since losing the Labour leadership contest to his brother Ed in 2010. Tor y Remainers, Labour moderates, SNP members and Liberal Democrats are all working behind the scenes to try to assemble a parliamentary majority for a soft Brexit, taking control over the exit process from a fractured cabinet. Mr Miliband is sometimes spoken about as potentially a key figure in a new centre party in British politics, although he played down the idea on Monday. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, urged Eurosceptic cabinet ministers to back Theresa May over her plans to leave the EU and to air their differences in private.

ZTE reprieve paves way for next round of US-China trade talks Beijing confirms vice-premier’s DC visit after Trump U-turn on telecoms group TOM MITCHELL, SHERRY FEI JU, AND SHAWN DONNAN

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S P re s i d e n t D o n a l d Trump’s surprise reprieve for ZTE Corp has paved the way for a Chinese delegation’s arrival in Washington for at least three days of talks aimed at averting a trade war, according to people briefed on the discussions. China’s foreign ministry confirmed on Monday that vicepremier Liu He would travel to Washington on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Mr Trump ordered his commerce department to help the Chinese telecommunications company “get back into business, fast”. Shenzhen-based ZTE said last week that it would cease operations after the Trump administration hit it with crippling sanctions for allegedly violating the terms of an earlier settlement over its business operations in Iran. “We greatly appreciate the positive attitude from the US side towards the issue relating to ZTE,” said Lu Kang, chief spokesman for

China’s foreign ministry. Mr Lu said the vice-premier would meet a US delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is believed to be more amenable to a trade settlement than administration “China hawks” such as trade representative Robert Lighthizer and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. One person close to the negotiations echoed fears in the US business community that Mr Trump might be tempted to accept a deal that reduced China’s $337bn trade surplus with the US but did not address more structural issues, such as market access and technology transfers to Chinese joint venture partners. “The capitulation has begun,” the person said. Two other people briefed on the Sino-US trade talks — begun after Washington and Beijing in April threatened to impose punitive tariffs on $100bn worth of bilateral trade — said Mr Trump’s climbdown on ZTE would give China’s Xi Jinping room to offer Continues on page A2

David Miliband said that the Labour party’s leader ‘has to be careful not to be the midwife to a hard Brexit’ © Reuters

Harvard and MIT launch gene editing company Group aiming to commercialise Crispr tool secures $87m initial venture capital funding CLIVE COOKSON

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US start-up has joined the race to commercialise Crispr, the gene editing tool that is transforming biotechnology. Pioneers of the field at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have launched Beam Therapeutics with $87m initial venture capital funding. Beam is the first business to use “base editing”, a technique developed by the company’s co-founders, David Liu and Feng Zhang, to treat disease. The series A financing is led by F-Prime Capital Partners and Arch Venture Partners. Crispr previously required scientists to cut DNA, delete or insert genes and then repair the break. The new technology can change individual bases, the chemical “letters” of genetic code, without cutting. It is like moving from scissors-and-paste to editing text with a sharp pencil.

In addition to licensing base editing technology from Prof Liu’s lab at Harvard for human therapeutics, Beam will exploit a separate discovery by Dr Zhang and colleagues at the Broad Institute, a joint research centre of Harvard and MIT. This extends base editing from DNA, which permanently stores genetic information, to RNA, the related molecule that puts the genome to work by translating its genetic information into protein. RNA editing is like correcting text with temporary ink that soon disappears rather than making indelible marks. “The two technologies are complementary,” said Prof Liu. “For some acute applications [such as severe inflammation] you might want to make transient changes and then RNA editing would be appropriate. For others, such as correcting an inherited disease, you might want a permanent change through DNA base editing.” Tens of thousands of “point muta-

tions” — changes in just one of the 3bn DNA letters that make up the human genome — are known to be associated with disease. These could in principle be corrected through base editing. They include neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases, blood disorders and vision or hearing loss. Beam has launched with 15 fulltime researchers in a temporary lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and expects to expand quickly when it moves into permanent premises. “It is too early for us to disclose the specific diseases on which we are working or to comment on our timeline to the clinic,” said Prof Liu. Several other gene editing companies and university groups hope to begin clinical trials in patients this year, working with other versions of Crispr. One is Editas Medicine, set up in 2013 with Dr Zhang and Prof Liu as co-founders; it has a licensing and option agreement with Beam.

Mahathir steps up action over Malaysia’s 1MDB fund Anti-corruption watchdog head quits and attorney-general placed on leave by new PM HARRY JACQUES

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he head of Malaysia’s anti-corruption watchdog resigned and the country’s attorney-general was placed on leave on Monday as new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad moved to step up the investigation into allegations of corruption at the multibillion-dollar 1MDB fund. The government on Monday accepted the resignation of Dzulkifli Ahmad as head of the Malaysian AntiCorruption Commission (MACC), while attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali was put on leave. “There have been a lot of complaints against the AG but no formal report,” said Mr Mahathir. “On that basis we give him a holiday.” Mr Mahathir’s coalition last week won a stunning election victory over that of his rival Najib Razak, partly on a platform of investigating how billions of dollars were lost from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the south-east Asian nation’s sovereign wealth fund. The US Department of Justice has said that more than $4.5bn was misappro-

priated from the fund. Mr Dzulkifli had been appointed by Mr Najib as head of the anti-corruption commission in 2016 after the previous incumbent quit. Mr Apandi had the same year cleared Mr Najib of wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB. Almost $700m was paid to Mr Najib’s bank account — cash that the former prime minister said was a gift from Saudi royalty. Mr Najib has always denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB. Neither Mr Dzulkifli nor Mr Apandi commented publicly on Monday. Mr Najib was over the weekend banned from leaving the country, and Mr Mahathir reiterated he would launch a new investigation in relation to 1MDB. Senior figures in the PH have previously said a task force or special corruption tsar could be established to probe corruption in the country. “Mahathir is a man in a hurry and he has promised the electorate he will reform as soon as he can,” said Chua Tian Chang, vice-president of the People’s Justice party, part of the PH

coalition. “I think within weeks you will see new appointments. But institutional reform including amendments to the laws to bring in checks and balances will probably take a bit of time.” “I have to get proper reports before I act,” Mr Mahathir said on Monday. “I can’t just suspend any officer I like. I have to do things according to the rules and procedures.” “We can’t do a royal commission until we have some concrete charges,” he said. Mr Mahathir’s election manifesto said the MACC was the “most important agency to fight corruption in Malaysia” and outlined plans for wider institutional reform. It pledged to draw new MACC commissioners from civil society groups and have the commission report to parliament, rather than prime minister. “Change is happening now with the new government,” said Cynthia Gabriel, director of the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, a Malaysian anti-graft watchdog. “There is a lot of anticipation about what is going to happen next.”


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Aurora Cannabis strikes $2.5bn deal for rival weed group MedReleaf Deal comes ahead of Canadian legalisation of pot in July ERIC PLATT AND JAMES FONTANELLA-

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edical marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis has struck a $2.5bn (C$3.2bn) deal to buy rival MedReleaf, a move that will give the Canadian group a larger production footprint as it plots its expansion at a time when more governments around the globe are legalising recreational

pot use. The all-stock deal valued shares of MedReleaf at roughly C$29.44, an 18 per cent premium to the company’s closing stock price on Friday. Aurora will own 61 per cent of the combined company, with shareholders of MedReleaf holding the remaining stake. “Our complementary assets, strategic synergies, and strong market

positioning will provide us with critical mass and an excellent product portfolio in preparation for the adult consumer use market in Canada,” said Terry Booth, chief executive of Aurora. “Equally, the combination strengthens our capacity to service the rapidly expanding global medical cannabis markets.” Aurora, which said the deal would

give it production capacity of 570,000 kilogrammes of marijuana a year, has been on a buying frenzy ahead of the legalisation of recreational marijuana in Canada in July. Medical cannabis has been legal since 2013. Cannabis has been legalised in 21 countries for medical use, including Australia, Colombia and Germany, while a number of national govern-

At least 37 Palestinians killed in Gaza protests

ZTE reprieve paves way for next round of US... Continued from page A1

trade concessions while avoiding a dispute with Beijing before the US president’s June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “The US is keen to reduce tensions in the run-up to the summit with Kim, giving the Chinese what they saw as an opening [on ZTE],” one of the people said. “China gets to save face. They are willing to make progress [on the trade talks] as long as they don’t have to capitulate completely.” Mr Trump’s tweet on ZTE, which added that “too many jobs in China [would be] lost”, was all the more surprising given the stringent demands made by US trade negotiators in Beijing earlier this month. While Washington’s basic negotiating position was spelt out in a document leaked online, people briefed on a still-unpublished annexe said Mr Trump’s team had also demanded that Beijing allow foreign investment in computing companies and repeal a controversial cyber security law. Chinese analysts welcomed Mr Trump’s comments, which they said showed that the two sides could negotiate a compromise despite initial demands that Beijing would never agree to, such as abandoning its Made in China 2025 industrial development policy. “Trump clearly knows China will never agree to US demands that concern its core interests,” said Wang Chong, an expert on Sino-US relations with the Charhar Institute, a Beijing-based think-tank. “It’s more of a bargaining and negotiation strategy [by Mr Trump]. Liu He is going to Washington to tell the US what he can offer.” The Global Times, a Chinese nationalist tabloid newspaper, said that, “President Trump’s decision [on ZTE] couldn’t have arrived at a better time . . . We expect President Trump to follow through with his Twitter announcement quickly.” Jonas Short, head of policy research at Everbright Sun Hung Kai in Beijing, said: “Even if there is little prospect of a near-term grand bargain on trade, [negotiations are] preferable to another intensification in trade frictions. “We think cooler heads will prevail in preventing the situation getting out of control.”

ments are debating whether to legalise or decriminalise recreational use of pot. In the US, medicinal marijuana has been legalised in more than half the country, as states and local governments look to pot as a way to bolster tax receipts. Nearly two-thirds of Americans now support its legalisation, according to Gallup, although it is still illegal under US federal law.

Israeli forces open fire at demonstrators as US prepares to inaugurate embassy in Jerusalem

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Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini. Five Star and the League have vowed to upend Italy’s traditional political class and transform its relationship with the EU © Getty

Italy’s populist parties set to pick prime minister Five Star and League expected to put forward their candidate later today JAMES POLITI

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taly’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the farright League are set to pick a prime minister to lead their populist coalition after at the weekend reaching a tentative agreement on a common platform to govern the eurozone’s third-largest economy. Luigi Di Maio, the 31-year-old Five Star leader, and Matteo Salvini, the 45-year-old head of the League, who both stunned Italy’s political establishment by scoring huge gains in a general election in March, are due to meet on Monday to finalise a compromise candidate to lead their alliance in government. They are then expected to be summoned to the offices of Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president, who would appoint the new prime minister. The choice of prime minister emerged as the main sticking point between Five Star and the League over the weekend, as Mr Di Maio and Mr Salvini and key aides huddled in Milan to hatch a plan to govern the country. If they can agree — and Mr Mattarella approves the choice — it would pave the way for huge political change in the country. Five Star and the League have vowed to upend Italy’s traditional political class and transform its relationship with the EU amid mounting Euroscepticism in a country that has struggled to keep pace with the eurozone recovery and faced a migration crisis on its southern shores in recent years. A populist government in Rome

could make it more difficult for EU leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, who are in favour of further integration of the eurozone, to seal new trade deals, and forge common foreign policy positions vis-à-vis Russia and the US. Over the course of the weekend, Five Star and League negotiators thrashed out a tentative deal on a common agenda merging campaign promises to cut taxes, boost spending, and crack down on immigration. In a brief phone call to Mr Mattarella’s office on Sunday night, Mr Di Maio said the pair were ready to “report back on everything” on Monday, though another negotiating session with Mr Salvini ensued overnight. “Obviously we are writing history and it takes a bit of time,” Mr Di Maio said after the first of two meetings with Mr Salvini on Sunday. “There’s an excellent climate at the table, we are tackling very important issues.” Gian Marco Centinaio, one of the negotiators on the League side and a senior lawmaker, said a deal on the platform had been reached, barring “a few commas”. Five Star and the League, who were rivals in the run-up to the election, did not begin serious negotiations to govern together until last week, when Mr Mattarella called for a caretaker government to be installed ahead of new elections. The combination of their plans to cut taxes and raise spending has triggered alarm bells about the country’s fiscal discipline, since

Italy already suffers from one of the eurozone’s highest debt burdens in proportion to economic output. In a thinly veiled warning to Mr Di Maio and Mr Salvini, Mr Mattarella, who will be the gatekeeper of the new government, reminded the two parties in a speech on Saturday that he had the power to strike down laws that he believed to be inconsistent with the constitution, including those that boosted spending without offsetting budget cuts. Mr Mattarella also noted that he had the final word on the new prime minister and the rest of the cabinet. Even if Mr Di Maio and Mr Salvini can on Monday agree on a joint prime minister, a few more steps will be needed before the new populist government in Rome can be fully installed. Every minister would have to be selected, and sworn in, before a confidence vote in Italy’s two houses of parliament, as early as next week. Five Star has also pledged to put its “contract” with the League to an online vote among its members, introducing some uncertainty about the latest accord. Since the March election, when Five Star won 32 per cent of the vote, and the League won 17 per cent, polls have shown both parties gaining popularity, even amid a protracted stalemate on forming a government in Rome. The incumbent centre-left Democratic party, and the centre-right Forza Italia party led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, will be in opposition against a Five StarLeague government.

sraeli forces shot and killed at least 37 people along its border fence with Gaza on Monday, according to the Palestinian authorities, as tens of thousands protested against the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem. More than 1,000 people were wounded, the Gaza health ministry said, as Israel deployed two extra brigades to join at least 100 snipers and other troops along the frontier with the strip. Some Palestinians burnt tyres and threw rocks as protesters marched towards the fence. The death toll, if confirmed, would make it the deadliest in a single day since the Hamas-led protests began in March in the build-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. More than 40 Palestinians had been killed in the demonstrations before they escalated on Monday. The Israeli military said those who were shot posed immediate threats to its security. No Israeli soldier or civilian has been wounded since the protests began in the impoverished. hemmed-in strip. Israel has fought three wars with Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, in the past decade. The Trump administration decided to open the new US embassy in Jerusalem on the day of Israel’s 70th anniversary despite warnings that it would inflame Palestinian anger at the contentious move. President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner and US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to join hundreds of dignitaries at the unveiling of a plaque near the existing consulate in Jerusalem. Mr Trump will speak via video at the ceremony, lauded in Israel as the fulfilment of a long-held desire for Jerusalem to be recognised as the Jewish nation’s capital by its most powerful ally. Mr Trump’s decision this year to recognise Jersualem as the capital of Israel reversed decades of US policy and drew criticism from Europe and Washington’s main Arab allies. The status of the holy city is one of the most contested issues in the IsraeliPalestinian peace process, and critics of Mr Trump’s say it undermines the US’s role as the Middle East’s broker and dashes hopes of a twostate solution. In a tweet in which he promoted live coverage of the inauguration, Mr Trump said: “A great day for Israel”. The Palestinian leadership has called for a boycott of the embassy opening and severing all official contact with Washington.


Tuesday 15 May 2018

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FINANCIAL TIMES

COMPANIES & MARKETS

@ FINANCIAL TIMES LIMITED

Eurozone bonds fall as ECB policymaker points to move on rates Bank of France governor says guidance on eurozone rate rise to follow the end of QE MICHAEL HUNTER AND EDWARD WHITE

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hat you need to know • Wall St’s S&P 500 up 0.4%, building on its biggest weekly rise in 2 months • Xerox shares down 8.7% after it calls off $6.1bn sale to Fujifilm • Argentine peso weakens 7% in early trade to a new record low • Comments from François Villeroy de Galhau precede bond sell-off and euro rally • Investors track Italian coalition talks, Milan’s FTSE MIB outperforms peers • Dollar continues to drift from highs • Oil prices pick back up “François Villeroy de Galhau sounded rather hawkish and, therefore, positive for the euro,” says Koon Chow, strategist at UBP. “He indicated that after the end of economic stimulus, we could get a rate hike not years into the future but just quarters. That suggests to me that action could come before the current consensus expectations of end 2019.” Hot topic Comments from a senior ECB

official pointing to the end of stimulus spending and fresh guidance on the timing of a eurozone rate rise are drawing investors out of eurozone bonds, especially on the periphery of the currency area. François Villeroy de Galhau, France’s top central banker, said that guidance on the timing of the eurozone’s first rate rise could come before the end of its stimulus spending, which is currently due to run until at least September. The hawkish signal has been enough to prompt selling of sovereign debt across the eurozone. It has also helped the euro, with the shared currency up 0.3 per cent at $1.1978, taking it up by more than 1 per cent from its May 9 nadir for 2018 and to its highest level in six sessions. Spain’s benchmark 10-year yield is up 4 basis points at 1.32 per cent. Italian 10-year bond yields are up 3bp at 1.91 per cent. Investors are also tracking coalition talks between Italy’s two main populist and Eurosceptic parties, which are serving as a reminder of political risk and limiting demand for stocks.

EU motors ahead with rules for self-driving cars Bid to catch up with China and US and become world leader in autonomous vehicles PETER CAMPBELL

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he EU will draw up rules to govern self-driving cars in an effort to catch up with China and the US, the commission’s transport head will say on Tuesday. Transport commissioner Violeta Bulc will tell the Financial Times’ Future of the Car Summit in London that a new suite of announcements aims “to make Europe a world leader for autonomous mobility systems”. The measures, which will be unveiled in full on Thursday by the commission, will include €450m of investment into road and telecoms networks needed to support driverless cars, and a new collaboration between the EU, member countries and industry to draw up rules applying to the vehicles, she will say. The EU will also create a team of ethical experts to devise answers to some of the questions facing autonomous vehicle programmers, such as how cars should behave in an accident. The two-day FT conference will also include speeches from UK business secretary Greg Clark, BMW executive Ian Robertson and, on Wednesday, Volvo Cars chief executive Hakan Samuelsson. Governments across the world are drawing up rules that will govern how self-driving vehicles operate, in anticipation of the technology that is

expected to disrupt businesses and transport over the coming decades. Car manufacturers such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford, and technology groups such as Waymo plan to have their self-driving technology on the roads within the coming years. GM wants to have a fleet of robotaxis ready as early as next year, while Waymo has promised its own driverless service will begin full operation in the coming months. Both China and the US are planning rules that will allow driverless cars to operate across their countries, moving freely between provinces or states. Despite several EU nations such as Germany and the UK moving to introduce rules to allow self-driving cars on the roads, there is currently no EU-wide framework on rules for autonomous vehicles. Rules allowing vehicles to travel across borders autonomously is crucial for deploying the technology into sectors such as haulage that depend on long road journeys through several countries. Ms Bulc will announce a “new partnership involving industry, member states and the commission to ensure a consolidated approach towards research and pre-deployment”. The move is an important step towards drawing up rules that apply to all of its nations.

WPP shareholder adviser raises transparency concerns Advertising group faces fraught AGM over lack of detail on Martin Sorrell’s departure ATTRACTA MOONEY

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dvertising giant WPP faces a fraught annual meeting next month as investors and shareholder advisers grow increasingly frustrated over the lack of information about the abrupt departure of founder and long-time leader Martin Sorrell. Mr Sorrell quit the company in April, just weeks after the board launched an investigation into an allegation of personal misconduct, which he denies. WPP has not provided details of the investigation, other than to say it did “not involve amounts which are material to WPP”. Despite disappointing results and share price falls in the past 18 months, WPP said it would treat his departure as a retirement and pay Sir Martin almost £14m for 2017. Glass Lewis, the advisory company whose recommendations influence votes at annual meetings, has called on shareholders to vote against the company’s pay report, saying: “Absent further information regarding Sir Martin’s retirement, we believe shareholders are unable to determine the extent to which

he should be treated as a good leaver.” “The results of the investigation, or indeed the exact nature of the allegations, to date remain unknown. Many, including Glass Lewis, believe that transparency in these matters is key,” it added. Glass Lewis also recommended shareholders do not support the reelection of chairman Roberto Quarta because of succession planning concerns: Sir Martin is leaving after three decades in the business and a successor has not yet been named. The nomination committee — which nominates board members “has failed to adequately prepare for the replacement of Sir Martin”, said Glass Lewis. Several large shareholders have also voiced concerns about the board’s lack of disclosure of the investigation. “[The finding of the investigation] has to come out. If you are going to make a fresh start, you can’t just brush it under the carpet. The rumour mill is working overtime. If there have been issues, it is important that the company shows it recognises what has gone wrong and ensures that it won’t happen

again,” said a shareholder. Another shareholder said that depending on the nature of the allegation, it should be made public. WPP said its board followed “due process on receipt of the personal misconduct allegation by appointing counsel to conduct an independent investigation”. It added that because Sir Martin resigned on conclusion of the investigation, he was entitled to his proportion of the long-term incentive scheme up until his retirement date in April, under the terms of his contract. “Succession as planned in the event of a sudden requirement has been implemented with the appointment of the two joint [chief operating officers], pending selection of the successor CEO from both external and internal candidates,” WPP added. WPP has had a challenging 18 months as brands have cut their advertising spending. Sir Martin’s pay fell from £70m in 2015 to £14m in 2017, as WPP’s performance worsened. But the former chief executive was set to leave WPP with share awards worth about £20m.

TPG’s Rise Fund makes its first Africa investment Deal for $47.5m stake in Cellulant is largest in an Africa-dedicated fintech group JOHN AGLIONBY

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he Rise Fund, the impact fund run by private equity group TPG Growth, has made its first investment in Africa, leading a $47.5m deal to buy an unspecified stake in digital payments provider Cellulant. The deal, which also included Endeavour Catalyst and Satya Capital, is the largest involving a fintech company that does business only in Africa, according to the Rise Fund. “Much of the [fintech investment] activity in recent times in Africa has been specifically in the consumer lending space,” said Yemi Lalude, TPG’s managing partner for Africa. “This is different from that. What Cellulant has is a payment platform that enables people who have not had access to financial payments to get access in a way that is transparent.” Cellulant was founded in 2004 with operations in Kenya and Nigeria. It now works in 11 countries

with 94 banks and seven mobile money platforms that have a combined potential customer base of 130m. It focuses on facilitating mobile payments and ecommerce. Ken Njoroge, Cellulant cofounder and chief executive, said the new capital would be used to scale up the company’s operations and expand into two more countries this year. “The payment market on the continent is [worth] anywhere between $20bn and $40bn over the next couple of years while all of the fintech players in the market [currently] collectively generate a little shy of $2bn,” he said. Mr Lalude said TPG’s investments were “usually up to seven years, and this would be similar to that”. TPG formed the Rise Fund last year, attracting some $2bn in capital. It aims to be “committed to achieving measurable, positive social and environmental outcomes” while delivering “competitive financial returns”. Its board mem-

bers include entrepreneur Richard Branson, singer Bono and Jeffrey Skoll, the first president of online auction website eBay. Mr Lalude said one of the attractions of Cellulant for the Rise Fund was that many of its 40m customers had no access to formal financial services before they started using Cellulant products and services. Aly-Khan Satchu, a Nairobibased investment adviser, said he was not surprised Cellulant had attracted the attention of a major private equity group, noting that Mr Njoroge had “built a successful business, grown it organically and delivered for big corporates across the continent”. Cellulant’s existing shareholders include Velocity Capital Private Equity, Progression Capital Africa Limited and TBL Mirror Fund. Magister Advisors acted as transaction advisers to Cellulant while Orrick and KPMG provided advised The Rise Fund.


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ANALYSIS Can Paul Jacobs pull off the biggest buyout in history? Qualcomm’s former chairman is trying to find backers for a $100bn bid for chipmaker ERIC PLATT, ANDREW EDGECLIFFEJOHNSON AND JAMES FONTANELLA-KHAN

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Anbang: the downfall of China’s global dealmaker Prison sentence for Wu Xiaohui is a cautionary tale about Beijing’s control of business HENNY SENDER AND DON WEINLAND

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he Wu Xiaohui who appeared in a Shanghai court in late March on fraud and embezzlement charges was a far cry from the man who rapidly turned a modest provincial car insurance business into an investment conglomerate with Rmb2tn ($316bn) in assets. Tie-less and wearing a rumpled suit, the founder of Anbang “expressed deep self-reflection, understanding of and regret for the crimes and expressed deep remorse”, according to a post on the court’s social media account. But to no avail. On Thursday, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The contrast could not have been more striking with the confident magnate who received visitors into the night in the Royal Suite of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, which Anbang owned. Wearing bespoke suits and European designer ties, he would peel off gifts from a gilt tray to present to petitioners and then jet away in his private plane to give a speech at Harvard or inspect a potential acquisition in Europe. At the time of his detention in February, Anbang controlled 58 companies directly or indirectly. As well as New York hotels, its holdings included rescue financings of troubled European financial institutions, control of a South Korean insurer and substantial equity stakes in about 20 major listed companies in China. Wu, who married into the family of Deng Xiaoping, the country’s former leader, also boasted political contacts outside China including Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, who he met shortly after the 2016 US presidential election. When police arrived at his head office in Beijing almost a year ago to detain him, Wu initially tried to resist arrest, according to a senior employee of the group. That act of defiance belied the fact that the writing was already on the wall for the owner of a group that had grown so fast in such a short period of time. For months regulators had referred to Wu as a criminal in meetings and conference calls with Anbang staff. But more importantly, Wu had also incurred the enmity of the Communist party of China itself. Amid the anti-graft campaign that President Xi Jinping has conducted over the past five years, it is Wu who

has become the face of corruption. While other high-profile companies have been discouraged from doing overseas deals, such as Dalian Wanda and HNA, none has received the punishment now facing Wu. Regulators seized control of the Anbang group in February and many of the businesses that he acquired now stand in disarray. At a time when the ruling Communist party is re-inserting itself into more areas of the Chinese economy, the downfall of Mr Wu is the most striking tale of a private company that grew too big and challenged powerful vested interests. The public humiliation of Wu is a cautionary tale, an illustration of the party’s determination to impose its will, especially on companies it fears might threaten the stability of the financial system with aggressive risk-taking. “When you had freewheeling growth like you did under [former leader] Hu Jintao, then the atmosphere was commercially relaxed and non-state and state companies just grew, handed out goodies to their patronage network and never worried much about non-compliance and cutting corners,” says Kerry Brown, the director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College in London and a former British diplomat. “The Xi era is tighter — tighter in terms of lower growth, tighter politics . . . and there is simply less space for these companies to do as they please. They are under a much tighter political leash now. They serve and obey or they get punished.” At the time when Wu was assembling his business empire, he could consider himself one of the most politically connected businesspeople in China. His third marriage was to the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping and he also had the backing of another prominent princeling, Chen Xiaolu — the son of Marshal Chen Yi, a Communist hero in the civil war — who was an early member of the Anbang board. “Bad people did bad things precisely because of their perceived backing,” says the head of one investment firm and prominent party member. However, that protection gradually disappeared. The Deng family had long since turned on him, considering him unfaithful to his wife, who has lived apart from him for years, according to numerous bankers, investors and party officials with close ties to the Dengs. Chen died the

same week as the charges against Wu were announced. He also had powerful enemies, including Wang Qishan, the powerful anti-corruption head and close associate of Mr Xi, who was recently appointed vice-president. The news that regulators were looking into Anbang was first reported in 2016 in Caixin, a Beijing-based magazine whose founder Hu Shuli is considered to be close to Mr Wang. At that time, Mr Wu told the Financial Times that Ms Hu’s “biggest backer is my biggest enemy”. The charges that Wu was convicted of relate to the way the finances of the group were managed, including the shifting of billions of dollars of funds between different entities that he allegedly oversaw. His sister, who was officially head of Anbang Hong Kong, has also been detained. Prosecutors accused Wu of using “false material” in 2011 to get regulatory approval to sell insurance products. They also said that he had oversold Rmb724bn of insurance products and had diverted Rmb65bn to another company he controlled, which he had partly used for “lavish personal spending”. In addition, Wu was accused of using the proceeds from insurance sales to inject capital back into Anbang in order to give the impression that the company was more financially stable than it was in reality. Analysts say Anbang was bound to attract the attention of Chinese regulators because of the nature of its business model. The group relied on issuing wealth management products for its funding. These risky investments were sold to ordinary people seeking higher returns than they could get from bank deposits. Given the nature of the investors, the Chinese authorities worried that any failure to pay out on the products could lead to social friction. At the same time, the group took huge risks on how it invested the funds. Two months before Wu was detained, the company had 19 per cent of its long-term investments in stocks, presenting a high level of risk should the market be hit by a downturn. Most insurance companies in China have less than 5 per cent of their assets invested in the stock market. Another 19 per cent was invested in redeemable short-term loans provided through trusts, an opaque area of shadow banking in China in which risk is almost impossible to assess with available public information.

merica’s top dealmakers were sitting in the Waldorf Astoria in New Orleans in March when word first circulated that Paul Jacobs was considering a bid to take Qualcomm private. The idea raised quite a chuckle among the bankers and lawyers in attendance there for the Tulane Corporate Law Institute conference. Mr Jacobs is the former chairman and chief executive of Qualcomm, son of its founder and an electrical engineer with dozens of patents to his name, giving him credibility in a company that has played a critical if backstage role in the smartphone revolution.

US leveraged buyouts this year are the lowest since 2007, Dealogic data show. Using the 2018 average — a 15 per cent premium to the stock price over the month before a deal — a Qualcomm buyout might be pitched as low as $60.50 a share. Even at that low end, Mr Jacobs would need to rustle up $90bn in new debt and equity, as well as be able to support Qualcomm’s existing $23bn debt load. To match Broadcom’s $79 a share, he would need to rustle up $117bn. Can the debt market handle the deal? Broadcom convinced 12 lenders — including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — to commit $100bn to its takeover effort. Mr Jacobs’ bankers have begun to test the

Paul Jacobs was removed as chairman of Qualcomm’s board of directors in March © FT montage / Bloomberg

But the deal in question would be the largest leveraged buyout in history, requiring perhaps three times the $48bn raised by KKR, Goldman Sachs and TPG to take over Texas utility TXU (now called Energy Future Holdings) before the financial crisis. Mr Jacobs was pushed out of the chairmanship earlier this year as Qualcomm dealt with a $142bn hostile bid from rival chipmaker Broadcom, which was finally scuttled by US president Donald Trump on national security grounds in March. Since then, Mr Jacobs has hired two investment banks to try to cobble together lending commitments worth as much as $100bn to back a bid, according to people familiar with the matter. Although he has yet to approach the company with a formal proposal, some of those initially sceptical dealmakers appear to have warmed to Mr Jacobs’ chutzpah — but they have a few questions. What price will he have to pay? Broadcom’s failed bid, pitched at $79 a share, offered some indication of the price at which investors would entertain an offer. Qualcomm’s board held out for $90 a share but shareholders were voting overwhelmingly for the alternative directors Broadcom had nominated for election, according to reports at the time. That signalled a transaction could be had at a lower price — and is likely to encourage Mr Jacobs, not least because a bid from him should entail less regulatory risk and could be pitched lower. Shares in Qualcomm have not traded above $70 this year; the average Wall Street analyst is targeting a price of $62, according to Sentieo data. Meanwhile, the premiums private equity investors have paid on

market’s appetite for its own financing package, which would eventually be converted in bonds and loans. A syndicated bond sale for a Qualcomm buyout could near the record $49bn Verizon raised in 2013 to fund its acquisition of the part of Verizon Wireless it did not already own. A shortage of new debt issuance and generally upbeat economic conditions mean the near $9tn market for corporate bonds is at least open to large deals. Earlier this year, US drugstore chain CVS Health borrowed $40bn through a debt offering, the third largest corporate bond deal of all time. “A Qualcomm leveraged buyout could be financed today,” said Christopher Kilpatrick, a portfolio manager with Western Asset. But he added a note of scepticism: “It would have to be structured correctly and would require a large equity check. It’s not our base case.” Henry Peabody, a portfolio manager with Eaton Vance, said of a possible blockbuster bond sale: “A deal of this size would cause major indigestion.” “The [high yield] market would focus on nothing but that for a couple of weeks.” Can Qualcomm handle the debt? Much depends on whether Qualcomm’s $44bn bid for the Dutch chipmaker NXP is approved by Chinese regulators, because it determines how much Mr Jacobs would offer, as well as how much debt the company could support. Qualcomm earned more than $6.5bn before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in its last fiscal year, which ran to November 29. NXP reported ebitda of $4.3bn in 2017. Investors and bankers are debating how much debt that nearly $11bn of earnings can support.


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NEWS YOU CAN TRUST I TUESDAY 15 MAY 2018

Insight IMF reaffirms Nigeria’s economic growth projections at 2.1% in 2018

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he IMF, in its l a t e s t Wo r l d Economic Ou t l o o k , re affirmed its growth forecasts for Nigeria at 2.1 percent in 2018. According to the Fund, this growth will be driven by stronger oil price, stable production, and improved foreign exchange availability. On the other hand, global growth is expected to reach 3.9 percent in 2018, substantially above its October 2017 estimates of 3.7 percent. This increase is premised on output acceleration in advanced economies and a recovery of major commodity exporters. However, the downside risks include rising global debt, geopolitical tension, as well as monetary tightening among key economies. Global debt hit a record high of $164trn in 2016, representing 225 percent of the world’s output. Emerging markets, of which Nigeria is among, are recording historic highs of public debt. According to the DMO, Nigeria’s total debt stock in 2017 increased to approximately N21trn ($70bn). The cost of servicing this debt remains high at 63 percent as estimated by the IMF. Although the Fund did not include Nigeria in its schedule of heavily indebted countries, an increasing debt profile hinders the government’s ability to spend more when it really counts (in a recession or recovery phase), as compiled by Financial Derivatives, a Lagos-based research organisation. Rising public debt burden remains a key downside risk to the projected global growth, increasing the risk of debt distress. This is because a higher debt service cost will crowd out investments in capital project as debt servicing will dominate recurrent spending. However, to mitigate against this risk, the IMF recommends that tax bases of emerging countries should be broadened. This ranges from removing tax exemptions to improving the collection process and increasing the taxes such as VAT. While this point of view

has some merit, a country like Nigeria just exiting a recession, needs injections. Taxes are withdrawals and increasing the tax base at a time when growth should be stimulated through investments and increased government spending in capital projects may prove counterproductive. “We will recommend that the collection process is made more efficient and then widening the tax base (higher taxes rates VAT, etc) is staggered in order to avoid strangulating the economy of the much needed funds,” Financial Derivatives said in a report. The International Monetar y Fund (IMF ) says it is sees inflation levels for Nigeria and Angola, Africa’s two key large economies remain in double digits, even though commodity prices in the region could ebb slightly in 2018 through 2019. N i g e r i a’s i n f l a t i o n eased to 13.34 percent in March 2018-the fourteenth consecutive deceleration since January 2017, raising the hope that the numbers which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continue to watch could ebb to the 6-9 percent target range by year end. But the fund said the uptick in inflation expectations for the two countries would reflect the pass-through effects of currency depreciation for Angola and supply factors, and assumed monetary policy accommo-

dation to support fiscal policy for Nigeria. The IMF had ealrier in the year commended what it called the CBN’s tightening bias” in 2017, and expects such stance to be sustained until inflation abates to the single digit target range. The CBN left benchmark rates unchanged for the ninth straight time, citing inflation concerns. In its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO), the Fund also retained its earlier growth forecast

foreign exchange availability and recovering oil production. The IMF is particularly concerned that the Nigeria’s economy remains vulnerable despite gradual exit from recession as growth still remains largely driven by the by oil revenues and gains from agriculture. The economy expanded with an estimated 1.92 percent in the third quarter of 2017 and 0.83 percent in the entire year, but the IMF is worried that

Each national government can do much on its own to promote stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive growth. Multilateral cooperation remains essential, however, to address a range of challenges in addition to the governance of world trade for the Nigerian economy at 2.1 percent in 2018, up from 0.8 percent last year. It said the expected improvement in growth would be helped by improvements in oil production and prices as well as full year impact of greater

the improvements were yet to boost non-oil, nonagricultural activity. In the latest WEO released at the just commenced spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington DC, the IMF projected that

oil prices would average $65.3 percent a barrel in 2018 up from $52.8 percent in 2017 and above the $50.2 per barrel projected in October 2017. However, as supply recovers, the IMF expects oil prices to decline to $58.2 per barrel in 2019, and further to about $58.6 a barrel in 2023. According to the Fund, the world economy continues to show broadbased momentum, noting that against what it sees as a positive backdrop, the prospect of a similarly broad-based conflict over trade presents a jarring picture. “Three months ago, we updated our global growth forecast for this year and next substantially, to 3.9 percent in both years,” Maurice Obstfeld – Economic Counsellor and Upswing, Structural Change in Director of the Research Depar tment, IMF, said, briefing the press on the flagship report titled, ‘Cyclical Upswing, Structural Change’. “That forecast is being borne out by continuing strong performance in the euro area, Japan, China, and the United States, all of which grew above expectations last year. We also project near-term improvements for several other emerging market and developing economies, including some recovery in commodity exporters. Continuing to power the world economy’s upswing are accelerations in investment and, notably, in trade. “Emerging and devel-

oping economies present a diverse picture, and among those that are not commodity exporters, some can expect longerterm growth rates comparable to pre-crisis rates. “Many commodity exporters will not be so lucky, however, despite some improvement in the outlook for commodity prices. Those countries will need to diversify their economies to boost future growth and resilience,” Obstfeld explained. The IMF also warned that Geopolitical risks should not be discounted; especially the recent escalating tensions over trade present a growing risk. The IMF believes that there is ro om to strengthen the current system rather than risk bilateral fragmentation of international trade as it commended those the eleven-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific Partnership and the forty-four-countr y African Continental Free, Trade Area, saying that it “hold out promise.” “Each national government can do much on its own to promote stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive growth. Multilateral cooperation remains essential, however, to address a range of challenges in addition to the governance of world trade. The Fund sees the other challenges to include climate change, infectious diseases, cyber-security, corporate taxation, and control of corruption—among others. “Global interdependence will only continue to grow and unless countries face it in a spirit of collaboration, not conflict, the world economy cannot prosper,” it warned. Also co-briefing the p re s s, Ma l h a r Na b a r, Deputy Division Chief, Research Depar tment of the IMF said primarily, there’s a need for the commodity exporters to diversify away from resource extraction to other sectors and more broadly a need to put in place more policies that encourage more broad based growth and address constraints that exist in markets across the region.

Published by BusinessDAY Media Ltd., The Brook, 6 Point Road, GRA, Apapa, Lagos. Ghana Office: Business Day Ghana Ltd; ABC Junction, near Guinness Ghana Limited, Achimota – Accra, Ghana. Tel: +233243226596: email: mail@businessdayonline.com Advert Hotline: 08116759801, 08082496194. Subscriptions 01-2950687, 07045792677. Newsroom: 08169609331 Editor: Anthony Osae-Brown. All correspondence to BusinessDAY Media Ltd., Box 1002, Festac Lagos. ISSN 1595 - 8590.

Businessday 15 may 2018  
Businessday 15 may 2018