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KPMG indicts NNPC, other agencies over unremitted N8.8trn Tony Ailemen, Abuja

A L-R: Christophe Charlier, chairman of the board of directors, Renaissance Capital; Shamsuddeen Usman, former minister of finance; Patience Oniha, director-general, Nigeria Debt Management Office; Temitope Popoola, CEO, Nigeria, Renaissance Capital, and Charles Robertson, global chief economist, Renaissance Capital, at Day 2 of the 9th Annual Pan-Africa 1:1 Investor Conference, held in Lagos, yesterday.

news you can trust I **friDAY 18 may 2018 I vol. 15, no 57 I N300

Abuja comes under siege from criminals INNOCENT ODOH, LAIDE AKINBOADE & STELLA ENECHE


nderneath the splendour and serene beauty of Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital City, is a fast growing crime culture that has left many residents Continues on page 35

Inside UBA innovates with first ‘UBA P. 33 Learn’ targeted at empowering students


n audit report by renowned accounting firm, Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdele (KPMG) has indicted federal government revenue generating firms for non- remittance of over N8trillion to the coffers of government. This revelation was

made by Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo, on behalf of the National Economic Council (NEC ) in Abuja, on Thursday while briefing State House Correspondents after the NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Dankwabo who said the audit covered the period of 2010 to 2015, added that it will be extended to cover

Continues on page 35


Buhari, Atiku, others and their economic agenda for 2019 F Christopher Akor & Iniobong Iwok

FUNKE SOYIBO transforming ordinary spaces to extraordinary places

2026: North American bid promises record $11 billion profit for FIFA

up to 2017. Ac c o rd i n g t o h i m : “KPMG presented the report of the technical audit of the revenue generating agencies (RGAs ) concluding that a total sum of N526 billion and USD$21 billion was under-paid to the Federation Account.” Dankwabo said the disclosure has forced NEC’s

L-R: Abubakar Suleiman, MD/CEO, Sterling Bank plc; Asue Ighodalo, chairman; Justina Lewa, company secretary, and Yemi Odubiyi, executive director, during the bank’s 56th annual general meeting in Lagos, yesterday. Pic by Olawale Amoo

aced with a fragile economic recovery from a recession that threw millions of Nigerians out of jobs, the 2019 election will be about the economy and which presidential candidate has the most viable strategy of putting Nigeria on a sustainable economic growth path. Ordinarily, the economy should dominate campaign discourses by aspirants wishing to contest for the presidency in 2019. But as yet, very few candidates have been talking about their economic agenda for the country and what they intend to do to tackle the country’s legendary economic challenges. BusinessDay takes a cursory look at the campaign rhetoric of the major presidential aspirants and what their proposed ecoContinues on page 4




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Friday 18 May 2018


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Why NASS approval of N57.150bn for BHCPF may fall short of healthcare needs ... experts clamour for robust implementation KEMI AJUMOBI


espite its good intentions, the National Health Act has gone unimplemented since it was signed into law by the previous administration. It is therefore remarkable that the National Assembly in the 2018 Appropriation Act has for the first time on Wednesday, 16th of May, appropriated a sum of N57.150

billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). This additional money will be used to deliver a basic minimum package of services for all Nigerians. According to Henri Onyemachi, CEO, Redbridge Healthcare Group, “I think it is a good start. We are not there yet. The Abuja Declaration or Agreement under the auspices of the WHO, states that the national budgetary allocation to healthcare should be 15%. I am not sure how this 1% of CRF matches up but I

am happy that the present government has shown good intentions towards this grossly underfunded sector. Let us wait to see the implementation and accountability.” Echoing the same line of thought is Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri, a Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist and CEO, Pinnacle Medical Services Limited. In her words, “It is indeed an exciting time for Nigeria. Signing the 1% into law is a welcome development. It means the Primary Health

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Care Centres (PHC) will be better equipped and there will be no need for people to head to Tertiary Institutions for minor cases. If you go to various PHCs, it’s either they are understaffed or equipment’s are not available.” “This initiative will also encourage employment and hopefully, there should no longer be the challenges in payment of salaries. One challenge we have as a country is implementation. If this is implemented, then I can say that there is indeed hope for the health sector Continues on page 35

Property Mart unveils Fairmont to cut housing deficit ENDURANCE OKAFOR


ousing plays a special role in the social, political but more importantly economic dialogue in most societies with Nigeria not being an exception. Housing deficit in the country has been exacerbated by the failure to address the issue and waiting for government appears farfetched which most Nigerians have realized. Basking on the success of the Continues on page 35

Buhari, Atiku, others and their economic... Continued from page 1

nomic blueprint for repositioning the Nigerian economy. Muhammadu Buhari For president Buhari, who has finally declared his intention to seek another term in office, his economy agenda is contained in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan launched by his administration in 2017. Beyond just tackling corruption and improving security, the president plans to restore sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; investing in the people and building a globally competitive economy. It hopes to achieve the target through stabilization of the macroeconomic environment, achieving agriculture and food security, ensuring energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, improving transport infrastructure, and driving industrialization through local and small business enterprise. The plan had hoped to grow Nigeria’s GDP by 2.19 percent in 2017 and 7.0 percent by the end of 2020. It also targets reducing inflation rate to single digit by 2020 and increasing federal government’s revenues from N2.7 trillion in 2016 to N4.7 trillion in 2020. It also outlined initiatives to boost oil production to 2.5 million barrels by 2020; privatise selected public enterprises/assets, and revamp local refineries to reduce petroleum product exports by 60 percent by 2018. But like many things with the Buhari administration, most of the targets set for 2017 have not been met. Against the plan to grow GDP by 2.19 percent in 2017, growth in the same year was just 0.83 percent. As against the content of the plan, the government has refused to privatise State Owned Entreprises that are not performing and have become a drain on the public purse. Equally, the government has not made any progress in getting the private sector to invest in key national infrastructure projects even when it is obvious the government has no resources to sustain the investments required to reposition the country’s infrastructure and economy. At the campaign trails in 2015, and especially at meetings with

members of the private sector, then candidate Buhari laboured to convince Nigerians that he is a converted liberal democrat and would ensure that the country will continue to operate a free market economy. However, his actions and body language, since coming to power, have all been anti-business and pro state-led economy approach. From the retention of subsidy on petrol, the refusal to approve the privatization of the nation’s dilapidated and perpetually nonfunctional refineries – even as all experts voiced their doubts on the state’s ability to revamp the refineries and get them to operate at a profit, the mopping up of funds from banks and their concentration in the Central Bank even when the economy needs revamping, to the talk about a national carrier, national shipping line and other such relics of the 1970s and 1980s that are no longer fashionable. In 2016, when challenged on the decision to exclude members of the private sector from the economic management team, he did not mince words in his response: “We are averse to an economic team with private sector members,” because such persons “frequently steer government policy to suit their narrow interests rather than the overall national interest.” Buttressing the president’s position further, the media adviser to the vice president, Laolu Akande further explained that the presidency considers economic management as purely “a government affair.” Perhaps,billionairephilanthropist Bill Gates better captured the mismatch between the government’s ERGP and the reality on ground. “The Nigerian government’s economic recovery and growth plan identifies investing in our people as one of three strategic objectives. “But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritising physical capital over human capital,” Gates was quoted as saying in an expanded national economic council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. The ERGP looks like a beautiful plan drawn up by bureaucrats but with no input, knowledge and buy-in of the president. At any time the president spoke ex tempore,

L-R: M. Brai Malik, principal, International School, UNILAG; Kennedy Uzoka, group managing director, United Bank for Africa, and Liadi Ayoku, executive director, Lagos and West bank, marketing, during the launch of the bank’s online Learning Platform for students that was held at ISL, Lagos, yesterday.

outside prepared speeches, he only talks about the fight against corruption, insecurity and food sufficiency. Sadly, on the anticorruption front, the government is yet to record any major conviction. While progress has been made in agriculture, the rising waves of herdsmen attacks and killings in the Northern states have the tendency to derail the government’s agricultural revolution and deepen insecurity in the country. Atiku Abubakar Atiku Abubakar, former vice president and now perennial presidential aspirant, has been saying all the right things that sounds good to the ears of Nigerian progressives: restructuring, privatisation, job creation, revamping the education and health sectors and generally growing the economy. “We must acknowledge that in federal systems that work, federating units cede certain powers to the centre. In our strange federal contraption, it is the centre that is creating federating units, giving them money and monopolising most power and resources. Thus, our state governments are no longer performing as federating units. Rather they currently seem like dependent provinces of the central government in Abuja,” Abubakar said at the presentation of a book titled: “We Are All

Biafrans” on May 31 in Abuja. “I have been shouting myself hoarse, asking why we should have federal roads, federal schools, federal hospitals, etc. I have called for state police, for the states that so desire, to help us provide more effective security. In 2012, I went before ALGON in Enugu and told them that their clamour for local government autonomy from state governments is misguided. I told them that it is wrong for the federal government to be creating local governments and giving them money directly from the Federation Account,” Atiku stated. Atiku’s key economic agenda are not so different from the ones he espoused in 2015: The long-term goal is wealth generation through infrastructure development and power, education and skill acquisition, security, entrepreneurship and good governance, agriculture and food security and Niger Delta development. Atiku has always maintained that if elected president, he will address habits and practices that currently compromise policy implementation, but also those that would promote the hallmark of good governance through effective policy monitoring, evaluation and implementation. In taking his campaign for restructuring and state viability

further, the former vice president, at a Chatham House lecture in London titled: “The Importance of Strengthening State Economic Management Systems” promised to offer states a matching grant of $250 million each to challenge them to enhance their internally generated revenue. “Beyond institutional and administrative reforms to improve operational efficiency of the revenue agencies the federating units will be challenged to double their efforts in rebuilding the fiscalsocial contract, by enhancing service delivery in key areas such as health, education, water supply and infrastructural development. “Only this would change the predominant perception that government revenues are diverted to the private bank accounts of politicians and their cronies. And it is for the purpose of making states lose their addiction to federal allocation, to make them look inwards, and return to the healthy competition of 1957-1966, when Nigeria practiced her unique brand of true federalism known as regionalism, that I suggest the introduction of matching grants to states, that have succeeded in increasing their internally generContinues on page 35

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Nigerian tech firm secures $10m grant to promote digital economy JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON


igeria is on the path to digital growth as OMobile Multimedia Limited, an indigenous technology firm that specialises in financial and agricultural services development, has secured a $10 million grant from So.Sue.Ben Foundation, for enhanced tech development. So.Sui.Ben Foundation, a Swiss-based non-governmental organisation that promotes development in Africa, issued the grant facilitated by AFRICUNIA Limited (trading as AFRICUNIA Bank), an in-

novative banking technology firm headquartered in United Kingdom, to further boost Nigeria’s digital economy. Benjamin Aduli, CEO of O-Mobile Multimedia Limited, said the focus of the pact was to promote and deepen knowledge of the practice of digital-based services among Africans and thereby reduce poverty. “We are excited about this ground-breaking pact, which involves the creation of awareness about digital banking opportunities, educating governments and the general public about digital banking opportunities. We will be developing applica-

tions that will help Africans utilise digital banking technology and reduce poverty in the continent,” Aduli said. He said the company would offer its multimedia business academy and provide free, digital and multimedia training to all interested micro, medium, small and small enterprises in Nigeria through a network of 1,200 O-Mobile academy centres currently being set up across the country. Don Chancellor, president of AFRICUNIA Bank, said the time had come to tackle poverty in Africa using every available means, adding that technology would help do this.

“Development needs to be fast-tracked in Africa and we are committed to the continent’s growth through digital banking products and services. We are very elated about this opportunity to develop MSMEs across Nigeria and Africa and make them globally competitive in this era of technology. “We have already started the hard work. Working with O-mobile and So.Sui.Ben affords us the opportunity to quickly reach the unbanked and unconnected and give them access to first-world banking infrastructure and services. We believe that our partnership with a firm that

already understands technology and has wide presence in Nigeria will help us quickly accomplish our goal,’’ Chancellor said. Speaking further, Aduli stated that the company had already commenced work and hoped to sign-up at least 500,000 digital banking customers for AFRICUNIA Bank within 90 days globally. He said O-mobile had already commenced rolling out the first agency group network in Africa that would take financial, telecoms, insurance, educational, agricultural extension services and data mining services to the unbanked and unconnected in the continent.

Food security: Lagos spends N1.05bn on Lake Rice subsidy

... to create 274,000 jobs via mill expansion JOSEPHINE OKOJIE


agos State government has subsidised Lake Rice to the tune of N1.05 billion from December 2016 till date, as part of its efforts aimed at ensuring food security and rice sufficiency in the state. Suarau Oluwatoyin Isiaka, commissioner for agriculture, Lagos State, said this yesterday at a ministerial press briefing to mark Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s third year in office. The commissioner noted that the subsidy include cost of transportation, bagging and difference in cost of production, stating that thesubsidyhadhelpedinpreventing prices of rice in the state from skyrocketing. Suaraustatedthatthestategovernmenthadalsoembarkedonthe establishment of 32 tons per hour rice mill at Imota, which would create over 274,000 jobs across the entire rice value chain in the state. He said in implementation of the State Government’s Development Policy, the state ministry of agriculturewasmandatedtofacilitate sustainable food production, create jobs and poverty reduction through several agricultural projects and programmes. According to Suarau, in an efforttoensurecontinuoussupplyof Lake Rice, the state has completed arrangement to establish a 32TPH ricemillatImota,whichwillrequire thecultivationof32,000hectaresof land for paddy supply, as the state signed an agreement with Bugler AG for acquisition of equipment. He said the rice mill would require the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of land for paddy supply, to provide a platform for the state to partner other South West states in rice cultivation, besides existing collaboration with Kebbi State. Ontheagriculturalvaluechain empowerment, he said farmers, fishermen, fish farmers, butchers and processors were provided necessary agric inputs, productive assets and capacity building that willensuresteadyfoodproduction and supply to the citizens. “A total of 1,500 farmers and marketers across the five Administration Divisions of the State benefited from the last edition of the programme with multiplier effect on job creation, livelihood sustenance and increased food productivity,” he said

Friday 18 May 2018


L-R: Johnson Awoyomi, special technical assistant to the minister of state for petroleum resources, representing the minister; Temitope Oshuntuyi, chairman, SPE, Lagos section 61; Andrew Olotu, chairman, SPE Nigeria board of trustees, and Emeka Ene, CEO, Oildata Energy Group/vice chairman, International Gas Union, at the technical symposium on Field Development Plan (FDP) Approval Process in Lagos. Pic by Pius Okeosisi

Omotola initiative to raise 1m entrepreneurs


he Chancellor of E-Boot Camp Limited, Lai Omotola has unveiled a programme aimed at building an army of one million entrepreneurs that would radically transform Nigeria’s domestic economic in the next decade. Omotola, currently running a foremost infrastructure company with a diversified project portfolio, noted that the solution “to the country’s problems does not depend 100 percent on the person that becomes the president in 2019.” He reeled out the programme tagged ‘Think Entrepreneurship Training’ at the head office of CFL Group, the parent company of E-Boot Camp Limited, located at Wasimi, Maryland. Specifically, Omotola predicted at the inauguration that Nigeria could rise “to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2038, a period of two decades from now if the entrepreneurial spirit could be liberated in the country.” He thus said: “This is the target of the think entrepreneurship training programme we are introducing to get one million people to commence entrepreneurship and in the next decade year produce businesses that are in billions turnover. “We will demystify entrepreneurship. We will also make it friendly. At E-Boot Camp, our belief is that if we can positively change the mindset of the Nigerian entrepreneurs, then we can build the most robust economy. “With the potentials we have in our country, if we are able to liberate the entrepreneurial spirit in this country, then in the next two decades, Nigeria should be the world’s fifth largest economy in the world.”

CBN considers increasing Unit MFBs capital base to N100m Nigerian youths urged to play HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE


here are indications that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is considering raising the capital requirement of Unit Microfinance Banks (MfBs) by 400 percent to N100 million from N20 million, people familiar with the matter tell BusinessDay. With this move, 893 Mfbs with unit licenses out of 1,008 microfinance banks are expected to shore up their capital to N100 million or consolidate. The CBN is also considering an increase in the capital base of State Microfinance Banks to N250 million from the N100 million it stands at currently. There are about 107 MfBs with state licenses. The microfinance policy framework specifies a Unit Microfinance Bank is authorized to operate in one location, with a minimum paid-up capital of N20 million and is prohibited from having branches and/or cash centres. For a State Microfinance Bank, it is authorized to operate in one State or the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with a minimum paid-up capital of N100 million and is allowed to open branches within the same State or the FCT, subject

to prior written approval of the CBN for each new branch or cash centre. A National Microfinance Bank is authorized to operate in more than one State including the FCT, with a minimum paid-up capital of N2 billion, and is allowed to open branches in all States of the Federation and the FCT. Raising capital was a major discussion at the last Committee of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria (COMBIN) held in conjunction with the CBN on May 2, 2018. At the meeting the CBN directed the operators to go and plan and work towards meeting up the requirements but no deadline was given. When contacted, Tokunbo Martins, director, Other Finance Institutions (OFIs) department, said the CBN has not come out with a pronouncement yet. “It is still being considered. When a decision is made, an adequate timeframe will be given,” Martins said. When this happens, analysts said microfinance institutions with strong capital base would translate to good performance. “Depending on how much it is raised to, it would result to regulatory induced consolidation,” one of the operators told BusinessDay under anonymity. Rogers Nwoke, president, National Association of Mi-

crofinance Banks (NAMB), confirmed that the CBN will review the capital base of MfBs. He expects the CBN to come up with exposure draft amendment so that stakeholders can make input. Nwoke said the CBN should look at the entire MfB model and define a Unit MfB in terms of those operating in the rural and urban areas. He expects total overhaul of MfBs guidelines. Already, microfinance operators are engaging with institutional investors for funds to raise their capital. One of the Unit MFBs based in Abeokuta, which is planning to migrate to State license is offering N170 million for subscription to shore-up its capital. “We have been having series of meetings. Today (Wednesday) we have had three meetings with some operators of MfBs on raising capital,” Franklin Odoemenam, managing director, Fragg Investment Management limited told BusinessDay by phone. Modupe Ladipo , chairman of Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), had in September 30, 2017 at Accion Microfinance Bank Financial Inclusion Conference in Lagos, advised the CBN to raise capital requirements for microfinance banks to drive financial inclusion.

active role in leadership CHINWE AGBEZE


oung Nigerians are being prepared for leadership, governance, and active involvement in the electoral process in Lagos State, with the launch of a Youth Revolution Movement. David Ize-Iyamu, an administrator, who is the convener of the movement, said youth must be active in electoral processes, from voter registration, through standing for election, to effective leadership. ‘‘From Lagos, we are launching the movement in other geopolitical groups in Nigeria. YRM seeks to transit Nigerian youths from being passive onlookers at the electoral process, to being committed active participants who become the change they seek. ‘‘The movement is neither violent nor militant, but a peaceful, yet firm and structured drive towards positive self-determination, national pride, social consciousness, and actual measurable change,” he said. According to Ize-Iyamu, ‘‘It is no secret that the youth population is the largest subgroup in our national demography,

but unfortunately the larger percentage of this subgroup exhibit severe apathy towards leadership, politics or governance. ‘‘I don’t blame them really, as this has been a direct consequence of the lack of inspiring leadership that we all have experienced and groaned under, in our recent history.’’ Contrary to the claim of some critics that youths have lost faith in the country due to bad governance, he said youths have to be given renewed hope in our country, as they must truly believe in Nigeria again, and buy into owning this process of national re-evolution. On the difference between YRM and similar groups that emerged before previous elections, Ize-Iyamu explained that his group will not only engage presidential aspirants before the election but will also ensure they implement their electoral promises and make them accountable to the electorates. According to him, Nigerian youths today are well informed, and aware of the leadership role that youths across the world are taking in driving social, political and economic change.

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The memory of smell EUGENIA ABU


inhale deeply, the heady scent of my mum’s perfume envelopes me and takes me back nearly twenty years. The musky essence of her perfume left in her adire boubou wafting up at me. This indigo and white boubou in truly adorable motifs that is now worn for wear. A favorite outfit she had left behind in my residence after a visit which I have now inherited after her passing many years ago. My favorite sit at home outfit. My emotional treasure. It is uncanny that many years after her death, I can still invoke her memory, her presence and her very essence by adorning this dress. It was my mother’s everyday dress, this simple adire boubou, she had quite a few in her collection, all with different unforgettable motifs. I can see her, her smile warming up to me as I walk towards her, her nimble fingers peeling the egusi seeds before her on the table, her nose shows off little seeds of garden eggs, something she snacked on as if it were the most expensive caviar in the world.” Eugenia,” I hear her

voice in a chuckle, her Ha, Ha, laughter if I tell her something funny in our countless conversations. The musky scent of her perfume brings my mum back to me, her memory fresh as if she were here and now. Mrs Josephine Amodu, the essential mother, a woman like no other, the best mum ever lives in my heart and is constant in my memory. Every day reminds me of her. The aroma of a sizzling Egusi soup, the wafting sumptuous aroma of a sun dried tomato stew garnished with fresh peppers and onions gets me each time and can easily reduce me to tears or give off a warm tingling feeling in my heart. It is Mama Eucharia’s culinary prowess. No one can really come close, but many family members she mentored all try to capture that hint of her cooking. The aroma remains the same. The taste however, try as we may still slightly below par, but it is hard to tell if you were not as close as I was. With these amazing soup aromas, MrsAmodu returns to my kitchen, standing at the doorway, ladle in hand, placing her top level cooked egusi soup in the palms of her grandchildren gathered around for the ritual of taste which is inherently African. Everyone is smacking their lips, joyful and skipping along. Mrs Amodu returns to her cooking, a glint in her

Our favorite smells, scents, aromas and perceptions come from a deep emotional place and reminds us of amazing things in our past, a person that has impacted us or a place that holds memories of the sea and the sand, of a country as beautiful as ours or a far flung Island where the smell of water never leaves you. It is given to us to remember things through a sense of smell even when we shut our eyes eye satisfied that she has secured the validation of her grandchildren to continue her cooking. A new baby’s smell, that burb mixed with baby cream- smell reminds me of my mum because she came for every child, all six of them and helped with baby duties, diaper changing, baby bathing, body massage and soapy baths for me. Every visit I make today to a new Mum brings back those memories, those aromas of soaps and body oils and baby cream, of my mother making a youthful mother of me, asking me to suck in my tummy so I can remain young forever. All those pepper soups with the most amaz-

ing spices and body massages paid off Mum. Your grandchildren are grown and some people say I can still stop traffic. Lol. It is all thanks to you Mum. I can still perceive the great aroma of your pepper soup, smoke fish, crayfish and all and the invigorating aroma of eucalyptus oil and also Robb for tired feet and aching backs. Memory is one of the most important human attributes and it is to good memories we go when we are depressed or when life throws us a whack. Chilean award winning author Isabelle Allende writing in one of her most hilarious and powerful books, Aphrodite, remembers that her first kiss with a boy was on a boat with lots of shrimps aboard. It was a fishing boat. Every time she perceives the smell of fresh shrimps today, she remembers that first kiss. The olfactory sense is one of the strongest of the human senses. Science has proven that a sense of smell is important even for tracking one’s lifestyle. The familiar smell of toast, the aroma of sizzling dodo, the impenetrable aroma of a good gbegiri and amala and that of the almighty jollof rice cooked by a Nigerian. My keen sense of smell and the deduction of all things great in perfumery was developed by my Dad, the incredible Mr Alfred Amodu who has since passed. I was twelve when he began to gift

me with designer perfumes. As a result, I could always tell for a long time what perfume friends and family were wearing. Even the cocktails could not escape my nose and I could easily tell you which two perfumes you combined. It was something I terribly enjoyed and still do. As a perfume aficionado today, thanks Dad, my perfume wardrobe is unflappable. I collect some of the finest and enjoy being a perfume mixer in the privacy of my bedroom.The ones he bought for me at twelve are my favorites and I still go to the ends of the earth to find them, a lingering memory of my Dad. Our favorite smells, scents, aromas and perceptions come from a deep emotional place and reminds us of amazing things in our past, a person that has impacted us or a place that holds memories of the sea and the sand, of a country as beautiful as ours or a far flung Island where the smell of water never leaves you. It is given to us to remember things through a sense of smell even when we shut our eyes. My Mum’s boubou lies casually on a bedroom chair as I write my column this week, my mother’s ringing laughter tucked in its seams. Happy Mother’s day.

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How much is your organization learning the art of doing things differently?




Uju Onwuzulike is Nigeria’s leading authority on Systems Thinking and Strategic Management. He was a Steve Haines trained strategy and systems thinking expert and a former global partner of Haines Centre for Strategic Management, California, USA. He is the founder and Chief Results Officer of MCL – a strategy and outstanding performance specialist firm. He can be reached on 09091142093 or

t is possible for people to have different reasons for setting up businesses. The same applies to small businesses or big corporations. Regardless of whatever reason(s) any business was established, the desire to achieve better result will always play out. Then, again, achieving better result to most organizations is characterized by increased in profitability. Desiring an increased in profitability is an acceptable proclivity for organizations as a result of the services being rendered and paid for. But, the harsh reality is that no organization can achieve increased profitability by desiring or wishing for it alone except by doing things differently. After hearing for the first time that: “you don’t need to think more, you just need to think differently”, I had a different worldview about thinking. It made me to realize that we do not need to think more (haphazardly) just for thinking sake, we need to think differently with the result in mind – we need to think strategically. The same applies to

organizations, to achieve better results, we may not necessarily do so many things for our customers in terms of quantity, but we need to begin to do things differently for them. We might just focus on doing one particular thing differently for them. The other time I was discussing with an executive whose company has spent so much money on transformation, and I realized one key thing that was lacking – attitudinal change. For an organization to think differently and achieve its transformation goals, attention must be paid to develop the right attitude of its workforce first and foremost. This is because one person with a wrong attitude can sabotage and make a mess of all the transformation effort. Yes, I know I am not writing about attitudinal change, but then right attitude is like a lubricant that will oil the wheels of “thinking differently”. Unbelievably, and despite the fact that most organizations are doing the same thing year in year out, using the same business

strategy and initiatives that have not worked, and yet they expect to have different and better results (that is impossible). With the stiff competition in the business world, if you keep doing your business the same way you have done it for five years; you will never even achieve the old results that you are used to, but rather below what you have been achieving. That goes to show that to desire improved results in all facets of business operations, we must have a paradigm shift, and that comes by thinking differently. The truth of the matter is that sometimes, we know why our organization is performing so badly, but we are stuck to the old ways of doing things – and we are not ready to try something new. All organizations that are stuck to the old ways of doing things that have not yielded them better results will end up becoming “Defenders of Decline” instead “Architect of the future”( example is Apple Inc. vs. others). Apple succeeded in becoming the “architect of the future” while others are busy defending the decline, little wonder Apple’s slogan is “Think Different”. To paint a clearer picture of what thinking differently should mean to organizations, we need to realize that in our various organizations, there are strategies that are not working, marketing initiatives that are not producing the numbers, activities that are not worthwhile and generally things that are not working for the organization. Thinking differ-

ently starts when we begin to question the old ways of doings that that have not yielded expected results and begin to push the boundaries and think in new ways that lead to improved results. Thinking differently is akin to committing to make a difference. In order words, organizations that are thinking differently want to make a difference in the lives of their customers and employees. It is this committing to a make a difference that brings improved and sustainable results for the shareholders. When we begin to think differently, we would realize that there is no just one way of doing things. Of course, it is a red signal to assume there is only one way of doing things. Employees must begin to ask optimal questions in order to have optimal answers. Questions like: why are we not achieving our desired results? Why are we not having enough customers to patronize our business? Why do our customers complain? Are there things we are not doing well? How can we be different from the competitors? The fact is that when we blend in to what others are doing, we may not be able to stand out with a different result. That means we need to be different in all areas of our business (we need to be perceived differently and better) and that is the only time we shall stand out as an organization of choice.

aging our people to think differently, to try out new ways of doing things, to approach tasks, issues from a different worldview? Or do we always want them to accept the norm and never to challenge the status quo even when it is obvious to do so? * Do we believe that better and new results come when we do things differently? * What have you done differently in your organization in the last one month that will make you stand out from the competitors?

Points to ponder: * As organizations, are we encour-

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Final note: It is by thinking and doing things differently that our organization can stand out. Real organizational success and growth do not come as a surprise (or by wishful thinking), they come as a result of seeing what others have seen, but thinking in a different way. With the knowledge of the fact that we cannot solve tomorrow’s problem with today’s thinking, there is a need for all of us to think and do things differently on a daily basis – because what brings success today may not tomorrow. Feel free and let me know if you would want to make strategic and systems thinking competence a driving force in your organization today. I would be glad to help. All to your success!

Friday 18 May 2018





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The Making of AgriStar PLC SOJI APAMPA Olusoji Apampa is the CEO of The Convention on Business Integrity. Twitter: @sojapa E-mail: aviga@


onsider this fictitious account of the rise and fall of a non-existent company. Any similarities between the account below and any real or imagined persons or body corporate, in the words of folks at BLACKHOUSE Studios, is a miracle! So, a group of smart Investors from SMARTINVEST Ltd. hatch a scheme to takeover a second-tier listed company, EbidomoAgroEdibles PLC (EAP) whose share price has remained at 50kobo/share for the last 10 years. They create a holding company called LIFEiBETA Holdings to which they advance a loan of N100m used to mop up 60% of EAP shares before most people could notice (based on relationships with the REGISTRARS but that’s a different story). As smart investors, they don’t stop there. They set up an offshore company in a Tax Haven called EVERGREEN Offshore Holdings and provide guarantees to some foreign banks who then on the basis of that, provide EVERGREEN a $50m loan. The stage is now set for their grand

CHIAGOZIE UDEH AND OSELOKA H. OBAZE Udeh is a Research Associate at Selonnes Consult Ltd; Obaze is MD/ CEO Selonnes Consult Ltd. Awka.

Introduction he Gulf of Guinea (GoG) is unarguably one of the most dangerous maritime spaces in the world as it now attracts war insurance premium. Threatened by increased piracy, illegal fishing, resource theft and general insecurity, the GoG is analogous to a large swathe of honey in a thorn cluster. Strategic and lucrative but highly dreaded maritime corridor, the region produces 3 million liters of crude oil daily with 40 percent destined for Europe and the U.S receiving about 30 percent. The recent discovery of offshore hydrocarbon deposits in the region has enhanced its status as a geostrategic region in the world. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 53 piracy attacks or attempted attacks were recorded in the Gulf of Guinea in 2016 representing 28% of worldwide attacks– including 36 for Nigeria. This region now accounts for 50% of global kidnapping for ransom, making it an extremely dangerous route for maritime business. On 3 July, 2001, States of the region established the Gulf of Guin-


plans to unfold. The market is agog with rumours that some smart investors are taking over the hapless, unproductive EAP. The market having heard of the mop up of shares goes into a frenzy and trades up the stock from 50kobo/share to N5.50/share in just 9 months. A technical partner is announced, EVERGREEN Offshore Holdings headed by a Veteran Expat who knows Nigeria perhaps a little too well, and a wonderful prospectus is developed showing how EAP will be transformed into a tier-one listed company. Excellent projections, solutions for the dairy, meat and leather markets with social benefits of curbing the Farmer-Herdsmen crises, entry prospects into the government’s school feeding programme and the share price is now a mouth-watering N15/share. Like fresh blood from a wounded seal alerts the sharks, or the calls of a trapped buffalo or the bleating of one lost sheep alerts the predators, all this stirring in the muddy waters of the market is like a red rag to crazy investing bulls! The political elite and a good matrix of High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) smell a kill and come straight out to take positions in the emerging company. Of course, a retired General is named the Chairman, a partner from SMARTINVEST is named the new Managing Director, the other one CFO and thus, EbidomoAgro-Edibles makes its transformation into a tier-one listed company suitably rebranded as AGRISTAR PLC. There is a great influx of investors - individual and

The share price of AGRISTAR is now under pressure, and there are real fears of a serious decline. Finally, more questions are being asked by the investing public. How did SMARTINVEST takeover EbidomoAgroEdibles, was any insider dealing involved? institutional, as everyone wants a piece of the rising star! This is followed by a period of rapid growth where the company “qualifies” for various government subsidies, gets “special facilities” from the Central Bank, manages to “acquire” a string of strategic assets the government just happened to be disposing of, gets Pioneer Status and is excused from taxation for 10years, and manages to get some import duty waivers approved. The numbers are phenomenal, and the original smart investors are hailed as wonder boys and the grand plan is now to expand on this success by spreading activities across Africa to take advantage of the “one trade regime” – Africa Single Market. For this mega vision, more funds would have to be raised. The plan is to list on the Nigeria Stock Exchange’s Premium Board and

then list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. If that plan succeeds, next stop would be the London Stock Exchange! Pundits are already making their speculations and meetings are taking place deep into the night by groups of Nigeria’s investing elite to see what this means and how best to position for it. But alas, shock election results throw out the ruling party for the opposition. The opposition brings in new anti-corruption rules and tighter controls and rationing over FOREX. A Bank Verification Number (BVN) is introduced along with a Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) at the Stock Exchange. AGRISTAR is scored on its Business Ethics and Anti-Corruption; Transparency & Disclosure; Internal & External Audit & Control; Stakeholder & Shareholder Rights; Board Structure & Responsibilities and is found wanting. The company rated itself 80%, that is above the pass threshold of 70% set for CGRS triggering an independent review which came back with a moderated score of 48% and with that, at that moment, the company’s hopes of listing on the Premium Board were dashed. The share price of AGRISTAR is now under pressure, and there are real fears of a serious decline. Finally, more questions are being asked by the investing public. How did SMARTINVEST takeover EbidomoAgro-Edibles, was any insider dealing involved? What about the cross-directorships, were there serious conflicts of interest? The riskmanagement at AGRISTAR was also

questioned: was this effective? What role could a whistle blower policy have played? Following the shocks and revelations around the CGRS rating of AgriStar PLC, minority shareholders are bringing a suit against the directors. Do they have a case? The Prospectus used to raise funds for AGRISTAR was it defective in any way? Did the AGRISTAR board behave responsibly? The public it turns out is now not satisfied with the quality of transparency and disclosure by AGRISTAR PLC as it seems not to have safeguarded shareholders adequately. The link between SMARTINVEST, LIFEiBETA and EVERGREEN was not stated in the prospectus. Of course, the story shared above is completely fictitious. Would anyone imagine they could set up such a scheme and get away with it? Surely Nigerian investors are not that gullible and would never fall for such gimmicks as were used in this story? It would be a miracle if such schemes were proven to exist with concrete evidence, say by a reader? But then again, I believe in miracles and would really love to hear your take on this. The Nigeria Stock Exchange has done excellent work rebuilding investor confidence in the market so we all have a responsibility to keep the magicians away and stop their operations, so we build a robust, deep and healthy market. You might just be the one with the key, the missing piece, what do you think?

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Imperatives of Nigeria’s leadership in the Gulf of Guinea ea Commission (GGC) to tackle the aforementioned problems but with the specific mandate to ensure “cooperation amongst the countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea in order to defend their common interest and promote peace and socio-economic development based on the bases of dialogue, consensus, ties of friendship, solidarity and fraternity”. The treaty was signed in Libreville, Gabon, by the founding member States including Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe. Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo joined the Commission in 2008 for purposes of peace, security and socio economic development. Ghana, in 2013, applied to join the GGC, but that application is yet to be perfected. Seventeen years after the GGC was established, there is little to show in terms of concrete achievements. It’s acutely disheartening that leaders in the seven member States of the GGC are only beginning to realize the importance of the region and the future potentials of its immense resources. The blame lays squarely with the leadership of the GGC. As revealed by the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, during a recent Chatham House speech, “65% of cargo coming into Gulf of Guinea

end up in Nigeria; it accounts for 50% – 60% major maritime security incidents that occur in the Gulf of Guinea”. IMB reports shows that in 2016, there were 53 incidents of piracy or attempted piracy in the GoG with Nigeria alone recording 34 of those attempts. Angola had 5, Congo had 5, Benin had two, Togo had one and Ghana had only one incident. Out of the 16 crew kidnapping cases in the region in 2016, ten were in Nigeria while 56 Mariners were kidnapped in 2017 alone off the Niger Delta. These challenges call for a robust response and committed leadership in that regard. The GGC has a total population of approximately 337.4 million people with Nigeria having at least 55% of that. The second most populous country in the region after Nigeria is the Democratic Republic of Congo with 84 million people showing that benefits of a prosperous GGC will accrue to Nigeria the most just like the losses are devolving on her. Ironically, since the establishment of the GGC, it has never received more than 50% funding of its budget. As revealed by GGC Executive Secretary, Ambassador FlorentinaAdenikeUkonga, during a GGC experts meeting held in early 2018, Abuja, since 2009, the budget of the GGC has been pegged at the same level. Meanwhile only 25% of the annual budget has been released in the last three years. The reality is fraught with total neglect of the commission by the founding States.

At the 4th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the GGC held in Abuja in November 2017, none of the GGC Head of States was in attendance. At best, they sent their Vice-Presidents or Prime Ministers with some States sending Foreign Ministers. Such attitude speaks to the value and importance the members attach to their agency. Interestingly, at that Assembly, Nigeria’s President, MuhammaduBuhari, emerged as the Chairperson of the GGC, a cap Nigeria should naturally wear with pride given its vantage position in the region. Yet, nothing seems to be changing. There’s palpable distrust of Nigeria and her commitments by other member States of the GGC. Such attitude can be addressed and the mistrust doused via exemplary leadership. President Buhari perhaps needs to borrow a leaf from Paul Kagame of Rwanda who on emerging the African Union President earlier in the year, set four African Union flagship projects of the Agenda 2063 in motion including the popular Single African Air Travel Market (SAATM); African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); and Freedom of Movement Protocol. To back up its commitment, the Rwandan parliament has now ratified all the instruments of the AfCFTA, which it signed in March becoming the first AU country to do so. Such defining exemplary

leadership is what Nigeria must replicate in the GGC for any progress to be achieved. The way forward Blue/Ocean economy is worth $7 trillion globally. A huge portion of the Atlantic Ocean consists the present Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria needs to take advantage of the resources and potentials of this rich region to empower the mostly unemployed youths in this region within the next few years. Not doing so will be tantamount to a remarkable failure of leadership and foster insecurity in the GoG. GGC holds immense promise and opportunities not just for the prosperity of region, but for the entire Africa. It has global strategic importance as the region hosting the U.S. Africa Command (AfriCOM) and the core of Africom’s area of responsibility. Meanwhile, illegal fishing is a daily occurrence in waters around the GoG, but arresting violators and interdicting scofflaw vessels will not solve the problem. Nigeria must strategically harness these resources to empower citizens and create enviable livelihood. Collaboration with GCC members remains a priority.

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Bashir Ibrahim Hassan


Friday 18 May 2018

Citizen engagement on the march to 2019


ipples of the recent ward congresses of the ruling All Progressives Party continued to spiral into the second-week postevent as the party committed to holding its congress in June. Many unpleasant things occurred as part of the ward congresses across the country. There were also some very positive developments. The elections were tumultuous in states such as Imo, Rivers, Anambra, Oyo, Ekiti and Kaduna. Violence marred the effort in Rivers State, a disorder so severe it affected another arm of government, the judiciary, with the exchange of gunfire in court premises in Port Harcourt. The elections in Ekiti and Oyo had to be rescheduled, yet leaving many unsatisfied. One substantial positive came out of the developments. The ward elections of the ruling party went a long way in entrenching democracy in the land. In many instances, voters showed the red card to bigwigs of the party who failed to perform or carry citizens along in their plans and actions. The electorate served a big mug of hemlock to persons such as Governor Rochas

Okorocha of Imo State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State. Wresting the party structure from the governors reprised the national electoral victory of the APC in 2015. It showed that the message of change through the ballot is one that citizens are willing to implement at all levels. It is just as well that the intraparty contests are pointing in the direction of greater citizen participation in the electoral process. This newspaper notes with approbation efforts by citizens in various groups to mobilise for involvement in the 2019 elections. On social media and across many other platforms, citizens are sharing memes, symbols and infographics urging people to register and obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC). BusinessDay recently published the list of voter registration centres in Lagos as part of this process of citizen mobilisation for participation. Other media platforms are doing so as well. We urge our readers to ensure they play their role as citizens by getting their PVCs. Democracy requires more than voting, however. Registering to participate and indeed voting are foundational. Citizens need to do more as part of entrenching democracy. Nigeria’s democracy of the

4th Republic would clock 20 years in 2019. It is the longest stretch that the country has witnessed of continuous democratically elected governments. As the years go by, many learnings are coming forth for all stakeholders in the democratic process. One of the learnings is that citizens can make the ballot work. With a determined effort, citizens can mobilise to prove through their votes the concept of democracy as government of the people freely chosen by the electorate. Another is that there is power in the ballot. Nigeria for the first time effected a change of government at the centre through the vote in 2015. It was the culmination of changes through the poll happening at lower levels. It is encouraging that the trend has continued as witnessed in even local government elections, and party ward elections. We are growing our sinews in democracy and democratic values. A large number of candidates have lined up to contest for the presidency. We hope that this replicates at all levels, thus offering the citizen variety and choice. The higher the political interest the critical public shows, the more the political participation and electoral turnout. Voting is a right and a duty.

Citizens also have the task of educating themselves about the roles of various arms of government and their responsibilities. Such knowledge is critical to ensure that citizens make demands on the holders of public offices informed by what is right, deserved and actionable. There is also the obligation on citizens to play their part through engagement. Multilateral institutions such as the World Bank have been in the forefront in canvassing the importance of citizen engagement. Engagement means citizens advocate and help to make public institutions more transparent, accountable and effective. They contribute to the policy process by submitting ideas for projects and programmes. The middle class plays a significant role here. There is a call on the middle classes to be more involved in Nigeria’s democracy. Register to vote. Come out during elections. Engage the process as the ones who have knowledge and access to the significant players at all levels from local government to state and federal. The middle classes run the various institutions of society. Their involvement is critical for the continued sustenance of our democracy. Onward to 2019.

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Friday 18 May 2018




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What to know about the CAMA amendment CALEB OJEWALE


ase of doing business is one of those areas that the government appears to have been giving a lot of attention in the last two years. It even culminated in a Presidential taskforce of sort; the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), chaired by Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice president. But, while it appeared the executive had been driving the ease of doing business agenda alone, the senate earlier this week passed a historic bill that when operational, will reform the business environment in many unprecedented ways. The 8th Senate led by Bukola Saraki on Tuesday passed a Bill to repeal and re-enact Companies and Allied Matters Act. The Bill comes 28 years after the passage of the original Companies and Allied Matters Act and will make Nigeria the best country in Africa to do business. Ease of doing business plays a crucial role in the economic growth of any country. The processes, rules, and regulations set up by the government or government agencies can either help promote a business-friendly environment or hold businesses back from their entrepreneurial ambitions. Nigeria ranks 145 out of

190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, which rates countries for the ease at which one can open, conduct and perhaps close down businesses. This landmark reform by the Senate will provide significant benefits to companies by reducing bureaucratic red tape and making it easier to comply with regulatory obligations. Most of the changes are aimed at encouraging investments that will allow small businesses and startups thrive, lower costs and ease regulatory burdens. Changes included in the Bill will mean that many of the over 75,000 private companies limited by shares which are established in Nigeria every year will be able to incorporate more easily, resulting in savings in professional fees and substantial improvements to the ease of

doing business in Nigeria by comparison to our competitors. The amendment is also expected to spur more young people to start new enterprises. Among the changes which benefit those aspiring to start a company is the ability of a single person to incorporate a company. It will allow new young and innovative start-ups the opportunity to operate as separate legal entities without the risk of losing their personal assets. In addition, small companies will no longer be required to have a company secretary or hold Annual General Meetings. The requirement for statutory declaration of compliance has also been removed. Minimum share capital required for companies to be registered has been reduced to encourage more investments in small com-

panies and individuals will no longer need a lawyer to register a company. To further facilitate registration and compliance, the ERegistration and filing system has been enhanced. The introduction of LLP as a new business vehicle will act as a step towards converting the informal, undocumented sector into a formal and regulated regime. The incorporation process is less stringent and formal as compared to a limited liability company. New regulations have been introduced to revive ailing companies. A company can now reach compromises on its debts and for businesses which are nearly insolvent, a new process for administration has been introduced which will enable such businesses to keep running under the supervision of an Administrator for a period of 12 months.


Despite ban, ICO volume in three months surpass entire 2017 FRANK ELEANYA


otwithstanding ban orders from several countries and social platforms, volume of funding from initial coin offering (ICO) in the first three months of 2018 has surpassed what was raised from all of 2017. A report from IdentityMind Global sent to BusinessDay, disclosed that more than $6 billion was raised via ICOs and security token offers (STOs) in 2017 up from $10 million in 2014. In the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 however, ICO volume was $6.3 billion. “Looking out over the remainder of 2018, I anticipate continued robust ICO market growth coming with increased regulatory scrutiny,” said Garrett Gafke, CEO of Id entit yMind Glo bal. “Previously, there was an emphasis on utilitybased tokens but we are now seeing a movement toward securities-based ICOs. We also expect that the Securities and Exchange Commission ( S E C ) a n d Fi n a n c i a l Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will increase their examination of ICOs and take actions against those not following US regulations.” ICOs describe a fundraising mechanism in which new projects sell their underlying crypto tokens in exchange for bitcoin, ethereum or any other cr yptocurrency. SureRemit, a remittance firm issued a token,

Remit, during its ICO fund raise. The company raised a record $7 million in funding from investors. The first token sale took place in 2014 when seven projects raised a total of $30 million. The largest that year was ethereum – over 50 million ethers were created and sold to the public raising over $18 million. Countries like China and India have placed an official ban on ICO citing incidences of fraud and breach of financial guidelines. Sentiments in these countries regarding ICOs is that of black market, especially considering its purely virtual presence and the fact that it was designed to operate on a peer-to-peer basis. Apart from countries, organisations such as Google, Baidu and Facebook have all banned ICO advertisement on their platforms, leading many analysts to predict a difficult period for startups intending to raise funds by issuing tokens. IdentityMind’s Q1 report suggests that ICOs when done right are not a threat to regulators. However certain regulatory requirements must be followed. The IdentityMind platform is pre-configured with a set of know your customer (KYC) rules that map the US and the international community and allows ICOs to perform accredited investor validation on the participants.

Losing your smartphone can cost you a fortune STEPHEN ONYEKWELU


ros, my phone was stolen yesterday. And, let me tell you, N160 thousand has been transferred from my bank account to three other accounts, the police officer in charge of my case told me” Bunmi Lawson, who works at a pub in Apapa, Lagos, said. With recent advancements in online banking, especially the introduction of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) code for financial transactions, losing your phone goes beyond loss of a mere box with electronic chips in it. Your finances and fortunes could also be at stake. “When these guys steal

your phone, there is a place in Ajegunle, where they go and slot in your subscriber identity module (SIM) card, next thing they can withdraw all your money” Lawson added. Nigeria has not signed up to a global deal effectively blacklisting stolen phones, which is enabling hoodlums to supply tens of thousands of phones to crime bosses in the oil-rich African country. The phones they steal are first stripped of their data which is used by gangs to try and hack bank accounts, people with deep knowledge of the matter say. European Union countries, the United States of America (USA) and South America have signed a deal to blacklist stolen devices.

Under this agreement, each phone has a unique number which is added to a global database when it is reported stolen, making it useless in the countries that are signatories to the agree-

ment. Nigeria is not part of the agreement. The stolen phones are then sold in bulk to middlemen who ship them to Eastern Europe where technology experts working for criminal

gangs steal users’ private information. “I am so sorry you have not been able to reach me. My phone was stolen and N2 million meant to pay my grandchildren’s schools fees

is gone” a source who does not want to be identified told a BusinessDay reporter. There are no hard figures on phone theft in Nigeria but the United Kingdom experience can give some insight. In 2016 there were 446,000 UK phone thefts. In London alone there were 60,000 mobile thefts and robberies, almost two-thirds of them iPhones. In the 12 months to June 2017, Scotland Yard recorded 16,158 phone crimes related to mopeds, more than three times those reported in the year to June 2016. Many phones are stolen by ruthless moped gangs who use acid, swords and baseball bats to rob pedestrians.






Friday 18 May 2018



Renewable energy jobs reach 10.3million worldwide in 2017 Stories by ISAAC ANYAOGU


he renewable energy industry created more than 500,000 new jobs globally in 2017, a 5.3 per cent increase from 2016, according to the latest figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). According to the fifth edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review, launched at IRENA’s 15th Council in Abu Dhabi today, the total number of people employed in the sector (including large hydropower) now stands at 10.3 million globally, surpassing the 10 million figure for the first time. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan remain the world’s largest renewable energy employers, representing more than 70 per cent of all industry jobs globally. Although growing numbers of countries are reaping the socio-economic benefits of renewables, the bulk of manufacturing takes place in relatively few countries and domestic markets vary enormously in size. Sixty per cent of all renewable energy

jobs are in Asia. “Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector.” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency. “The data also underscores an increasingly regionalised picture, highlighting that in

countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident,” continued Mr. Amin. “Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonisation of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050.” The solar PV industry re-

mains the largest employer of all renewable energy technologies, accounting for close to 3.4 million jobs, up almost 9 per cent from 2016 following a record 94 gigawatts (GW) of installations in 2017. China was estimated to account for two-thirds of PV jobs – equivalent to 2.2 million – representing an expansion of 13 per cent over the previous year. Despite a slight dip in Japan and the United States, the

two countries followed China as the largest markets for solar PV employment in the world. India and Bangladesh complete a top five that accounts for around 90 per cent of global solar PV jobs. Jobs in the wind industry contracted slightly last year to 1.15 million worldwide. While wind jobs are found in a relatively small number of countries, the degree of concentration is lower than

in the solar PV sector. China accounts for 44 per cent of global wind employment, followed by Europe and North America with 30 and 10 per cent, respectively. Half of the top ten countries with the largest installed capacity of wind power in the world are European. “The energy transformation is one of improving economic opportunity and a rise in social wellbeing as countries implement supportive policies and attractive regulatory frameworks to fuel industrial growth and sustainable job creation,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, head of IRENA’s Policy Unit and deputy director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance. “By providing policy makers with this level of detail about the composition of renewable energy employment and skills requirements, countries can make informed decisions on several important national objectives, from education and training, to industrial policies and labour market regulations,” continued Ferroukhi. “Such considerations will support a fair and equitable transition to a renewables based energy system.”



Renewables auctions are changing prospects in Africa

Only 13 % of 110 used lead acid batteries are recycled in Nigeria


ome African countries including South Africa, Uganda and Zambia are ramping up renewable energy auctions on the continent indicating an emerging opportunity in the sector. At least 67 countries had used auctions for renewable energy contracts by mid-2016, up from less than 10 in 2005. This auctions report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provides key updates on this crucial mechanism for price discovery and market development. Average contract prices fell to USD 50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for solar and USD 40/ MWh for wind power in 2016, compared to USD 250/MWh and USD 80/MWh, respectively, in 2010. Chile, Mexico, Morocco, Peru and the United Arab Emirates achieved record price lows with solar and wind auctions in 2016. Along with falling technology costs, policy support and improved access to finance have helped drive accelerating renewable energy development. Driven by a growing interest in renewable energy

technologies as a competitive mechanism for price determination, auctions have become the fastest growing renewable energy policy mechanism globally — increasing at a rate faster than even feed-in tariffs and feed-in premiums. But while renewable energy auctions in predictably sun-drenched locations like Saudi Arabia have been making headlines for years, less media attention has focused on “energy leapfrog” countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where low-price renewable generated electricity can mitigate potential carbon emissions while providing reliable first-time energy access and opportunities for low-carbon economic growth. According to IRENA’s new

report, Renewable Energy Auctions: Cases from SubSaharan Africa, analyses the design details and price outcomes from three renewable energy auctions in Sub-Saharan Africa — specifically in Uganda, South Africa and Zambia — with the aim to unearth a set of lessons and recommendations that can inform good auction design in the context of emerging market economies. Renewable Energy Auctions shows that in South Africa, auctions have driven the cost of solar PV and wind power down to less than the average cost of power supply from the national utility and the cost of new coal-fired power stations. Largely based on the country’s success, auc-

tions have emerged as the preferred tool to procure electricity and set renewable energy prices in sub-Saharan Africa, with installed solar PV generation capacity increasing ten-fold across the region between 2012 and 2016. Ghana, Mauritius, Uganda and Zambia have run renewable energy auctions, while at least 15 more subSaharan African countries are developing auction programmes. In these countries, price outcomes for solar PV have been similar, or even significantly below, global average prices — reflecting growing technology maturity and falling technology costs. The report shows that to be successful, auctions should be independently managed and associated with transparent and welldesigned power purchase agreements and other contracts. They should also be closely linked to wider national development policies, and can be justified with socio-economic and environmental considerations, as well as the need to boost power supply.


nly about 13 per cent of the over 110,000 used lead-acid batteries (ULABs) that find their ways into Nigeria’s shores every year are recycled, and when they are, it is mostly done at informal shelters located within residential areas. Stakeholders comprising the Clean Technology Hub, a pioneering hybrid hub for the research, de-

velopment, demonstration and incubation of clean energy technologies in Africa; Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN); and the Heinrich Boell Foundation, made this known at a workshop on how to properly manage ULABs which are used for energy storage. Stakeholders team up to push for extended producer responsibility frameworks

Offgrid solar power seen as panacea to Nigeria’s power challenges


takeholders who gathered in Lagos at the recent inauguration of the off-grid solar power solutions for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) by Tellco Europe Nigeria, have identified off-grid solar power as the panacea to Nigeria’s energy deficits. Speaking at the event, Wale Omole, the Chairman of TellCo Europe Nigeria

Isaac Anyaogu, Email:, 07037817378, Graphics: Joel Samson

and former Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. sad that Nigeria can solve her energy crisis through renewable energy. “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,” he said.

Friday 18 May 2018





Gas supply to increase as Shell boosts distribution capacity by 150 percent

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Co m pa n y n e w s a n a ly s i s a n d i n s i g h t

Linkage Assurance PAT up 431% in 2017 Modestus Anaesoronye FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS


31 Dec 2017 31 Dec 31 2017 Dec 2016 31 Dec 2016 Growth N000 N000 N000 % N000

Growth %

nderwriting firm, Linkage Assurance Plc has recorded a Grossgrowth premium Gross written premium written 4,102,253 4,102,2534,032.083 4,032.083 2% 2% 431 percent in profit after tax Gross premium Gross income premium income 4,186,126 4,186,1263,960.410 3,960.410 6% 6% (PAT) for the financial year ended Net premium income Net premium income 2,840,378 2,840,378 2,835,885 2,835,885 0% 0% 31stDecember 2017. The figure grew from N544.6 million in 2016 and Investment Investment other income and other income 3,426,205 3,426,205 951,349 951,349 260% 260% financial year to N2.891 billion in Profit before taxation Profit before taxation 2,996,101 2,996,101 942,682 942,682 218% 218% the review period. Profit Profit after taxation 2,891,268 2,891,268 544,564 544,564 431% 431% The profit before tax (PBT)after also taxation appreciated by 218percent, from N942.65 million in 2016 to N2.996 billion at the end of 2017. During the 2017 financial year, Linkage Events Xclusive InsurThe company also grew its total Linkage Assurance also boost- billion as against N4.032 billion, Linkage developed array of retail ance, Linkage Shop Insurance, indicating a 2 percent increase, assets to N23.308 billion at the end ed its bottom-line from investproducts targeted at deepening Purple Motor Plan (comprehenwhile the gross premium income of 2017, moving up by 15 percent ment income, which grew significantly by 260 percent, from inched 6 percent to close at N4.186 from N20.331 billion in the previ- penetration and increase revenue. sive motor cover exclusively for These include the Linkage Third women), and the Linkage Estate N951.349 million in 2016 to N3.426 billion at the end of 2017, as ous year. Party Plus, which is a budget Insurance. against N3.966 billion the previManagement said it will conbillion in the review year. This “We have already deployed our friendly motor insurance that ous year. tinue to refine its strategy in line according to the Company came online portal to make our prodprovides not only the compulsory Just as the insurance business with the political, economic, from the 2015 and 2016 dividend income from Stanbic IBTC Pen- remains volatile with a horren- sociological and technological Third party protection but an ad- ucts and services available to our ditional Own damage protection customers especially the digital sion Limited which was received dous claims hitting the industry, changes in the industry. to the tune of N250,000, and is savvy customers and enterprises. Linkage during the year under re“Also we will continue to deduring the year and that led to a The Company also said it will significant growth of 2,616 percent view paid out claims amounting to velop innovative products, alter- only available in the company”. consolidate on new initiatives to Otherproducts launched by the N1.038 billion, as against 613.196 native channels of distributions in the dividend income to N3.2 improve operational efficiency Company are the Linkage SME million in 2016. and strategic initiatives that will billion from N116million in 2016. so as to reduce the cost of doing Comprehensive, Citadel Shield This therefore impacted on unenable us achieve our corporate In the Company’s full year business, improve business pro(which provides compensation as derwriting profit which dropped goals and objectives. With a medifinancial result submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), 53 percent to close at N456.86 um-to-long term perspective, we a result of injuries from accident cesses, eliminate wastages and Linkage Assurance Plc achieved million, as against N980.79 mil- believe that we will benefit from for pupils and students in recog- achieve higher margins in her core nized academic establishments); business. growth in these initiatives.” gross premium written of N4.102 lion in 2017.

Suru Group alleges illegal take-over of hotel property by AMCON Ifeoma Okeke


hairman of Suru Group, Edward Akinlade has cried out over the attempt by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over his property, Best Western Plus Hotel, located on Allen Avenue Ikeja, Lagos. He is therefore calling on the Federal government as well as authorities concerned to come to his rescue. Akinlade who described AMCON’s activities as illegal and fraudulent while addressing newsmen in Lagos said official of AMCON had in the morning of September 22, 2017 stormed the venue where his property is located with armed policemen to forcefully eject staff and customers from the hotel building, in attempt to seal up the facility over allegations of N15.3 billion the hotel allegedly owed Oceanic Bank Plc (now Ecobank). The Suru Group boss said, “In 2014, AMCON sued us, saying that we owed them N15.3billion but the suit was dismissed by Justice Idris and the sum of N50 was awarded as cost in favour of our company

but AMCON still went to another court and sued us again as counter claim.” Akinlade said further that judgement was again given by another judge, Justice Hassan on March 22, 2018 in his company’s favour, stating that the “counter claim is an abuse of judicial process, it seeks to relegate issues that have been determined by the court, it is an attempt to restore Suit No FHC/L/CS/218/2014, which has been dismissed by this court on 22/6/2015.” He noted however that even after the last judgment, AMCON has still not given up as it has again appealed the judgment. “Judgment was given on the 22nd of March 2018 and AMCON appealed again in the following day, saying the judgment is wrong. But by the judgment we had in March this year, the court said we do not owe AMCON and therefore it cannot seize our property but as at today, AMCON is still sitting in our property at Allen. They have Mobile Police there every day.” Akinlade lamented that AMCON is trying to frustrate his company to let go its property adding “We defeated AMCON in

the Federal High Court, Lagos but what it has done now is that it has appealed to the court of Appeal. We know we are still going to win the case at the Appeal Court and we also know that AMCON will still take the case to the Supreme Court after we have won in the Appeal Court and when we win the case at the Supreme court, the question is who will get for us our property from AMCON? He therefore called on the federal government as well as relevant authorities to come to his rescue. But Jude Nwauzor, the head, Corporate Communications, told BusinessDay that he will not comment on the issue since it is currently in court. “We will not be commenting on a case that is sitting before the competent judge. Our lawyer has asked us to ignore Edward Akinlade on the matter because people go to court to seek redress not at a press conference,” Nwauzor added. He said the corporation was simply obeying a court order, which mandated the agency to take over the hotel due to its indebtedness running to over N27 billion.

Forte oil, Cheron enters agreement for sale of lubricants Olusola Bello


he lubricant market in the downstream subsector of the petroleum industry is set for tough competition among players , as Forte Oil plc has signed an agreement with Chevron Lubricants, Europe, Middle East & Africa (Chevron Lubricants), which will make Texaco-branded lubricants and engine oil available at Forte Oil’s filling stations in Nigeria. This collaboration between Chevron Lubricants, owner of the Texaco brand, and Forte Oil, one of the major players in retail distribution of petroleum products in Nigeria, will open new opportunities for Nigeria motorists to purchase high quality engine oil. From its strategic manufacturing hubs, the well-known Texacobranded lubricants and engine oil will be supplied to the network of Forte Oil’s filling stations across the country. Stewart Wright, general man-

ager, Chevron Lubricants, stated as follows: “We are delighted that this agreement means that motorists across Nigeria will have added choice when buying quality engine oil. It is excellent news that our Texaco-branded lubricants are now so widely available and are here to stay in Nigeria.” Kenneth Otaru, Forte Oil’s head of Marketing, added: “Our collaboration with Chevron Lubricants will allow Nigeria motorists to enjoy a wider selection of engine oil and lubricants assured of the quality guaranteed by both the Forte Oil and Texaco brands. This is an exciting time for the downstream market and for the consumer. Forte Oil is pleased to join in this initiative to ensure the best available products are located at every Forte Oil filling station.” Motorists can look forward to benefiting from more Texacobranded product options being introduced to the market through Forte Oil filling stations.




Friday 18 May 2018

COMPANIES & MARKETS Gas supply to increase as Shell boosts distribution capacity by 150 percent Olusola Bello


ith the boosting of domestic gas distribution capacity to 150 percent in the last six months by Shell Nigeria Gas more industrial activities are expected to be on the rise again thereby improving the economy. More companies are going to be able to access gas for their production and this would bring a lot improvement to the economy and by extension increase the growth of gross domestic product. It could also mean a big leap towards having an improved power generation and supply in the country as s as the bulk of the gas that may go to power generation. The increase in capacity will enable the company to distribute more than 100 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMscf/d) to businesses in its western operations. The new capacity is equivalent to some 400 Megawatts (MW) of gas to power, and has been enabled by the

construction of a second train at the Agbara/Ota Pressure Reduction and Metering Station (PRMS) in Ogun State, from where SNG supplied its first customers with gas “The expansion project shows the commitment of Shell to Nigeria’s industrialisation through the monetisation of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources,” said SNG Managing Director Ed Ubong, while speaking in Lagos on the operations of the company. The modules for the second train were fabricated by a Nigerian company which collaborated with its foreign partners to safely execute the project without any Lost Time injuries(LTI’s). According Ubong.: “We’re continuing the campaign for gas by discussing with various stakeholders to deepen and expand domestic gas supply to existing industrial and new manufacturing clusters in various locations in Nigeria.” SNG’s existing gas distribution system in the three states it operates – Ogun, Abia and Rivers – have boosted manufacturing output and helped these states to grow their internally generated

L-R Chris Simes, managing director, Collingwood Learning, United Kingdom; Titilola Alabi, sustainable development and alcohol in society manager, Guinness Nigeria ;Peter Ndegwa. managing director/chief executive officer, Guinness Nigeria; Amadi Dorothy, assistant director, non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja; Viola Graham-Douglas, corporate relations director, Guinness Nigeria, and Keke Hammond, founder and chief executive officer, Rue 14 Studios, Lagos, at the official launch of the Smashed Project, in Lagos. Pic by Pius Okeosisi

revenues and provide local employment opportunities. In 2017, SNG executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rivers State Government for the distribution of gas to industries in the Greater Port Harcourt area

and its environs. The agreement provides further opportunities for SNG to promote gas as a more reliable, cleaner and cost-effective alternative to liquid fuels in Nigeria. SNG has built a reputation for safety and credibility and

FCMB gets ISO certification for Quality Management HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE


irst City Monument Bank (FCMB), has been awarded the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001:2015 certificate for Quality Management System. The Bank was presented with the certificate by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), following a comprehensive audit and evaluation exercise conducted by the Organisation. The exercise covered departments and branches of the lender, nationwide. The development is coming on the heels of the renewed strategic focus of FCMB, which has significantly deepened its core values of professionalism,

sustainability, customer focus and excellence. Through this process, it was observed that the Bank had successfully overhauled and streamlined its processes, procedures and systems to meet best global standards. The ISO 9001:2015 is the most widely used quality management system globally. It provides a framework that ensures that organizations are able to meet customers’ and other applicable requirements consistently. It consists of policies, processes and procedures required for planning and execution that guarantee continuous improvement and operational efficiency in the core business areas of an organization. This helps to mitigate risks, opti-

mise opportunities and the organization is able to deliver better products/ services and sustainable excellent stakeholders experience. The SON audit of FCMB covered key areas including context of the organisation, leadership, planning, support and operation. Others were performance evaluation and improvement. Following this, SON stated in its report that, it discovered that the Bank had put in place and implemented, ‘’good practices, high quality management system awareness and risk/mitigation inbuilt in each process activity’’. Adam Nuru, managing director of FCMB, described the laurel as another milestone in the commitment of the Bank to attain excellence in all as-

pects of operations and service delivery. “The award of ISO 9001:2015 certificate is an endorsement of our ability to consistently demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement in order to match the ever-changing needs of our esteemed customers, and in response to market demands and the global dynamics. We regularly ensure the internal appraisal of the risks and opportunities inherent in our business and thereafter take proactive steps to mitigate the identified risks, while optimising the opportunities for the ultimate benefit of our customers, stakeholders and the country’’, he said.

Firm harps on skills development for economic growth


he International Educational Management Networks (IEMN), has re-emphasised the importance of skills and vocational capabilities in an economy. IEMN is keen on providing platforms that enable skills acquisition as vital part of the education process.

In this vein, the firm is putting together a Fair called EduSkills slated to hold June 2, 2018 at the National Education and Research Development Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. The 2018 edition is themed “Scaling and Realigning Education for global Competitiveness.” Onyeka Jaivbo-Ojigbo,

founder and president of IEMN said “This year, we want to create more awareness on the importance of skills and vocation in the growth of an economy. Therefore, we are bringing more skills and vocations. We are bringing people from agro allied industry, because there has been much in-

novations in the way things are done in that sector, especially with packaging.” The one-day fair expectedly will be attended by people from all walks of life and especially from the education sector, including leading professors from institutions nationwide as well as government functionaries in the education sector.

is the only gas distribution company in Nigeria whose facility is ISO 14001 certified. In the course of its business, the company has implemented various development projects in the areas of its operations, donating or renovating

schools, providing information communications technology (ICT) centre, equipping science laboratories and launching numerous Road Safety Education and Awareness campaigns in 2016 and 2017.

Anambra shoe traders market to begin operation soon Emmanuel Ndukuba, Awka,


nambra State Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Christian Chukwuma Madubuko has announced that the Shoe Traders International Market in Nkwelle will soon open for business. The market, which has not less than 2,400 lock up shops, was built by Nkwelle community. Madubuko, while on inspection tour of the market, re-assured the people of the community of state government’s support in making the market functional. He expressed delight at their effort in completing the market, describing it as a venture that could yield dividends to them. Commissioner for Road, Rail and Water Transportation Uchenna Okafor, who

was part of the inspection team, explained that the objective of the project was to add value to the community. ``This has been achievable through the creation of job opportunities and overall development that accompanies market location.’’ The Chairman Nkwelle Development Union, Clement Ifeakandu called on government to assign traders to the market, so that business transactions could kick-off. Ifeakandu pointed out that the market could benefit people of Oyi, Omambala, Ayamelum and as many as would have interest in the business. He explained that the market had a wide space to accommodate a motor park, fire station, eateries and not less than 50 toilet facilities. The chairman, then, assured those intending to rent shops of cooperation and support of host community

Friday 18 May 2018




COMPANIES & MARKETS Right of way, multiple taxes hurting telecom companies—LCCI

Business Event

...flays 10% import duty on solar panels ODINAKA ANUDU


he Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says difficulties in getting Right of Way and multiple taxes are two major issues hurting telecommunications firms in the country. Speaking at a quarterly press briefing held in Lagos on Wednesday, Babatunde Paul Ruwase, president of the LCCI, said telecommunications companies in the country were facing very difficult challenges regarding securing the Right of Way for the deployment of their fibre optic cables across the country. “They also face challenges with regard to the multiplicity of taxes/levies. The Telecommunications Association estimates that operators in the sector pay thirty-eight (38) different taxes and levies to the various tiers of government,” Ruwase told journalists in Lagos. According to him, the telecommunications sector was a very strategic one for the economy and a main facilitator of investment in other sectors,

stating that the country must protect it from avoidable distractions. “The government needs to curb the incidence of multiple taxation, vandalisation of the telecommunications equipment, and the unbearable cost of the Right of Way demanded by state governments,” he said. He stressed that Internet connectivity was critical to the development of all sectors. “Internet connectivity has a potentially great impact on the educational development, awareness, and exposure of the youths. It is therefore in the interest of the larger economy to reduce the burden of these distractions and taxations on the telecommunications sector,” he appealed. He flayed government’s imposition of 10 percent import duty on solar panels, saying that it conflicted with its objectives towards diversification of energy sources. “Before now, one of the incentives enjoyed in the renewable energy sector was zero import duty on solar panels. The idea was to motivate the citizens to alternative energy sources, particularly

renewable energy. This is also in line with federal government agenda on the diversification of energy sources. The decision to impose the 10 percent import duty on solar panels conflicts with government’s objectives towards diversification of energy sources. “We request that the federal government, through the ministry of finance, directs the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to reverse the import duty on solar panels,” he said. Ruwase pointed out that a major impediment to the adoption of renewable energy was the cost of acquisition of the equipment. Rather than impose a fresh import duty, government should subsidise renewable energy equipment, he recommended. He urged the Federal Government to fix insecurity to enable investments and lives thrive. “The security problem is a major issue that we need to fix very urgently. No effort should be spared by the government to fix this problem. Our security agencies need to live up to their responsibilities,” he added.

L-R: Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, general manager, enterprise marketing, MTN Nigeria Ozoima Dozie, chief executive officer, Diamond Bank, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, chief enterprise business officer, MTN Nigeria, Josephine Sarouk, general manager, regional operations, MTN Nigeria, and Sharafadeen Mohammed, senior manager, corporate segment, enterprise business at MTN Nigeria, at the Diamond Bank TechFest co-sponsored by MTN in Lagos

L-R: Muda Yusuf, director general, Lagos Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (LCCI); Babatunde Ruwase, president; Toki Mabogunje, deputy president, and Micheal Olawale-Cole, vice president, at the LCCI Quarterly Press Conference on the State of the Economy in Lagos On Wednesday.

Ibom Power Company woo investors for 500mw project ANIEFIOK UDONQUAK, Uyo


bom Power Company is wooing investors for the second phase of its project expected to generate 500mw of electricity located in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Currently, the plant generates 191mw of power from its first phase while it is able to evacuate about 153mw due to poor energy infrastructure. Etido Inyang, the chairman of Ibom Power Company, who stated this in Uyo, the state capital, said the second phase of the project was expected to gulp about $500 million, saying the completion of the project in addition to other facilities being executed by the state government was needed to drive the industrialisation programme of the state government. Inyanyang, who described poor electricity infrastructure as a major challenge in the provision of uninterrupted

power supply, lauded the federation government for its collaboration with Akwa Ibom government in the execution of substations in parts of the state. He also commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for his vision in turning the state into a major power hub with the inauguration of power projects jointly executed with the federal government while reiterating the commitment of the state government in ensuring a 24-power supply. “The substation commissioned last year has drastically improved power in Uyo environs, the Ekim substation in Mkpat Enin local government will be completed in the nest one month and the state government is making plans to boost the Ikot -Ekpene substation. “The Ekim substation will definitely carry the load of about five Local Government Areas and we have discovered that boosting the Ikot Ekpene substation will also help the state to improve

power in the surrounding LGAs and so the state government is working on a plan to boost that area too. “Already, residents of Uyo are enjoying at least 20 hours of power except for areas with problems in their transformer or transmission lines and the vision is for the entire state to enjoy such levels of electricity supply. “That explains the commitment of the state of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the power sector. You also recall that the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola had earlier called him Mr Power because of his efforts in ensuring that the state becomes a power hub in the country,” he explained. He also said that in a renewed move to improve the quality of service to consumers in Akwa Ibom the new metering company located in ONNA local government area of the state has so far distributed 40,000 pre paid metres to electricity consumers in the state.

L-R: Anthony Le Roux, general manager, Middle East and Africa; Taryn Morris, head, customer experience SSA; Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, vice president & regional general manager of Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Lola Kassim, general manager West Africa, all of Uber, during the Pierre’s tour of the Uber Greenlight Hub in Lagos.

L-R.Ben Afudego, advisory leader, Ernst and Young West Africa); Andela, Global; senior director of people, Andela Global, Taiwo Ajayi); People & Organization director, EY Ms. Lola Esan; and EY Africa advisory leader, Roderick Wolfenden, during the HR directors’ forum, organised by EY Nigeria in Lagos... on Wednesday.




Products Review

Technology Review

Personality Review


Friday 18 May 2018

Company Review


Cellulant $47.5m deal with TPG shows why future is digital payment Stories by FRANK ELEANYA


he Rise Fund owned by private equity firm TPG Growth, has led a $47.5 million investment in Cellulant, an African digital payments provider with operations in Kenya and Nigeria. The deal which includes Endeavour Catalyst and Satya Capital and was announced on Monday, 14 May, is the first of its kind in Africa not just for the firm but it is the largest involving a fintech company that does business in Africa. The last time a fintech company received equity investment exceeding two digits was in 2017 when Flutterwave secured over $10 million. “This accelerates the company’s goal of becoming the number one digital payments and financial services provider,” Bolaji Akinboro, co-founder of Cellulant and CEO of Cellulant Nigeria said on Twitter on Monday morning. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, a technology expert told BusinessDay that the deal further confirms that

digitizing African payments is the future of economic growth. “It is clear – there is only one path; moving to digital payment. That is why they are putting money in payment. It is a growth area,” Ekekwe said. He noted that 98 percent of consumer-to-consumer transactions are still cash-based, representing opportunities ahead to be tapped. “If they can move from 2 percent digital payment penetration to 50 percent of the $301 billion, they would be earning about $4.5 billion on fees if the average commission is 3 percent. Cellulant was established in 2004 by Ken Njoroge (Kenyan) and Bolaji Akinboro. Initially, the founders focused the company in providing music and news content on mobile to consumers in Kenya and Nigeria. The company began to diversify into mobile money services in 2005. It was awarded a mobile payment license by the Central Bank of Nigerian in 2014 which helped to facilitate its partnership with the Nigerian government

to supply fertiliser to farmers using a mobile wallet scheme. Cellulant has operations in 11 countries including Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Liberia, Malawi, Botswana, and Mozambique, with 94 banks and seven mobile money platforms that have a combined potential customer base of 130 million. Much of the new investment

will go into expanding Cellulant’s most popular mobile platform, Agrikore. Agrikore is ablockchain-based mobile platform that serves more than 7 million farmers across the African continent, connecting them to the market and helping them easily sell their products to a broader spectrum of buyers. “We are scaling up our exist-

ing payments products in the agriculture sector, digital banking and internet payments; as well as introducing consumerfocused products to complement the enterprise products we already have,” Akinboro said, “This will allow us to increase access to payments for the millions of Africans who are still unbanked, despite the financial inclusion revolution.”

In 2017, Cellulant revealed that Agrikore has partnered with the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture as part of its bid to expand operations in Asia. “With Agrikore, the financier is insulated from the intricate system consisting of farmers, aggregators, offtakers, agro-dealers, insurers, and commodity buyers that create value in the form of produce, from agricultural inputs because the technology provides the transparency, integrity and immutability that grows the confidence of remote actors in the system,” the firm explained in a statement. For The Rise Fund expanding easy-to-use and low cost mobile banking offers immense potential for impact across Africa. “We are excited to invest in African entrepreneurs like Ken and Bolaji, to help them grow their businesses and expand their impact on society,” Bill McGlushan, CEO and cofounder of The Rise Fund said, “Cellulant is a perfect partner for The Rise Fund’s first investment in Africa.”


Collaboration, digital seen as future of economic growth in Nigeria


n a bid to emphasis the importance of collaboration and growth in digital adoption as the future of the technology ecosystem - and by extension financial technology - in Nigeria, eight companies whose businesses depend largely on technology, banded together for the maiden edition of TechFest 2018. Led by Diamond Bank, the companies which include Visa, Microsoft, Deloitte, Interswitch, MTN Nigeria, Beat FM and the

Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System PLC (NIBSS) organized what is arguably the largest technology gathering of 2018 at the Landmark Event Centre. According to some of the partners, Techfest became necessary given the increase in homegrown innovations from the players in the country and the disparate way they operate. Yemi Saka, partner at Deloitte responsible for Consulting Business across West Africa, told BusinessDay that “Often you

do not get an event where a lot of these smart vibrant young people and the right organizations come together to provide an outlet where we can showcase innovation.” For the tech ecosystem to make an impact and realize the potential that it is known for, collaboration among the players no matter their size is critical. Techfest which had the theme ‘Spark Your Curiosity’ saw an impressive 8,000 online registered participants for a tech

event in Nigeria with over half of that number showing up on the first day. Uzoma Dozie, CEO of Diamond Bank said the vision of Techfest is to drive technology education to people who are yet to embrace due to lack of understanding of how innovations work. He disclosed that the bank commit significant amount of financial and human resources to spread the knowledge of their digital products to their over 3 million online customers.

“We have about 3 or 4 million people that have opened a bank account on a mobile phone. You have to be educated to do that. Part of opening new products is educating people. The illiterate of the future is not the one that cannot write English or Mathematics, it is one that cannot unlearn what they have learned and relearn. To get on in this new life, what brought you to where you are today is not what is going to take you to where you are going. I have done banking for 20 years

but I have done it in a different way. The new way of banking is going to be different. It is going to be done by artificial intelligence and machine learning and so you must be ready to unlearn what you learnt,” he said. A representative of MTN Nigeria at the event said the company did not hesitate to partner with the other companies knowing the impact of technology on its network of over 63 million subscribers and a vast coverage across Africa.

Friday 18 May 2018





In Association With

Impact investing: A veritable route to affordable housing in Nigeria Innocent Unah & Abisinuola David-Olusa


ccess to housing is one of the key commitments agreed to by world leaders in the UN’s New Urban Agenda (NUA), which sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development, and which is expected to help governments and peoples rethink how they plan, manage and live in cities. The NUA was endorsed by the 68th Plenary Meeting of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly held on December 2016 with affordable housing as a key part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 of building sustainable cities and communities. However, the Nigerian Government is struggling with the challenge of providing, at a meaningful scale, high quality affordable housing to the people as a result of insufficient funds. But Nigerians, just as everyone else across Africa and the world, have an inalienable right to affordable housing as a panacea to the challenges of secure, habitable and affordable habitat. As housing backlogs continue to increase exponentially across the continent of Africa, the need for investment in this area has become one of urgency. Given that Nigerian (and African) cities continue to grow as the level of urbanization increase at nearexponential levels driven by high rate of rural-urban migration (from 39.94 per cent in 2006 to 49.4 per cent in 2017), there is a heightened the need for affordable housing. This has drawn the interest of investors, financiers and developers towards the housing sector. Because the perception of what is affordable varies significantly from one city to another, from one state to another, and from one income group to another, the only feasible attempt at explaining affordable housing is broadly defining it. Analysts have defined affordable housing generally to include housing solutions that are priced and financed in a way that ensures low-income occupants can also satisfy their other basic needs. Even though the scarcity of affordable housing affects all segments of the society, it is usually the low-income earners that are most affected. Given that the Nigerian urban housing market primarily targets highincome earners, this significant part of the Nigerian population excluded from formal housing provision. Furthermore, low-income households in the country face a number of obstacles in their quest for decent

housing. These barriers include weak individual purchasing power, poor access to housing finance, unavailability of complementary goods such as land and infrastructure, and inadequate housing supply to meet the actual needs of the urban poor. Benefits of affordable housing investing Affordable housing offers double rewards of economic growth and poverty alleviation, and no matter the impact financiers or investors seek to create, they can reach a consensus on issues bordering on returns and impact. Investors can reap substantial benefits from Nigeria’s growing housing finance sector. With the burgeoning spate of urbanisation in the country, the demand for affordable housing will remain strong, both for rental and purchase. Moreover, As the mortgage market does not yet meet the breadth of the population who might afford a mortgage, and as most households still find it difficult to finance their housing independently from savings or non-mortgage credit, investors can look for a mechanism that will allow them to provide the needed housing to the people at friendly prices while they make acceptable returns on their investments. Nigeria in 2016, faced significant economic crises arising from depressed oil prices, foreign exchange fluctuations and GDP contraction. This further dealt a shrinking blow to the prospects of realising the affordable housing dreams. The Nigerian real estate sector accounts for 7.52% of the Nigerian economy; housing budget stands at N41 billion with meagre progress in the FGN’s envisioned production of one million standardised affordable houses. As stated by the Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria has a housing deficit estimated at between 17 to 20 million housing units and a 900,000 annual unit deficit increase, with a potential cost of about N6 trillion. In order to meet this supply gap of 23 million units by 2020, 2.6 million homes needed annually. Bullish estimates suggest that only 200,000 units are currently built annually. This gap should be sufficient to trigger investors’ interest in this sector. The FGN launched a National Housing Fund Programme under the Social Investment Fund which was set up to increase the access of Nigerians to affordable housing and home ownership. Investors in affordable housing sector International Housing Solutions (IHS) International Housing Solutions

Source: World Bank

Source: Centre for Affordable Housing Finance for Africa (IHS) is a global private equity investor leading investment into the affordable housing sector in subSaharan Africa, has created a fund, IHS Fund II, which will target affordable and energy-efficient housing opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. IHS has built an enviable reputation of providing 27,000 new homes and also focuses on adding value by providing easy access to opportunities previously unavailable to the middle class such as security, transport cost reduction and access to quality education through strategic positioning. The first fund is South Africa Workforce Housing Fund, a $230 million fund and the second fund (HIS Fund II) has already attracted approximately $180 million

in capital majorly targeted to South Africa and Sub-Saharan countries. Lafarge Africa Lafarge Africa, through LafargeHolcim, focuses on providing a range of affordable housing solutions tailored to the local challenges and needs of the populace. They offer microfinance program for affordable housing which included access to microcredits via partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) amongst others, construction solutions like roofing solutions and modular housing templates for bitby-bit construction and technical assistance through the assistance of LafargeHolcim advisors. Call to action Affordable housing – sometimes

also called social housing or mass housing – is both a social and an economic issue that has featured prominently in most discourses bordering on mass housing. Affordable housing should not be a top priority policy of the government alone, but should also be made a focus area by private investors, such that the essential needs of all stakeholders will be significantly addressed and aid UN’s vision and efforts to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. A number of investors have noted the need for housing for critical mass of the Nigerian people and have already made some level of investment in the sector. We examine these investors below.




Stakeholders canvas for technology, partnerships to transform Nigeria’s healthcare industry  

Experts share six guides to eating right at Ramadan


R-l: Clare Omatseye, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria; Jasper Westerink, CEO Philips Africa; Martins Ifijeh, Head Health Desk, ThisDay newspaper and Jide Idris, Commisioner of Health, Lagos State at the Future of Health organised by Philips in association with Forbes at Wheatbaker, Lagos.



takeholders are canvassing for the adoption of technology and increase in public private partnerships to spur growth and development in the country’s healthcare industry. The stakeholders who spoke during a roundtable discussion on ‘The state of Healthcare in Nigeria’, organised by Philips Africa and Forbes Africa in Lagos, bemoaned the low level of attention given to the health sector, noting that lack of investments in critical health infrastructures still remains a major challenge confronting healthcare delivery in the country. “With technology being a major driver of change, especially today when patients are digitally empowered, healthcare solutions must be incorporated into everyday innovations and meet patients where they are” Clare Omatseye, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria said.   “Government needs to provide a pool of funds, advocate for mandatory universal healthcare and to spend more time on prevention rather than cures” Omatseye said.  She highlighted some of the challenges facing the healthcare sector to include; finance, infrastructural gaps and access to capital, while emphasising the importance of collaboration with sectors outside healthcare in order to deliver viable solutions.  A survey done by Royal Philips , Nigeria,  reveals that

65 per cent of Nigerians believed that improved access to health facilities would make them more effective in managing their health, thus alleviating pressure on the healthcare system, 82 per cent believe that the National Health Insurance will have a positive impact on patient outcomes over time and among those who have ever seen a healthcare professional, most 64 per cent are confident in their healthcare professionals’ understanding of connected care technology. “Evolution of business in health is now focus more on skills, knowledge, decentralisation, partnerships and digital engagement and the fast pace of technological development,” said Michael Jackson, an health expert, in his keynote addressing healthcare futurist  Jackson encouraged healthcare professionals to emulate this progression in rolling out digital healthcare solutions for Nigeria and Africa.  Speaking at a panel session on the role of technology in the transformation of healthcare in Nigeria, Jasper Westerink, Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa emphasised on the need for collaborations, partnerships and the provision of fast paced healthcare technologies towards making positive impact on lives.  “We believe that sustainable healthcare development requires a system-wide approach, combining technology, capacity-building including training, service and maintenance, as well as long-term financing. To that end, we aim

to expand access to quality and affordable healthcare across the country and compliment significant efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s growing health sector,” Westerink said.   Also speaking, Kunle Elebute, chairman, KPMG West Africa said “Nigeria healthcare is underserved and underconsumed, it has not gotten enough human resource and it is the most desperate sector in all sectors in the country.”   Elebute stated that the quick scale up in the implementation of  the Universal Health Coverage at both the national and state level, deploying alternative innovation and sustainable sources of funding, building on the existing and forge new multi sectorial partnership for coordinated UHC efforts will help drive the desired success in the sector.    “Nigeria has to start from somewhere by implementing the necessary policies in the healthcare and by so doing in four to five years, the country will make a huge success,” he said.    Jide Idris Commissioner of Health, Lagos State,  said that effective communication, training and behavioural change initiatives are very important  in order to leapfrog education  to ensure that technologies are well understood and applies  are available in communities for health promotion and preventative solutions.  The stakeholders also noted that for the country to benefit from the business of health, government at all levels must increase its budgetary allocations to the sector. 

Friday 18 May 2018

utritionists and exercise experts at the Birmingham City have come up with a guide which aims to help Muslims observing the month of Ramadan to make sure they eat right and look after their systems. The experts opined that swapping fried food for grilled goodness, ditching samosas, swerving sugar and salt, and spending your nights drinking as much water as possible could help millions of Muslims across the globe tackle the challenges of Ramadan. “During Ramadan, the hunger and dehydration might affect our cognitive abilities which often means that our ability to make wise choices when it comes to what food and drink that we

much water as possible during Iftaar and Suhur times, especially if hot weather is expected during the day. Learn the importance of balance – when fasting your body is deprived of nutrients that your system needs. The experts emphasise that it is so important to make sure that when you can eat, you keep your meals balanced so that you feed your system enough nutrients from each group. Think about the alternatives – swap deep frying for grilling, baking or shallow frying and swap heavier foods for lighter alternatives. For example, swap cake and chocolate for fruit and yoghurt. Fitness and fasting can work together – gym enthusiasts can stick to their routine

consume during after the period of breaking the fast,” said Huda Al-Kateb, programme leader, BSc Food and Nutrition at Birmingham City University. “We as a generation are much more aware of our health and wellbeing now so it is a good time to make people aware of what is and isn’t good to eat during Ramadan,” said Al-Kateb. The month of Ramadan, which begins on May 16, sees a large number of Muslims across the world observe 30 days of fasting during daylight hours, which means they cannot eat any food or drink any water or other drinks until the sun sets. The month teaches self-discipline, resilience and awareness of what it can be like for those living in poverty. Below is the full text of the guide as provided by the experts: Water, water and more water during night time hours – experts advise to drink as

of working out every day. Light exercises are great to keep blood flowing and the system working. Cardio exercises are also fine to do when fasting as long as you don’t overdo it. Excess salt causes extreme thirst during the day – experts say that meals with high salt are not ideal to eat during night time hours because they can cause thirstiness during the day and is best to be avoided. Keep energised without water or snacks – experts advise that there are small things you can try each day to keep you alert and maintain your energy. Things like taking small breaks from revision or work and going on small walks, writing daily to-do lists or listing what you’re finding difficult and working on combatting these, and planning meals to make sure you’re eating the rights things to get good energy levels can all have a bit impact.

Friday 18 May 2018




‘Lessons learnt would help prevent Nestlé launches nutrition initiative to help 50m children Ebola resurgence in Nigeria’




xperts in Nigeria’s health sector have said that lessons learnt from the occurrence of the previous Ebola outbreak in the country would help prevent resurgence of the virus. The experts also stated that effective surveillance, containment and general precautions measures will help minimise risk of viral come back in the country. “With all the documents, all key success factors of how Nigeria was able to indicate each of the cases after Mr Sawyer was identified, the country should learn from that and make sure it does not happen again,” said Clare Omatseye, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria. “Rather than been reactive each time, we have to be more responsive and make sure we are prepared when it comes again. “We have a lot of learning lessons from the past outbreak in the country and one of it was the fact that private public partnership playing important role, collaboration is very important,” Omatseye said.  She said that Ebola is a big crisis for West African countries and Nigeria was at the forefront of Ebola crisis some years back  Omatseye noted that the way forward to prevent resurgence is for Nigeria to keep its boarders checked, continued enlightenment on hand washing and learn from having an emergency response system, as well as quar-

antine facilities.   The Ebola epidemic ravaged parts of Nigeria In October 2014. Following quick response to the outbreak, World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the country Ebola-free 42 days after the last known case had occurred as the country managed to limit the number of cases to 19 with 10 deaths.  The recent epidemic outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), since 4 April which recorded more than 30 possible cases including 19 deaths.  Similarly, Oladoyin Odubanjo chair, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), Lagos Chapter said, critical factor increasing the risk reoccurrence and returning to old habits as soon as the epidemic should be kept in check.   “Effective surveillance is clearly important, containment and

general precautions measure will minimise risk of viral transmission. “All we need to do is to practise more universal care precautions at all times generally and avoid reverting to old habits. People need to practice more hygiene, which is very important and the environment needs to be cleaner,” said Odubanjo.  “There must be regular, repetitive reminders through teaching, practice, discussions and integrations of the salient points before people adopt the new behaviour,” said Chris Bode the chief medical director and consultant paediatric surgeon Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba.  Bode added, “After all, most of the values we hold dear today were similarly validated and revalidated till they became tenets we simply follow because we are taught they are good.”

estle has launched a nutrition initiative to help 50 million children across the globe lead healthier lives by 2030, in a bid to mark this years United Nations International Day of Families. In a statement, Nestle stated that the initiative is targeted at bringing together the firms continued efforts in the development of healthier products and nutritional advice for families.  According to the statement, activities covered by the initiative include the on-going transformation of Nestlé’s food and beverage portfolio, promoting the consumption of vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds as well as work to reduce sugars, salt and saturated fats in products. Also, sharing nutritional knowledge and offering advice for families is another key area where Nestlé will concentrate its expertise and resources.   “Childhood is a time where life-long habits are formed. We want to help parents make healthier choices for their children. This is why we are accelerating our efforts to support families in raising healthier kids and we call on others to join us in this endeavour,” Mark Schneider,  CEO, Nestlé said.  Schneider noted that for over a decade, Nestlé has improved the nutritional value of its products. With “Nestlé for

Healthier Kids”, the company pledges to continue this work for the long term. Badged as “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” the work behind this initiative can be seen in recent developments across Nestlé’s UK & Irish portfolio including an innovative 30% less sugar Milkybar, bottled water promoting healthy hydration specifically for children and the reduction of more than 60 billion calories and 2.6 billion teaspoons of sugar since 2015.  In Central and West Africa, Nestlé helps children lead healthier lives through four ma i n ave nu e s : p ro m o t i ng healthy lifestyles in schools, fostering physical activity, educating parents on nutrition as well as improving the nutrient profile of its foods and beverages by fortifying them in vitamins and minerals while reducing sugar, fat and salt.  The statement further reveals that numerous nutrition education initiatives will also take place across the region. Parents and mothers-to-be c a n s o u rc e g u i d a n c e a n d expert advice on good nutrition for their babies through Nestlé’s Start Healthy Stay Healthy Facebook pages in Ghana and Nigeria as well as through their health care providers, several of which receive continuous scientific education through the Nestlé Nutrition Institute for Africa. 

Tips: Office habit matters, 5 ways to stay healthy at workplace


espite the stress at workplace, it’s important to figure out ways to stay healthy because your habit must include living a healthy lifestyle. Many people spend a good chunk of time at work, but not withstanding, it is necessary to take care of yourself while working to ensure a healthy life.   Most people occupy their entire time at work being busy and neglecting few lifestyle patterns that can help them maintain a safe and sound daily life.   To stay healthy at workplace, these 5 tips are to be considered: 


Avoid sedentary lifestyle, Get up and move around Sitting for long hours is a sedentary lifestyle, it will not only affect your healthy living but can cause pain in your back, shoulders, hips, neck and  also office back “Getting up and moving during the day will help prevent pain in your back and in your joints.   Drink Water Drinking water is often overlooked as a necessary part of staying healthy. The body and blood are largely made of water, and so we

need a lot of it. Dehydration can cause moodiness, fatigue, and problems focusing, according to research from the Journal of Nutrition, make sure you are sipping on water during the day. Your body is composed of about 60 per cent water. An added benefit of these bodily fluids includes digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.     Package your own lunch   Taking a healthy packed lunch to office can help you take control of what


you eat and still stay on track with your healthy eating plans. Bringing your lunch to work can do more than save you money, buying your lunch or eating out is more likely to trigger those urges for less than healthy foods.  Take Breaks  Breaks, even five-minutelong are one of the best things you can do during your workday, no matter what line of work you’re in. it is extremely beneficial, both physically and mentally. Breaks keep your eye happy and healthy, lower risks of job accidents, lower your body mass index

and refresh your attention span and sustain concentration.  Don’t ignore your mental health   Know that there is a direct connection between your stress level and your health. The problem is that when a mental health issues are ignored they don’t just go away, they often become a lot worse. To tip the balance in favour of the good, it’s important to actively look after our mental health. Don’t Ignore your Mental Health. Take the time to do some breathing exercises, meditation or even relax a little.

ANTHONIA OBOKOH, ANI MICHAEL, Reporters I David Ogar, Graphics




Alternate Sound; redefining live performance Stories by OBINNA EMELIKE


n May 2015, a young Nigerian music producer set out to create sometime unique in the African music industry. Though the beginning was tedious, Gospel Obi, who stages as GospelOnDeBeatz, was determined. He assembled three other music aficionados; Orowo Ubiene, a.k.a Roy, Kenneth Ugueji, a.k.a Barr Ken and Stanley Amanze also known as StanStyx. The four combined their talents and resources to form a four-man band, which they called Alternative Sound. Obviously, the band birthed to create optimum musical sound with less amount of man power, while using technology to fill in the space that would have engaged others in the music value chain. The optimal engagement of their talents and space is evident in the rational way they ply their craft. The four make up a formidable team. While Gospelondebeatz plays the synthesizer, Roy triggers the backing tracks on the turntable and plays the piano, Barr Ken plays the bass guitar and StanStyx is the drummer in the house. Every member of the band is a music producer and works in collaboration with others to bring out the best in every song and artiste the band works with. The band has successfully headlined two editions of its show; “Alternate Sound Live” featuring top African acts like Banky W, Praiz, Skales, Dr. Sid, Iyanya,

Friday 18 May 2018

My Stolen Childhood: A new TV investigations strand for Africa


Reekado Banks, Fiokee and upcoming artistes such as Chike, Okiemute and Isaac G eralds. They have also worked with Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Flavour, Olamide, Phyno, Patoranking, among others on the most prestigious stages both locally and internationally. Alternate Sound has also produced several live jam sessions notably with Dj Big N, Dj Jimmy Jatt, Reekado Banks among others. The four-man band was the official band for the 12th edition of The Headies Awards, which offered them the privilege to perform at the nominees’ party held in Abuja on April, 28 2018 and the award ceremony at Eko Hotel &

Suites, Lagos on May 6, 2018. The premium band contributed immensely to the success of the award show and has clearly raised the bar for live performances in the music industry. Guests at the award ceremony were blown away by the ace performance of the four-man band that worked with every artiste to ensure that their live performances were brilliant. Speaking on the superlative p e r f o r ma n c e at Th e He a d i e s Awards, Gospel Obi, leader of the band, revealed that the team rehearsed 18 songs for a total of 35 hours over seven days to ensure the smooth delivery of the live performances at The Headies. The good preparation showed in the

performances of notable artistes such as; Tiwa Savage, Simi, Falz, Reminisce, Mr. Reel, Zule Zoo and Mad Melon and Mountain Black. They brought out the best in the 13 live performances at the awards with optimum sound synchrony. Beyond thrilling guests to a wonderful experience at one of the most talked about Headies awards in recent times, the band is evidence that passion, hard work and dedication can take anybody anywhere. However, the band urges fans to be on the lookout for the third edition of Alternate Sound Live, which is scheduled for July, 2018 with surprise performances and exciting activities lined up.

rigitte Sossou Perenyi lives and works in Ghana. She was trafficked to the country at the age of seven from Togo and held in captivity as part of a practice called Trokosi. This involves being banished from the community and sent to serve in a shrine to atone for a crime committed by a family member. It is prevalent in Ghana’s Volta region and is an illegal practice not often talked about. Brigitte was told she had to leave home, to go and live with her uncle. Her parents believed that she was being sent for a better education. Unknown to her parents, their daughter was being held in a shrine, dedicated to worshipping deities. In 1997, she was filmed by an American film crew. Following the news report, with the help of a charity called International Needs Ghana, she was adopted by a viewer in America called Kenneth Perenyi, who became her adoptive father. About 20 years later Brigitte decides to go on a journey to find out

Brigitte Perenyi

The Ghost and the Tout soars …knocks off Avengers Infinity to become first in Nigerian cinemas in opening weekend


n 2018, quite a number of Nollywood movies have been released with many of them taken a knock as they performed below par across cinemas. Only one of these movies had grossed over N10 million in their opening weekend. However, Toyin Abraham and Bigsam Media Production’s movie, The Ghost and the Tout, strolled into the cinemas last weekend to set a new opening weekend record for 2018 by grossing N13 million in three days; not only did it set a new record, it knocked off Disney’s Avenger Infinity from number one position. One of the biggest movies in the world is Avengers - Infinity War and has been on number spot unchallenged in Nigeria’s cinemas. The Ghost and The Tout started with great intensity on Friday and went on to overtake Avengers-Infinity War, taking over number one spot. A feat

not often seen at the box office in Nigeria This is no small feat as The Ghost and The Tout show in fewer locations and has fewer show times in Nigeria. With this performance, Toyin Abraham has confirmed her status as the new box office queen having delivered

A scene from the movie

back to back box office success. The movie showing has witnessed multiple sold out viewings at Silverbird Cinemas Ikeja, FilmHouse Surulere, FilmHouse Ibadan, Genesis Imo, FilmHouse Akure and cinemas across the country. The movie, which tells the

story of Isila (Toyin Abraham), a young woman from the ghetto who encounters a ghost in need of her help to communicate with the people he left behind, and only her can see the ghost. At the ghost’s request, she becomes tangled in solving a murder mystery and her life takes an interesting turn. The story was told in the most hilarious way. The success of the movie may be down to the mixture of the older generation such as Dele Odule and Chiwetalu Agu or the influx of the new generations such as Bobrisky, Josh2funny, Lasisi Eleni or the balance of young experienced actors like Femi Adebayo, Chioma Chukwuka, Sambasa Nzeribe and Toyin Abraham herself. Toyin Abraham’s brand continue to grow exponentially with the success of The Ghost and the Tout and she is said to draw crowd in their numbers to movies that she features in.

Brigitte and a Trokosi woman

the truth about why her family gave her away and investigate Trokosi, a practice still taking place in Ghana, Togo and Benin by various ethnic groups, one of which is the Ewe. Ewes believe that they have a right to select any member of their family to serve in the shrine, whether that person committed a crime or not. The practice of Trokosi has survived for over 300 years. When Brigitte left in 1997 there were an estimated 5000 Trokosi women and children in Ghana alone. It was made illegal in 1998. No priests have been prosecuted and the practice still goes on. Courtesy of BBC World Service Group Communications.

Friday 18 May 2018




Business Etiquette

Movie Review - Rampage


f you enjoyed Kong: king of Apes of 2016 and Skull Island 0f 2017 then you would most likely enjoy this new movie titled Rampage. It features Dwayne Johnson as the lead actor and it has a funny yet interesting storyline. Davis Okoye as he was called in the movie was a man who was more affiliated to animals than he was to man, although women found him so attractive, he was in no way interested as he spent more time with animals. The movie was directed by Brad Peyton who had a very good movie, the movie was written by Ryan Engle and 3 others, and they did have an imaginative mind to come up with this concept. It was obvious that the movie was staged, but they made it look so real. The highlights of this movie was towards the end, when the controlled gigantic animals all had to make their way to the city and in the process destroyed everything they came across, they made it look so scary and real. The movement from the smaller cities, forest, deserts and water to the city was kind of intriguing. I would say that the production and scripting was quiet impressive. The first scene in the movie was quiet funny as they displayed the Davis skills of speaking and controlling the Apes in the home, they have created for them. It functioned like a mini zoo, where people could come watch the animals leave like they were in the real jungle. Davis knew everyone of their names and communicated with them so seamlessly and easily. Most humans couldn’t really understand how he did and why they listened to him, but the truth was that he spent more time with the animals than he did with any other human, making

with Janet Adetu

Identifying in civility in the workplace Part 2


Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Marley Shelton, Jack Quaid, Will Yun Lee, Naomie Harris, Jake Lacy, P.J. Byrne, Breanne Hill and Urijah Faber Genre: Actio, Adventure, Drama, Science-Fiction & Fantasy Director: Brad Peyton Ratings: PG 13 (for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language and crude gestures) Written by: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan Condal, Adam Sztykiel Runtime: 107 mins Studio: Warner Bros Pictures it so easy for them to understand and communicate with him, the ape “George” also had a great sense of humor and he communicated so well, you would almost forget he was an animal. The main movie started when the scientific experiment of an evil company went bad, some of the samples from out of space fell on earth and corrupted some animals. They began to grow in skills, strength and attitude. Getting an antidote for them became a real struggle and that was the entire action of the movie. To my verdict, I would score this movie 7/10, I did enjoy the movie a bit, but kind of felt that some scenes were unnecessarily

prolonged, I was also shocked with the twist at the end, didn’t see that coming and felt it couldn’t have ended in another way. I still take my stands that the most important thing in a movie is a strong compelling story and this one wasn’t as compelling as I would have thought it would be. It’s a 70% recommendation for all the adventure and animal movie lovers. Feel free to review any movie of your choice in not more than 200 words, please send us a mail to and stand a chance to win a free movie ticket Linda Ochugbua @lindaochugbua

Continued…….. ncivility it is said is on the serious increase within our work places today. Research has found that is has a direct impact on overall moral, willingness to perform, desire to be productive as well as a negative reaction to the company bottom line. As part two of this series I aim to identify the way incivility shows up around us today especially within the work environment. Incivility in the workplace can be triggered from the most flimsy circumstances. It starts with one person getting upset with another person, the strife brings about the lack of communication, the hoarding of vital data, the paralysis of productivity and a decrease in employee engagement the root beginning of mounted stress at work. Let me go right into my idea of the symptoms of incivility let me know your thoughts too. Symptom of Incivility. Series of Lapses in Judgment You may find that a team member fails to work together with other colleagues regardless of the aims and objectives of the organization. We have seen time and time again that work colleagues say one thing but mean other and simply do not mind stepping on ones toes just to get what they want. They do not consider team spirit or put any consideration into the decisions they make, they simply lack in judgmental skills. Where employees are arguing and decide not to give each other the necessary information required by hoarding their work this sets up strife, negative atmosphere, reduced moral. It takes a disciplined and sensible employee with leadership potential to put all inhibitions behind and ensure that work runs smoothly and performance does not suffer. Common Courtesies As little as the inability to say a few common courtesies within the office setting can lower the moral of staff which eminates from negative mood swings and more. It is common sense to greet someone in the morning, afternoon and evening; also to introduce yourself when you see someone. It is appropriate to smile when speaking to another person ensuring you are using eye contact at the right time. It would not surprise you to know that these few actions are not as common as they appear to be. It is when employees feel ignored or disrespected that they begin to unconsciously steer away from certain colleagues in the name of avoiding future insult. Every employee from the janitor, cleaner, driver

to the professional and executive working within the same organization are one team, the core values of the organization must be clearly spelt out and be on display within the work premises. As often as possible it should be reinforced and be part of the work culture as well as everyday lifestyle for change to happen. Disrespect for Time The disrespect for time is a major act of incivility we constantly see everywhere the workplace bein no exception. Lateness is at times unavoidable when you cannot control it, we allow for contingencies. However persistent lateness begins to tarnish the image of the employees as well as the organization. When employees are late, they step in with no apology or care in the

world, this is the sign of true incivility. This can be curbed by creating repercussions for lateness or consequences for lazy attitude. There is no excuse for lateness. It just helps when you are polite about it by calling in earlier or apologizing on the spot if only out of courtesy and to avoid being ignorant. Harsh Tones of Communication The work place has a lot of hierarchy, some employees may take advantage of their position to be a little too authoritative while some employees especially superiors have it in mind that they are most effective when they shout, raise their voice unnecessary and comment where they should not. This again creates poor employee engagement because overall moral has been affected; fear and anxiety may kick in and productively begin to reduce. A good leader commands respect no matter how quiet a personality they may have. At this point your aim is to motivate, inspire, direct, advice, transform, teach, and much more; above all a good leader should not set the tone for breaking up a team, he should ensure team spirit is high above all lead by good example. Sloppy Dressing We are in the millennial age; where the distinction in dress-

ing between office and after office is fast becoming a very thin line. Even where there is a dress policy we still see employees cross the line or struggle to make civility of what they are wearing. Sloppy dressing is seen where clothes are too tight, too loose, too short, too long, too inappropriate or too overbearing. Transparent clothing is not allowed, shoes with too high a heel, multicolored nail polish, clothes that bling; hats; inscribed T-shirt, shorts or sandals are totally unacceptable. The dress sense of your staff must be appropriate for the environment, the time of day, the occasion, the profession. Sloppy dressing is the easiest way to sabotage the image of both the individual and the organization. When sloppy dressing is over looked, it creates a nonchalant

attitude, poor behavior and broken down communication. Your dressing should depict you being responsible, respectful and approachable. Image is everything guide it jealously. Social Errors Finally as a professional there is a code of conduct, show of manners, courtesy; kindness and respect we expect to see in you. Rudeness is so high in offices and they go by uncorrected. Whether verbally, virtually; written or any format, it is not appropriate to disrespect fellow colleagues by being rude and unapologetic. Certain manners not exhibited shows the lack of social savvy skills from the choice of clothing to your appearance to behavior to the communication style. There is a dear need to address these social errors to curb and address the rise. A client comes to your office you are to welcome them and take care of them until they are ready to leave. You need to leave a good impression for them to want to do or continue business with you. Try to identity where incivility exists in your organization and make every effort to eliminate it. Please share your experience with me. Wishing you all the best.



Friday 18 May 2018

CityFile Couple with quintuplets gets N6m from Ambode


Wife of Lagos State governor, Bolanle Ambode (2nd r), presenting gifts to Augustine and Jessica Obiefuna for their newborn quintuplets, at the Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos, on Wednesday. With them are COWLSO members, Ronke Solomon (r); Oyindamola Ogunsanwo (2nd l), and Managing Director of the hospital, Ademuyiwa Eniayewun.

Why Nigerian cities continue to face flooding, says Expert


n environmental consultant, Idowu Salawu says flooding will continue to threaten Nigeria, unless Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are conducted before executing construction projects. Salawu, managing director of Macpresse West Africa Ltd., took the position during a session with the media in Lagos, Wednesday, even as concerns grow over the likelihood of flooding across cities in the country, especially Lagos and other the coastal states. According to Salawu, adhering strictly with EIA laws is necessary before embarking on projects, as this will mitigate the effects of climate change on the environment. He regretted that most contractors handling

projects in Nigeria don’t respecting basic environmental laws, a development he blamed for heavy flooding of cities annually. “When environmental problems start, nobody knows how and when they will end. EIAs should not be left with quacks because there are people trained to handle such assessments. “Government should take the issue seriously, although you cannot conduct EIA on an existing facility but you can audit it. There must also be an assessment from time to time on the impact of the environment on the existing facilities,” said Salawu. On how building of dams can help avert flooding, Salawu said that the environment was inter-woven with the production of food

and as such, needed adequate attention. The environmentalist, who called for collaboration between experts and government to solve environmental challenges, advised that adequate infrastructure be put in place for such partnerships to succeed. “The issue of agriculture, water and the environment go hand-in-hand. Building of dams for agricultural purposes will have an enormous impact on irrigation and farming activities. “If you checkmate flooding, people doing their agricultural activities along the river boundary will be able to use the water to get bountiful harvest. So, if you do not solve one problem, you will create another problem, the expert said.

Udom inaugurates new roads in Uyo ANIEFIOK UDONQUAK, Uyo


kwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel has inaugurated three new roads and also kick-started the construction of others in Uyo, the state capital. The roads specifically inaugurated under the state government’s direct intervention projects include the Youth Avenue, Mbiabong Etoi, the 1.4km Concrete Hotel Road in Ewet Housing Estate and the 1.2km access road to Atlantic FM Radio, at Nsukara Offot, while also flagged off the construction of Ring Road phase 3. The governor said that the intervention

project, which focuses on construction of internal roads, was aimed at opening up the communities for greater development. Emmanuel commended the quality of work on the roads which were handled by indigenous contractors and pointed out that the inauguration of the few roads represented over 30 internal road projects undertaken by his government in Uyo local government area. He expressed appreciation to the communities for their cooperation with the contractors in ensuring the completion of the projects on schedule and expressed the projects would attract more investment to the state.

Windstorm victims receive N25m aid Emmanuel Ndukuba


nambra government has released N25 million to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for victims of windstorm in Igboezunu, Aguleri. The windstorm which occurred on March 22, 2017 destroyed not less than

90 houses and some economic trees in the area. The fund was given to the victims on May 11 according to the level of damage they suffered. Paul Odenigbo, the executive secretary, SEMA, represented by Chukwudi Onyekwe, said that Governor Willie Obiano approved the relief

Ephraim Inyangeyen, the commissioner for works, said that the inauguration of the new projects was in fulfillment of the promise to give face-lift to roads that were previously in deplorable state while opening up new ones, adding that the roads were designed with dual drainage system to address flooding and ensure longevity. Inyangeyen added that the new roads would decongest traffic and enhance interconnectivity. Speaking on behalf of the immediate community, the village head of Mbiabong Ikot Akpabio, Sunday Asuquo, expressed delight at the transformation brought to their community. package to alleviate the suffering of the victims. The first indigenous bishop from the community, Rt. Rev. Paul Amaechi Udogu commended the governor on behalf of the community for the assistance. The Vicar, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Igboezunu, C. Ogbalu whose church was also affected applauded the gesture. Another beneficiary, Cecilia Onyeibo, who received N200,000 also commended the government.

ife of the governor of Lagos State, Bolanle Ambode, has volunteered a monthly allowance of N500, 000 for the next twelve months, for the care of quintuplets born to the family of Augustine Obiefuna of Orile Iganmu, a suburb in Lagos. Quintuplets are five babies born from one pregnancy. Other welfare arrangements by the governor’s wife for the newborns include: supply of diapers for one year; supply of baby milk and other essentials for one year, all these in addition to two bus-loads of baby essentials like beds, mattresses, diapers, boxes of cloths, socks, pants, caps, that accompanied her on a visit to the infants, at the Lagos Island Maternity. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode also gave an undisclosed sum of money, for the care of the babies; three boys and two girls, who weighed between 1.5kg and 2kg respectively. The governor’s wife who addressed the couple at the maternity ward, of the hospital, thanked God for the safe delivery of the infants and commended their mother, for regularly attending her ante-natal sessions in a government hospital. She urged expectant mothers in the state to shun quacks and self medication, but to register early and diligently attend ante-natal clinics in government hospitals, for standard medical care. According to her, “You can all see why it is good to register in a government hospital where standard medical care is guaranteed. This woman registered early and regularly attended her ante-natal clinics. The result is that all five babies were safely delivered to the glory of God”. Father of the babies, Augustine Obiefuna, thanked the governor’s wife, for her benevolence which, according to him, transcended ethnic and tribal considerations.

Group tells FG to adopt counseling to check drug addiction GODFREY OFURUM, Aba


igeria’s government has been advised to train addiction counselors to educate citizens on the dangers of drug abuse to curtail the global menace, as no country can ban all intoxicating substances available. Althea Nwaeleh, executive director, Advocacy for Veritas, a drug addiction treatment initiative, who made the observation, stated that the country needs to adopt a special strategy to tackle global drug addiction challenge. Nwaeleh, a Canada-trained psychiatrist, serving as a drug addiction counselor and consultant in Nigeria, disclosed this during an interaction with some journalists in Aba, Abia State. According to her, training of special addiction counselors, would directly impact on the addicts, who by telling their recovery stories, would influence other addicts to quit drug abuse and live drug-free lives. Nwaeleh, observed further that trained manpower spread across the nation, would compliment rehabilitation facilities and enhance the handling of cases of drug addiction.

Friday 18 May 2018







Friday 18 May 2018

Hotels ‘We have created a loyalty program that is unmatched anywhere in the world’ From August 2018, Marriott International, the largest global hotel chain, will unveil a unified and largest loyalty program for its 110 million members to seamlessly book, earn and redeem their points for the first time ever across 29 participating brands and 6500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. In this interview, NEAL JONES, chief sales and marketing officer, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International, speaks to OBINNA EMELIKE on the rationale for the new system, the benefits and other guest-oriented initiatives by the Maryland, USA-based hospitality giant. Excerpt. With on average 20 percent more points for every dollar spent, the unified loyalty program is first-of-its-kind, but why are you offering so many points to guests, and why did you decide to unify the programs? ne of the key benefits of the merger was the ability to unlock the full potential of our award winning loyalty programs. Today one out of every two guests at our hotels globally is a member of our loyalty program. Loyalty is the lynchpin of our success and key to our strategy. Together, our programs represent the most awarded travel loyalty space. In August, we’ll be bringing together Marriott, RitzCarlton, and SPG under one program with one set of benefits. This is what our 110 million members have been waiting for. As one program, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG will give members access to the largest, most extraordinary and diverse collection of properties in the world – to seamlessly book, earn and redeem for the first time ever across 29 participating brands and 6500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. We structured the new program to offer the best of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guests programs. Marriott Rewards was noted as a program that offered great rewards for all guests, particularly for members with modest number of stays. SPG provided particularly attractive rewards for travelers at the upper tiers. Under the new program, Marriott has stepped up its game by combining the best of both, with attractive offerings at each tier. In addition, our new program increases the number of points earned for each dollar of spend and offers additional opportunities for members to earn points. We have made earning


status easier with new tiers and enhanced the best benefits in the industry. It is easier to redeem with no blackout dates portfoliowide. Our members love travel to pursue their passions – seeking out incredible experiences that will last a lifetime that they can share with friends and family and on social media. We have added 110,000 new experiences on Moments in 1000 destinations and have announced Moments Live, a collection of premiere musical and culinary events powered by our partnerships with iconic brands. We have created a loyalty program that is unmatched anywhere in the world. And we have done this because our members are important to us and we listen to them. How have the Nigerian growing business travelers and leisure guests responded to your loyalty programs in the past and how best do you think they can benefit from the new loyal program? Our history and legacy on the continent has given us great insights into the market and the consumers in this part of the world. In fact, Nigeria was one of the key markets for our dedicated loyalty consumer research last year. We have been engaging with our loyalty members in Nigeria on a regular basis through their passion points, for example, the SPG Golf tournament in Port Harcourt. And this has allowed us to build our brand equity with them. With a strong footprint in the country, the Nigerian traveler is familiar with our brands and what they stand for. This gives us the opportunity to tap into the growing Nigerian outbound travel business. As Nigerian travelers explore the world, we believe they will look for our brands and our new loyalty program allows them to seamlessly book, earn and redeem across our portfolio globally. There are more mega

Neal Jones

travelers than ever before going to more places around the world. The opportunity to cultivate loyalty with the world’s most frequent travelers has never been greater. Modern travelers are passionate and adventurous, gravitating towards brands that make their trips more meaningful and fulfilling. The new program is bound to resonate with the aspirational and affluent Nigerian traveler. Members can earn more, earn faster and can pursue their passions which is what makes them the industry’s leading and richest loyalty programs. How many SPG hotels do we have in Nigeria and how many Marriott hotels in Nigeria are participating in the unified deal? Currently we operate four hotels in Nigeria including Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Lagos and Le Meridien Ogeyi Place. All of these hotels participate in our SPG program and members can earn and redeem their points while staying at these hotels. Beyond rooms and hotel services, how else can guests use points earned

in the unified program and how long will the new program last? E x c l u s i v e m e mb e ronly experiences can be redeemed with points on Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments powered by partners like the NFL, Major League Baseball, Mercedes-AMG Petronas, the US Open and Universal Music Group. Internationally, these include exclusive member concerts, VIP experiences to coveted sports events like the Super Bowl and music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, as well as, hands-on master classes with some of the world’s top athletes, musicians and chefs, including actor and musician Jared Leto, Chef Daniel Boulud and Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton, among others. Closer home within Middle East and Africa, members have had access to exclusive Moments at Dubai International Jazz Festival, music concerts like Gwen Stefani and Craig David, VIP experiences during F1 in Bahrain & Abu Dhabi with Mercedes AMG Petronas, NBL and Colour Run in South Africa and awe-inspiring experiences

like meditation at sunrise in the Great Pyramids of Giza and a Behind the Scenes access to La Perleby Dragone, Dubai’s number 1 show, where members are enthralled by an aweinspiring preview of what goes into the making of the show’s breathtaking acrobatic stunts and the most thrilling water and light effects. Other Moments also include masterclass with renowned chefs, mixologists, DJs and photographers. To find out the latest Moments that are live currently, members can check SPG Moments and Marriott Rewards Moments. Aside and, which other platforms can guests book to enjoy more benefits? Beginning in August, travelers will have the ability to book stays across the entire portfolio for the first time on, SPG. com and the Marriott and SPG apps, or by contacting customer engagement centers. Can you explain how the reward system works for would-be guests and those skeptical of the program? Beginning in August, members will be able to combine their separate

accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. Regardless of which account they choose or which website they use, they will continue to have access to Marriott’s entire loyalty platform - the same set of benefits and seamless access to book, earn or redeem at 29 participating brands and 6,500 hotels in 127 countries. On average, members will earn 20% or more points for every dollar spent (50% richer for SPG, 15% richer for MR Gold/ Platinum). Members will earn 10 points per $1 spent and can do so on all eligible charges including food, beverages and some incidental purchases to earn faster. What is more, they can do this with no blackout dates. They can earn one free night with as little as $750 of spend (less for elites). Members will be able to earn and redeem across the entire portfolio of participating hotels and earn elevated benefits and elite status faster with new elite tiers. For example, earning Silver elite status after just ten nights and Gold elite status after just 25 nights will become standard in all three programs. With Platinum elite status earned after 50 nights and Platinum Premier elite status earned after 75 nights, these tiers will become easier to attain. In addition, all Platinum Premier members surpassing 100 nights and $20,000 of spend will enjoy the highest level of personalized service – the popular ambassador program – along with all the other benefits in that tier. We know members value experiences and therefore we have expanded our Moments platform with once in a lifetime experiences that allow members to redeem their points to pursue their passions. We have created One Program providing Endless Inspiration for our members to travel with passion and purpose.

Friday 18 May 2018





As improved maternal, child healthcare gets traction in Kaduna Maternal mortality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nation (UN) that focuses and takes proactive actions in driving downward the rate of women who die in the cause of childbirth. SEYI JOHN SALAU writes on the collaboration between MTN Foundation and the Kaduna State government in addressing this age-long pandemic in the state.


igeria’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has remained alarmingly high for several years despite promises and assurances from several governments to improve primary healthcare and bridge healthcare delivery in most parts of the country. Maternal Mortality ratio (MM Ratio) is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes). The MM Ratio includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, for a specified year. In 2015, MM Ratio for Nigeria was 814 deaths per 100,000 live births. The ratio has been on a downward trend for couples of years now as it fell gradually from 1,250 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1996 to 814 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. This figure can be improved upon if the government stay true to its word of achieving a below 100 ratio by the year 2030 and 300 maternal mortality rate in 2018. The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, in a recent comment said the ministry is working on efforts to reverse the trend in line with the global United Nations development goals by putting together seasoned experts as members of the Task Force to achieve the Social Development Goal (SDGs) Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) target of 70 per 1000 live birth in 2030. And bring down maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria from its current ratio of 576 per 1000 live births. It is worthy of note that this figure is an estimate as not every death is documented in Nigeria. Sadly, this is not even the minimum but an average, because in places like the North for example, we have it as high as over a thousand mortalities per 100, 000 live births. A lot has been going on to reduce the MMR, but we still find out that a large percentage of our women still don’t go to proper hospitals for deliveries. They either register late or go to places where they don’t get proper care, and at the end they die in these places. Some of these deaths are not even recorded. Often times, pregnant women go to the hospitals too late when there are already complications and as a result of this, lives are lost. The major causes of death in women of child-bearing age that pushes up the maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria include sepsis, ob-

stetric hemorrhage/bleeding unsafe abortion, obstructed labour and pre-eclampsia. Over the years, studies have shown that unplanned pregnancies in women of reproductive age (which is where family planning comes in) is also one of the major reasons of high MMR; because a woman that gets pregnant often does not have enough time to recuperate and she’s not yet back to her normal physiological state, hence, there is higher risk of having complications in such pregnancy and that is why family planning is very key in addressing MMR. However, in line with addressing the high rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria, it is apt to recognise and appreciate actions being put in place by MTN Foundation (MTNF) and some state governments, especially that of Kaduna State in tackling the high prevalence of maternal mortality in Nigeria. Halima resides in Brinin Yero Community of Igabi Local Government Area in Kaduna, in the weeks before her delivery; she had been told by doctors that she needed a Caesarean section (CS) that would cost 60,000 naira. Unable to afford this fee, Halima sought the assistance of Umar, the owner of a makeshift clinic, who charges no more than 10,000 naira to deliver a child. However, Umar’s clinic is in a small hut close to his home and therefore lacks the appropriate and standard equipment to take delivery. The facility has no mattresses or any equipment besides a pair of gloves and needles. There is no ventilation, and the hut is so small

that two pregnant women can barely squeeze in at once. After a successful delivery, Umar said “it is not the best of practice to deliver at home, but we realize that this arrangement helps to support the less privileged in the society to enjoy safe delivery, sometimes when we have serious complications we may be forced to refer the patients to a clinic, where there are standard and advanced equipment” he added. Halima, mentioned above was among the hundreds of pregnant women who gathered at the Ariwa House in Kaduna State, recently when the MTN Foundation partnered the Kaduna State Government to launch its MTN Foundation yellow heart initiative in the state. Kaduna is part of six other states selected for the MTNF Yellow Heart initiative, after its launch in Abuja; the other states are Ogun, Oyo, Abia,

Maternal health is an integral part of the health of any nation and demands serious concern and thorough attention

Niger and Cross-River. Speaking on the collaboration with the Kaduna State Government on this initiative, Danladi Mohammed, Director, MTN Foundation, said the foundation is out to brighten the lives of people, especially those within the community where it operates. According to Mohammed, “We take out time to identify with the plights of members of the community where we carry out our operations and we are sensitive to these plights. It is because of this that the foundation created a mandate to spend towards improving the state of healthcare, education and economic empowerment.” “Kaduna state is part of the six states selected for the MTNF Yellow Heart initiative, it is a laudable initiative and we are looking forward to a healthy collaboration with the Government and the good people of Kaduna state, we hope to use the Yellow Heart initiative to address predominant issues such as attitude and cultural practice that hinder women and children from accessing healthcare services in the society,” said Mohammed. While appreciating the foundation for the Yellow Heart initiative, Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Paul Dogo said that the state is very happy to partner with the foundation on the initiative, in providing affordable healthcare delivery for the women of Kaduna State. The commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Health, Shehu Usman said that the initiative is aligned with what the Kaduna State

Government is doing to improve healthcare in the state. “For the first time in the history of the state, we have a Government that is equipping and renovating 255 healthcare facilities across the state, when the government came on board the first bill that was passed was the bill to have primary health care under one roof that is through an integrated approach. “Since then the state Government has created specialized hospitals to cater to the varying healthcare needs of the people. These are some of the initiatives of the state Government towards improving healthcare in the state and we are happy about the yellow heart initiative which we promise to give our best support” He said. The Yellow heart launch in Kaduna featured a workshop where experts encouraged mothers and expectant mothers to exclusively breastfeed their newborns and ensures adequate routine immunization for them to protect them from preventable childhood diseases. Aminat, a mother of two in Kaduna, in a testimonial said she would have lost her second baby during delivery, “I was in labor for two days, on the third day I was told that I had no choice than to opt for CS, even though I thank God for safe delivery; I know that so many other persons in my situation may have lost their babies in the process.” I’m grateful to MTN Foundation for an intervention like this, today I have learned a lot about family planning options and why giving birth at the hospital doesn’t make you a weak woman as opposed to the widely held belief in this part of the country,” Aminat stated. Ladi Barnabas, wife of the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, while commenting on what the partnership means for the state, said the initiative would immensely help to improve the health and survival rate of women and children in Kaduna State and urged women to come out en-masse for the health awareness walk. Maternal health is an integral part of the health of any nation and demands serious concern and thorough attention. This is because maternal health is one of the major worldwide health challenges, bringing untold pain and sorrow to a large number of women and their families. Sadly, poverty, cultural practices and a shortage of primary healthcare services are forcing women in Nigeria to seek the help of untrained traditional birth attendants, despite the serious risks involved.



Harvard Business Review

Friday 18 May 2018


The surprising power of questions ALISON WOOD BROOKS


uch of an executive’s workday is spent asking others for information — requesting status updates from a team leader, for example, or questioning a counterpart in a negotiation. Yet unlike professionals such as litigators, journalists and doctors, who are taught how to ask questions as an essential part of their training, few executives think of questioning as a skill that can be honed — or consider how their own answers to questions could make conversations more productive. That’s a missed opportunity. Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organizations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance, it builds rapport and trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering pitfalls. When one of us (Alison) began studying conversations at Harvard Business School several years ago, she quickly arrived at a foundational insight: People don’t ask enough questions. Why do so many of us hold back? People may be eager to impress others with their own ideas. Perhaps they don’t care enough to ask. They may think they already know the answers. Or perhaps they worry that they’ll ask the wrong question and be viewed as rude or incompetent. But the biggest inhibitor, in our opinion, is that most people just don’t understand how beneficial good questioning can be. Questions are such powerful tools that they can be beneficial — perhaps particularly so — in circumstances when questionasking goes against social norms.

For instance, prevailing norms tell us that job candidates are expected to answer questions during interviews. But research by Dan Cable, at the London Business School, and Virginia Kay, at the University of North Carolina, suggests that most people excessively self-promote during job interviews. For job candidates, asking questions such as “What am I not asking you that I should?” can signal competence, build rapport and unlock key pieces of information about the position. The first step in becoming a better questioner is simply to ask more questions. Of course, the sheer number of questions is not the only factor that influences the quality of a conversation: The type, tone, sequence and framing also matter. Our research suggests several approaches that can enhance the power of queries. The best approach for a given situation depends on the goals of the conversationalists — specifically, whether the discussion is cooperative, competitive or some combination of both. Consider the following tactics. — FAVOR FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS: Follow-up questions signal to your conversation partner that you are listening and want to know more. People interacting with a partner who asks

lots of follow-up questions tend to feel respected and heard. — KNOW WHEN TO KEEP QUESTIONS OPEN-ENDED: No one likes to feel interrogated — and some types of questions can force answerers into a yes-no corner. Open-ended questions can counteract that effect and thus can be particularly useful in uncovering information or learning something new. Indeed, they are wellsprings of innovation. Of course, open-ended questions aren’t always optimal. For example, if you are in a tense negotiation or are dealing with people who tend to keep their cards close to their chest, open-ended questions can leave too much wiggle room, inviting them to dodge or lie by omission. In such situations, closed questions work better. Sometimes the information you wish to ascertain is so sensitive that direct questions won’t work, no matter how thoughtfully they are framed. In these situations, a survey tactic can aid discovery. — GET THE SEQUENCE RIGHT: The optimal order of your questions depends on the circumstances. During tense encounters, asking tough questions first can make your conversational partner more willing to open up. Of course, if the first question

is too sensitive, you run the risk of offending your counterpart. If the goal is to build relationships, the opposite approach — opening with less sensitive questions and escalating slowly — seems to be most effective. — USE THE RIGHT TONE: People are more forthcoming when you ask questions in a casual way, rather than in a buttoned-up, official tone. People also tend to be more forthcoming when given an “out” in a conversation. For example, if they are told that they can change their answers at any point, they tend to open up more — even though they rarely end up making changes. This might explain why teams and groups find brainstorming sessions so productive. — PAY ATTENTION TO GROUP DYNAMICS: Conversational dynamics can change profoundly depending on whether you’re chatting one-on-one with someone or talking in a group. In a meeting or group setting, it takes only a few closed-off people for questions to lose their probing power. The opposite is true, too. As soon as one person starts to open up, the rest of the group is likely to follow suit. A conversation is a dance that requires partners to be in sync. Just as the way we ask questions can facilitate trust and the sharing of information — so, too, can the way we answer them. Answering questions requires making a choice about where to fall on a continuum between privacy and transparency. Should we answer the question? If we answer, how forthcoming should we be? Each end of the spectrum has benefits and pitfalls. Keeping information private can make us feel free to experiment. In negotiations, withholding sensitive information can help you secure better outcomes. At the same

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

time, transparency is an essential part of forging meaningful connections. People too often err on the side of privacy — and underappreciate the benefits of transparency. To maximize the benefits of answering questions, it’s important to decide before a conversation begins what information you want to share and what you want to keep private. DECIDING WHAT TO SHARE: There is no rule of thumb for how much — or what type — of information you should disclose. Indeed, transparency is such a powerful bonding agent that sometimes it doesn’t matter what is revealed — even information that reflects poorly on us can draw our conversational partners closer. Before a conversation takes place, think carefully about whether refusing to answer tough questions would do more harm than good. DECIDING WHAT TO KEEP PRIVATE: Of course, at times you and your organization would be better served by keeping your cards close to your chest. In our negotiation classes, we teach strategies for handling hard questions without lying. Dodging, or answering a question you wish you had been asked, can be effective not only in helping you protect information you’d rather keep private but also in building a good rapport with your conversational partner. (Alison Wood Brooks is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. She teaches negotiation in the MBA and executive education curricula and is affiliated with the Behavioral Insights Group. Leslie K. John is an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.)

Friday 18 May 2018






Indorama granular urea crashing fertilizers price nationwide …price per bag for May N5,450 and N109,000 for MT …but Nigeria’s per hectare consumption still low BEN EGUZOZIE, Port Harcourt


he coming of the Indorama Eleme Fertilizer & Chemicals granular urea fertilizer has been crashing the market prices of the all-important agricultural input in the country, findings by BusinessDay reveal. According to the company’s fertilizer news website, its granular urea fertilizer sells for N5,450 per bag, while a metric ton of the product goes for N109,000. Some farmers who spoke with BusinessDay in Port Harcourt (Rivers State) and Owerri (Imo State) said they have been getting the product regularly, unlike in the past years when they searched so much for it. And even when they got it, they bought at exorbitant prices. In late July 2016, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo commissioned the Indorama $1.5 billion fertilizer plant at Eleme, near Port Harcourt. The company, with the largest single train urea plant in the world, has flooded the Nigerian fertilizer market with its product, thereby crashing the prices of the once scarce commodity. Between 2015 up until June 2016 farming seasons, Busi-

nessDay earlier checks revealed that the product’s prices across the South East and South-South geopolitical zones increased to 16.66% and 18.18%, at prices ranging from N7,000 (2015) and N6,000 (2016 and early 2017). However, with Indorama urea fertilizer in the market, some farmers in South-South zone reported that they now buy their fertilizers between N5,000 and N5,500.

Shortly before commissioning of the IEFCL plant in July 2016, Manish Mundra, Indorama’s MD/CEO had assured that his company’s 1.4 million metric tons fertilizer production capacity would just be enough to go round Nigeria and leave much for export. He had said IEFCL has set aside 400,000 MT of its Urea fertilizer to serve the Nigerian domestic market, and one million

Wike’s N300m traders and young entrepreneurs’ loans to boost Rivers economic returns BEN EGUZOZIE, Port Harcourt


n Wednesday, Governor Nyesom Wike inaugurated the committees on the administration and disbursement N100 million Revolving Loan to civil servants, as well as the Rivers State N200 million Monthly Traders and Young Entrepreneurs Interest Free Loan Scheme. The governor, while inaugurating the committees at Government House, Port Harcourt, said the committees were vital because they revolved around empowerment of Rivers people. He said that the Civil Servants Revolving Loan Scheme was initiated by the Peter Odili administration (1999-2007), but neglected by the Chibuike Amaechi administration. Hence, he was reviving it now. He said that his administration was reintroducing the scheme because of the need to

reach the indigent civil servants. He noted that the loan scheme was dedicated to civil servants between salary grade levels 01 and 13. “This loan scheme is to reduce the burden of civil servants between grade levels 01 and 13. All those qualified should be granted. It is a loan for all civil servants, irrespective of their political affiliation. Civil servants must not abuse the loan scheme,” Wike said. He added that his government meant well for civil servants. And that the government has no problem with labour. “No person can apply twice,” he warned. He informed that N100 million monthly will be made available to the committee for disbursement. He directed the committees to start work immediately. On the N200 million Monthly Traders and Young Entrepreneurs Interest Free Loan Scheme, Governor Wike said that it was meant for every businessman or woman resident in Rivers State.

According to him, “We believe that we have to encourage young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. They will have access to funds.” The governor directed that the loan beneficiaries must reside in Rivers State, and must be registered as voters in the state. He charged the committee to advertise the availability of the loan, and the modalities for accessing the loan. Responding on behalf of the committees, Head of Service, Reuben Godwins assured the governor that they will deliver on their mandates. Some observers in Port Harcourt have spoken on the viability of the loans, coming at a time millions of Nigerian citizens were hard-pressed by ravaging economic recession. More than 17 million Nigerian workers are said to have lost their jobs between 2016 and 2017, while thousands of companies have closed shop in about three years, due to extreme harsh business operating environment.

MT for export. Vice President, Osinbajo had commended Indorama for keying into the Presidential Fertilizer initiative, which President Muhammadu Buhari launched, to make fertilizers cheaper to farmers nationwide, aimed at supporting agriculture, in the production of rice, wheat, and other staples. According to him, “That fertilizer Initiative, now well un-

derway, has created significant economic opportunities for companies like Indorama Eleme Fertilizer & Chemicals Limited. “I have been informed that Indorama will this year alone supply about 360,000 Metric Tons of Urea to Fertilizer blenders, which, in turn, will produce NPK fertilizer for the benefit of farmers across the country. This is the kind of economic progress we’re after, in which every unlocked opportunity proceeds to unlock several others, across multiple sectors of the economy.” To date, Nigeria’s national fertilizer output is about 1.96 million MT, accounted for by Notore Chemical Industry, Port Harcourt and Indorama. However, BusinessDay gathered that Nigeria’s fertilizer consumption per hectare of land is still pretty low, put at about 20 kilogram (kg), making the country to lag behind South Africa and Egypt which both consume over 100 kg per hectare of arable land. Also, checks from a World Bank data supplied by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said Nigeria’s fertilizer consumption per hectare of arable land was 17.8 kg in 2013. Today, it is estimated at about 20 kg.

How hand-washing can prevent diarrhoea LMICs – new Cochrane research …but getting families maintain habit is uncertain BEN EGUZOZIE, in Calabar


ow does hand washing prevent diarrhoea, and how might hand washing be promoted? This was the question a team of researchers, including four Nigerians, at the globally acclaimed health research outfit, the Cochrane Library, set out to answer. The research was cited in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, as: “Hand washing promotion for preventing diarrhoea.” The research (Cochrane Review), which was made available to BusinessDay by the Cochrane Nigeria, located in Calabar, Cross River State, which is the Nigerian arm of the global Cochrane Collaboration, found out that, after several evidences, promoting hand-washing among mothers, children and families, can help prevent the onset of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea causes many deaths in children below five years of age, mostly in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The organisms causing diarrhoea are transmitted from person to person through food and water contaminated with faeces, or through person-to-person contact. Hand washing after defecation,

or after cleaning a baby’s bottom, and before preparing and eating food, can therefore reduce the risk of diarrhoea. Hand washing can be promoted through group or individual training on hygiene education, germ-health awareness, use of posters, leaflets, comic books, songs, and drama. According to the researchers: Ejemot-Nwadiaro RI, Ehiri John E, Arikpo D, Meremikwu Martin M, and Critchley JA, while hand-washing washing promotion at child day-care facilities or schools in high income countries (HICs) probably prevents around 30% of diarrhoea episodes, it can only prevent about 28 per cent proportion in schools in LMICs. The researchers said that, among communities in LMICs, hand washing promotion prevents around 28% of diarrhoea episodes. In the only hospital-based trial included in the review, hand washing promotion also had important reduction in the mean episodes of diarrhoea. Therefore, the review concluded that “hand washing promotion in HICs and LMICs settings may reduce incidence of diarrhoea by about 30%. However, less is known about how to help people maintain hand washing habits in the longer term.”

Politics & Policy



Friday 18 May 2018


The race for Lagos APC chairmanship: Who wears the cap? As the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds its state congresses across the country tomorrow, Iniobong Iwok examines the aspirants who are in the race for Lagos State chairmanship position.


lthough there were two parallel local government congresses held in the state, tomorrow will determine who indeed, replaces the outgoing boss, Henry Ajomale. Below are some of the contenders.

Abdullahi Enilolobo Enilolobo is a seasoned grassroots politician, who is in control of the political terrain in Alimosho. He hails from Egbeda-Idimu Local Council Area of Lagos State and has been a close ally of the incumbent Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola. The Osun governor has been his political god-father and also the leader of the party in Alimosho, which used to be the biggest local government area in the state. Enilolobo is currently an executive member and organising secretary of Lagos APC; he was formerly the youth leader of the party in the state and also heads the Mandate Group in the local government. His interest in the chairmanship position did not come as a surprise, based on his large grassroots popularity. However, observers say that his alleged frosty relationship with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode may work against him. He is said to have recently spearheaded and ordered the council chairman to reject the secretary/supervisor list sent by the governor to the local council, saying that the council was not the governor’s territory. Funsho Ologunde Ologunde has been in the political terrain, especially in the camp of the progressives, since the Third Republic. He is a chieftain of the APC in the state and a close ally of the national women leader of the party, Kemi Nelson. He was a former deputy spokesman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state and is currently Lagos West vice chairman. He is an astute administrator, writer and a gentleman. Ologunde is said to have the backing and support of Kemi Nelson, the southwest woman leader of the party who is said to be gathering her resources and lobbying

Abdullahi Enilolobo

Senator Ganiyu Solomon

relevant political leaders and stakeholders, including Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the party, for him to emerge the state chairman. What may work in his favour is that he is conformist and loyalist to the core; however, he is seen as being ‘soft’; a politician who may not be able to galvanise the party through a tough political process next year. Mutiu Are Are has been a progressive for years; a former two-term Lagos Island Local Government Area chairman, he is a notable grassroots politician who has been a close associate of Tinubu for several years. Are is a loyal party man and believes in the party’s supremacy. In the last four years, he has been a key ally of Governor Ambode and supports his administration’s programmes. He was alleged to have hugely maneuvered the local government and ward congresses in the state in order to actualise his chairmanship

Funsho Ologunde

James Omolaja Odunmbaku

ambition. Are is a strong contender for the position, he is known to be a politician that can spring surprises, and is very popular among the leaders of the party in the state. Some observers say he may emerge as a consensus candidate. Senator Ganiyu Solomon Solomon elected into the state House of Assembly on the platform of the Democratic Party of Nigeria, (DPN) in 1998 but could not stay in the House due to the truncating of the political process by the late Sani Abacha. He was also elected a former member of the House of Representatives in 2003 on the platform of Alliance for Democracy, (AD). He became a senator, representing Lagos West constituency in 2007 on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) replacing Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi. Senator Solomon hails from a family that is politically inclined in Lagos, his father being a contemporary of Lateef Jakande.

Mutiu Are

Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi

He is a grassroots politician who has been in political saddles in the state for a long time. He seems to be a unifying figure and understands the dynamics of Lagos politics. Pundits say that he is capable of leading the party to surmount the looming onslaught of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election in the state. Giving the current political permutations in the APC in the state, Solomon stands a good chance and most probably the best man for the position. James Omolaja Odunmbaku Odunmbaku is popular as referred to as Baba Eto in the political circles in the state, and is the current deputy chairman of APC in the state. Perhaps, the APC chieftain is among the few men of God who is also into politics in the country, being a renowned prophet and evangelist. He is the founder and spiritual head of Soul Winner’s Min-

Sunny Ajose

istry, Lagos. For several years, he has been involved in the campaigns that brought many Lagos State governors into power. He worked with Moshood Abiola and has been a close ally of Tinubu for several years now.

He was the head of the electoral organising committee in the last year’s local government election in the state. He has been a close ally of Tinubu for years and seems to be the man who would emerge as the state chairman, through a consensus arrangement by the party.

Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi Afikuyomi has been in politics from the Third Republic era of the Social Democratic Party and National Republican Congress (NRC). He was a two-term senator, representing Lagos West in the upper legislative chamber having been elected in 1999 to 2007 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, (AD). He was also a former commissioner in the Babatunde Fashola administration who he contested the governorship ticket with but lost. He later defected to the All Nigeria People’s Party, (ANPP) and picked the governorship ticket but never campaigned and defected back to the AC and worked for the party in the election.

Sunny Ajose Ajose, a politician and public administrator, hails from Badagry in Lagos. He served as the head of service in Lagos State from 2004 to 2006 having been appointed by Tinubu into the position when he (Tinubu) was the governor of the state, retiring in 2006 when he reached the mandatory retirement age. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, in Liberal Art and Science, majoring in Political Science from the University of Illinois United State and was also appointed as Tinubu as a special adviser. Ajose is a strong contender for the position and may likely spring surprises tomorrow. Some observers say that he may be Tinubu’s man Friday.

Friday 18 May 2018



Live @ The Stock Exchange Top Gainers/Losers as at Thursday 17 May 2018 GAINERS Company






















Market Statistics as at Thursday 17 May 2018

LOSERS Opening
























ASI (Points)


DEALS (Numbers)


he Board of Lafarge Africa Plc on Wednesday May 16, 2018 received the approval of shareholders at its 59th Annual General Meeting to raise additional capital of up to N100billion. This was the special resolution at the annual general meeting held in Lagos. This additional capital raise which is subject to regulatory approval will be done through an offer of debt and/or equity in the domestic and/or international capital market. Also at the meeting, the shareholders authorised the board of director to pay dividend of N1.50 per share to shareholders whose names appear in the register of members at the close of business on Friday April 20, 2018. The N13billion dividend payout includes the additional shares that were listed following the conclusion of Lafarge Africa Plc Rights Issue. The approved dividend represents a 45 kobo increase per share on the 2016 dividend and is payable net

of applicable taxes. At the annual general meeting, the shareholders received and adopted the audited financial statement of Lafarge Africa Plc for the year ended December 31, 2017 together with the report of the directors, external auditors and audit committee thereon. “The dividend payout is in appreciation of the support shown by the shareholders so far and a worthy return on their investments”, Mobolaji Balogun, Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc said at the meeting. “The Board of Directors is mindful of the support of all our shareholders through the difficult but necessary journey to transform the company into a more agile and correctly financed business ready to benefit from the potential opportunities in Nigerian building materials (market),” Balogun said at the well-attended AGM of Lafarge Africa Plc. He also assured shareholders that restructuring of the capital structure of the company largely completed through the past year would help to significantly reduce the cost of financing and currency translation risk. Balogun added that the company’s recent N131.6

billion Rights Issue, the largest ever Rights Issue in Nigeria which was also fully subscribed, has helped to significantly reduce the FX debt exposure by 50percent and the Board of Directors is already reviewing options to deal with the remaining FX debt. He announced that the company is implementing a new route-to-market initiative aimed at supporting the anticipated growth in demand as the country gradually recovers from recession and as foreign exchange rates stabilise. Also speaking at the event, the Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Michel Puchercos expressed optimism about the performance of Lafarge Africa Plc during the current year. He pointed out that the first-quarter (Q1) results for 2018 show stability in the market and operations which have kept revenues steady in the past quarter. “Improvement plans in Nigeria delivered strong operational performance while turnaround actions will be consolidated further in 2018 through energy optimization as well as commercial and logistic improvement,” Puchercos said. The Lafarge Africa CEO is optimistic that favourable

audited financial statements of Sterling Bank for the year ended December 31, 2017, together with the reports of the directors, auditors and the audit committee thereon. Equally, the lender’s stockholders were delighted by the 20.2percent rise in shareholders’ funds from N85.7billion in 2016 to N102.9bn in 2017, and the declaration of 2 kobo dividend per ordinary share of 50 kobo. Addressing the meeting, Mathew Akinlade, President, Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association, com-

mended the Board and Executive Management of Sterling Bank for its orderly leadership transition, digitisation, improved shareholders’ value, increased customer deposit and a strong performance in a fragile financial year in which the economy only started recording growth in its second quarter after a severe 15 months recession. According to Akinlade, the bank’s performance is very encouraging; which makes it easy for shareholders to unanimously support the mid and long-term management strategies put in place



L-R: Oscar N. Onyema OON, Cchief executive officer, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with Paul Smith, president/ CEO, CFA Institute after Oscar’s Keynote presentation, titled: “Investing In Nigeria: Exploring the Investment Potential of One Africa’s Leading Economy” at 71st CFA Institute Annual Conference, “themed: Future of Global Investing” in Hong Kong.

pricing in Nigeria coupled with gains from logistic and commercial initiatives will sustain market share. “The target is to significantly build EBITDA margins. The South Africa economy is expected to grow in 2018 which should impact

on our South Africa operations. Our turnaround plan in South Africa which is focused on cost containment, commercial transformation and industrial stabilization is expected to return our SA business to profitability” said Puchercos.

Shareholders laud Sterling Bank’s performance mproved performance recorded by Sterling Bank Plc attracted lots of commendations from its shareholders at the bank’s 56th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos on Thursday May 17, 2018. This comes on the heels of remarkable vote of confidence previously echoed by stockbrokers and analysts during its Facts Behind the Figures presentation at The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), last week. At the annual general meeting, the shareholders received and adopted the


VALUE (N billion)

… approve N13bn dividend payout Stories by Iheanyi Nwachukwu


VOLUME (Numbers)

Lafarge Africa shareholders authorise N100bn additional capital raise



by the Board and Management. He advised the leadership of the bank to deliver on strategy to make Sterling a bank of the future and market leader in the areas of health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation. Sterling Bank reported a profit after tax of N8.5 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2 billion for the corresponding period of 2016, representing an increase of 65percent in profitability. The bank’s gross earnings also increased by

19.8percent to N133.5billion as against N111.4billion in the corresponding period of 2016. This remarkable performance was driven by growth in both interest and non-interest income by 11.3percent and 87.8percent respectively. Earlier in his address, Asue Ighodalo, Chairman, Sterling Bank Plc, told shareholders that the bank will continue to navigate its growth by innovative means. “As a business, we will continue to innovate with focus on key growth sectors of the Nigerian economy that will enrich lives and grow the bottom-line.


How new investor can access stock market - ASHON


s part of its efforts to bring investment education to doorstep of every Nigerian, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) has unfolded strategy on how a new investor can access the stock market for investment opportunities. Besides, ASHON is warming up to renew its enlightenment programme which places premium on both the youths and mature people in order to attract more investors into the capital market net. Responding to media enquries, ASHON’s General Secretary, Sam Onukwe explainied that every new investor must contact a stockbroking firm, where stockbrkers would conduct Know Your Client (KYC) in order to ascertain basic information about the investor. Onukwe noted that KYC must be extensively conducted in order to ascertain information such as the address of the new investor, form of identification, source of livelihood and source of fund for investment among others. “An investor who has some funds to invest must go through a stockbroking firm. . He must approach a stockbroker who shall conduct the KYC which is very fundamental. The stockbroker must carry out investigation to ascertain that the potential investor is a fit and proper person. I must emphasize that because we are very mindful of people using the market for money laundry and all of sorts of illegality. “The next phase is for the person to complete the processes of account opening forms . We shall do the account opening with the Cleaning house of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Central Securitied Clearing System (CSCS) Plc . The CSCS shall provide an account number for the client and that is the basis upon which we can now buy and sell on behalf of the client. But our purchase or sale order must be based on instruction or agreement with the client.”, Onukwe said.



Friday 18 May 2018



Who wins the battle at Wembley? Stories by Anthony Nlebem


ose Mourinho’s Manchester United side will on Saturday May 19th do battle with Chelsea’s Antonio Conte in the FA Cup final as both teams attempt to finish the season with silverware. Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho’s heated relationship means there will be plenty of focus on the dugouts to watch out for in this weekend’s final. Mourinho’s relationship with Conte has been hostile since they took the hot seats at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge respectively but question is who will emerge victorious at the famous Wembley stadium? The FA Cup finals have been as eagerly awaited with both managers desperate to avoid the ignominy of ending the campaign without any silverware. Mourinho steer United to second place behind a matchless Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City tutored side in the Premier League, but Conte’s Chelsea trailed in fifth. A defeat in his final game

in charge would be a bitter pill for the Italian. Ever since Mourinho, Chelsea’s most successful manager, criticised Conte for his wild celebrations during Chelsea’s 4-0 rout of United in the early weeks of the 2016-17 season, the two have been trading insults, some more veiled than others. Conte has criticised Mourinho’s spending at United and accused him of

being obsessed with events at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho upped the ante by labelling Conte’s touchline manner as clown-like and alluding to a match-fixing allegation Conte was eventually cleared of in Italy. Conte in turn described Mourinho as a “little man” and “a fake”. While things have cooled of late, there will be no love lost going into the climax of the domestic season on

Saturday when United hope to join record-holders Arsenal with 13 FA Cup triumphs to their name. Chelsea have not won the Cup since 2012 when Conte’s compatriot Roberto di Matteo was in charge. Last season, after clinching the Premier League in his first season in charge, Conte fell flat to Arsenal, losing 2-1 in 2017 FA Cup finals. Nigerian and Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses was

sent off in last season’s FA Cup final and wants to make amends Chelsea face Manchester United in Saturday’s showpiece. “Every single one of us has got to stay focused, do what the manager asks of us to do on the pitch and try to win.” ”It’s always a tough game whenever we play United. They’ve got quality players and so have we.” “The most important thing is to stay concentrated and make sure we win it.” Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas said the only thing that counts now is to make sure the club ends a disappointing season on a high. “We don’t have to think about next season, we need to win now, Saturday,” he said. “We can’t make the season right because the Champions League qualification is gone. “But to finish on a high would be nice.” Mourinho has not won the FA Cup since his first spell at Chelsea in 2007, his only success in the competition. While he would like nothing more than to lead United to victory against his old club, several of his players could also rub salt into Chelsea’s wounds too. United’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was deemed

surplus to requirements by Chelsea, but has flourished at United while midfielder, Nemanja Matic was surprisingly allowed to join Mourinho at Old Trafford last season, a departure that seriously undermined Conte’s squad. Lukaku is battling to shake off an ankle injury but is expected to be available for the final. United’s progress under Mourinho has been impressive this season and they garnered 12 more points in the Premier League than they did in his first season. However, last season Mourinho added the League Cup and Europa League title to the Old Trafford honours list, and midfielder Ander Herrera knows the club is defined by winning silverware. “This club is about titles, about trophies, it’s about finals,” the Spaniard said. “We will respect Chelsea, they are a top team and are used to winning as well. That makes the final even more difficult.” A feisty and keenly contested final is expected, as both managers will be aiming to end the season on high, but the question remains, who will emerge victorious at the famous Wembley stadium?

How Coca Cola customer Adepoju applauds MultiChoice for scored trip to Russia Atletico Madrid visit to Nigeria


ome 14 June 2018 Fashola Moruf Adeyinka, who live in Osun State, will join millions of football loving fans from across to welcome the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia. Adeyinka’s big moment arrived courtesy of Coca Cola’s “Score a Trip to Russia” Promo. According to the more than e cstatic consumer, he was coming back from work and decided to branch off at a drink shop to buy a bottle of CocaCola. That chance-stop was to change his life. “I had earlier seen the information about the promo on social media and made a decision that I was going to participate in it,” Adeyinka told reporters. “So as soon as I bought the bottle of Coke to quench my thirst on my way from work, I quickly kept the crown in my pocket.” He sent his winning code under the crown to 5453. He later disclosed how he had always dreamed of an opportunity to go and watch

the FIFA World Cup live but could not for lack of money. The “Score a Trip to Russia” campaign by CocaCola is intended to give loyal customers of the company’s range of products a chance to watch the FIFA World Cup games live. The promo selects winners after weekly draws. 22 randomly selected winners will be in Russia from 14 June. To win, winners only need to drink a bottle of Coke, check under the crown for a code and send the code to 5453, and then respond to the SMS prompts that follow. Adeyinka who hopes to see all the matches live at the event said, “I tried just once and that singular act earned me a space as one of the winners on the Coca-Cola, “Score a Trip to Russia” promo. When I was told that I had won, I was so excited because I am an ardent fan of the Super Eagles. I do not miss any of their matches. This will be an opportunity to cheer them live in Russia. Their performance has been wonderful and they have continued to play like a winning team.”

…as Super Eagles play Atletico in a friendly game at Godswill Akpabio stadium on Tuesday


x-Super Eagles and Spanish LaLiga star, Mutiu Adepoju, has described as commendable, the decision of MultiChoice Nigeria to bring LaLiga giants and Europa Champions, Atletico Madrid, to Nigeria for the maiden edition of the GOtv MAX Cup.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Adepoju, who starred for two LaLiga sides, Racing Satander and Real Sociedad, explained that the proposed visit of Atletico would impact positively on Nigerian football. GOtv MAX Cup, an international friendly tournament, will see topflight

LaLiga club, Atletico Madrid play the Super Eagles at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, on Tuesday, 22nd May. “MultiChoice, SuperSport and GOtv have done well for Nigeria and Nigerian football by bringing Atletico Madrid to Nigeria. It shows they are keen on rewarding

subscribers and putting Nigeria on the global football map, and they are also providing an opportunity for our players to be noticed by big European teams. They have supported Nigerian sports through the years and I’m happy they have not relented,” explained Adepoju, who is also the LaLiga ambassador in Nigeria. He explained that LaLiga has had a very rewarding partnership with MultiChoice, adding that the proposed visit of the Spanish giants is a testament to the pulling power of MultiChoice, which he described as the continent’s leader in providing sporting content. Adepoju, popularly referred to as “Headmaster” due to his ball heading prowess while playing for the Nigerian team, urged Super Eagles players selected for the match to perform well for the world to see. He added that the match also offers further an opportunity for the Super Eagles to prepare for the World Cup starting next month in Russia.

Friday 18 May 2018





FG targets 1-100 spot on World Bank ease of doing business with ‘l Guide Nigeria’ launch HARRISON EDEH, Abuja


ederal Government on Thursday said it was aiming first to 100th position on the WorldBank ranking onthe ease of doing business with the launch of I Guide, an investment guide for domestic and foreign investors into the country. Nigeria appreciated 24 places in the recent ranking of the World Bank ease of doing business ranking presented last year, moving from 169 places to 145 among 190rankedcountries,asofficialsof the Nigerian government express optimism that with governments efforts to improve ease of doing business, Nigeria would fair better in 2018 ranking. Okechukwu Enelemah, minister of industry, trade and investment, who gave the information at the launch ‘I Guide’ Nigeria, said with the launch, investors could now have valid information access, while making investmentdecisionsintoAfrica’slargest economy. Represented by Edet Akpan, permanent secretary in the ministry, Enelemah said, “Investors seeking to make investment into the Nigeria’s economy could now have a one stop Information Centre since all the information required from Labour laws, industrial relations, payment of Taxes and all forms of levies are also provided there.”

Also in her remarks, Yewande Sadiku, executive secretary of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), said countries that have ‘I Guide’ utilised it to fast track investment inflow because investors could access information under one umbrella. “The Web portal has been made easier such that all the languages recognised by Google couldtranslatetheinformationon the portal. The Japanese, Chinese, and other global countries could source for investment information in their respective language once they click on the portal,” Yewande said. She further noted that with the launch of the I Guide launch would also impact greatly on the recently launch of the Economic Diplomatic Initiatives launched by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,with the target of ensuring Nigeria mission abroad market economic and investment information about Nigeria. “The I Guide would also be hoisted on Nigeria’s diplomatic missions abroad to ensure investors seeking investment information about Nigeria gets it on the click of a button at our embassies portal,” Yewande noted. ”We would also review information there on a qauterly basis so that investors could also have access to any changes or updates we make,” she said.

UBA innovates at empowering students


nitedBankforAfrica(UBA) has introduced a unique and innovative product, called ‘UBA Learn’ targeted at helpingstudentsachieveallround academicsuccess. The product, an online LearningPlatformforstudentspowered byRoducate,waslaunchedThursday, with particular emphasis on helping students within the age range of five to 16 years and 17-24 attain academic excellence, while ensuringthatparentsandteachers keeptrackandmonitortheirward’s educational developments and performance. UBALearnisaccessibleonline, through a downloadable mobile app and USSD (*919*33#) and is open to both existing customers and non-customers. Intending customers can have account numbersautomaticallygenerated once they enrol on the platform. The platform features academic curricula (e.g. WAEC), NECO, Continuousassessmentsandtests, financial education, learning/fun games,etc. Speaking at the launch of the product, group managing director, Kennedy Uzoka, said: “United Bank for Africa is a technologydriven company with enormous capability in business. Because education is key to us and is a

L-R: Olayiwola Onasanya, permanent secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture; Ganiu Okanlawon Sanni, special adviser to the governor on food security; Toyin Suarau, commissioner for agriculture; Kehinde Bamigbetan, commissioner for information/strategy, and Kofoworola Awobanise, permanent secretary, ministry of information/ strategy, during the ongoing Y2018 ministerial press briefing to commemorate the third Year in Office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat in Lagos.

Reddington Hospital does not reject gunshot victims


anagement of Reddington Hospital Group says the hospital does not reject gunshot victims. This was in response to two separate recent reports in a newspaper, titled ‘Robbers Loot Ogun Community, Kill Engineer’ and “Family of Killed Ericson Engineer blames hospital, seeks justice.” The management of also expressed sympathy to the family of the deceased as it was saddened by the untimely demise of the promising young engineer, Akinwunmi Adebayo, a staff of Ericsson Nigeria, following robbery attack at his residence in Ogun State. According to a statement by the management, it is filled with concern about the re-

ported sequence of events as contained in the newspaper and has conducted an urgent enquiry to ascertain the exact circumstances surrounding the contact between the deceased, his family and the hospital. The statement, signed by the group medical director, Olutunde Lalude, notes that investigations by the hospital revealed that when the victim arrived the hospital the situation was quickly assessed by the doctor on duty, with him in the car, where it was determined that he had been shot in the chest and was unresponsive. “It was decided immediately that we would be unable to care for him at the Red-

dington facility in Ikeja in view of the obvious need for advanced surgical services, such as cardiothoracic surgery and intensive/critical care, which are not available at that branch. “The Ikeja branch does not have the facility and expertise to handle such cases, hence the immediate need to refer to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital nearby,” Lalude said. He said the doctor directed the driver to take them to LASUTH, which has both an intensive care and a cardiothoracic unit. “Critically at that time of day (after 2am in the morning) LASUTH is approximately five minutes away from the Reddington Hospital.

fundamental human right, we felt a need to extend our capability to education, by revolutionising access to education through technology. “That’sthemainreasonweare here today- to bring knowledge to the doorstep of everyone across Africaandotherpartsoftheworld, through this unique innovation, calledUBAlearn.” Uzoka continued: “The app is a distinctive and well-tailored productloadedwithalltheneeded learning tools and required subjectsputtogetherinarobustmannerthatisguaranteedtogrowwith the student early on to when he or shebecomesayoungadult.” “UBALearnwascarefullyconceptualised to suit a niche focus of our customers who are mostly students;becausemorethananything,weareabankthatisparticularly passionate about the growth and development of youths, especially as it concerns their academic growth as is evidenced in the plethora of campaigns and Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives (CSR) targeted at helping them find their paths in life, e.g. Read Africa Initiative, Campus Ambassadors, National Essay Competition among others,” Anant Rao, group executive, digital andconsumerbanking,said.

Halogen Security showcases urban digital surveillance tech


s Lagos State government intensifies efforts towards building a secured smart city fit for global investments in partnership with the private sector, management of Halogen Security Company Limited has expressed readiness to collaborate with the state to deploy cutting-edge crime prevention smart solutions capable of securing over 21 million Lagos population. As a security solutions provider to key sectors of the nation’s economy and a thought leader in security and allied businesses, Halogen Security has always developed intelligent risk reduction and security facilities critical to security management. Managing director/CEO of Halogen Security, Wale Olaoye, said this while receiving the special adviser to the governor of Lagos State on Security and Intelligence, Adekunle Ajanaku, who paid a visit to the company’s Ikeja head office. “We are excited to receive the special adviser on Security and Intelligence to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Adekunle Ajanaku at our ultra-modern head office – The Fusion Centre, and to conduct him round our facility where we operate real-time remote monitoring

of our security locations using various platforms, electronic equipment and telematics to ensure the safety of our clients at all times,” Olaoye said. He said, “With our over two decades of active strides in the security solutions business, thorough understanding of the Nigerian business landscape and the changing security demands across different sectors of the economy, we have continuously improved on our security solutions architecture. “Our hi-tech facility, a fully digital platform which we have proudly named “The Fusion Centre”, is developed to tackle clear and present security challenges especially in an emerging smart city like Lagos and is perhaps one of the most sophisticated in the country and we are willing to share this innovation with the state government.” In his response, the special adviser said one of the fundamental elements of any Smart City was safety of lives and properties. “We all strive to live in a safer environment, where business activities and human interactions thrive without fear or criminal tendencies. We are exploring the use of technology to manage and reduce crime rate in Lagos.



Friday 18 May 2018

Passage of FSS 2020 bill to make The Yuan-Naira currency swap: Opportunities and risks Nigeria Africa’s financial hub loose. I stand by words and to ensure the integrity of the ever, stare us in the face. First, Continued from back page



t is now less than two years to the deadline for achieving the Financial System Strategy (FSS 2020), and the bill is yet to be passed into law. Passage of the bill will ratify most of the works that have been done and accord it legal backing. It will also provide the platform for further engagements, even after the expiration of the deadline. Nigeria has after 10 years of establishing the FSS2020 achieved 50 percent out of the 80 percent target of the financial inclusion. FSS 2020 was born out of a prediction by Goldman Sach that Nigeria’s economy would be among the top 20 economies of the world by 2020. Goldman Sachs believes that only two countries in Africa will overtake Italy in GDP size by 2015, and that is Nigeria and Egypt. In his presentation on Nigeria’s FSS 2020 plan “Our Dream,” Chukwuma Soludo, former CBN governor, on June 18, 2007, said for Nigeria to achieve this feat and its aim of being part of the 20 largest economies by 2020, she must maintain an annual average growth rate of 12.4 percent over the next 15 years. Nigeria’s GDP grew by 1.92 percent year-on-year in fourth quarter of 2017 compared with 1.4 percent in third quarter of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In 2007, the CBN launched the FSS2020 aimed at calibrating the financial system as a means of ensuring economic growth and development with the view of growing the Nigerian economy to become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020. FSS 200 aims to develop and transform Nigeria’s financial sector into a growth catalyst, and engineer Nigeria’s evolution into an international financial centre. The strategy was designed to strengthen and deepen the domestic markets, enhance integration with the external financial markets, and promote sustainable economic development. Passing the FSS 2000 bill is important for Nigeria, as it is focused on making Nigeria a financial hub of Africa, just as London is the financial hub of Europe. Non-passage of the bill impacts negatively on the Federal Government’s target of achieving 80 percent financial inclusions by 2020. A survey on access to financial service by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access revealed that Nigeria was still at 41.6 percent exclusion rate as of 2016, three years to the 2020 target. Interestingly, the Nigerian Senate on May 15, 2018, passed the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA),

seen as the biggest business reform bill in Nigeria in over 28 years. Some other bills passed by the Senate were the collateral securities into law, passage of 15 other major economic Bills into law, and review of about 50 existing extant laws. Segun Ajibola, president/ chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CBN), who is presently pushing for the passage of FSS 2020 bill, acknowledged that these bills passed into law by the eighth Senate had in no small measure enhanced the recovery and resilience of Nigeria’s economy. However, there are other related bills that are critical to the implementation of FSS 2020. These include the Nigeria International Financial Centre Bill, Financial Consumer Protection Bill, and the Electronic Transactions Bill. The seventh Senate, as noted by Seye Awojobi, registrar/ CEO, CIBN, passed the FSS 2020 bill but the Presidency did not grant assent. Recognising the importance of the FSS2020 bills, Bukola Saraki, Senate president, said FSS2020 must be brought to the front burner in view of its strategic work to the financial system and economic growth of Nigeria. The Senate president also indicated that in respect of the pending bills there would be need to set up a small joint technical committee that would prioritise the bills for quick passage. “The chairman of the Committee on Banking will be on hand to facilitate a working collaboration on the critical Bills with the delegation, particularly FSS2020 High Level Legal Working Group and the FSS2020 Secretariat,” Saraki said. The stakeholders involved in the implementation of the FSS 2020 include the Federal Ministry of Finance, National Assembly; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); National Insurance Commission (NAICOM); National Pension Commission (PENCOM); Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA); Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Debt Management Office (DMO); Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Deposit Money Banks (DMBs); Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN); Bank of Industry (BOI); Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM); Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and Development Partners. The the key implementing institutions are CBN, NDIC, SEC, NAICOM, PENCOM, DMO, NSE, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), FIRS, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and Financial Reporting Council.

to available data, at least 30 percent of demand for dollars in our foreign exchange market is to facilitate trade with China. The currency swap deal will ease pressure on demand for dollars because our traders will now be able to purchase Yuan directly without recourse to the dollar market. This will in turn ease pressures on the exchange rate and on external reserves. The stabilisation of the naira and the ensuing confidence with regards to our external reserves will be a boon to the overall business and investment confidence. We also believe that the success of this deal could pave the way for subsequent deals with Beijing. It is also good for the credibility of the naira. I have always insisted that we lack sufficient ambition for our naira legal tender currency. In the seventies the naira was acceptable as a trading currency in London, Paris and Saudi Arabia. Until recently the naira was the de facto currency of West Africa, especially in such countries as Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali. Something went wrong along the way. Today, none of those countries would touch it with a barge-pole. I once mentioned the issue of fake currency in circulation and all hell broke

shall not budge. I know what I am saying but I will never reveal everything I know until the appropriate time. Denial of reality is the first mark of hubris. The problem remains a big one. We need to take steps to bolster the security of the Mint and ensure the integrity of those paid to print our legal tender currency abroad. I have been told of a foreign power that can print any amount of African currencies for you in exchange for dollars. You can never tell the counterfeit from the genuine. Some foreign powers have the technology to print illegal currencies of our countries. Lebanese vultures have been in the business for decades. And only a fool will not know that currency wars have been one of the vital tools in the hands of the cloven hoofs behind the chancelleries of the world powers. Indeed, those who would want to bring our country down, as they prophesied ad nauseum will only need to focus on two vital areas: destruction of our food security system and rural agrarian production – as they are doing with Boko Haram and Fulani militias -- and on the monetary system as they do more surreptitiously. A programme to re-launch our naira as an international convertible currency must of necessity begin with iron-cast measures

legal tender currency. Bold monetary-policy steps must also be taken to stabilise the naira and bolster its prestige and standing among world currencies. Whilst welcoming the Chinese deal, I worry about the risks. First, of all, CBN has not told us everything. For example, at what exchange rate is the swap being structured? Is it the official rate of N306/ US$ or the spot rate, which is currently around N360/US$? Secondly, will the deal cover all manner of goods? Whilst CBN has been categorical that the 41 banned items will remain banned and will not be part of the swap deal, it’s not clear if traders can import everything else under the deal. Some of us welcome the fact that our Nigeria-China trading and investments relations have been growing from strength to strength. Nigeria is today China’s primary investment destination on the continent as well as its largest trading partner. According to the Consul General of China in Lagos, Chao Xiaoliang, China-Nigeria bilateral trade stood at US$8.9 billion as of November 2017. As a matter of fact, our bilateral trade fell from a high of US$13 billion in 2012, although it’s on the rise once again. Chinese FDI in our country stood at around US$2 billion in 2017. Two major issues, how-

there is a huge trade deficit between our two nations that is stupendously in favour of Beijing. Second, there is anecdotal evidence of huge Chinese trade dumping in our country. Everywhere you go, you find inferior Chinese goods in our country. There was a time they were even exporting poisonous baby milk and even plastic rice. The Chinese have contributed to ruining our entire textile and garment industry by their smuggling and sharp trading practices. If I were President Muhammadu Buhari I will call for a meeting with President Xi Jinping. I would take to that meeting the heads of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, NAFDAC and others. We will sit down and draw up a treaty requiring that only products that meet EuroAmerican standards can be imported to our country. Period! There cannot and must never be, any compromise on that matter. I hope my colleagues in CBN and the relevant MDAs will take foolproof measures to guarantee that the currency swap will not aggravate trade dumping by China but, rather, accelerate importation of relevant machine tools and other vital inputs necessary for our accelerated industrialisation and structural transformation of our economy. It cannot be business-as-usual.

Donald J Trump and the rest of us Continued from back page

i n O x f o rd a n d Ha r v a rd Universities where activists had made great speeches for Women’s Liberation and Civil Rights in the past had become no-go areas to people who held dissenting views, or who thought, perhaps, the boundaries of freedom may have been crossed in Feminism or the Gay debate. On top of everything, the Middle East was in ferment. Immigration – forced or economic, was raising a storm, and iSIS-inspired pin-prick terrorism was stoking fear and loathing of foreigners in the population. In a s h o c k i n g d e v e l opment, recent research has shown that, contrar y t o p re v i ou s a s su mp tions, a lot of the voters that put Trump in office were not poorly educated, u n e mp l oye d ‘ re d n e ck s’, but mainstream middle class white Americans who were disaffected with the erosion of ‘white advantage’, and with the state of Liberal Democratic social ‘advances’ in their country, but were too embarrassed or afraid to express such views openly. With his agenda now

correctly framed, it is possible to ask – who is DJT, and how is he doing? He is an intelligent but ra t h e r u n p l e a s a n t m a n who is often deliberately provocative. He has a gambler ’s temperament and instinct. He lacks the social grace of the ‘well-bred’. Instead, he has the crude manners of the lowliest classes, which he turns to paradoxical advantage. He could be impeached in a few weeks. He could implode under stress in a year. Neither of these are likely to happen, though. In all likelihood, he will serve out his term, and possibly win a second term. But he will be gradually de-mystified as he works with an increasingly hostile Congress. Much of his ‘social agenda’ – the real reason why people voted for him, is unattainable, realistically. But the sheer strength that political correctness has acquired in Western societies can be illustrated by a recent exchange between our own Chimamanda and Hillary Clinton, DJT’s erstwhile election opponent. Chimamanda, an avowed feminist, queried why Hillary, in list-

i ng h e r Tw i tt e r p ro f i l e, put ‘Wife’ first among her descriptions and accomplishments (Senator, Lawyer, and so on). Hillar y – instead of standing her ground, sheepishly retreated and relegated ‘Wife’ to a lower level in her profile! It would seem that, ultimately, Society itself, not Donald Trump, and not ‘Christian Evangelicals’, will, have to learn to draw a line between freedom that works, and a Sodom and Gomorrah scenario where ‘do as thou wilt is all of The Law’. Whether that will truly happen or not will determine the fate of the human species, going forwards. President Trump will not be w ithout his successes, however. He has a l re a d y e x p l o d e d s o m e shibboleths. Tax cuts have not hurt black Americans as much as they have increased black employment. The economy is booming. There s e ems to b e dramatic change in prospect in North Korea. Of course, the gambler may just miscalcu late, and land America in war – for example, against Iran. He may even ignite an Arab-Israeli war by his

i n - you r- f a c e m ove m e nt of the American embassy to Jerusalem, effectively sealing the Jewish nation’s ownership of the city. And his attitude on the Environment is that of a man who is prepared to ‘Live Now, Die Later’ – not a safe prescription for the world we cherish and hope to sustain. Th e T r u mp p h e n o menon will not endure, and will eventually fizzle out. It is really a wake-up call for Liberal Democracy – a chance for it to ask itself, in honest debate, s ome crucial questions it has s h i e d aw ay f ro m. How much immigration can a countr y safely absorb without losing its shape and its essence? Where is the line between identity fastidiousness and racism? How much freedom is too much freedom? Perhaps, then, ‘Democracy’ can begin to rein in the excess es and ambi guities which provided the impetus for a disagreeable, television-obsessed Reality Show host named Donald J Tr ump to b e come the most powerful man in the world - hopefully for only a short spell!

Friday 18 May 2018


Property Mart unveils Fairmont to cut... Continued from page 4

roll-out of its medium housing model with Fairmont Estate, Arepo in 2017, Property Mart has introduced Fairmont Lekki, Lagos State in continuation of its mission to be the number one affordable housing solution provider in the country. Propertymart, with its new offering, Fairmont Lekki, also aims to demystify the perception that middle class citizens cannot own a property in the Lekki axis, which was why it decided to offer a land sale promo at Fairmont Sangotedo, near the Novare Mall at a cheap rate with easy and scalable payment options. Giving a hint on what is set to revolutionise access to Real Estate assets in Nigeria, the Managing Director of Property Mart, Deji Fasuwon said, “at Property Mart we do not just believe in housing that meets subscriber’s need, we also believe in interrogating the challenges at every point in the housing value-chain and providing credible answers which meet the need of our customers. The Fairmont deal is therefore not different. With the Fairmont land-sale in Lekki, we

are steadily reversing the country’s housing deficit especially in an area most Nigerians believed is out of their reach - the Lekki corridor.” Speaking further on the edge of the Fairmont Lekki offer, Fasuwon said though payment can be made at once by those who prefer the oneoff payment option, there is opportunity for payment in installment spread across a five year period. Beyond the issue of access, the Company is also pushing affordability as one of the edge of the Fairmont Lekki offer given the fact that the land is also being offered at an unbeatably cheap price. Fasuwon said being a social enterprise, Propertymart believes in driving inclusion and access, to this end, arriving at the reduced price was more of providing a necessity than pushing for profit. To buttress, the position of Propertymart, a survey of housing estate prices in the Lekki area revealed that a similar plot of land around the Ajah and Ibeju Lekki area goes for as high as N15m to N20m. Fasuwon said Fairmont is the best land-sale deal on the Lekki corridor. According to Fasuwon, “besides the fact that Lekki stands out as the new Lagos with a lot of in-

frastructure and economic projects earmarked for the area, such as the Free-Trade Zone, the deep-sea port, the airport, the refinery project and many other, the area stands out as a corridor for those seeking long-term value from real estate investments, so the Fairmont land-sale deal could not have come at a better time” He further asked the question: “where else can you find land in Lekki, at N12m with opportunity for 5 years installment payment that starts from N640,000? He stated that there is however opportunity for one-off by those interested in shortening the repayment plan. He listed other advantages of Fairmont Lekki to be absence of the traditional land grabbers and land speculators as all legal documentation are given out to buyers of land under the Fairmont scheme by Propertymart, upon the completion of payment, with no hidden charges. The idea of the Fairmont, he asserted, was to create a luxury private community at a fast-growing location where quality is put into details with a perfect blend of urban and country living at an affordable cost.

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L-R: Andreas Voss, chief country representative, Deutsche Bank AG, Lagos, Representative Office; Stephane Timpano, managing partner, Bain and Company Nigeria; Adeola Azeez, deputy country representative, Deutsche Bank AG, Lagos Representative Office; Fabrice Franzen, partner, Bain and Company Johannesburg, and Ulf-Peter Noetzel, managing director, global head trade finance-financial institutions, global transaction banking, Deutsche Bank AG, during the Deutsche Bank Global Reach Trade Finance (GRTF) and Straight Through Processing (STP) award 2017, and 2018 dinner in Lagos. Pic by Olawale Amoo

KPMG indicts NNPC, other agencies over... Continued from page 1

Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Gombe State Governor with members including Governors of Edo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and the Finance Minister to recommend the refund of the amounts under-paid.” NEC said it has adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action. Following the revelations, the Council said it has also resolved “ to pursue strengthening of the NNPC governance structure to prevent further recurrence of such gross under-remittance by the NNPC and other RGAs” The bulk of the unremitted funds, BusinessDay gathered, was from the operation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Federal government had Wednesday directed the Depart-

ment of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to close down all filing stations within 10 kilometres of Nigeria’s border to halt smuggling of petroleum products. Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara state Abdulaziz Yari disclosed after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the reason for the closure was to block leakages in revenue accruable to the government and check smuggling of petroleum products across Nigeria’s borders. According to him, “We raised three issues, one of which was on the issue of royalties. “Each and every barrel taken out of the country there is either 17 or 24 percent of it as royalty and there is 17 or 20 percent as tax.” The Governors had expressed concern following reports by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), which revealed that the NNPC was not remitting any payment of royalty. The Governors also noted that the NNPC is making payment on behalf of Nigeria on Cash-call contributions, as well as payment of cash

call arrears of Nigeria’s contribution. “But, our main concern is that in 2015, they said about $16.8 billion which is outstanding was not paid by the last administration and they negotiated it down to $5.1 billion according to them. What we said specifically is that they should bring to us how much they have paid from 2015 to date and what is outstanding.” “One of the resolutions of NEC today is to extend the audit to June 2017. So the audit will continue for the remaining agencies. It is NNOC, NPDC, DPR, Customs, Federal Internal Revenue Services, NPA, Maritime Authorities, all the revenue generating agencies and the details of the infringement are contained in the report. Because it is voluminous report there are a lot of items that are there” NEC also took the decision to set up a sub-committee which will be an arm of the legal committee of NEC that will delve into details of these kinds of infringements and make sure that those issues that are criminal and require prosecution will be handled by office of the Attorney General of the Federation. •Continues online at



Buhari, Atiku, others and their economic... Continued from page 4

ated revenue,” Atiku said. “My idea is for the introduction of Matching Grants to be taken from the revenue accruable to the Federal Government for the purpose of matching the Internally Generated Revenue of each state in order to encourage states to become self-reliant. “If I have my way, the Federal Government will match state’s IGR up to $250 million per state,” he concluded. But there’s a snag. Atiku has a corruption perception problem and it he will need all to be at his best to persuade Nigerians to give him a chance evenafterlayingoutfantasticplansfor the economy and the country. Others Although other aspirants like

former Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido, former Kaduna state governor, Ahmed Makarfi, former Kano state governor and Senator, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Gombe state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, have declared their intentions to contest, they are yet to present their concrete views on the economy. Among the less fancied candidates though, like former deputy governor of the Central Bank, Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Publisher of Sahara Reporters , Omoleye Sowore, and Baba-Ahmed, Prochancellor of Baze Unversity, Abuja, ideas on how to turn around the economy are not in short supply.

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Abuja comes under siege from... Continued from page 1

living in fear of their lives. Criminals now operate within Abuja and environs with unbelievable level of impunity and daredevil courage that has exposed the loopholes in the capital city’s security architecture. It is easy to forget that Abuja is the seat of political and security power in the country going by the way criminals brazenly snatch bags from moving vehicles and abduct residents for ransom. Homes are under siege from armed robbers, ritual killers are on the prowl, while rape has become common crimes. BusinessDay investigations have identified the notorious criminal hideouts or black-spots to include; Bolingo junction, Banex and Mabuchi junctions, Idu Industrial Estate junction/National Judicial Council axis, National Mosque junction, restaurants, and even some worship centres in some parts of the city. Not even security personnel are immune from criminals. A Police Officer in one of the police stations in Abuja told BusinessDay that an Air Force officer in uniform was recently robbed. Criminal activities tend to thrive more in areas without streetlights and during power outage across the territory, security officials have told BusinessDay.

But even at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, there has been a sharp increase in reports of car battery theft which has become a daily occurrence at various car parks, despite the overwhelming presence of the personnel of Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), as well as State Security Service (SSS) and Sergeant-atArms. Till date, there is no record of recovery or arrest of those perpetuating the act. A legislative aide working at the National Assembly told BusinessDay, how his Honda Jeep was stolen at the Jumat praying ground at the entrance of the FCT Minister’s office penultimate Friday, less than 10 minutes after going into the Mosque. Even of more concern to victims of criminal attacks in the city is the allegation that security operatives often fail to respond or even investigate reports of attacks. Some security officers are also accused of extorting money from victims ranging from N500 to N5, 000 before they could be allowed to give statements. Some also hide under the guise of lack of petrol in the police patrol vehicle(s) to get money from the victims.

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Why NASS approval of N57.150bn for BHCPF... Continued from page 4

in Nigeria.” Several countries have achieved universal health care (UHC) through prioritising funding of health and implementation of reforms notably Turkey in addition to countries like Mexico, Thailand, Kenya, Ghana to name a few. Turkey successfully introduced health system changes and provided its citizens with the right to health to achieve universal health coverage, which helped to address inequities in financing, health service access, and health outcomes. With what it has achieved in the last two decades, it is almost unbelievable that Turkey began its journey in 2003 with the implementation of the Health Transformation Program (HTP) designed around the Basic Health Law. This led to changes in health system functions which were implemented systematically over a 10-year period. Needless to mention that fifteen years after Turkey has achieved UHC through the HTP, improved population health and wellbeing now provides re-

markable possibilities for increases in Economic growth. Giving his view on how Nigeria has fared in comparison to the listed countries Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist IFC/ World Bank said “On the contrary, the Government of Nigeria has invested so little resources in health over the last two decades compared to countries of similar economic status. A situation that has led to stalled improvements in infant and under-5 mortality rates, the total fertility rate (TFR) has not changed in 25 years, and the nutritional status of poor children has worsened over the last 13 years. Analysis from the World Bank indicates that only 10 percent of the poorest Nigerian children are immunized using Penta3 as compared to 28 percent in Chad and 52 percent in Niger. Remarkably, despite having a lower GDP per capita than Nigeria, “countries like Ghana and Kenya spend considerably more on publicly funded healthcare,” Olumide revealed.

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Friday 18 May 2018






Friday 18 May 2018

NAHCO restructures workforce, refutes Nigeria’s e-commerce industry projected to reach $3.9bn by 2020 claims on outright dismissal … as SON, CPC, BoI suggest ways to harness untapped potentials IFEOMA OKEKE


he management of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCo) plc has refuted claims of sacking no fewer than 40 employees over poor health conditions, explaining that it is restructuring its workforce. This reaction is coming at a time some online publications have published that the company has concluded arrangements to sack no fewer than 40 employees over poor health conditions. Tayo Ajakaiye, general manager, public affair of NAHCO, said they had started negotiating with the unions, and some people would need to be replaced. Ajakaiye said, “A baggage handler employed 20years ago cannot have the same strength he had then to do the job, now. So, there is a need to restructure, so that the staff can carry out our work efficiently. “Some of the workers have health issues while carrying out the job. We know about two airlines that beamed their flashlight directly on our staff eyes. We had to send them to National Eye Centre in Kaduna, which is the best eye clinic in Nigeria. “If this happens when the person was younger, we can understand, but age is not on the side of some of these staff.

With this, even if we spend on them, their eyes will continue to get worse because of their ages. With this situation, we will have to continue to pay him despite the fact that he cannot work again, meanwhile the work is left to suffer.” He reiterated the need to restructure and promised that the affected staff would be paid all their benefits. The exercise, tagged ‘Staff Optimisation in NAHCo,’ it was gathered became necessary due to the diminished productivity of some workers in the ground handling company and to address the manpower shortage in the system. A source close to the company said the management of the company had in recent time embarked on job evaluation and proper placement of staff to address the poor productivity of some of its staff when it discovered that some of them had major health issues preventing them from discharging their duties as expected. However, in order to prevent industrial crisis that may emanate as a result of the impending purge, it was gathered that the management last Thursday called on the leaderships of the two leading unions in the industry to a meeting at its headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.



lthough e-commerce in Nigeria is predominantly urban, the industry recorded about $1.9 billion in 2016, and has been projected to reach an estimated $3.9 billion by 2020 if the right regulations to guard online sales are put in place to match up with global standards, experts say. E-commerce is a thriving global industry and has become more popular in Nigeria with increased internet penetration and high numbers of smartphone ownership. In advanced climes where access to the internet and of cours e, literacy levels stand at a p p re c i a b l e l e v e l s, e commerce has become a lifestyle for many. Interestingly, global retail sales, of which ecommerce makes up a major part, is projected to rise further to an estimated $27 trillion by 2020. Giving a keynote address at Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)

stakeholder ’s forum in Lagos this week, Osita Anthony Aboloma, director-general, SON, said Nigeria would only be able to benefit from the digital advantage of e-commerce, which could add a significant value to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if the industry was well monitored to ensure optimal service. “With the increasing volumes of consumer complaints being received on the quality of products sold online by the SON, CPC and other sister regulator y agencies, it has become necessary to have a robust regulatory framework in place for this sector. “For instance, products like mobile phones, electrical and electronic devices cannot be physically viewed and tested before purchase online, while the claims on what they can do have been found in many cases to be inaccurate or sometimes out rightly false,” Aboloma said. The forum where stakeholders and government

agency representatives discussed the theme ‘The role of standards and quality regulation in e-commerce,’ according to Aboloma, was timely and is hoped to foster positive change that will ensure improved customer satisfaction and consumer protection, and ultimately guarantee the safety and security of online sales and marketing as well as ensure that only quality goods and services are provided for consumers. The issues of lack of trust, security and safety and poor knowledge were all raised as challenges hindering the rapid growth of e-commerce in Nigeria. Nigeria does not have enough regulation around e-commerce and so retailers often hide behind the anonymity of the online space to sell substandard good to unsuspecting customers, Ezekiel Oseni from the Bank of Industry (BoI), said. “Apart from the five principles recently introduced by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), which include among others, that

any item to be sold online must have full disclosure of description to clearly state its colour, size and any relevant information, sellers must ensure consumer protection privacy, prompt respond time to complaints and redress and to ensure that consumers are not exploited,” Oseni said. He also mentioned that the BoI would not support any substandard product to go into the market unless it had met all the regulatory requirements. Babatunde Irukera, director-general of CPC, said for e-commerce to grow in Nigeria, it must have an efficient, stand-alone customer service apparatus, which addressed transactional complaints. The e-commerce forum was organised with a view to advance e-commerce in Nigeria from its rudimentary stage and in turn attract more investors into the ecommerce sector, inspire confidence in consumers and enhance the performance of the functions of the regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.

Glo unveils GO Russia offer


ational Telecommunications Company, Globacom has launched a new promo packaged exclusively for the enjoyment of millions of its subscribers across the country. Titled “GO Russia”, the promo will offer 22 lucky winners that will be selected through raffle draws, the opportunity of travelling to Russia. The promo which will run between 16 May and 8 July, 2018 is open to all the new and existing Prepaid/Postpaid customers on the Glo network nationwide. Globacom, in a statement issued in Lagos said “GO Russia promo is another golden opportunity to appreciate and reward our amazing subscribers who have stood solidly behind the brand over the years. Their patronage and support have been overwhelming and

we have lined up the promo to appreciate them.” The company which added that 22 lucky winners will enjoy all expenses paid trip to Russia also enjoined Nigerians to make utmost use of the opportunity provided by the promo to be part of the trip. Under the promo, a subscriber who uses N3, 000 on Voice calls or a minimum of N5, 000 on Voice and Data will qualify for a draw. However, incremental usage of N500 over N3000 for Voice or N5, 000 for Voice and Data attracts an extra entry to the draw. The more the airtime used by subscribers, the higher the chances of winning. Winners will be contacted by Glo customer care. Interested customers can participate in the promo by sending GO to 240 on the Glo network.

L-R: Olusegun Awolowo, chief executive officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC); Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for agriculture and rural development; Stewart Harper, chairman, board of directors, Atlantic Shrimpers Limited (ASL), and Kamlesh Kabra, managing director, ASL, at the official commissioning of newly acquired fishing trawlers by ASL in Lagos, yesterday.

Made-in-Nigeria products get boost at Food West Africa


ona Group Industries, a diversified conglomerate and a key player in Nigeria’s industrial growth, has called on stakeholders in the industrialsectortotakeadvantageof thevastopportunitiesintheAfrica market, embrace and promote Made-in-Nigeria products. Speaking at the Food West Africa 2018, Arjan Mirchandani, chairman, Sona Group, said, “The future of Africa is based on self sufficiency, locally made productsandtheNigeriamarketis notexemption,whichisthemajor reason we emphasise Made-inNigeria products. “The chain of distribution in the market is expensive, with importationtakingthechunkofit;

therefore by making our products locally, not only do we cut cost but we can also export, which on the long run lifts the standards of Nigeria products and enhance growth in the industry.” Mirchandani also spoke on the versatility of the average Nigerian, he said was a key factor in relating with the Nigerian market system. In his words: “Nigerians are very aggressive, innovative, and courageous with great potentials; and these traits are clearly seen in how we maintain a lead role in a highly competitive business environment.” According to Ashok Manghnani, chief operating officer of Sona Group, “The situation

of the Nigerian market is changing, with expansion being a vital aspect in this changing economy. We are expanding at a rate of 100%, every year our capacity is increasing; operation is on a higher level and this is evident in our impact on the economy.” The Group was represented at the 2018 edition of Food West Africa by their major subsidiaries - Euro Global Food and Distilleries, maker of Maltonic, Sabrina, Sona Bitters, etc.; Sona Agro-Allied Foods Limited, focused on confectionaries and Food, Agro and Allied Industries, focused on natural extracts such as sorghum brewing, malt extracts, glucose extracts etc.

Delta inducts 745 youths in job creation scheme … training, empowerment now funded by World Bank MERCY ENOCH, Asaba


total of 745 youths of Delta State were Wednesday, inducted into the third Cycle 2017/2018 of the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme (YAGEP) of the job creation scheme of the state government. The 745 beneficiaries comprise 209 Brown STEP beneficiaries,347GreenSTEPbeneficiaries, 159 YAGEP beneficiaries, and 30 persons with Disabilities (PwDs). Performing the induction ceremony in Asaba, the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, said the success stories of the beneficiaries

of the first programme cycle of the scheme encouraged him to continue with the programme to the current cycle. Hesaideffortswereonground to commence the fourth cycle, as there would be legislation to establish beyond the tenure of the incumbent administration in the state. He therefore charged the inductees to be role models for youths in their communities, telling them to show commitment, work hard, stay honest and patriotic, as their success would spur other youths in the society to acquire entrepreneurial skills. “I congratulate you on the successful completion of your trainingprogramme,youareprivi-

leged to be ambassadors of this programme, once you step out, the world look out for what you willbecome,anddowithyourself, you should be an embodiment of the programme in character and deeds. “As a government, I urge you to stay in the realisation that you stand out among youths as many will look up to you, you are a role model to other youths in the society, you have to put in a lot of commitment through hard work and honesty, stay patriotic to yourself and Delta State and you will succeed. Challenges will come but if you stay committed, you will be successful,” the governor said.

Friday 18 May 2018




FINANCIAL TIMES Italian populist parties accuse markets of ‘blackmail’


Judge rules against CBS in clash with National Amusements

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World Business Newspaper

US team divided as trade talks with China begin

Beijing hopes for a deal on ZTE but Trump’s olive branch has been criticised SHAWN DONNAN AND TOM MITCHELL


hina and the US are set to begin a second round of high-level talks aimed at averting a trade war, amid signs of the Trump administration’s internal divide over how to deal with Beijing. Chinese officials are hopeful that Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, can leave Washington this weekend with a deal that would spare ZTE, the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, from a corporate death sentence. On Thursday, just hours before formal talks were due to begin in Washington, China’s commerce ministry said Beijing “did not want to see Sino-US frictions escalate” but would not trade its “core interests” in return for a quick settlement. While Chinese government officials have indicated their willingness to reduce China’s $337bn trade surplus with the US, they are reluctant to make compromises related to their controversial Made in China 2025 industrial policy and other “systemic issues”. ZTE suspended its shares from trading in April and said it had halted operations earlier this month as a result of the US ban on it sourcing vital parts from American suppliers. The ban was imposed by the US Department of Commerce after ZTE allegedly violated the terms of an earlier settlement related to sales of restricted equipment to Iran and North Korea. But after flagging his support for measures that would save ZTE on Twitter last weekend, President Donald Trump has been forced to defend himself against both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who criticised his U-turn. ZTE has admitted violating US sanctions on Iran and North Korea and has long been a focus of suspicion for US intelligence agencies.

In return for a lesser penalty against ZTE, Chinese officials may offer regulatory clearance of Qualcomm’s proposed $44bn takeover of NXP and agree not to target US agricultural exports with punitive tariffs. Separately on Tuesday, the day that Mr Liu arrived in Washington, Arizona-based Microchip Technology said Chinese competition regulators had signed off on its $8.4bn purchase of Microsemi, another US tech company. Thursday’s trade talks will begin against a backdrop of continuing divisions between senior officials eager to strike a deal, such as Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, and China hawks, such as White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, according to people familiar with the administration’s internal discussions. The White House on Wednesday initially said Mr Mnuchin, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer would lead Thursday’s discussions with Mr Liu and his delegation. It only later added that Mr Navarro and National Economic Council chair Larry Kudlow would join them. People briefed on an initial round of negotiations in Beijing earlier this month said that Mr Mnuchin and Mr Navarro clashed during those talks over a one-on-one meeting scheduled between the Treasury secretary and Mr Liu, with Mr Navarro objecting to being left out. One person briefed on the first round of talks in Beijing said Mr Navarro made it clear that he was “aggressively opposed” to a suggestion that Mr Mnuchin meet individually with Mr Liu. But the person added that it was not clear if the Chinese registered the angry exchange as the Americans were huddled on the other side of the room. “Peter has a hot temper,” added a second person familiar with the incident.

MSCI warns of investors facing challenges over China A-shares Market volatility and poor environmental, social and corporate governance pose risks JAMES KYNGE


he company spearheading the inclusion of domestic Chinese shares into a global equity benchmark says investors face big challenges ranging from market volatility to poor corporate governance. MSCI, the world’s leading equity index provider, will add 234 Chinese mainland-listed stocks to its flagship emerging markets index on June 1, obliging international fund managers who follow the benchmark to add domestic Chinese stocks to their portfolios. The move represents a landmark moment in the integration of the world’s second-largest equity mar-

ket into the global financial system. But investors face challenges ranging from market volatility to poor environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), a measure that helps asset managers mitigate risk. On average, the 234 Chinese companies rank poorly on ESG criteria when compared with other stocks in the MSCI Emerging Markets index, MSCI said. Thirty-seven per cent of the 234 domestic Chinese companies scored the lowest ESG rating of CCC, compared with 8 per cent of companies already in the MSCI EM index, according to MSCI research. At the other end of the scale, only Continues on page A4

Steven Mnuchin is among senior officials seen as eager to strike a deal with China © AP

Iran turmoil and Venezuela collapse send oil above $80 a barrel Tightening supplies and strong demand take crude to highest level since 2014 ANJLI RAVAL


ew US sanctions that will hit Iran’s energy industry and the fallout of Venezuela’s economic collapse have led to mounting fears of tighter global oil supplies, sending prices above $80 a barrel for the first time in nearly four years. Brent crude had been rising even before US president Donald Trump announced his decision withdraw from the nuclear deal and reimpose restrictions on Iranian oil exports, climbing more than 50 per cent over the past year. Output cuts led by Opec and Russia, robust oil consumption spurred by a healthier global economy, and geopolitical upheavals around the world have pushed prices higher. The prospect of fewer barrels from Iran and Venezuela has raised the price of international benchmark Brent crude by $7 a barrel in May alone. “Geopolitics is certainly playing a role in sustaining this price rally, but the key developments represent genuine supply losses, not just risks that might not materialise,” said Richard Mal-

linson at consultancy Energy Aspects. Venezuela’s oil supplies have been spiralling downward as political and economic crises take hold of the energy sector, with a series of court orders authorising asset seizures and hindering exports. While prices could take a dip, Mr Mallinson said, oil market participants were witnessing “a structural shift to higher prices” for the rest of 2018 and 2019, not a temporary rise. Brent, the international benchmark, rose more than 80 cents to a high of $80.18 a barrel — the most since late 2014 — while West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, increased to as much as $72.30 a barrel in trading on Thursday. Shares of energy companies have rallied this quarter after a sharp improvement in cash flows and earnings. The MSCI European Energy index, which is made up of companies that include Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, is up 15 per cent since the end of March. The S&P 500 Energy index has also gained 15 per cent over the same period. “Cost savings are still coming through . . . but it’s now coinciding with rising prices. That combination is very

powerful,” said Martijn Rats, global oil strategist at Morgan Stanley. Companies can pay dividends, buy back shares and pay down debt, he said. Swelling supplies from US shale fields, at 10.7m barrels a day, have been expected to fill any gap in global supplies but the industry has faced pipeline constraints and infrastructure bottlenecks, limiting how quickly exports can reach the market. Some industry analysts, such as those at Bank of America, have eyed a return to $100 a barrel. This has spurred questions about the period when global producers exit the supply cut deal that has been in place since 2017. “What everyone is grappling with is when does Opec and its allies step in?” said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. Saudi Arabia, Opec’s de facto leader, has said it will work with other producers to alleviate any supply shortages. But people briefed by its energy ministry say the kingdom is reluctant to open the taps for fear it could trigger renewed price falls. Another person said Gulf Arab countries were monitoring fullyear price averages before acting.

North Korea’s summit threats bode ill for nuclear deal Experts say negotiations will be bitterly contested and possibly futile BRYAN HARRIS


fter months of smiles and sympathetic overtures, North Korea has once again bared its teeth, casting doubt on the planned landmark summit with Donald Trump and personally lambasting John Bolton, the US president’s national security adviser. But for analysts, Pyongyang’s volte face serves as a timely wake-up call for Washington that dismantling the reclusive regime’s nuclear programme is likely to be a hard-fought, bitterly contested and potentially futile endeavour. The challenges are myriad and set over several stages. First, both sides need to agree on what constitutes denuclearisation, then a deal must be negotiated that provides North Korea with sufficient security guarantees, and, finally, the deal must be enforced

— a process that is practically impossible given the west’s dearth of intelligence about Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. “Permanent dismantlement is almost impossible to achieve,” said Suh Kune-yull, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University. “Do you expect [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un to reveal all the details about his nuclear facilities and weapons to other countries? Unlike Trump, Kim is in this for the long game.” As it stands, the two leaders are due to meet for a historic summit in Singapore on June 12. Mr Trump hopes the meeting — a first between leaders of the two countries — will pave the way for the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear programme. On Wednesday, however, Pyongyang reminded the world it was not

simply about to abandon its “treasured sword of justice” in exchange for economic aid — an idea that had been touted by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. “If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue,” said Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s vice foreign minister and a veteran nuclear negotiator. Instead, Mr Kim framed the planned negotiations in North Korea’s terms, saying the talks must be conducted on an equal footing and disarmament in the region must also extend to the US. “We have . . . made clear on several occasions that the precondition for denuclearisation is to put an end to anti-[North Korea] hostile policy and nuclear threats and the blackmail of the United States,” said the vice foreign minister.




Friday 18 May 2018



JPMorgan and eBay under fire over shareholder meetings Companies are among those trying to halt a burgeoning campaign to increase oversight ALISTAIR GRAY


S companies from JPMorgan Chase to eBay have come under fire from shareholder groups for trying to neuter a burgeoning campaign to strengthen investor oversight of management. A corporate governance move-

ment to make it easier for shareholders to call special meetings, by lowering the required level of investor support, has gathered momentum in the past year. But companies have begun fighting back with what campaigners say amounts to a spoiler tactic designed to thwart their efforts.

JPMorgan won support for the status quo in a contentious vote earlier this week, and the issue is set for another showdown at eBay later this month. The ability of shareholders to call special meetings is a powerful weapon for investors who want to oust directors or force other

changes at listed companies outside of the regular schedule of annual meetings. While the right is exercised only rarely, campaigners say the mere threat can be enough to pressure companies to respond to investor demands. Examples include Allergan, where activist Bill Ackman

MSCI warns of investors facing challenges over...

US and EU head for showdown over shutting Iran off from finance

Continued from page A3 3 per cent of the Chinese companies were placed in the top three out of seven ESG categories, compared with 22 per cent of the stocks that already comprise the MSCI EM index. “There is a skew in the distribution, so we have more laggards compared to leaders,” said Sebastien Lieblich, managing director, research at MSCI. “Although the Chinese government is pushing a lot of green policies, nevertheless at a company level the ESG consideration has not yet been really embraced.” With this in mind, MSCI is planning to launch China ESG indices sometime this year so that investors can help filter out the more risky companies. MSCI sells ESG ratings and research to its largely institutional investor clients. Low ESG ratings are by no means the only complexity facing investors in A-shares. Another is the volatility in a market still dominated by the seesawing sentiment of Chinese retail investors. Henry Fernandez, chairman and chief executive at MSCI, said: “You have to look at companies, understand that there will be a significant amount of volatility caused by the structure of the market but understand what are the long-term prospects of those companies and stick with them for longer periods.” Stockpickers often see the Ashare market as a real opportunity as long as rigour is applied in finding the right companies. “Proprietary in-depth research, frequent company visits, patience and discipline are all essential ingredients to succeed when investing in that market,” said Francois Perrin, Hong Kong-based manager at East Capital. MSCI used quantitative criteria including companies’ market capitalisation, proportion of freely traded shares and recent record on trading suspensions for choosing which stocks to include in its EM index. A second tranche of stocks is set to be added to the index late this year, after which 0.8 per cent of the MSCI EM index will comprise A-shares. The index provider sees this as a first step, with “full inclusion” being achieved when A-shares account for 16 per cent of the MSCI EM benchmark. Already, some 30 per cent of the MSCI EM index consists of Chinese companies but these are listed offshore in Hong Kong and elsewhere and therefore abide by different market rules from A-shares. Nevertheless, after the “full inclusion” of A-shares, Mr Lieblich said, the total cohort of Chinese companies in the EM benchmark index will be close to 45 per cent. Such a weighting, Mr Lieblich said, was more consistent with China’s real economic “heavyweight” position within the emerging world.

demanded such a meeting during a hostile takeover battle. Shareholders have filed formal proposals to make it easier to call special meetings at a record 61 USlisted companies this year, according to the corporate governance consultancy ISS Corporate Solutions. Last year, 24 proposals were

Washington sanctions put Swift payments network in spotlight


T Luigi Di Maio, Five Star leader: ‘I see a certain fear among the Eurocrats. But they don’t scare me’ © AP

Italian populist parties accuse markets of ‘blackmail’ Sharp sell-off follows Five Star/League call for ‘pre-Maastricht setting’ JAMES POLITI AND KATE ALLEN


he leaders of Italy’s two leading populist parties took aim at global financial markets on Wednesday, accusing investors of trying to “blackmail” them by unloading Italian assets as they tried to form a new government. A sharp sell-off that saw yields the Italian government’s benchmark 10-year bond suffer their biggest move in two years was triggered by the parties calling for a “pre-Maastricht setting” in EU economic policymaking — suggesting they would abandon the fiscal rules underpinning the euro once in government. The yield on the 10-year topped 2.12 per cent on Wednesday, a 17 basis point increase that pushed it to 150bp higher than the equivalent German Bund, the widest spread since January.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement, the leading vote getter in March’s general election, tempered its anti-euro rhetoric during the campaign. But Wednesday’s call for the EU to return to a period before Brussels forced strict budget discipline to foster economic convergence among member states suggested that the party was warming to the views of its potential coalition partner, the far-right League. “As soon as we have considered a Five Star/League government the anxiety has begun,” said Luigi Di Maio, Five Star’s leader. “I see a certain fear among the Eurocrats. But they don’t scare me.” Such dismissiveness towards financial market jitters over Italy’s direction has been rare in Rome in recent years and hearkens back to the height of the eurozone crisis, when a perceived lack of urgency led EU leaders to push for the re-

moval of then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. “They are trying to stop us with the usual blackmail of rising spreads, falling stock markets and European threats,” said Matteo Salvini, leader of the League. “This time change is coming, with more work and fewer illegals, more security and fewer taxes. #Italians first,” he wrote on his Facebook page. League and Five Star are on the brink of a formal alliance after a nine-week stalemate followed by less than a week of serious negotiations. The populist coalition has long been seen as the most disruptive scenario for eurozone leaders, who have become alarmed by the parties’ lavish campaign promises to cut taxes, boost spending and reverse structural reforms in an economy already suffering from high debt levels and low productivity.

Trump, fake news and the seeds of doubt ‘According to a recent poll, 77% of Americans believe major news outlets report falsehoods’ ANDREW EDGECLIFFE-JOHNSON


he moment of revelation arrived a decade ago, after midnight and more than one glass of wine. I was in a London taxi, sharing a ride with a public relations man I know, following a dinner we had both attended. Journalists and PR people have fundamentally different agendas: we have stories to break; they are paid to make sure some stories remain untold. Yet our daily dealings can be quite cordial, even when we’re not sharing wine and cabs. For one thing, PRs read our stories; it’s hard not to like them a bit. Many also have a way with words and, as we drove through London that night, I remember my fellow passenger making a pithy, if mildly inebriated, observation. “My job,” he admitted, “is to sow doubt.” I remembered the times I had

called him, looking to confirm a tale I had pieced together from sources far from the press office, only to be told: “Off the record, you haven’t quite got the full picture.” Or the occasions on which he had dodged my probing by questioning my sources’ knowledge, motives or very existence. Such tactics tend only to delay rather than deter a persistent journalist, but there are times when delay means defeat. And these exchanges are so routine that I had not really considered that the PR might have the explicit mission of undermining my confidence in facts that his boss did not want aired. My cab companion had honed his skills in British politics, and his words came back to me recently as I sought to understand a challenge of more pressing concern to my trade: the fact that so many people in power have managed to brand what we do as fake. Across the three dozen countries

surveyed for the Reuters Institute’s latest Digital News Report, only 43 per cent of people say they trust the news. In countries such as France, Greece and Viktor Orban ’s Hungary, the figures are more depressing still. As with many subjects, one man hogs the headlines. According to the Trump Twitter Archive, the president of the United States has tweeted about fake news more than 200 times since his inauguration. He wields the phrase creatively, as shorthand for the entire media, as an adjective to append to individual outlets that offend him and as a weapon with which to diminish confidence in those who hold power to account. So the sources for one NBC story “probably don’t exist”, the man with “@real” in his Twitter handle claimed this month. “Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?” he mused in another tweet.

he US and EU are heading for a showdown over how to handle one of the linchpins of the global financial system following Donald Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran. The US has declared its determination to sever Iranian banks and the Tehran central bank from foreign financial institutions as it increases sanctions in the coming months. Part of doing so will probably involve ensuring the Belgiumbased Swift network, whose financial messaging system facilitates cross-border payments, cuts off the Iranian banking system as it did before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015. Swift, which sent more than 7bn messages last year, severed links with Iran in 2012 after the US pressured the EU to impose sanctions. Following the passage of the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, Swift reopened links. The question now is whether the EU will co-operate with any US requests for those connections to be severed again and whether Swift will find itself caught in the crossfire of a transatlantic dispute over sanctions, analysts say. Richard Nephew, a scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, said: “I absolutely see this as a flashpoint between both sides. Swift has maintained it will only do what it is instructed to do from Brussels and there is no indication that the EU will bend on this point for the Trump administration.” The US pushed for years to get the Swift sanctions imposed back in 2012, so obtaining a deal could be even more difficult this time round given the fractious relations between the US and EU. In a statement, Brussels-based Swift said US Treasury guidance suggested a ban would not come into effect until early November. “As there has been no related change to EU legislation we will naturally be consulting with and seeking clarification from both EU and US authorities. Our mission remains to be a global and neutral service provider to the financial industry,” it added. Swift connects more than 11,000 banks around the world and sent an average 28m messages a day in 2017. According to one person briefed on the discussions, the UK, France and Germany may try to negotiate carve-outs for their institutions and payments systems most likely to be affected by sanctions, and would also include provisions for Swift.

Friday 18 May 2018







Judge rules against CBS in clash with National Amusements ERIC PLATT


Delaware judge has denied a request from CBS that sought to prevent the company’s controlling shareholder from interfering in a special board meeting meant to decide the Redstone family’s voting control over the media company. The ruling on Thursday from chancellor Andre Bouchard opens the door for Shari Redstone and National Amusements to block a special dividend that would have diluted their voting interest in the broadcast network. The judge wrote in his decision on Thursday that he was “not convinced that the harm (CBS) fears would be irreparable”. “To the contrary, the court has extensive power to provide redress if Ms. Redstone takes action(s) inconsistent with the fiduciary obligations owed by a controlling stockholder,” he wrote. The order follows an intensifying battle between Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, and Ms Redstone, whose family’s invest-

ment vehicle has control of the company. The dispute between the two unexpectedly spilled into the public earlier this week, after CBS sued Ms Redstone, her father Sumner and National Amusements. The Redstone family controls 80 per cent of the voting interest in CBS and Viacom, although it owns roughly a tenth of the shares. The special dividend that had been contemplated by the board would have cut the Redstone family’s voting control to less than 20 per cent if approved. National Amusements had vigorously fought the dividend, which it called “invalid”. The special board meeting was set for 5pm ET on Thursday. The lawsuit aimed to prevent National Amusements and the Redstones from taking control of the board and forcing a merger between CBS and Viacom, the cable network that the family also controls. CBS recently rejected a planned deal with Viacom. CBS shares dropped sharply after the decision, trading down 6.6 per cent at $50.24.

EM currencies on the ropes as 10-year bond yield tops 3.1% PAN KWAN


merging market currencies remain on the ropes on Thursday as rising bond yields and dollar strength continues to sap investors’ appetite for the asset class. JPMorgan’s emerging market currency index is down 0.5 per cent at 66.37, its lowest level since February 2017. The move lower comes as yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury climbed above the 3.12 per cent mark for the first time in seven years and the DXY dollar index hovers nears its highest level in five months. Solid retail, manufacturing and inflation data released in recent days have fuelled speculation that the US Federal Reserve could raise interest more than previously thought this year. This in turn has weighed on emerging markets assets, which had in recent years benefited from inflows from yield hungry investors. Of the 24 major EM currencies tracked by Bloomberg, 18 were in the red for the day. The South African rand and the Turkish lira led the decline, with both currencies down over 1 per cent for the day. They are followed by the pesos of Colombia and Mexico, each down around 0.8 per cent. The Argentine peso retreated for a second straight day, dropping 0.2 per cent to 24.30 per dollar,

as investors remain wary over the country’s finances and await further updates on its upcoming IMF talks. The Brazilian real weakened 0.4 per cent to a new two-year low despite the country’s central bank surprising the market by holding instead of cutting interest rates last night. “The recent sell-off in EM assets is not a surprise,” said Shweta Singh, a global macro strategist at TS Lombard. “A resurgent dollar and higher yields will raise EMs’ funding and debt-servicing costs. In more extreme cases, it could lead to a reversal of EM carry trades, which have proliferated since the great financial crisis.” EM central banks are already having to adjust their policies in response to the ongoing sell-off. Brazilian officials cited the weakening of the real as one of the reasons it chose not to ease further last night, while Indonesia’s central bank raised rates for the first time in four years on Thursday in a pre-emptive move to deter foreign capital flight. “EM currencies have moved a decent amount in the past month and as group they are stretched on simple RSI [relative strength index] technical indicators,” said analysts at Société Générale. “In previous cases since 2015 when they were this oversold, EM posted a rally. An obvious requirement might be US yields taking a breather.”

Viacom and CBS are controlled by the Redstone family, who have a strong interest in getting the weaker Viacom into a stabilising alliance. Minority investors should be asking tough questions © Bloomberg

Stocks to watch: Ocado, Walmart, JC Penney, Royal Mail


il majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell buoyed by return of Brent crude oil to $80 Ocado’s partnership with US food chain Kroger sent shares in the food ordering and distribution specialist soaring 44 per cent to a record high — and the top of the FTSE 250. The partnership accord takes the company into the US market and involves Kroger subscribing for 33m new Ocado shares at a value of £183m. Kroger will have exclusive rights in the US over Ocado’s technology in return for monthly fees. The deal follows two others struck recently with Sobeys of Canada and France’s Groupe Casino, extending Ocado’s reach beyond the UK, where its main business is online delivery for Waitrose and Wm Morrison. As Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, points out, Ocado’s rally could leave some investors with burnt fingers: As one of the most shorted stocks in the UK stock market, this deal will be a poke in the eye for the hedge funds who have bet against Ocado because of its eye-watering valuation. However, its share price is looking forward to future earnings based on licensing out its online delivery technology, rather than the revenues it’s currently making from

food retail. The short sellers were hoping Ocado wouldn’t deliver on its international expansion plans; that position now looks like a badly busted flush. Retailing giant Walmart surrendered early market gains in New York, made after its firstquarter results beat expectations on both profits and revenue thanks to strength in e-commerce sales. The stock was sliding 1.7 per cent. “The deceleration in [customer] traffic (to +0.8 per cent versus the fourth quarter’s +1.6 per cent) will be a focal point, though weather was likely a factor,” said Peter S Benedict of Baird. Shares in JC Penney fell nearly 7 per cent after the US retailer cut its profit outlook for the year as an unusually cold spring put the chill on its first-quarter sales. Mothercare rose 25 per cent as the baby products retailer unveiled a restructuring plan that includes the closure of 50 stores — about a third of its UK outlets — as well rent reductions on more than 20 others. It also announced a refinancing plan which includes an issue of new equity to raise £28m, as well as revised debt facilities of £67.5m. The return of the Brent crude oil price to $80, for the first time since 2014, helped shares in oil majors.

Royal Dutch Shell rose 1.5 per cent, BP gained 1 per cent and Tullow Oil rose 4.8 per cent. Hill & Smith, the engineer which makes road safety equipment, fell 4.2 per cent after it said revenue and underlying operating fell in the first quarter of the 2018 calendar year. Analysts at Numis cut their rating on the stock from “hold” to “add”, pointing to a 23 per cent rally for it over the past three months. Royal Mail fell 5.2 per cent after it reported a sharp drop in annual profit and warned that new EU data protection rules would hit its letters business. The decline, which was the biggest single fall on the FTSE 100, cut the stock’s year-to-date gain to 25 per cent. But bookmakers bounced back from early losses caused by news of a major victory by campaigners in persuading the UK government to restrict top stakes on betting terminals to £2. After weighing on the London market at the opening of trading, Paddy Power Betfair rose 2.3 per cent and William Hill gained 3.7 per cent. Altice was prominent among the Euro Stoxx 600 gainers, climbing 11.4 per cent after investors hailed signs of a tentative recovery at the French unit of the telecoms and cable group.

Political angst fails to knock the shine from Italian stocks Weakness confined to banks, with FTSE MIB the best-performing eurozone equity market of 2018 CHLOE CORNISH


ond investors sold Italian debt this week, sparking the biggest rise in yields for two years. But the drop in Italian stocks has mostly affected banks — major holders of the country’s debt. Milan’s equity premier index, the FTSE MIB, has fallen more than 2 per cent since Italy’s two leading populist parties, who are working to form a government, suggested on Wednesday that they would abandon the fiscal rules underpinning the euro. Companies from the financial services sector carry the biggest weighting on the FTSE MIB, ac-

counting for almost 40 per cent. Given banks’ holdings of Italian government bonds, further weakness in the debt will leave them exposed. According to Eric Dor, director of economic studies at IESEG School of Management, UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, Banco BPM and Monte dei Paschi were the biggest holders of Italian sovereign debt in absolute terms as of June 2017. Italian bank stocks, including Banco BPM and UniCredit, fell sharply on Wednesday, and were weaker again on Thursday. Yet in spite of this week’s fall in stocks, the FTSE MIB remains

the best-performing eurozone equity market this year. It has been helped by the strong performance of big Italian companies with a hefty international presence. Moncler, the luxury downjacket company whose shares have risen 44 per cent this year, relied on Italy for just 13 per cent of its revenues in the first quarter. The rest of Europe accounted for 29 per cent, while 58 per cent came from outside Europe. Meanwhile, Ferrari, the sports car maker, sold only 6 per cent of its cars in Italy last quarter, compared with 13 per cent in UK and 10 per cent in Germany. The stock is up 29 per cent this year.



Friday 18 May 2018

Expansion in telecoms industry undermined by infrastructure, charges, policy ODINAKA ANUDU


igeria could have seen much larger local and foreign investments in the telecoms industry if not for poor infrastructure, low broadband penetration, multiplicity of charges and lack of implementation of well-thoughtout policies, CEOs of telcos said on Thursday. Nigerian authorities see the telecoms industry as a cash cow, imposing about 38 different taxes and levies on the struggling telecoms players. Right of Way (RoW), de-

Ambode urges care for underprivileged as Ramadan begins JOSHUA BASSEY


overnor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has restated commitment to initiatives that will elevate the condition of the underprivileged and sustain the atmosphere of peaceful coexistence and religious harmony in the state. Ambode gave the commitment in a goodwill message he delivered in a prayer session at the State House, Wednesday, to commence Ramadan, a 30-day fasting and prayer by Moslem faithful across the world. Ramadan marks the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which Moslem are enjoined to abstain from sexual intercourse, eating, drinking and the use of foul languages during the day. Ambode at the gathering, which attracted hundreds of faithful, also urged the Muslim to, in this holy month, show love and care to self and to others, by giving and serving humanity selflessly. According to Ambode, his administration will continue to implement programmes and projects much in line with the spirit of Ramadan, and so as to bring greater development, improved quality of life and safety of the people. AbdulHakeem AbdulLateef, the state commissioner for home affairs, whose responsibility it is to liaise with religious organisations on behalf of the government, said the last three years had witnessed religious tolerance in Lagos because of the commitment of government to peaceful co-existence of all the citizens. AbdulLateef called on religious bodies to maintain the peace and continue to pray for the state, saying spiritual leaders remained important partners in the acceleration of development in the state. He said all Lagosians must, in the holy month of Ramadan and after, eschew bad habits but promote love, peace and unity.

fined as the legal right to pass cables along a specific route through the ground, is still a big challenge as many states charge as high as $20 per metre for laying fibre network, rather than N145 agreed by the National Economic Council. Broadband penetration is relatively low at 21 percent as against the anticipated 30 percent, as the CEOs said the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2013-2018) had not been implemented religiously. Broadband is defined as an internet experience where the user can access

the most demanding content in real time at a minimum speed of 1.5 Mbit/s. CEOs of telecoms estimate that broadband penetration will cost about $100 billion. “Investors are willing to come to Nigeria. I have seen a lot of them who looked at the size of the Nigerian economy and wanted to come in, but once they start looking at the economics they pull out,” Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne Cable Company, a Lagos-based communications services company, said. “They will tell you they have done it in Kenya, Ghana

and other African countries. So, why is it too expensive to do it here? The conditions are not just conducive at the moment to make such investment,” Opeke said at the breakfast meeting organised by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) in Lagos. She urged the government to bring down the cost of infrastructure, be it RoW or main infrastructure, adding that low purchasing power of Nigerian consumers have had a negative impact of the telcos. Nigeria’s Broadband Plan targets spreading 3G/LTE

to at least 80 percent of the population while delivering a five-fold increase in broadband penetration, but this has not been achieved, thus hurting the prospects of the industry. “I looked at the Broadband Plan and I told myself, ‘If only we had implemented this, we would have exceeded 30 percent,” said Godfrey Efeurhobo, CEO of Smile Communications. “In all the policy statements, including the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), broadband is all there. But why is broadband not in the list of items

that can access foreign exchange?” Efeurhobo asked. “A number of our customers want us to be in all the states, but we are in eight cities and cannot even satisfy our customers. I cannot make a business case because it is expensive to be in these places and FX is my capex. If the government is subsidising agriculture, why not also broadband?,” he further asked. For Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), telecoms business is under threat.

Friday 18 May 2018




Reading culture: ‘Edo BEST Initiative makes learning fun, attractive’


do State governor, Godwin Obaseki, says the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo BEST) programme makes reading and the entire learning experience attractive and fun for children in public primary and secondary schools in the state. In his address at the 2018 Readership Promotion Campaign, themed: Sustaining Lifelong Reading for Positive Change, organised by the National Library of Nigeria in Benin City, Obaseki said, “As part of the plans to overhaul the basic education subsector in the state through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) programme, the state government has concluded arrangement to provide mini-library in each classroom in public school across the state. This will assist pupils in public schools to cultivate sustainable reading culture.” He said in the plans for the reconstruction of public schools across the state, there were provisions to equip the schools with rich libraries where students could read and conduct research. The governor, who was represented by the commissioner for education, Emmanuel Agbale, noted, “The pupils will be taught how to manage books in the mini-library so that on a rotational basis, every pupil in a class will have the oppor-

tunity to serve as the class librarian.” Obaseki explained, “There are plans to equip public schools with solar panels that will provide adequate lighting to power tablets to be distributed to students in public schools, with pre-loaded novels and story books. “Survey carried out to generate data on the number of schools will assist the state in developing strategies that would guarantee the protection of assets deployed to schools for improved teaching and learning outcomes.” He urged youths to make effort to cultivate good reading habit, noting that the time spent daily by youths reading and sending messages on social media platforms was a wrong presumption of effort at developing their reading habit. He noted that youths would benefit from cultivating a healthy reading habit, adding that such would set them on the path of becoming global citizens and competing favourably with their peers anywhere in the world. A guest lecturer, Elizabeth I. Ifidon of the Department of Library and Information Science, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said the campaign on sustainable reading for positive change could only be successful if it was supported by all stakeholders, including parents and educational institutions.

World Telecoms Day: Edo tasks youths on productive use of social media, tech-based innovations


do State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has tasked youths to make productive use of technology in proffering solutions to everyday problems, noting that Nigeria will benefit immensely from tech-based solutions given the overwhelming impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on people’s lives. The governor, who said this in commemoration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) marked every May 17 by the United Nations, noted that youths need support to be able to maximise the innumerable opportunities inherent in technology to drive sustainable development. According to Obaseki, “As we mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, I will like to stress the impact of technological innovations on our everyday life, whether in relating with our loved ones, in business and economy, education, health care and even agriculture.” He tasked youths on the productive use of social media to engage on topical issues and sieve through the information on the various platforms to learn about the world and make informed judgement about living. “We have seen the enormous influence and liberating features of technology as can be seen with the disruptions in different sectors of the economy; with the

coming of FinTech, the banking sector is being recalibrated with the input of vibrant Nigerian youth. “In the media, media influencers have risen overnight to challenge and extend the boundaries of media practice and public opinion moulding. One can only wonder what more is in the offing if more support is given to our young ones,” he said. Noting that the theme for the 2018 commemoration, Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All, was apt and speaks to the constructive use of technology to solve everyday problems, he said, “We acknowledge the role of technology and information in transforming society. “This is why we are leaving no stone unturned in attracting investors to set up tech hubs in Edo State. Already, we have designated the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) in Benin City a tech hub and are working with partners to properly equip the facility with relevant structures to make for a world-class start-up incubation space.” He said the Edo State government had identified the role of technology in driving societal growth, which is why the state government is partnering with blue-chip companies like Microsoft to train youths in the state on digital skills as well as providing the enabling environment for setting up technology hubs in the state.




Friday 18 May 2018


Highlight of the news reports on our digital platforms this week

Best five stories this week What the new CAMA bill passed by Senate means for businesses Nigeria may begin to witness increased investments, revenue generation and job creation as the Senate on Tuesday, removed the regulatory bottlenecks for opening businesses, with the passage of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). The repeal and re-enactment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) passed by the 8th Senate yesterday, 15 May, 2018, is seen as one of the biggest business reform bills passed in Nigeria in over 28 years.

Remembering Leah Sharibu On Monday May 14, Leah Sharibu, the only remaining kidnapped teenager from Dapchi still in captivity, turned 15 in the custody of her captors despite repeated promises of the president and top security agents to secure her release.

Business Day MTN Nigeria pre– IPO Report: The proposed listing of MTN Nigeria shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

investments in Nigeria

economic activities.

Africa’s richest man and Nigerian business magnate, Aliko Dangote has outlined a five year investment plan that that will spur industrial and economic growth in the country. Dangote who disclosed this at a presentation to business leaders/CEO’s at the Lagos business school last week, said the group has planned over $20 billion investment for Nigeria that will help drive key infrastructural growth and improve

As we await Senate’s funerall In my last week’s column titled: ‘Rising spate of strongmen in Nigerian politics,’ I reviewed the dominance of strongmen and continued existence of weak institutions in the nation’s polity.

(NSE) is set to lift the market capitalisation of the bourse by about 20 percent. According to our valuation MTN Nigeria is forecast to have a market capitalisation ranging from $8.56 billion to $10.88 billion.

POLL RESULTS: The poll results are out concerning the IGP of police rejecting the third invitation of the senate to its plenary. What does this indicate for Nigeria’s youth democracy? 19% says its good while 81% says its bad Write us at digital@businessdayonline. com in agreement or in dissent.

Poll of the week

Dangote outlines $20bn planned Video of the week

Tweet of the week

Cartoon of the week




Opinion The Yuan-Naira currency swap: Opportunities and risks


he finance and banking community in Nigeria welcomed last week’s announcement of the Yuan-Naira currency swap deal between Governor Yi Gang of the People’s Bank of China (PBOB), and Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The deal, which is to facilitate bilateral trade over the next 3 years, amounts to some US$2.5 billion -- equivalent to N720 billion and 16 billion Chinese Yuan. A currency swap simply refers to an arrangement whereby two parties agree to exchange the principal amount of a loan and the interest in one currency for the principal and interest in another currency. At its inception, the principal of the equivalent amounts are exchanged at the spot rate. And during the period of the swap each party pays the interest on the swapped principal of the other. And at maturity, principal and interests accruable are finally exchanged. For decades swaps have been standard practice among major multinational corporations as an international financial derivative tool to facilitate their trade and investment and activities within and outside their subsidiaries. As far back as the

Asian financial crisis of the late nineties, currency swaps were brokered between Asian countries and some of the central banks of the advanced industrial countries to address the problem of acute liquidity constraints. China, South Korea and Japan also crafted bilateral swap arrangements to supplement whatever international facilities were available. These arrangements were to culminate in the emergence of the Chiang Mai Initiative involving establishment of a whopping US$240 billion fund to finance balance of payments shortfalls among the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN). Currency swaps have gained some popularity after the subprime crisis of 2007/2008 that portended the so-called Great Recession. Following the collapse of investment bankers Lehman Brothers in Wall Street, several of America’s trading partners experienced massive dollar shortages. The Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, structured swap arrangements with major trading partners such as South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia so as to boost their dollar liquidity and overcome the currency constraints to international

trading. The European Central Bank (ECB), on its part, has structured currency swap deals with countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Iceland and Norway. There is a major confusion which often accompanies any discussion of the Chinese currency. The official name is Renminbi (RMB) which means “the people’s money”. That has been the official name of the legal tender currency of China since the establishment of the communist republic in 1949. However, most people also know the name of the currency as the Yuan. Strictly speaking, the two are not interchangeable. Whilst the Renminbi is the official name of the currency, the Yuan is its unit of account. A typical analogy would be that between pound sterling and the pound. The pound sterling is the official name of the British legal tender currency issued by the Bank of England. The pound is, strictly speaking, a unit of account for sterling. For example, we never discuss any quantum of the British legal tender currency in terms of sterling; rather, we talk of it in terms of x amount of pounds. In the same way, the Yuan refers to x units of the Renminbi. China has recently emerged as the world’s Num-

HumanAngle FEMI OLUGBILE Physician, psycho-profiler and essayist


he forty-fifth President of the USA has been in office since January 2017. He seems set to continue to be in office for a considerable time to come, despite the hostile proclamations of his enemies, who are very many indeed. Some of the criticisms he has faced have been over the top. He is a brainl e s s, s e m i - l i t e ra t e m a n who could barely tell his right hand from his left. He has the attention span of a butterfly. He has no regard for other races, and he disrespected women. He associated with openly racist types, said insulting things about other nations and their leaders. He was verbally incontinent. He had the morals of a dog, dallied with prostitutes, and conducted his business with an almost total freedom from scruples. Almost halfway into his

ber 1 international trading nation. The Chinese have brokered currency swap arrangements with more than 30 countries. In 2013, for example, Beijing signed a bilateral swap arrangement with the EU amounting to some 45 billion, equivalent to RMB 350 billion. By the largest deal has been Britain-China swap deal of October 2014 which stands at more than US$100 billion. The current swap arrangement between CBN and the People’s Bank of China should be seen as a welcome testcase of the potential of our naira as an international currency. My good friend Isaac Okorafor, Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the CBN was saying the other day that no decision has yet been taken by the apex bank as to which banks will be selected to participate in the lucrative deal. That decision, according to him, will soon be taken and will be accompanied by the necessary guidelines for the relevant market-players. However, as we understand it, only 4 of our commercial banks currently have a presence in China: these are Stanbic, Standard Chartered, First Bank and Zenith. It transpires that the People’s Bank of China are insisting that the minimum requirement for participation is that banks must have

not less than US$20 billion in their balance sheet. If this rule is strictly applied, it would mean that probably only two banks – Standard Chartered and Stanbic – will be qualified to participate. One thing, though, is clear: the CBN will have to play a central role in defining the terms of engagement, including providing mechanisms for clearing, specifying the relevant collateral for market actors and most probably creation of another equivalent to Form M which strictly covers only dollar denomination. Currency swaps have two principal advantages. First, they are a vehicle for accessing foreign currency at a better rate of interest than could directly be obtained in the Eurodollar market. Secondly, they provide a mechanism for hedging transaction risk on foreign currency loans. They also reduce overall transactional costs for accessing forex by international traders. For example, the typical Nnewi industrialist who normally sources his vital raw materials from China would typically have to use his naira to purchase dollars either through CBN via the Form M process or directly from bureaux de changes (BDCs). This entails purchasing dollars at a cost. When he arrives in Shang-

not just by ideology but by a deep racism riled by the sight of a black man in the White House. If Trump the candidate was a bigot, he was just m o re h o n e s t a b o u t h i s bigotry than the hypocrites that were the grandees of his party.

majority of America. But that was not the only part, or the most interesting. No. Why did the Evangelicals pitch so massively for him? Some of the ‘pastors’, after all, were black, and some even had affiliations with Christian churches in Africa, especially Nigeria. The basis of enduring ‘Christian’ support of DJ Trump is the socio-cultural dimension, and it is essential in understanding and evaluating the Trump phenomenon. By the time Donald Trump embarked on his p re s i d e n t i a l c a m p a i g n , Democratic Liberalism had attained unprecedented heights. In all of the Western World, and much of

Donald J Trump and the rest of us tenure, it is appropriate to ask the question: What is the essence of The Trump Project, and how much of it has been achieved so far? He came in as the rank outsider, the Republican who was disruptive and dismissive of the establishment. He came with a simplistic mission - ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA). A l l t h e e x t re m i s t s i n the cause of white male domination – the Ku Klux Klan, the Neo Nazis - they flocked to him, and were part of his base. The Republican establishment pronounced themselves shocked at this ‘mainstreaming ’ of extremist ideologies. In reality, they were at least partly responsible for it, on the back of eight years

of a black Presidency they relentlessly opposed and disrespected, motivated

Pa r t o f T h e Mi s s i o n , clearly, was to take power back for the white male

He is an intelligent but rather unpleasant man who is often deliberately provocative the rest of the world, a sea change had taken place in personal freedoms. Ho mosexuality had been demedicalised and de-criminalised. Same-sex marriage


OBADIAH MAILAFIA Dr. Mailafia is a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, a development economist and public finance expert with a DPhil from Oxford; 08036590990 (text messages only) hai he would then have to exchange those dollars into Yuan, with also some additional transactional costs. The currency swap eliminates those double transactional costs by allowing the trader to change his naira directly into Yuan. It is good news for the overall economy and our external current account in the sense that it will ease demand for dollars in our foreign exchange market. According Continues on page 34

was now legal. There were openly homosexual clergy. A same-sex couple could adopt children, or make children by assisted reproductive techniques. School children were taught in school and in the media about transsexualism and homosexuality as facts of life. Gay pride parades had become a feature of the major cities of the world. Feminism was another cause celebre. While most people were generally supportive of gender equality, a hard edge had crept into the debate, and political correctness had acquired the force of a ‘moral police’ – often manned by selfrighteous social activists, who were not averse to using ‘extreme persuasion’, or, occasionally, violence. If a person made a statement that could even faintly be construed as ‘misogynistic’, it could spell the end of his business, academic or political career, as trenchant ‘boycott’ campaigns would be immediately raised in the mass and social media. The ‘warriors for freedom’ had themselves become the vanguard of a new totalitarianism that sought to staunch argument, and no one was safe. The halls Continues on page 34

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WOMEN’S HUB Friday 18 May 2018


For Omoni Oboli, The Stars Are Ageless Facebook’s proposed dating service ‘It’s ok to be tall’



Celebrating motherhood

FUNKE SOYIBO transforming ordinary spaces to extraordinary places



elcome to another edition of WOMEN’S HUB this week. Our cover Personality who is also our LEADING WOMAN is Funke Soyibo. She is stunning, hardworking and purpose driven. Read up on how she transforms ordinary spaces to extraordinary places. In celebration of Mother’s Day (which was on the 13th of May) some mums share with us their experience and understanding of motherhood. It is indeed an intresting one.   Desmond Okon has his views on the new Facebook’s proposed dating service. His opinion is worth reading. Also, Joy is a young 6 .1ft girl. She is embracing her height and positive about the advantages that goes with being tall, pushing away all negative opinions. Her story is truly inspiring.   In WORKPLACE PALAVER section, Kate gets the greatest suprise ever from her husband, mother and children. Find out how the ‘coup’ was planned and executed.   These and more we have for you this week.


Graphics by David Ogar

Leading Woman


Friday 18 May 2018



transforming ordinary spaces to extraordinary places KEMI AJUMOBI


unke Soyibo was born in the city of Ibadan in Oyo state of Nigeria on the 3rd of April 1978 into a family of 5. She attended Queens School Ibadan and also graduated with a BSC in Sociology at The University of Ibadan Nigeria. She also has a diploma degree in Interior Design from the Sheffield school of Interior. Funke founded the company HNK interiors Ltd in the year 2007. HNK interiors is an interior design company that also deals in retailing of Home and Office furniture, window blinds and general home and interior decor accessories. Her business was established as a result of her passion and love for transforming ordinary spaces to an extraordinary one. She is also the MD and founder of Opulent Living. This is the Luxury version of HNK interiors. Opulent Living caters for the high end needs of high net worth individuals and corporate bodies. Funke is married and blessed with 3 children. She enjoys listening to music, singing and dancing when she is not working.   Early years Growing up was interesting. My mum was a very hardworking woman and that helped a great deal in moulding me to the woman I have become today. I love to work and work! It’s so bad that even when I’m on vacation sometimes I’m so restless and I find it hard to completely get off work.   Why the decision to go into interior decoration? How has your experience been so far? Interior design for me is a way of life.  It’s a part of me. I enter into people’s spaces and so easily I’m able to design the space right in my head. The experience has been great.  Yes I’ve had my challenges but the passion keeps driving me and I just love it!   Is interior decoration a lucrative business in Nigeria today? Oh yes it is, but you have to constantly be on top of your game by creating a niche, and being as innovative as possible always. The competition is tough, but with God on our side, we keep winning.   When and why did you establish Opulent Living? Opulent Living was established for 2 reasons. First was as a result of constant request for high end furniture and decor from clients. I’ve had to go shopping specially on various occasions for different clients that required such services even before Opulent Living was founded. Secondly, for me, it was also a way of taking the business yet to another level.   Do you enjoy enough patronage? Yes to the Glory of God, I do but you know as a business owner, it is never enough. You keep yearning for more and more. You keep aspiring to go higher and higher.  So Yes, we do but we still want more and like I always say to my staff “If Coca- Cola is still looking for more business we have no reason and no excuse to be otherwise”   Where do you source for your furniture? How has your experience been in terms of bringing them into the country?  I source for my furniture all over the world. It’s different items at different locations. This really is something I don’t want to talk about. It hasn’t been a fantastic experience but in all I give God thanks!   What is your take on local production? Are you looking at going into this anytime soon or never?  Local production is the way! We have started but at a small scale for now as that also comes with its own challenges.  It’s hard finding reliable and consistent human labour in this Country. Nigerian Artisans can shut down your business if you are not careful. They don’t share the same views and aspirations with you and as such they can’t be really bothered about being their best at what they do.

What are your challenges business wise? Is the Nigerian environment conducive for business like yours? There have been several challenges I must say but three that stands out includes funding, secondly, government policies haven’t been so favourable and thirdly, getting good, dedicated and well trusted staff. To answer your question on Nigeria being a conducive environment, the answer is No! The Nigerian environment is not conducive for my kind of business. When we are setting up showrooms, the first thing we always have to worry about is a generator. You can’t run a showroom and constantly keep it in darkness and as you know, power supply in Nigeria is still an issue.   Where do you see your business in a few years’ time? My dream for my business has always been: “When you think furniture, or you think home design or accessories, you think HNK interiors Ltd. That is my goal and that is what we are working to achieve!   From patronage you receive, how do you rate Nigerians in terms of their thirst for quality items and their ability to pay?  People are not the same. Some people want the best and they go for it at all cost while some are not really particular but are more particular about the functionality.  At HNK interiors Ltd, we combine functionality with style. Though functional but it has to be stylish as well. So the clients that understand the concept are always willing to pay.   What stands you out from the rest? How can people identify those who profess professionalism in this field yet are not? Before you can be an interior designer you must

first have it in you even before you become a professional. Having it in you helps to bring out the professionalism. Not everyone has it in them. There is a big difference between a furniture seller and an interior designer.   What is the day in your life that you can never forget and why? The day my mum Passed on ! I got to the mortuary and I saw her lifeless body on a tray! Hmmmnn..... the pain pierced through my soul, that pain is still there even till today, and that is one moment I can never forget .   Are the challenges with your regular customers similar to your high end customers?  Challenges with customers are the same, but in the case of the high end customers, the challenges

come with a very fat cheque so it’s! Is it fair to say for both interior decoration and your furniture business, your prices are accommodating?  My prices have always been very accommodating.  I try to ensure this always. I’m like an Igbo business woman. I use my discretion in making sales. I hate for an item to stay more than 3 months in any of my showrooms. So Yes, my services are very affordable.   You just celebrated your 40th birthday, what are you grateful for? I’m grateful for life, gift of life and good health. There is a saying that says when there is life there is hope for a better tomorrow. I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for true friendship God has brought my way, and I’m super grateful for my business and how far God has brought me.   What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood to me simply means unconditional love. It’s a love that gives and continues to give till the end of time. I’m grateful for my mum, even though she is no more. I’m grateful for the values she instilled in me and for all her love and care during her lifetime. Grateful to God also for making me a mother to 3 most amazing guys in the whole universe. ( I said guys and not boys as they are all taller than me now ). It is indeed a great feeling and cannot be traded for anything else.   Final words The world is a beautiful place. We may not always have what we want but being thankful for what we have and making the best out of it is very important. Believe in God as God is the Ultimate. Love Him, serve Him and constantly ask for the grace to walk in His ways. Love yourself, work hard, and I say it again work very hard!  Don’t keep malice or hold a grudge against anyone, it’s not worth it and always remember YOLO ( You Only Live Once ).





Friday 18 May 2018

For Omoni Oboli, The Stars Are Ageless



ll roads led to Wheatbaker on the 12th of May for the launch of Omoni Oboli’s new book titled The Stars are Ageless. She also ceased the opportunity to celebrate her 40th birthday. It was an enlightening moment as Omoni shared her story with the audience, taking time to read a few lines from the book. It was interesting listening to her share on her early years in acting, when she took the 10 year break and returned, how it was a struggle to blend back in but became unstoppable after she got another chance for her skills to be celebrated again, thanks to Emem Isong, who believed in her and gave her the opening she needed to be back on screen and today, like the say, the rest is history. The program had in attendance guests like Omawumi, Waje, Yemi Kuti, Tope Oshin, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Zik Zulu Okafor, Mary Akpobome, Lilian Esoro, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, to mention a few. Surrounded by friends, family, colleagues, fans and wellwishers, Omoni had a successful launch and the reviews on the book are coming in already. In her words, “I am glad I am able to launch my book for my 40th birthday. It’s what I had planned to do and I am glad God granted

the desires of my heart. The Stars Are Ageless is the story of my life, journey, friendships, family and lessons learnt. Trust me; you will be glad you bought it. It’s available on Konga. I am moving on to greater heights by God’s grace” she said. Omoni is a Nigerian actress,

scriptwriter, director, producer and a trained digital filmmaker at the New York Film Academy. She is also a writer, with a number of screenplays to her credit. In 2010, she won the award for Best Actress Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Movie Awards, and the award for Best Actress at the Harlem International Film Festival. She has directed several movies such as ‘Being Mrs Elliott’,

‘Okafor’s Law’, ‘The First Lady’, ‘Wives on Strike’, and most recently ‘Wives on Strike- The Series’. She is one of the 27 participants selected from among 300 nominees from over 30 African countries for the 2018 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship.

My thoughts on Facebook’s proposed dating service DESMOND OKON


ave you heard that Facebook’s boss, Mark Zuckerberg wants to introduce a new feature on Facebook that will provide dating services? In case you haven’t, well, he wants to and he’s serious about it. Zuckerberg announced it early this month while he was addressing those present at the Facebook’s annual F8 developers Conference, in San Jose, California. He said that the focus was to help people find real, long-term partners.   He said he wasn’t interested in what most people would describe as ‘chop and go’ relationship, but the kinds that will last. According to him, “this is going to be for building real long term relationships, not just hookups”.  The interesting part is that, users will be able to create a separate “dating” profile that is visible to the owner alone. Your friends won’t see it, not even your wife (for incurable cheats).  Personally, I think it’s a great idea, but I’m also worried because some people will prevent people like us who are very single from enjoying it. They will spoil it. You

know how we behave in this country when it comes to new things. A lot of people will miss use it, sabotage it, and give the country a bad name, even those who shouldn’t be there will jump on it! Talking about those who shouldn’t be there, Facebook, is the largest social media as of now, and a lot of Nigerians are Facebookers, both the single, married, divorced, dating, those dating-and-not-dating at the same time, those in complicated relationships, and so on.  As we know, every invention has its threats, like I said; some people will hijack it for malicious intentions other than the original motive.

Hence, there are people I believe shouldn’t subscribe to the dating feature, and they include: The married If you’re in this category, and you love your spouse, I mean, you’re crazy about each other, and you have the best intentions for your home, please, that page isn’t for you. In fact, Zuckerberg didn’t consider you when he made plans for it. So, please, stay in your lane! You know God works in mysterious ways, so does the devil. Don’t allow him push you. Facebook has a way of being attractive, such that when the feature is launched, people will

start talking about it. There will be a rave, one that would tempt you. Do your best to ignore, because it could be your village people at work. When that time comes, (especially the men) don’t say, ‘emmmm, let me just see what these lazy Nigerian youths are doing on this page’. Then you create your own page using a cryptic name, and the first match you get has a name like ‘Hips-don’t-Lie’ or ‘Comfort all the way’ (as if it’s an aircraft). By now your eyes will begin to pop, you start a conversation with your own wife who was also cajoled by the rave. Or worse still, someone that would create a rift between you and your darling spouse. So if you’re married, you don’t belong there! The Daters The married are not the only ones that should avoid using the platform. Those dating too should mind their businesses, and leave what’s ours for us. We’re in a reality where people break up at will. The reasons? Very ridiculous. You’ll hear things like: ‘I’m sorry we can’t work anymore because my brain cannot process yet that I now have a boyfriend’ or ‘you don’t cover your

sneeze. So we can’t work’. Hence, breakups have become commonplace and very easy. Unless you are planning not to break-up, don’t use it. If you’re seriously dating with prospects it’s fine but if it is just play with innocent hearts, prohibit yourself with discipline from using it. You’re only permitted to login to Facebook, do a little gossip like me and log out. That’s all! But if you’re planning a break up and you want to join, thumbs up. It doesn’t concern me after all. The Complicated Ones You know them. These ones are never sure of anything in their relationships. They are always like; ‘my relationship status is complicated’. Even if the partner is trying, but because they’re not satisfied and expect too much, they’ll infuse complications into a simple matter and end up complicating things themselves. Well, that’s nobody’s problem but before you create your own page, ‘uncomplicate’ the relationship. Talk about it, and find areas of improvement. You may be trying to soil a good thing because you’re distracted. So chill and find out first. Don’t say you’re testing the waters, that could be risky.


Imposition Studio 5.1.1




Iman Sulaiman-Ibrahim Co-Founder, The Beehive Initiative


otherhood is one of the most divine experiences in life. I am not only privileged but so also blessed to have had an extremely stable childhood. I grew in an environment with maximum love. I can’t remember one single bad thing about my childhood and for this I am eternally grateful to Almighty God and to my parents, my late father who we just lost a few weeks ago, Engr. S K Danladi and my beloved mother Hajiya Aishatu Sulaiman Danladi. So it’s safe to say my lessons of motherhood started when I was a child learning so much about building and nurturing lifelong relationships. My Parents gave me Love (unlimited), Roots (knowing who I am) and Wings ( to fly and sow as high as I can imagine and as big as I want to dream). These three lessons I have built upon and passed on to my children.   As we nurture this pure and powerful relationship between a mother (parent) and a child, we keep evolving and growing as a team and as individuals and we never stop to learn. A few of these lessons I will


otherhood is a never ending sacrificial journey. Becoming a mother changed my life and opened me up to strengths I never knew I had. Being a young mum of two boys, sometimes it’s so tough and I just want to disappear to an island and be by myself; but the moment I travel and leave my boys, I’m missing them so much and longing to be with them again. Motherhood is about giving whether it’s so convenient or not without expecting anything in return. I remember once I needed to retouch my hair so badly and I also needed to buy milk for my baby who’s now a toddler, usually I use Dark and Lovely kit relaxer but because I didn’t have enough funds at that time, I had to use a very cheap relaxer, not minding that it would damage my hair, just so I could buy the milk for my baby. Motherhood is

share. FAITHFULNESS:  The No 1 lesson I learnt about motherhood is complete and total devotion to the Almighty. You can’t do it alone. You must take GOD as your journey partner in building a good home and in raising great children. When you truly raise God fearing children, you have helped solve over half of the world’s problem.  EXCELLENCE: You must diligently dedicate yourself to Motherhood in an excellent manner. An excellent mother will build an excellent home and raise excellent children who will turn the world into an excellent place. It is that simple. Once the disconnect starts from within the family, it affects every

Friday 18 May 2018 facet of the society. Mediocrity has no place in motherhood. INTEGRITY: The greatest disservice you would ever do to yourself and the society is to raise children who don’t value their words or the content of their character. Integrity is addressed in the home first and the best way to teach your children the lesson of integrity is by example.   ROLE MODEL: Whether you like it or not, a mother is every child’s no 1 role model. A child will learn more by seeing and experiencing than by being told what to do or become. Always remember that your child is watching you closely and their experience in the home will shape the person they become to large extent.  HUMILITY: The way children treat people from the chauffeur to the people you relate with tells a lot about who they are and where they are coming from. A humble child who is comfortable with their “Please” and “Thank You’s”   and knows to make people feel important will go further than you can imagine.  INDIVIDUALITY:  The greatest mistake any parent/ mother would make is to treat your children the same. Yes we do not discriminate generally as parents, but when it comes bringing out the best in your children, you must always remember that they are different individuals with different personality types and love languages. When you master these two, you will enhance the quality of your relationships.  QUALITY TIME: You must invest time in building the quality of relationship you desire with your children. You must spend time making memories. You must have relationship goals periodically. Life has become too fast that if you don’t make intentional commitment towards your relationship and nurturing this special bond, it is so easy to lose it’s true essence.  Finally, we must continue to hold on to the lesson of love, kindness and forgiveness, and pass it to our children from generation to generation, as this will truly make our world a better place. We owe it to ourselves.  A Very Happy Mother’s Day to all the exceptional mothers out there either by birth or by virtue. #rockthecradleruletheworld

a full time job, one of the most challenging yet most fulfilling job. Yes we don’t get paid in currency, but I believe our payment would be seeing our children grow up and live right at the centre of God’s will for their lives, that is fulfilment no amount of money can ever buy. To me, motherhood is a GOLD collar job and I’m so grateful for the privilege to be called a mom.

Funto Ibuoye

Author, Interior Designer



otherhood is a gift to me. It is an opportunity I have been entrusted with to take a seed from its small state and nurture it till it becomes its full potential. I may not be perfect at it, but I take each day as it comes, helping my children to make the right choices,  and instilling in them the right values so that they grow up into responsible adults. Play time is learning time in the family. When we watch movies or play board games together, it is a time to correct something or learn a new skill and of course,  have fun while at it. I am my children’s first cheerleader and coach. When I see that they have a skill or passion, we hone that skill until they become good at it. Motherhood is a journey I do not wish to graduate from. It is one that I wish to be remembered for. In a nutshell, I am a mom because: M - I help my children to MAXIMIZE their potentials O - I help them to spot OPPOR-

Lola Tewe

Founder, The Father’s Girls

TUNITIES M - I help them to create beautiful MEMORIES so that wherever they find themselves, they still always want to come back home.


Friday 18 May 2018


Workplace Palaver

Happy Mother’s Day Mum…Surprise! KEMI AJUMOBI


ate Adedoyin is a Gynaecologist with a private hospital. She is indeed a hardworking woman. Her colleagues even call her “WorkaDocky”, their version of a merger between “Workaholic” and “Doctor”. She rarely takes out time to relax but tries her best to find time for family and that includes her husband Tony and her two children, Tosin and Dayo. “Not to worry dear, I will take the children to school today” Tony told Kate. She found it strange because she was the one who often took the children to school on her way to work. “Thanks dear, I appreciate” she told her husband and off she went to work. While taking Tosin and Dayo to school, he shared with them the need for himself and the two of them to come up with something special for their mother in celebration of Mother’s Day... “Ahaan! I knew it daddy; I suspected you were up to something” Tosin said and her brother added “I guessed so too. Dad has been acting weird today”. “Well, thank God my genius children understand every move of their father, at least they got the genius brain from me” Tony teased but Tosin would not let that slide so she responded “Uhm...Dad, genius brain from…?” “OK, let’s not start that argument, you win, your mum has the genius gene but she married me so it transferred to me” he said and they all had a good laugh. Their plan was concluded and execution commenced. Kate’s mum (a widow) called her to request that Tosin and Dayo

spend the weekend with her. Kate really wanted to spend the weekend with her children and husband but didn’t want to hurt her mum. She spoke to her husband and the children about it and the children were quite excited to go and be with grandma. “Ok then, since you are both ok with it and your dad is okay with it too, then its fine. We will take both of you there on Friday and you can return Sunday evening to prepare for school on Monday”. Sunday was Mother’s Day and Kate wasn’t supposed to be on duty but she got a call from the hospital while in the car with Tony just as they were about leaving church after the service so she said to Tony “Sweetheart, there is an emergency, we need to take the next turn and head to the hospital immediately. I am so so sorry honey” “there is nothing to be sorry about my dear, when I married you, I knew what I signed up for so it’s ok” Tony said. Off they went to the hospital and as she walked in, Nurse Bolanle ran to her and Tony and asked them to follow her to Kate’s office

It’s ok to be tall JOY UWEGBA


he dream of most average teenage girls is to be tall, slim, have flat abs and the list could go on and on. This fantasy, especially that of being tall, is a very nice one until you are actually very tall and people start making absurd remarks pertaining your height. My name is Uwegba Joy, I am 6.1ft tall (and still growing), slim, dark in complexion. If you ask me, I’ll say I have been practically tall all my life. Growing up, I was a tall skinny child and I have to confess, I still am. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to God for the way he created me but you know we humans are never satisfied. Everywhere I go, I always stand ahead or taller than those around me. I detested being tall growing up, adding to the fact that I was skinny. People usually made ludicrous comments about me like; “You’re too tall”, “Don’t stand close to me”, “Omoga e se gun” which means “the child is tall, her legs are long” amongst others. Whilst all these comments may look innocent, consistent use of such words to a child can breed negative thoughts. Thinking about it, I think most of the comments are part of the reasons I had low self-esteem growing up. I wasn’t proud of my height, always felt awkward when I was around people. I didn’t want to stand up in gatherings because of the fear of someone making a comment on my height. To top this up, I was a clumsy kid. You could imagine being tall, skinny and clumsy all at a go. As I got older and taller, I began to block out my ears regarding comments made about my height. I developed a

“Nurse Bolanle, what is it that you have to tell me and my husband in my office? You called me for an emergency and that’s why I am here” and Nurse Bolanle responded “Ma, I did not want to scare you. The truth is, your mum, Tosin and Dayo are here. Dayo had a minor accident and he is in the private ward...” “What??” Kate exclaimed and said “Let’s go there right away. Goodness gracious, Tony…my goodness” she continued and Tony cut in “Take it easy Kate, I am sure he is already in good hands. Let’s thank God Nurse Bolanle was able to reach us” Off they went to the ward Dayo was. Immediately Dayo saw his parents he said “Mummy!!, I am sorry mum, I tripped” “it’s ok dear, you will be fine. How come you are here on the bed alone? Nurse Bolanle told me you were with Gramma and your sister, where are they?” and Dayo said “Look behind you mum, there they are” and as she turned, she saw 3 men with different musical instruments playing Prince Nico Mbarga’s alltime classic, “Sweet Mother”…Tosin

and Gramma danced out behind the musicians and as they all sang and danced to the lyrics of the song, Kate had her hands covering her mouth as they circled her. She was in shock and couldn’t believe what was happening. When the song got to the 4th verse, Dayo jumped of the bed and sang this part alone “When I dey sick my mother go cry cry cry, she go say instead wey I go die make she die o…she go beg God, God help me, God help me, my pikin oo...” as the others clapped and cheered. By this time, tears began to flow freely from her eyes. She could not contain her emotions anymore. Just as she was about to ask for where her husband was, the saxophonist began to play Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, Tony walked out with a bunch of red roses, handed it over to her, gave her a warm hug, a peck on her cheeks and said “Thank you darling for being a sweet mother to our children, an amazing daughter to your mother and the best wife any man could ever ask for. Happy Mother’s Day my love”. By this time, Kate couldn’t stop the tears

sharp mouth and when anybody said rude things about my height, I was quick to reply. Of course, there were those who appreciated my height but the negative were more. As days turned into months and months into years, I began to appreciate my height more. One of my favourite moments was when people older than me would refer to me as “Aunty”. Of course, some things never change; being tall most of the time comes with having long hands and feet. Truth is, I have issues with my feet the most. Most times, it’s actually frustrating going to the market to buy foot wears. I remember once going to the market with my mum to buy shoes; we had walked about for a very long time in the famous Lagos Island market. After walking for hours in the hot afternoon sun, we finally got a shoe that fits my leg but to me, it was ugly. My mother was happy but inside of me, I was crying. Due to the fact that my mom was already tired, I couldn’t reject it and I must say I didn’t really have a choice; it was either go with the shoe or go home without any shoe. I think I shed a few tears because of the shoes. Anytime people see me, the first question that comes to them is “Do you play basketball or model?” My replies were always “No”, and they’ll be like “Why?”. I am actually camera shy and I didn’t do sports in school. Most people would say I am wasting my height but I am not into basketball or modelling. I haven’t tried modelling yet but recently, I tried out basketball and I have to say I like the game. Well, we’ll just see where this height takes us to. From now on, I am living my life the way I want, not based on remarks made by people or what people feel I should do but on what I want to do. So, to every tall girl out there, I want you to live your life freely. You’re never too tall. Don’t let anyone step on your self-esteem. You could decide to be whosoever you want to be and choose whatever profession your heart yearns for. You are specially created by God; the sky is your starting point. You are perfect just the way you are!  

from flowing. Grandma, Dayo and Tosin joined them and they had a group hug. When she finally had the opportunity to speak, she couldn’t help but ask “How and when did you all come up with this? …Mum! You too? Was that why you wanted them to come over? Tosin…you? You did not even give me a hint. Dayo!! You better make sure there is an injury on that leg because that is why your dad and I came here. And you, Nurse Bolanle, be ready for a query on false emergency call. As for you my conniving darling husband, what punishment can I even give you? You drove us here like you were truly worried about the ‘state’ of your son meanwhile; you were the ‘Lead Actor’ in this ‘movie’. Honestly though, thank you all so much. This was a plan very well executed; I had no inclination at all. Thank you all, I LOVE YOU!!!” she screamed as they all hugged again. They all went out to eat and had fun. Nurse Bolanle wasn’t on duty so she joined in the celebration. This is one Mother’s Day Kate isn’t ever going to forget in a jiffy!.


Friday 18, May 2018







Friday 18, May 2018






orth America are proposing a whopping bid for 2026 world cup, the organisers have promised a record $11 billion profit for FIFA and a written pledge from the United States government that it would grant visas to visitors without regard to religion or national origin. The promises about record revenues and profits and the reassurances about travel visas were delivered by the three chairmen of the North American bid — U.S. Soccer’s president, Carlos Cordeiro; Decio De María, the president of Mexico’s federation; and Peter Montopoli, the Canadian Soccer Association general secretary — during a presentation at the congress of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) in Brussels. The projected profit of $11 billion would be more than double that of any previous tournament, in part because the 2026 event will be the first to

include 48 teams and 80 matches, an expansion from the current 32 teams and 64 matches. De María said the United States government’s assurances that it would allow entry to “all eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world” were in line with FIFA’s requirements and would not draw distinctions based on race, religion or national origin. In his prepared remarks, he called them “strong guarantees.” But De María also noted the pledges were “subject to United States law,” which

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seemed to leave open the possibility that the promises would be limited if the Supreme Court upholds the travel ban. One of the countries on the banned list, Iran, qualified for both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. The revenue figures laid out by Cordeiro during the presentation painted a far rosier picture, and possibly a welcome one inside FIFA, which has lost millions of dollars in sponsorships and millions more in legal costs in the years since a massive corruption scandal rocked the organization in 2015. Cordeiro predicted “the most successful and profitable FIFA World Cup ever,” with revenues of $14 billion from a North American tournament and profits for FIFA of nearly $11 billion, not to mention entree to a market with the kind of sponsors who fled FIFA after the corruption scandal. The revenue projections include

Friday 18, May 2018

more than $5 billion in television rights fees; $3.6 billion for sponsorship and licensing; and at least $2.5 billion in ticket revenue. All of the figures, as well as the prospect of 5.8 million tickets sold, would be records for a World Cup. (FIFA, for example, projects revenue of only $6.56 billion for the four-year World Cup cycle that includes the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.) But the sums also would be, in Cordeiro’s words, “in the best interests of football,” producing money that could be reinvested


into the game by its members. “A profit of this magnitude is unprecedented in any single-sport event in the world,” Cordeiro said in an interview with AIPS members after the presentation. “That has to sink in. In terms of value, it could mean $50 million more per association.” Morocco’s bid team, making its own presentation at the AIPS conference, seemed to acknowledge that it could not match the revenue projections of its North American rival. In its bid, Morocco has



ussian football’s anti-racism chief wants the World Cup hosts to start using fan ID cards at league matches to combat monkey chants. Ape noises have turned into one of the most serious dilemmas facing Russia in the run-up to the June 14-July 15 showpiece.

fan abuse hurled at an African player in a league cup semi-final. The football federation simultaneously fined Zenit Saint Petersburg for “Nazi slogans” heard during a league match against the north Caucasus side Anzhi. And world governing body FIFA launched disciplinary proceedings against

The incidents have blighted some of the biggest games played in Russia and aired live on national TV. The most recent case resulted in defending champions Spartak Moscow receiving a partial stadium ban last week over

Russia over monkey chants heard during a friendly against France in March. Anti-discrimination inspector Alexei Smertin said on Monday the same Fan ID cards being used at World Cup matches should be applied to domestic Russian




played up its outsider status; unlike the United States and Mexico, it has never hosted the World Cup. It also has sought to win support from the many developing nations in FIFA and has needled the North American bid by touting its “very low gun circulation.” “The World Cup is not attributed only on the number of seats you offer in stadiums or on who makes more money,” its chief executive, Hicham El Amrani, told AIPS members. “We will make enough money to make FIFA profitable.”

games. Russia first tried out the system with FIFA’s approval at lasts year’s Confederations Cup. “I am in favour of the Russian championship using the Fan ID system, just as we did at the Confederations Cup,” Smertin told Russia’s RT television. “There were no incidents during that tournament. “Every fan understood that if something happened, that person would have been easily identified.” Each fan getting World Cup tickets must also apply for a special ID card with the Russian authorities. The security services then conduct background checks with the help of their foreign counterparts. Supporters’ identities are matched up against CCTV screen grabs taken when they first enter the stadium. Smertin said the system would enable the Russian football federation to start zeroing in on specific offenders instead of issuing blanket penalties to teams. “The way it works now, the clubs are being held responsible instead of the fans -and the fans know this perfectly well,” said Smertin. The Russian football union said last month that it had forwarded the names of suspects at the French match to the security services. The police are yet to take action and no Russian supporter has been banned from a stadium this year. “We need to introduce personal responsibility so that fans who violate rules start being denied the right to go to stadiums and support their teams.” Smertin added that he was working closely with the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) anti-discrimination network. The London-based group reported 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games in the 2016/17 season. The number was about the same as in each of the previous three seasons and suggests that Russia’s current approach was not having the desired results.



Friday 18, May 2018





epresentatives of seven of the world’s richest soccer teams, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, visited FIFA recently for a private meeting aimed at winning the clubs in the increasingly fractious battle to set up a new multibillion-dollar world club championship. The group also included the English champion Manchester City, Italy’s Juventus, France’s Paris Saint-Germain and the perennial German champion Bayern Munich. The seven clubs invited to the meeting had combined revenues of more than $4 billion in 2017, and they command a massive global fan base that would be critical to making FIFA’s secretive discussions about the new tournament, code-named “Project Trophy,” a success. They met one day after the president of UEFA, AleksanderCeferin, wrote to FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, questioning the wisdom of selling an expanded version of FIFA’s annual Club World Cup to a consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank, which runs the world’s largest technology investment fund. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the fund’s biggest backers. Infantino and FIFA have been guarded over key aspects of the negotiations. Citing a nondisclosure agreement, Infantino has yet to disclose the identity of the bidders to even FIFA’s governing board. He has revealed little beyond describing the

group as among the “most solid” in the world. The consortium has told Infantino it is willing to invest up to $25 billion for the rights to co-own the proposed 24-team club tournament and a separate world league for national teams. Details of SoftBank’s involvement have not been confirmed by FIFA, and the company has not commented on whether it is involved. But the mere proposal of a new competition involving the world’s top clubs has exacerbated long simmering acrimony between FIFA and UEFA, the European soccer governing body, over primacy in soccer. While FIFA owns the World Cup, the sport’s most-watched event, UEFA is considerably richer thanks to its control over the hugely popular Champions League. The annual competition for clubs allows UEFA to collect $15 billion in revenue over a four-year cycle, or almost three times more than FIFA brings in during the same time. FIFA’s talks with a handful of elite clubs could threaten the harmony among members of the European Club Association, which has a membership of more than 200 teams. Liverpool, a Champions League finalist this year; Roma, the team Liverpool vanquished in the semifinals; and Arsenal, whose chairman, Ivan Gazidis, sits on the E.C.A.’s board, were among the powerful teams not involved in Wednesday’s discussions. FIFA said in a statement that the E.C.A. remains a part of the consultation process, though FIFA acknowledged that it also is meeting with different groups, including individual clubs, leagues and players, to “gather the different viewpoints and extend the debate.” “Today’s meeting allowed us to observe a real interest for a complete reform of the Club World Cup and the development of a new model of competition that would benefit the entire football community around the world,” FIFA said. The finances underpinning the project, though, may not produce the headline

grabbing $25 billion windfall to FIFA that has been widely circulated. In initial talks, the consortium that made the offer, which also includes the London-based investment firm Centricus Partners, said it would invest the maximum amount of money only if it hits its revenue targets over a series of four-year periods between 2021 and 2033. The investors would have the right to walk away at the end of each period if returns failed to match expectations. On the other hand, the consortium, in which FIFA would hold a 51 percent stake, would have the right to renew its agreements in perpetuity at a rate of 120 percent of the previous agreements should the tournaments prove to be successful. In the current proposal, the investors would guarantee FIFA $3 billion for each quadrennial Club World Cup. It will pay $2 billion for each edition of the biennial world league, with the exception of the first competition, which will produce a payment of only $1 billion. In his letter sent to Infantino on behalf of UEFA, and copied to other European soccer officials, Ceferin raised several concerns about the concept, including the continued secrecy about the identities of those backing the fund. He also questioned the impact of the changes on soccer’s increasingly busy global calendar and the economics behind the offer. Significantly, Ceferin’s letter also warned FIFA against losing control of the sport to a commercial entity. When Infantino first revealed the proposal at a FIFA board meeting in March, he said the deal had to be concluded in 60 days. But members refused to give him their backing, citing the mysterious nature of the offer and other concerns. The opposition has grown in the months since. On Tuesday, an umbrella organization called the World Leagues Forum, which is led by the Premier League’s executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, issued a warning to FIFA, saying that the Forum’s steering committee “agreed that plans for extending any competitions which impact negatively upon the already congested match calendar will be vigorously opposed.” The group also said it would resist any change that affected competitive balance in domestic competitions. Under the proposals for the expanded Club World Cup, 75 percent of the total revenue, more than $2 billion per tournament, would be distributed to the competing clubs. Critics say that would make already wealthy teams even more powerful in the player acquisition market and solidify their dominance over domestic rivals.

Friday 18, May 2018





NEWS the likes of Ighalo, Moses and Iheanacho should be able to keep their jerseys barring any injury worries. “I am also so thrilled to see Lokosa’s name on that 30-man provisional list. He truly deserves it especially having scored 18 goals in 20 games for Kano Pillars in the NPFL so far this season. “I think he needs to be encouraged and let’s see how far he can go in competing for a shirt and it will be a major surprise if the young man makes it to the World Cup. “However, even if he does not make it to Russia, the experience in the Super Eagles camp and training will be very good for his growth and development,” he said. Also, Emmanuel Babayaro, former Super Eagles goalkeeper and Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold medalist, noted that Junior Lokosa’s call up was the biggest surprise in the list. “I think the list is okay, seriously looking forward to see if Nigeria can finally break that last 16 hurdle and get to the quarters for the first time and hopefully Russia is where history will be made “I am delighted that at least three home-


ollowing the 30-man provisional list for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup finals released by Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, football stakeholders have applauded the squad saying it’s the best players Nigeria has at the moment. Rohr’s 30-man Provisional squad was released by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday. Rohr named Captain Mikel Obi, goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile and Leon Balogun in Nigeria’s 30-man provisional list. Others were midfielders Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo, including forwards

THE FULL SQUAD Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United) Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria) Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (UD Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy); Mikel Agu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey) Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Nwankwo Simeon (Crotone FC, Italy); Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars)

Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses. The list also includes Spain-based goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Joel Obi and John Ogu as well as forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi. Chelsea wingback Moses was Nigeria’s top scorer in the qualifying campaign with three goals, while Captain Mikel, Iwobi, Simon and Iheanacho weighed in with two goals each. A cross section of football enthusiasts has expressed confidence on the list with the inclusion of new players. Former Super Eagles and Lazio striker Ayodele Makinwa has hailed Gernot Rohr for naming Simeone Nwankwo in his provisional squad.

“Rohr made a great choice selecting Simy because he is all you need in a striker for a team,” Makinwa said. “Simy is an all-round striker. He is good at team play and when you need to go with the long thrust he is equally good. “He’s a different kind of striker to Odion Ighalo who is the team’s first choice and thats the more reason why he should probably be in the squad as a back-up but that’s left to Rohr to decide. He is highly rated here in Italy.” Nduka Ugbade, an ex-international and former assistant coach of the Nigeria U-17 national football team expressed satisfaction with Rohr’s selection. “I think the list is made up of the usual suspects and these are the players that we should indeed be taking to the World Cup. “Looking at our options upfront, I think

based players namely; Dele Ajiboye, Junior Lokosa and Ikechukwu Ezenwa made the provisional list. “The goalkeepers however need to train thrice harder and work more on their confidence. I tip Uzoho for first choice,” he said. “The list is the collection of best players Nigeria currently has,” said Sam Sodje, former Super Eagles defender. He further expressed confidence in Rohr’s technical competence and believes the German will name the best in his final 23-man squad for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in June 2nd. The Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup finals is scheduled to kickoff from June 14 to July 15.



Friday 18, May 2018





he FIFA World Cup is regarded as the most widely viewed and followed sports event in the world, since the inaugural edition of the held in 1930, in Uruguay, we have had 20 tournaments in all, which is why there are numerous exciting, unbelievable, and facts about FIFA World Cups. With 27 days to go until the FIFA World Cup begins, we take a look at some of the competition’s long-standing statistics and the records that could be broken and more than 3 billion people were following the game.

TOURNAMENT FACTS • The main tournament spanning around a month’s time that is held every four years is called the World Cup Finals. • The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world. • 32 teams compete for the coveted trophy, which includes the host nation who automatically qualifies. Until 1978 it was 16 teams, and until 1994 it was 24 teams. • 200 countries all around the world play qualifying-related games in a bid to get a place in the final 32 at the World Cup. • The 2014 mega event is the most expensive one ever, at a cost of a whopping $14 billion. • The trophy is 14.2” (36 cm) in height, 13.6 lb (6.175

kg) in weight, and made of 18 carat gold. • The winning country keeps the real cup till the next World Cup, and gets to keep a gold-plated replica permanently. • The average attendance at a World Cup game is around 50,000. The best average was achieved at the 1994 edition in USA, which was around 69,000. • 1950 saw the least number of teams at the finals. Only 13 teams participated, after India, Turkey, and Scotland withdrew. • In all, 77 teams have qualified to play in the World Cups till date. • Only the 2002 edition had 2 host nations, South Korea and Japan. • In the 1930s, the average goals per game was around 4. This rose to around 5.5 in the 1950s. At present, it is a measly 2.5. • The most goals in a single World Cup are 171. This happened in the 1998 edition in

France. • The 1994 edition was the first where the surnames of players were featured on the back of their jerseys, and their numbers were put at the front. • The 2014 tournament was the first to use goal line technology. Also, for the first time, referees used the vanishing spray to mark free kicks. • 3.7 million people got to see the matches at the grounds in the 2014 edition. • The tournament was canceled in 1942 and 1946 because of World War II. • The largest crowd to witness a single game live was in the 1950 edition, when 173,850 witnessed the final between Brazil and Uruguay. • The 1994 edition in USA was the first time when 3 points was awarded for a win, instead of 2. • The 1954 edition in Switzerland was the first to be shown on TV. The 1970 edition in Mexico was the first to be beamed all around the globe, thanks to the technology of satellites. • The 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the first to be televised in each and every country around the world. It was even shown in Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. • The most Red cards in a single tournament were handed out in 2006, 28 Red cards. • The 2014 edition saw the use of drones and robots for security reasons. • The first penalty shootout was in the 1982 tournament held in Spain, when West Germany beat France 5 - 4 in the semi-finals. • The inaugural 1930 tournament was the only time that an European team didn’t manage to reach the final. • Goal number 1,000 of a World Cup was when Rob Rensenbrink of the Netherlands scored against Scotland in the 1978 edition. • Goal number 2,000 came up when Marcus Allback of Sweden scored in a draw against England, in the 2006 edition.

Friday 18, May 2018





COUNTRY FACTS • Germany has played the most World Cup games as compared to any other country. • The most FIFA World Cups have been won by Brazil - 5. • Brazil is the only team to have played in each and every FIFA World Cup. • The first World Cup held in 1930 was won by Uruguay. • Netherlands is the most successful team to have never won the World Cup, with 3 runner-up finishes and once placed fourth. • Brazil and Italy are the only 2 countries to have defended their titles successfully. • In terms of top 4 finishes, Germany is the most successful country, with 14 in all. • The most goals by a team were scored by Hungary, when, in 1982, they defeated El Salvador 10 - 1. • The most goals in a game is 12, when Austria defeated Switzerland 7 - 5 in the 1954 quarter-final. • Brazil has won 71 games at all the finals over the decades, the most by any country. • Brazil has also scored the most goals at all World Cup games put together; 224 in all. • The most undisciplined game was between Netherlands and Portugal, in a 2006 round of 16 match. 16 yellow cards and 4 red cards were given out to the players. • The most goals scored by a team in the whole tournament was by Hungary in 1954. They found the net of the opposing teams 27 times. • Scotland has qualified for 8 World Cups, but never made it past the first round. • In 2010, South Africa became the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup. • No team has ever won the tournament under the guidance of a foreign coach. • No country outside Europe and South America has ever won this tournament. • 23 countries have qualified for the tournament over the decades, just once. • England has the distinction of getting knocked out of 3 World Cups in the group stages, without losing a single game. • Brazil’s semi-final defeat by Germany in 2014 was their first loss in a competitive game at home since 1975. • The most World Cup games played between two countries are 7 - Brazil vs. Sweden. Germany and Yugoslavia have played each other 6 times. • South Africa is the only host country to have been eliminated in the first round, when they hosted the tournament in 2010. • The worst performance by a defending champion was by France in 2002. They did not score a single goal and were eliminated in the group stage itself. • As far as qualifiers are concerned, the biggest victory was achieved by Australia, who beat American Samoa 31-0 in 2001. • Only 6 countries have managed to win the tournament as host country. • Mexico has lost the most games at World Cups.



uper Eagles midfielder has assured that the Nigeria will be ready for action ahead of pre-World Cup friendly matches against the Democratic Republic of Congo, England and the Czech Republic. Nigeria host the Leopards of the DR Congo in Port Harcourt on 28th May, before a prestige clash with England’s Three Lions at Wembley Stadium in Londonon 2nd June and an encounter with the Czech Republic in Vienna on 6th June. “We are not focusing on any particular game; we are getting ready to face all the teams that we have to play before the World Cup. It is the right mentality to approach the games. “I have been asked several questions about the match against England, but I tell people that the England match is very important, just like the other matches that we have to play. What is key for us is to get into the right psychological state to confront every opposition that lie ahead, including those that will be waiting at the FIFA World Cup,” Onazi told on phone from his base in Turkey. Former FIFA U17 World Cup silver –winning midfielder Onazi, who played for Nigeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, dismissed feelings that the team would be over-confident going into the FIFA World Cup following victories in friendlies against Argentina and Poland. “There is nothing like over-confidence. What I can say is that we are a very ambitious team and we will always be ready to play any team. Yes, we defeated Argentina and Poland, but that has not in any way generated feelings of over-confidence in the camp. We are focused and have our heads on our shoulders. “For us, humility and hard work will be the winning words going ahead. Our preparation is going on well and we are happy with that. At the World Cup, we will come up against different teams with different styles and approaches of play. It is important that we are adequately prepared and we appreciate the games that the NFF has lined up for us,” said the Trabzonspor of Turkey ace. The Eagles clash with the Democratic Republic of Congo at the AdokiyeAmiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, before flying to London for the match against England at Wembley. Four days later, they will trade tackles with the Czech Republic at the Rudolf Tonn Stadium, just outside Vienna.


Businessday 18 may 2018  
Businessday 18 may 2018