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ADB pledges $25Bn to climate finance for 2020-2025, doubling its commitments BY ENYI MOSES WITH AGENCY REPORT

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he African Development Bank will double its climate finance commitments for the period 2020-2025, the Bank’s Pres-ident announced at the One Planet Summit taking place

in Nairobi. Akinwumi A. Adesina said that the Bank would commit at least US$25 billion towards climate finance. Speaking at a plenary in the presence of Heads of State, including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and French President Emmanuel Macron, Adesina

also announced the Bank is on course to achieve its target of allocating 40% of its funding to climate finance by 2020, a year ahead. The Bank’s commitment on the target, the highest among all mul-tilateral development banks, has progressed steadily from 9% in 2016 to 28% in 2017 and 32% in

Vol. 06 No. 304

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

2018. Considering Africa’s high vulnerability despite contributing the least to climate change, the African Development Bank has successfully raised its adaptation finance from less than 30% of total climate finance to parity with mitigation in 2018.

The African Development Bank will continue this trend into the future. “The required level of financing is only feasible with the direct involvement of the entire financial sector,” said Adesi-na. “Consequently, the Bank launched the African Financial Alliance for Climate Change

(AFAC) to link all stock ex-changes, pension and sovereign wealth funds, central Banks and other financial institutions of Africa to mobilize and incentivize the shift of their portfolios towards low carbon and climate resilient investments.”

ISSN: 2408-6703

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Operators Tackle CBN over National MFBs Establishment BY NIYI JACOBS

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ollowing the birth of national microfinance banks in the country, operators of old microfinance banks have expressed their disagreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as many of them questions the apex bank over its necessity . It would be recalled that in order to deliver economic empowerment to the unbanked Nigerians and fulfilling inclusive banking objective, CBN and the Bankers’ Committee had conceived the National Microfinance Banks. The new micro-finance banks are expected to be established in each of the 774 local governments in Nigeria. But the MfBs operators have condemned the plans by Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to establish it , saying it is against one of the principles establishing the industry. Also, the operators

challenged the CBN to make public, names of MfBs who secured the intervention funds and defaulted Reacting to the development, Managing Director, Global Initiative Microfinance Bank, Mr. Valentine Whensu, said that the CBN exists as a regulator and an enabler, adding, “There are 12 principles of MfB, one of it says that government should be seen as an enabler and not an operator. Suddenly, they have forgotten those principles and decided to set up a national MfB. “Let’s start with the N220 billion earmarked for MSMEs, can they tell us how many MfBs defaulted. You would likely not see. Why, because our treas-ury bills are used as collateral, CBN has that as back up. “For me, I collected the fund and paid as at when due, I requested for another and

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L-R: Chairman/Managing Director, CNL, Jeff Ewing; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited (GACN), Engr. Morgan Okwoche; Head, Gas Monitoring & Regulation, DPR, Sanya Bajomo; and GED, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, at the signing of the GSAA .

Capital market operators task Buhari to reconstitute SEC board after 3 years Page 8 First Quarter GDP to Slow down

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FG, UN sign MoU on HIV/AIDS

Online shopping: When trust, confidence become buyer/seller’s concern

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I, formerly known and addressed as OSAEMEKE GLORY HAPPINESS, now wish to be known and addressed as OLOSU GLORY HAPPINESS. All former document remain valid. General public and Authorities Concerned should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME

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SPECIAL REPORT

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Easing off tension over Arrival of National Microfinance banks There have been fears that the coming of National microfinance banks may negative effect on operators of old microfinance banks, but the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dismisses it as unfounded. NIYI JACOBS reports

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o deliver economic empowerment to the unbanked Nigerians, and in fulfilling one of the objectives of inclusive banking, CBN and the Bankers’ Committee conceived the National Microfinance Banks. The new microfinance banks are expected to be established in each of the 774 local governments in Nigeria. When CBN and Bankers’ Committee took the decision last year in Lagos, many faulted it, saying there was no reason for the apex bank to dabble into institutions with the same responsibility as the existing microfinance banks. To them, it amounts to waste of resources and effort that should have been invested in strengthening existing microfinance banks. CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in his opening remarks at the 10th annual Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos, gave number of reasons for setting up a different microfinance banks driven by government and its allied agencies. Emefiele said NMFBs would enable speedy disbursement of its several intervention funds including the Agribusiness/ Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS). Besides, he said for the new institution to have presence in all 774 local governments, it will further enhance financial inclusion and credit to fund agricultural sector and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), adding that the national MFB slated for launch in 2019 would leverage on the existing NIPOST presence in the 774 local governments. He said the birth of the bank would help CBN and the Bankers’ Committee in accessing

Emefiele

the Anchor Borrowers fund, SMEs fund and other initiatives tailored towards SMEs, farmers and CBN’s financial inclusion drive. More importantly, the CBN governor said it would aid the success of the N26billion set aside to finance agric businesses and other small informal businesses under the AGSMEIS.

The Bankers’ Committee holds 50 per cent stake in the bank; having provided the setup capital, while NIRSAL and NIPOST own 40 per centand 10 per cent respectively. “Today, the central bank has N220 billion that is set aside under the micro small and medium enterprise fund “ the CBN governor said. “Nigerians

We have over N60 billion sitting in the banks currently in CBN and why should that money be sitting in CBN and just be earning Treasury bill rates. It is meant for the micro small and medium enterprises and for the weak in our economy that would not ordinarily have access to knock at your door.

were happy when they heard that the banks, out of their magnanimity, decided that five per cent of their profit would be set aside to support agric business and SMEs. “We have over N60 billion sitting in the banks currently in CBN and why should that money be sitting in CBN and just be earning Treasury bill rates. It is meant for the micro small and medium enterprises and for the weak in our economy that would not ordinarily have access to knock at your door.” That was why we voted last week at bankers’ dinner, that a national micro finance bank would kick off by January 2019. In order to collectively address the challenges hindering the achievement of the objective of the AGSMEIS initiative, the CBN is considering the proposal to the establish the national microfinance bank, which would leverage on the Nigerian postal service presence in 774 local government areas across the country. “We have called on NIPOST and they have agreed to join us in this. They would provide their facilities in 774 local

governments and this would be their own contribution by way of equity into the establishment of the national MFB. We would provide the infrastructure and this MFB would be available in 774 local government across the nation.” Shedding light on the outlook and board composition structure, Emefiele said the Bankers’ Committee and NIPOST would have representation on the board of the national MFB. “The task and responsibility to improve our rural communities is in our hands and we believe strongly that using this infrastructure of the national MFBs, we would get to achieve the objective of creating jobs and enhance the skills of our people in our rural communities, improve and grow the economy so we can achieve the development that we so badly require in Nigeria today,” he noted. The new MFB, CBN governor said, is expected to engage in strategic partnership with NIPOST while the NIRSAL, which is owned by the CBN, will bring its experience in financing Continues on page 11


BUSINESSNEWS 6 WESTAFRICA FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

FINANCIALS

Stanbic IBTC extends N18Bn fresh facility to Eland Oil & Gas BONNY AMADI

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tanbic IBTC Nigeria, subsidiary of Standard Bank Group of South Africa, has extended fresh facility of N18 billion or $50million to Eland Oil & Gas, , an oil and gas production and development company op-erating in West Africa with an initial focus on Nigeria, The bank, announcing the new accordion facility and increased borrowing base of $50 million (about N18 billion) to the oil firm, revealed to Westafrica BusinessNews yesterday, that the fresh facility extension to the oil firm, was in line with its resolve to enhance the firm’s business growth and expan-sion. “ Stanbic IBTC, working with its mother brand Standard Bank Group of South Africa, have partnered with Eland Oil & Gas, an oil and gas production and development company operating in West Africa with an initial focus on Nigeria, to announce a new accordion facility and increased borrowing base of $50 million (about N18 billion)” The facility, the bank said, is being underwritten by Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Bank while Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited will act as a joint Book runner. An accordion facility is essentially an incremental facility, which allows a borrower to take an additional facility over and above what was originally agreed with the financier on the same terms as the original facility for expansion purposes. In November 2018, Eland Oil & Gas announced that it had successfully refinanced its existing reserve-based lending facility (the ‘RBL Facility’) with a new 5-year syndicated RBL facility in an amount of US$75 million, with the option to increase it to up to $200 million via

an accordion, subject to incremental pro-duction and reserves. Stanbic IBTC said the deal was an opportunity to support Eland Oil & Gas’ business expansion drive in the oil and gas industry. According to the financial institution, it will continue to leverage its excellent investment banking pedigree as well as the strength of its franchise in the Standard Bank Group, the largest financial institution in Africa, to consummate such big ticket deals that will not only help busi-nesses grow but also help deepen key

industries. The oil and gas company announced that following a redetermination, the borrowing base amount increased from $103 million to $134 million and an initial accordion increase of $50 million is being un-derwritten by Standard Bank of South Africa and Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, resulting in the commitments under the facility increasing from $75 million to $125 million. Of the commitments, $50 million is cur-rently drawn. Chief Financial Officer, Eland

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IBTC Group’s value proposition and investment banking pedigree, to continue to assist businesses with high quality advisory and arranging services that will enhance their growth and expansion prospects by providing access to a diverse range of financing options. Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC is a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main busi-ness pillars - Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Manage-ment. Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC Holdings belongs, is the largest African Bank by as-sets and market capitalization. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent, including South Africa. Standard Bank has been in operation for over 155 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services institution in chosen countries in Africa and connecting selected emerging markets to Africa by applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.

NSE refutes N4.8Bn Lagos State Municipality Note listing, default

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CBN Report Says Naira to Appreciate Further, Inflation to Rise he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Business Expectations Survey of February shows businesses are hopeful the naira will appreciate against the dollar this month as the naira currently exchange for N357/$1. According to the CBN report released last week, the February 2019 Business Expectations Survey (BES) was carried out during the period February 11-15, 2019 with a sample size of 1050 businesses nation-wide. A response rate of 97.4 percent was achieved, and the sample covered the services, industrial, whole-sale/retail trade, and construction sectors. Highlights of the report show that respondent firms expect the Naira to appreciate in the current month (February 2019) and next months. The respondents also project that inflation will rise in both next six months and the next twelve

Oil & Gas, Ron Bain, who spoke on the deal, said: “I am pleased to an-nounce the large increase in borrowing base on our RBL facility, which demonstrates the hugely accre-tive quality of the new wells drilled on the OML 40 asset and the growth in value they bring to our shareholders. Since refinancing the RBL in 2018 into a longer-term facility, we have the flexibility to diversify the capital structure of the company leveraging our position comfortably within our debt parameters and lowering the overall cost of capital.” Standard Advisory London Limited and Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited (as Bookrunners) have been man-dated to manage the primary syndication of the initial accordion increase. Principal repayments are expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2019. This is consistent with the statement in the No-vember RNS that there is a one-year grace period on principal repayments from execution of the facili-ty, which occurred in November 2018. Stanbic IBTC reiterated its commitment, in line with the Stanbic

months even as borrowing rates will rise in March 2019 and the next twelve months. Furthermore, respondent firms expressed optimism on the macro economy in February 2019. Respondents’ outlook on the volume of total order, business activity and financial conditions (working capital) were positive during the review period. Firms identified insufficient power supply, high interest rate, unfavourable economic climate, financial problems, unfavourable political climate, unclear economic laws, insufficient demand and access to credit as major factors constraining business activity. The respondent firms were made up of small, medium and large corporations covering both importand export-oriented businesses. At 22.1 index points, respondents expressed optimism on the overall confidence index (CI) on the macro economy in February 2019.

The businesses outlook for March 2019 showed greater confidence on the macro economy with 58.5 index points. The report suggested that the optimism on the macro economy in the current month was driven by the opinion of respondents from services (12.9points), industrial (7.3points), wholesale/retail trade (1.0points) and construction sectors (0.8points). It said the major drivers of the optimism for March were services (33.4points), industrial (17.7points), wholesale/retail trade (5.3points) and construction sectors (2.1points). According to the report, the positive outlook by type of business in February 2019 were driven by businesses that are neither import-nor export-oriented (14.3points),import-oriented (4.0 points),both import-and exportoriented (3.2points), and those that are export-related (0.6points).

he Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has refuted listing on in its platform, claims in many quarters that the Lagos state municipality Note, was listed on the bourse, under a N50 billion Medium Term Note Programme by Municipality Waste Management Contractors Limited. The trending stories also, had it that the listed Lagos state municipality bond, had suffered a default in coupon payment. The Exchange in a statement titled “NSE Statement on the Lagos State Government’s N4.85 Billion, 15.75% Series 1, Tranche B, Environmental Note (Municipality Note)” said “We wish to inform the in-vesting public and our stakeholders that the Municipality Note was not listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange” It noted that even when Notes are listed on the bourse “The Exchange requires that a Guarantee on the revenue of the State Government is issued, in addition to an approval of the State House of As-sembly to back the Notes. The established requirements are necessary to ensure that the risk of de-fault on such instruments when listed on The Exchange are reduced to the barest minimum” According to the NSE, stating its stand on the Lagos state municipality note listing, became evident based on stories going round that the Note was listed on the bourse. Declaring that such could further dampen investors’ confidence in the market. The Exchange said “The attention of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (The Exchange) has been drawn to certain media publications with respect to the Lagos State Government’s N4.85 Billion, 15.75% Series 1, Tranche B, Environmental Note (Municipality Note) and the alleged

default in repayment of the coupon and principal on the Municipal Note due on Tuesday, 5 March 2019. The Exchange is of the view these publications if not addressed has the likelihood of dampening investors’ confidence in the Nige-rian capital market”. The NSE revealed that, Information it garnered in the wake of the media publications, reflects that the Municipality Note was issued under a N50 Billion Medium Term Note Programme by Municipality Waste Management Contractors Limited, a privately owned company promoted by Visionscape Sanitations Solutions Limited. We wish to inform the investing public and our stakeholders that the Municipality Note was not listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange. As part of its regulatory oversight to safeguard investors in the Nigerian capital market, The Exchange takes steps to satisfy itself that the financial and other advisers have done due diligence on all financial instruments listed on The Exchange in order to ensure that the obligations attached to those instruments are met as and when due. As part of the requirements for the issuance and the listing of similar debt instruments, The Exchange requires that a Guarantee on the revenue of the State Government is issued, in addition to an approval of the State House of Assembly to back the Notes. The established requirements are necessary to ensure that the risk of default on such instruments when listed on The Exchange are reduced to the barest minimum. The exchange however, assured all stakeholders of its commitment to maintaining a fair, efficient and transparent market that guarantees the protection of investors’ rights.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

NEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Capital market operator tasks Buhari to reconstitute SEC board after 3 years

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capital market expert, Ambrose Omordion, on Thursday said that reconstituting the board of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should be a priority of President Muhammadu Buhari in his sec-ond tenure. Omordion, Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., said this in Lagos on expectations from the new government. President Buhari dissolved the board of the commission on July 16, 2015, and two months later set up an eight-man panel, headed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal, to reconstitute them. Omordion said Federal Government’s failure to reconstitute

the board for over three years had seri-ous implication for operational efficiency of the apex capital market regulator. He said that SEC should be strengthened with the appointment of board of directors for growth and development of the capital market. Omordion said that the development was affecting some operational activities of the commission thereby dampening investor confidence. He said that all the three tiers of the government should focus on policies that would revamp the economy and trigger growth following the conclusion of the general elections. Omordion urged government to leverage technology and ensure tuenaround of every sector in order

to create productive economy that would reduce unemployment rate. “Monetary and fiscal policies should compliment each other in this dispensation. “Budget planning and implementation should be improved upon by ensuring early presentation for approval to come on time within January and

February of every year,” he said. According to him, budget disbursement and implementation style should be worked on in order to make the needed impact. He noted that government should embark on people oriented and economic policies that would drive small scale businesses. Omordion said that “the stock

market is expected to rally with the relative peace after the general elections.” He explained that low liquidity and confidence had dampened the expected rally as volume of shares traded and money inflow index remained down, in spite of ongoing earnings season.

Textile: Labour leader lauds CBN ban on sale of Forex to importers

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omrade lssa Aremu, General Secretary, National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, (NUTGTWN) has lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for banning sale of Forex to im-porters of textile materials. Aremu, also a National Executive Council member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), gave the commendation in llorin on Thursday. The CBN had in its meeting with stakeholders in the Cotton, Textile, and Garment value chain on March 5, listed all forms of textile materials among items prohibited from foreign exchange in the offi-cial windows. The CBN also promised financial intervention to textile manufacturers at “single digits rate, to refit, retool and upgrade their factories to enable them produce high quality textile materials for the local and export market.” Aremu, also the Labour Party governorship candidate in Kwara in the March 9 elections, said the action of the CBN would promote

growth of the textiles industries in Nigeria. He observed that smuggling and wholesale importation of textiles had contributed to the closure of many textile industries in the country. Aremu equated smuggling to “economic terrorism”, adding that the new initiative of the CBN governor would boost local production, create jobs and lessen pressure on forex if fully implemented. According to him, CBN will make life difficult for smugglers and warned forex dealers in the country to desist from granting any importer of textile material access to foreign currency in the foreign exchange market. In the 70s and early 80s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry, with more than 180 textile mills in operations, which employed close to over 450,000 people. The textile industry was the largest employer of labour after the public sector.

Buhari

NSE market capitalisation shed N56bn, amid blue chip loses

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rading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) swayed northward on Thursday with some blue chips recording price loses. Specifically, Nestle recorded the highest loss to lead the losers’ table, dropping by N4.90 to close at N1,545 per share. Dangote Cement trailed with N2

to close at N190, while Transcorp Hotel dipped 55k to close at N5.40 per share. Eterna shed 40k to close at N4.40, while GT Bank dropped 30k to close at N35.40 per share. Consequently, the All-Share Index shed 149.49 points or 0.48 per cent to close at 31,210.79 compared to

Expert urges Buhari to appoint more technocrats to consolidate economy

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n Economist, Mr Boniface Okezie, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint more technocrats in his cabinet to reposition the economy. Okezie, President Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, gave the suggestion in Lagos on Thursday. He also said the appointment of technocrats to replace those that resigned their appointment, would consolidate on the gains recorded

by the present administration. It will be recalled that the Ministers that resigned their appointments include: Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, Kemi Adeosun, Finance while Dr Kayode Fayemi, Solid Minerals did so, May, to enable him contest the Ekiti state governorship election. Okezie said the administration should not be filled with politicians or party loyalists alone at the ex-pense of strengthening the

economy. He said this was necessary, especially now that the government was entrenching fiscal discipline in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The economist said that the government second term agenda should emphasize more on the comple-tion of key infrastructure that would accelerate growth. “The railway infrastructure that connects the south with

other parts of the country should be com-pleted, as scheduled, to open up the economy. “The energy challenge should be given more attention, because it is the link to our quest for industrial-isation,” he said. He also stressed the need for the government to resolve the issues in the petroleum industry, to put an end to the needless crises in the sector.

31,360.28 achieved on Wednesday. Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N11.694 trillion lost N56 billion or 0.48 per cent to close at N11.638 trillion. Conversely, Dangote Flour topped the gainers’ chart with a gain of 80k to close at N10.30 per share. Ikeja Hotel came second with 17k to close at N2.30, while Sterling Bank chalked up 14k to close at N2.50 per share. NEM Insurance rose by 12k to close at N2.50, while UBA increased by 10k to close at N7.65 per share. Similarly, the volume of shares traded closed lower by 52.94 per cent with 177.63 million shares worth N2.56 billion achieved in 2,635 deals. This was against the turnover of 377.49 million shares valued at N2.26 billion traded in 3,273 deals on Wednesday. The banking stocks remained the most active with Zenith Bank accounting for 80.78 million shares worth N1.80 billion. Sterling Bank followed with 16.80 million shares valued at N41.87 million, while FCMB Group transacted 12.13 million shares worth N 23.83 million. GT Bank sold 6.39 million shares valued at N228.24 million, while Fidelity Bank traded 5.99 million shares worth N13.13 million.


FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

World Bank lauds Nigeria’s erosion, watershed management project

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orld Bank on Thursday commended the staff and management of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) for effectively executing the project to make it a success story in the country. Mrs Maria Savaf, the Bank’s Practice Manager, Department of Environment, made the commendation in Abuja when she made a maiden visit to the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Suleiman Zarma. NEWMAP is a World Bank supported project launched in 2012 aimed at reducing the vulnerability of soil erosion in targeted catchment areas in the country. Savaf, who led the World

Bank team to brief the minister on NEWMAP and West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme, attributed NEWMAP feat to its staff hard work. According to her, the World Bank and Ministry of Environment have long time partnership. “As World Bank, if we want to give example of what we do in the environment in West Africa, we will give example of NEWMAP as success story,’’ Savaf said. She sought for the Federal Government’s legal support to facilitate additional financing for NEWMAP project. “Going forward, the whole last year was very hard to get additional financing for NEWMAP and then

one thing, may be, we will make a request on some helps to move it forward. “Because up till now, additional financing has not been declared effected because we are still waiting for legal opinion. “May be, this is something that I have to request the minister to talk to the Ministers of Justice and Finance to enable us start working on additional financing,’’ World Bank official said. She also commended the Federal Government for including NEWMAP its 2019 National Budget pro-posal, urging the government to make its counterpart funding available to aid the implementation of the project. Savaf said that the Bank

had secured fund to conduct a preparatory study to prioritise plans for the nation’s coastal areas management programme. Responding, Zarma, who thanked the World Bank for investing on the people and the nation’s envi-ronment, said that NEWMAP had gone a long way in addressing ecological problems in the country. The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, commended the World Bank for executing NEWMAP in his state. Okeke restated the state government’s commitment to explore every opportunity to check gully ero-sion in the state.

Africa’s economy looks up via Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture BY BONNY AMADI

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frica’s economy is poised to gain immensely through new focus on sustainable fisheries and aquacul-ture as the blue Belt Initiative conference placed more emphasis on the continent aquatic earning opportunities. Launched in 2016 by Morocco, the Blue Belt Initiative provides a unifying framework for building a sus-tainable and prosperous fisheries economy. Organized in Agadir, the meeting welcomed representatives from 22 countries, including important African delegations; Launched in 2016 by Morocco, the Blue Belt Initiative provides a unifying frame-work for building a sustainable and prosperous fisheries economy; All representatives participated in the formulation of the Agadir Declaration that is reminding the necessity to organise a fishing

and an aquaculture that are innovative and protective for the oceans Westafrica BusinessNews gathered through APO Group on behalf of L’association du Salon Halieutis, that during the Blue Belt Initiative conference, organised on February 19th, all the African continent had a rendez-vous in Agadir! Held on the sidelines of the fifth edition of Halieutis, this conference welcomed representatives from 22 countries, including 17 ministers. The meeting was able to bring together a large number of African delegations, representatives of countries such as Norway, Spain and the Russian Federation, as well as international experts and members of FAO. As a reminder, the Blue Belt Initiative was launched in 2016 by Morocco, on the sidelines of the COP 22 held in Marrakech. This initiative is a platform for the sustainability of fisheries and

aquaculture in Afri-ca. It is part of the agenda of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, as well as providing a unifying framework for the emergence of a low carbon and low ecological footprint on the ecosys-tems. Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of the Kingdom of Morocco, Aziz Akhannouch, highlighted the great potential that Africa had. This continent, which will be responsible for the growth of half of the population in the next thirty years, contributes now only 7% on the global fish production and only 3% on international fishing products. At the end of the conference, the parties presented the Blue Belt Initiative Declaration. This state-ment, echoed by all representatives, reaffirmed the strategic role of the ocean economy and of aqua-culture in Africa in terms of food, economic

growth, jobs and innovation. The declaration also raised the challenge posed by climate change, but also its threats to the balance of coastal and marine eco-systems and its impacts on fisheries and aquaculture, that are sources of employment and food securi-ty for millions of people on the continent. The Agadir Declaration also called for investing in the blue economy, and more specifically in sustainable, innovative and protective fisheries and aquaculture, by facilitating technological and social innovation, the exchange of good practices and the promotion of sustainable development. Social entrepreneurship. Such an investment will increase socioeconomic and environmental benefits that will, among other things, create jobs, youth training, food security, eradicate poverty, preserve marine ecosystems and adapt to climate change.

Oil & Gas Leaders unveil growth potentials from S. Africa’s Massive Gas Discovery

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he opportunities inherent in the Oil and Gas industry in South Africa, has been unveiled by the sec-toral leaders, at a recent conference, towards repositioning and boosting earnings form the sector Westafrica BusinessNews recalls that the African Energy Chamber (AEC) recently hosted senior industry leaders at a breakfast event under the title, “The role of indigenous Oil and Gas resources in Developing South Africa’s economy.” Participants came from international oil companies, local and internationally operating services companies and the public sector. Topic on discussion with the Chamber was how Total’s recent offshore gas discovery could be best harnessed for the benefit of South Africa’s local companies and the economy at large. Speakers fea-tured Niall Kramer, CEO of the South African Gas Alliance (SAOGA), Petroleum Agency South Africa’s Resource Evaluation Manager Dave Van de Spu, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Director of Up and Midstream Oil & Gas Kishan Pillay and AEC’s Senior Vice President Verner Ayukegba amongst others. Advising on regulatory framework and oil investment matters, Centurion Law Group CEO and AEC Ex-ecutive Chairman NJ Ayuk said the natural resources story in Africa doesn’t always have to be the same. “South Africa has a great opportunity to get it right and make oil and gas work for everyone. Gas monetisation is key to development and job creation. Policy makers have a huge role to play and a lot of good deals will be done for local companies. We hope field development plans will not be delayed and a quick offering of more oil blocks to explorers like ExxonMobil, Eni and others to drill will be good for the industry and the country,” he elaborated. “These changes to the oil industry and opportunities in South Africa will take centre stage at the October 2019 Africa Oil and Power event in Cape Town.” The South African government is currently working on new legislation that will amongst other things separate oil and gas legislature from traditional minerals. This according to SAOGA CEO Niall Kramer is likely to be ratified this year. “We want predictability and an enabling environment that allows our members to attract investors and supply the industry with the necessary services in demand. We need to be open and accommodating to international skills,” he said on the upcoming amended policy regulations. Amidst the thought-provoking discussions around South Africa’s current infrastructure, production forecast, local content policies and regulations, Kishan Pillay, Director: Up and Midstream Oil & Gas (Dti) implored for time to put in the right kind of regulatory framework. “The word nascent is very im-portant. What we must understand is that places like the USA have developed


NEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

FXTM links downturn in NSE to domestic, external risks

BY NIYI JACOBS

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XTM, an international online broker offering financial services in various financial instruments, has attributed the current market downturn to domestic and external risks. FXTM Research Analyst, Mr. Lukman Otunuga, said this at a media roundtable to give his insight on the 2019 economy outlook on Wednesday. He said domestic and external risks is impacting the Nigerian capital market, as investors wait for eco-nomic direction from the new government before taking investment position. “If domestic sentiment is shaky, it is likely that investors would avoid risk, if government makes clarity of its policy

direction, we will see the equity market bounce back,” he said. The expert, which added that the trends are seen in most emerging markets, noted that if global economy begins to improve, confidence will start trickling down in the market. He noted that with oil prices heavily depressed and geopolitical risk factors in the form of trade ten-sions compounding downside risks, major changes are needed in Nigeria to weather the storm. “Nigeria’s economic potential is unlimited, but this can only be fully unleashed with the right leader-ship,” he said. “With a youthful population and fertile land, the ingredients for self-sufficiency are already present. It is widely known that the nation’s illness remains oil reliance with the

cure found in diversification. “But what has truly been done these past four years to limit the nation’s exposure from oil shocks? The IMF continued to warn Nigeria to intensify economic diversification last year in the light of severe-ly depressed oil prices. Although there have been repeated talks about investment in agriculture and sourcing growth from other non-oil sectors, economic growth in 2017 expanded a tepid

0.8% with growth in 2018 seen hitting 2%. “Taking a look at the current macroeconomics, high unemployment is a sore spot that needs to be mended while inflation is slowly rising due to government spending. Although the encouraging foreign exchange reserve figures for January are good news for the Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s re-peated intervention remains a short-term solution to a longer-term problem.”

Oyebode, exits LSETF to take up a role in EKSG

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he Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) announces the exit of its Executive Secretary, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode, who leaves the Fund on March 31 2019, to take up a senior role with the Ekiti State Government. Commenting, the Chairman of the LSETF, Mrs. Ifueko M. Omoigui Okauru said; “We thank Mr. Akintunde Oyebode for his work as pioneer Executive Secretary of the Fund. His leadership and commitment to job creation contributed to the Fund’s success and impact. Akintunde has demonstrated that young people have the capacity to succeed in leadership roles. We are glad that the Fund has positioned him for higher responsibilities. We will miss his leadership and wish him the best in his future endeavours. Our strong leadership team and succession plan will ensure the Fund continues to operate seamlessly.” In his remarks, Akintunde Oyebode said, “I am grateful to Governor Akinwunmi

Oyebode

Ambode for finding me worthy to serve the people of Lagos State, especially in supporting job creation, and as a result, lifting our most vulnerable people out of poverty. I am also very grateful to the Lagos State House of Assembly, especially the House Committee on Wealth Creation and Employment, Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and Ministry of Finance for their support. Finally, I would like to thank the Board of Trustees whose support and guidance shaped our work; and my brilliant colleagues, whose invaluable contribution delivered the impressive results we achieved so far.” LSETF’s MSME Loan Programme has disbursed over N6.5 billion to almost 10,000 beneficiaries; while over 3,500 unemployed Lagos residents have been provided with vocational training, with over 1,500 of the trainees placed in jobs; The Fund’s Lagos Innovates programme has supported over 80 start-ups. In total, LSETF’s interventions have helped create almost 90,000 jobs in Lagos State since it started operations on March 1, 2016.

Lukman Otunuga.

BoI decries N5.81bn unpaid Omatek’s loan, seven years after

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matek Ventures Plc’s indebtedness to the Bank of Industry has entered its seventh year as the bank claimed the company has not serviced the N5.81bn credit facility since 2012. Responding to correspondent enquiries on the status of the credit facility, BoI said every effort to en-sure payment by the company had not been successful. “The customer has not made any payment on its account since the inception of the loan till date as every effort to get the customer to pay was not fruitful,” BoI said. “The new management made promises to make some commitment payment as a sign of goodwill in 2017. Till date, no payment was made to the bank towards settling its indebtedness.” Omatek, which was founded by the late Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Florence Seriki, locally assembles computer cases, speakers, keyboards and mouse, computer systems and notebooks, among others. BoI said it granted a term loan and working capital facilities totalling N5, 808,429,033.95 to the company in December 2012, for the purpose of

financing the procurement of assembly components for the production of laptops. As part of the requirement for obtaining the loan, the development finance bank said it requested for the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order arrangement with the defunct Skye Bank Plc in favour of BoI, all assets debenture and an Irrevocable Personal Guarantee of the late Seriki.

Dr. Timothy Farinre


FINANCIALS

WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

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Nigeria, India to expand $12bn bilateral trade

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he Federal Government and the Government of India are working on ways to enhance the $12bn annual bilateral trade between both countries in a way that will focus on investment. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, said the partnership had become imperative as a result of the economic potential of both countries. A statement from the minister revealed that Enelamah spoke during a meeting with the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Shri Abhav Thakur, in his office. He commended the level of relationship between Nigeria and India but said it had become necessary to expand it beyond trade for increased investment.

Iyalode Alaba Lawson

The minister welcomed the envoy’s interest in Project Made in Nigeria for Export, a new initiative by Nigeria to develop world-class special economic zones to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa, and a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally. Last month, the Federal Government signed investment agreements with three Development Finance Institutions: Afreximbank, Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority for the project. Thakur, who expressed interest in the project, stated that Nigeria and India were important trade partners, noting that there was the need to grow the partnership.

NACCIMA Tasks Buhari to ensure sustainable, broad-based economic growth BY NIYI JACOBS

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igerian industrialists have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure sustainable, broad-based economic growth that will attract strategic investments into agroprocessing and manufacturing sectors of the economy. President, National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Chief Alaba Lawson, as well as Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, John Coumantaros, gave the advice in in Lagos recently.They said that the real sector of Nigeria’s economy can only be transformed through effective implementation of reforms. They stressed that provision of enabling infrastructure was key to achieving inclusive industrial development in the country’s manufacturing sector. He said that the three tiers of government needed to come together to iron out bottlenecks that are impeding growth and development in the sector. According to him, a lot of costs can be saved to encourage manufacturing competitiveness through optimisation of the value chains. “To ensure a sustainable, broadbased economic growth, Nigeria needs to continue to implement reforms that will attract strategic investments to the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors. “Provision of enabling infrastructure, good governance and supporting policies is the foundational step to take in this regard,” he said “In terms of practical initiatives to improve targeted value chains and improve competitiveness, I would like to suggest the following framework; developing sectoral value chain policy, specific incentives provided to targeted sectors to develop the value chains in those sectors to achieve either import substitution or the development of export markets against specific measurable target. An example would be what was accomplished in the cement industry.”

Consequently, the FMN boss suggested “upstreaming value chains to become global, creation of a fasttrack platform that provides access to trade and financial incentives, data, policy formulation, capacity building and markets for tar-geted sectors. “The approach should be both sectoral and destination market driven, e.g. Shea butter, IT services, digital content and cashews for U.S., EU, China, Africa and Nigerians in the Diaspora, capacity building to support targeted value chains, attraction of international investment towards building internal capacity and integration of Nigeria into

identified sup-ply chains, internal investment in skills, innovation, leapfrog technology to have a ‘Nigerian model’ of industrial devel-opment.” While speaking on prioritisation of sectors and geographies, the FMN helmsman proposed that the following frame-work be used as a scorecard to the degree to which value chains would be supported – job creation, potential for eco-nomic diversification, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution, potential for import substitution and/ or forex gen-eration. Working with the input of industry players, the FMN boss said there was

need to come up on a sectoral basis with se-ries of policies, incentives and penalties that de-risk the cost of doing business by manufacturers, whether it is in the manner in which they procure their raw materials and machinery or how they get their finished goods from the facto-ries to the final consumer. In addition, Coumantaros stressed it was also worth pointing out that access to longer-term lower interest financing is critical to investing in value chains that have a longer gestation period.“So, the efforts, particularly of developmental financial institutions, need to be

sustained,” he said. On her part, the NACCIMA national president explained that manufacturers on their part must ensure that they not only abide by the rules of the game, particularly when incentives are offered, but need to also invest in developing local capacity and talent pool that will make their investments sustainable. “I would inspire us all to review our operations for increased backward integration, which has been known to be the most sustainable way of increasing productivity and competitiveness for manufacturers,” she said

Easing of tensions over Arrival of National Microfinance banks Continued from page 5

low income entrepreneurs and de-risking credit originated by the national MFBs by providing guarantee in line with its mandate. While the plan is to have it across 774 local goverments, seven pilot branches simultaneously were flag off last week in Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Bauchi, Kaduna, Enugu and Lokoja. The Gwagwalada branch domiciled in the premises of NIPOST is actively being driven by NIRSAL. Flagging off the Gwagwalada branch last week, Emefiele said: “We are just inspecting one out of the first seven and we are scaling up to the next 50 in the next phase. We believe that before the end of this year, we would have moved substantially in making sure that they are set up and be able to provide finance to small businesses. This is a collaboration between NIRSAL, Bankers’ Committee and NIPOST and I

want to say that we really need to set up microfinance bank that will reach out to the unbanked.” He said the most pressing challenge facing small businesses was lack of access to cheap finance, noting that with the presence of a branch in each local government across the country, the problem would be tackled. “The biggest problem small businesses always have is access to credit; and am happy that with the establishment of this microfinance bank, which would be in at least one local government and we are talking about the 774 locations in all the country, we would be able to have a financial institution that will help deepen financial inclusion to make it easy for people to access credit particularly the small and unbanked people because we have always said that these are the very weak,” he added. “We use this to improve access to credit and the technology that would be used will be a fintech

technology. We have already set a target for ourselves that by 2020, the rate of financial inclusion must increase to 80 per cent from about 48 per cent a year and a half ago. So this is just part of our initiative to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria,” he added. As would be expected, existing microfinance banks privately owned are livid over CBN/Bankers’ Committee’s action. They fear the looming loss of their grip on substantial portion of microfinance banking market with coming on board of new national microfinance banks. Emefiele, however, dismissed it as unfounded with no substance.“The existing microfinance institutions are doing their best and I must say that I have heard some of them say that this is an attempt to crowd them out,” the CBN governor said. “It is not an attempt to crowd them out but it is also an attempt to complement their services and also see to it that

whatever services that are being provided by these microfinance institutions, which are in their own right also banks- that they should be seen to be fair to their customers. “We know that those who are weak in terms of being unable to access credit- the big issue for them is also the inability to provide collateral. So what are we saying here? They will be able to access credit without necessarily providing any collateral. “The asset that we are financing for them, like the poultry business will act as the collateral – that collateral will be registered in the National Collateral Registry as something that is eligible to serve as collateral or security for a loan that has been taken, he assured. The birth of national microfinance banks is laudable and advantageous to economic development. Its simplicity, zero collateral request and a burden assumed by the National Collateral Registry, makes the initiative a good companion for achieving financial inclusion.


GLOBAL STOCKS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

European shares rise on delayed Brexit vote, dollar gains; Wall Street flat

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gauge of global equity markets traded little changed on Thursday as European shares rose ahead of new voting that backed a Brexit delay and bolstered the dollar, while Wall Street meandered on uncertainty over U.S.-China trade talks. The dollar gained for the first time in a week as the pound fell even after Parliament voted over-whelmingly to seek a delay to the March 29 deadline for Britain to exit the European Union. Lawmakers also voted against a second referendum on EU membership as the delay vote set the stage for Prime Minister Theresa May to renew efforts to get a divorce deal approved by Parliament next week. Sterling fell 0.86 percent to $1.3222 after gaining almost 2 percent late on Wednesday on a vote to de-feat a “nodeal” Brexit. Uncertainty about Brexit favored waiting for some clarity in the market as there was a lack of convic-tion, said Charles Tomes, senior investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management. “Volatility is low and people don’t want to put on sizeable positions either way,” Tomes said. European shares rose to a fivemonth high as sentiment improved from cautious to upbeat after the open. But a Bloomberg report of a likely delay in U.S.-China trade talks, coupled with

fresh data show-ing weak U.S. home sales, hurt U.S. stocks. Data showing China’s industrial output grew 5.3 percent in January and February, the slowest pace of expansion in 17 years, is also a concern, said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. While fiscal and monetary stimulus will improve China’s economy down the road, fear of U.S.-China trade wars and economic slowdown are driving market sentiment for the moment.

“In general, what we have is a picture that doesn’t look particularly positive today,” Hooper said. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.03 percent while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares closed up 0.77 percent. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.05 points, or 0.03 percent, to 25,709.94. The S&P 500 lost 2.44 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,808.48 and the Nasdaq Composite

Oil prices were mixed, lifted by solid demand and output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, though gains were capped by an ongoing surge in U.S. supply while analysts warned of risks to the global economy.

dropped 12.50 points, or 0.16 percent, to 7,630.91. The dollar index, a gauge of its strength against six other major trading currencies, rose 0.24 percent to 96.783 after brushing a nine-day trough overnight of 96.385. The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1302, and the Japanese yen weakened 0.46 percent versus the green-back at 111.70 per dollar. U.S. Treasury prices dropped in quiet trading. The benchmark 10-year note fell 5/32 in price to push its yield to 2.6285 percent. Oil prices were mixed, lifted by solid demand and output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, though gains were capped by an ongoing surge in U.S. supply while analysts warned of risks to the global economy. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures rose 35 cents to settle at $58.61 per barrel, but Brent crude futures settled down 32 cents at $67.23 per barrel. Gold slipped below $1,300 for a second time this month as the dollar gained and British lawmakers approved a Brexit delay. U.S. gold futures settled 1.1 percent lower to $1,295.1 an ounce


NEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

EU Chief advocates integrated approach to ECOWAS/EU partnership

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he Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECWAS), Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, says comprehensive and integrated strategy will maximise the benefits of the EU and ECOWAS partnership. Karlsen in a statement, issued by Mr Paul Ejime, Spokesperson, ECOWAS Observer Mission, on Thurs-day in Abuja, commended the long-standing excellent cooperation between the Union and ECOWAS. “I believe that in line with the EU post-Cotonou policy thinking, we can achieve more with an integrated approach using partnership tools to strengthen our collaboration,” Karlsen said. He added that there was the need for a shift from the current “project-by-project approach to a mul-tidimensional strategy,” building on the ideas espoused during the EU-ECOWAS Ministerial Meeting of November 2018. The EU official said that while the EU-ECOWAS partnership had recorded many achievements, “we cannot rest on our laurels.” To achieve the desired outcomes, Karlsen emphasised that the partnership process must also be Afri-ca-led, adding that “our (EU’s) role is to partner and add value, but not to dictate or take over. “The EU has provided ECOWAS with grant supports valued at more than one billion euro over the last 6 years.

“These cover interventions in various fields, ranging from peace and security, to anti-terrorism, peacekeeping, capacity building, fight against piracy, human trafficking, transhumans, as well as economic development and poverty reduction, among others. “About 293 million euros have been provided for peace and security efforts alone over the last 10 years.”

The ambassador said that beyond peace and security, which were interlinked with economic devel-opment, “there are also some cross-cutting issues.” These according to him, include climate change and population growth, which can exacerbate the chal-lenges of economic development and regional integration, if not properly handled.

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under the EU Support to ECOWAS Regional Peace, Security and Stability Mandate (EU-ECOWAS PSS) Project. Karlsen said that the EU, apart from deploying its own Observation Missions to ECOWAS member states holding elections, also supports ECOWAS in the deployment of its own observer missions under the PSS Project. “The collaboration by international observation groups speaking with one voice adds value to the democratic process in West Africa,” said Amb. Karlsen, who visited several polling units to observe the just-ended Nigerian elections.

Lagos misses out on 48 best cities in 2019

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Ketil Karlsen

Q1: Nigeria GDP growth may keep 1.3 per cent downward trend

igeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is likely to slow to 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year due to expected moderation in non-oil sector growth and contraction in the oil sector, analysts at ARM Research have said. The experts, in a note stated that while the non-oil sector drove the improved economic growth rec-orded by the country last year, moderate growth in ICT, weak growth in the manufacturing sector as well as delay in the implementation of the minimum wage, will result in lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers for the first quarter of 2019. Specifically, the experts noted: “The Nigerian economy grew by 1.9per cent in 2018, an improvement from 0.8per cent recorded in 2017, with the nonoil sector being the fulcrum for the growth picture. Over the last quarter of 2018, the economy recorded a solid growth of 2.4per cent – with the expan-sion in the non-oil space (2.7per cent YoY) taming the contraction observed in the oil sector (-1.6per cent YoY).

The envoy further explained that a multi-response strategy would be more effective in tackling some peace and security concerns, such as extremism or terrorism. “Nobody can deny the fact that military engagement is important, but it cannot stand alone. “There is the need to look at the root causes of the challenges, which calls for an integrated approach, combining political dialogue, development cooperation, humanitarian aid and long term economic so-lutions ” he said. He also spoke on EU’s support to the consolidation of democracy and good governance in West Africa

“Dissecting the components in the non-oil territory, all subsectors expanded, with the services and Agric sector leading the pack. Notably, improvement in the number of active subscribers in ICT subsec-tor coupled with mild support from transport drove the expansion in the services sector (3.8per cent YoY). Furthermore, while the Agric sector improved by 2.5per cent in Q4 18, it was disappointing com-pared to its four-year average of 3.8per cent. On the flipside, the oil sector dived into recessionary wa-ters buoyed by low crude production (-2.6per cent to 1.91mbpd).” They, however, stated :”Going forward, we expect resilience in Agric sector and a recovery in the oil sector to be the key driver for growth in non-oil and oil sector accordingly. In the non-oil sector, muted growth in ICT and in turn services as well as weak growth in Manufacturing due to depressed consum-er wallet and delay with minimum wage bill, guides to slower growth in the non-oil sector of 1.3per cent YoY (2018: 2.0per cent YoY). “…Overall, we revise

our 2019 growth estimate downwards to 1.98per cent (previously 2.05per cent), a notch away from 1.93per cent recorded in 2018. For Q1 19, we expect a slowdown in growth to 1.3per cent YoY driven by a contraction in the oil sector (-1.1per cent YoY) and moderation in non-oil sector growth.” Meanwhile, ARM Research has predicted a further decline in inflation to 11.33per cent in February from 11.37 per cent last January, because according to the firm, it expects no pressure on both food and core inflation. “On food, due to ongoing dry season harvest, market supplies trended upwards during the month leading to a decline in food prices,” the firm said. It stated: “Our expectation of a moderation in inflation over the first half of the year and increases in the second half borne out of a hike in PMS price and slight naira depreciation remains unchanged, guiding our estimate of an average inflation rate of 12.4per cent YoY for the year (FY 18: 12.2per cent YoY).

igeria’s former capital city Lagos is missing on the list of 48 best cities in 2019 released recently.. The list, an annual index published by Time Out, a global magazine in partnership with Tapestry Re-search, has only Cape Town as the only African city. The scenic South African city is listed at number 12 on the 48-country index compiled based on the re-views of about 34, 000 people across the world. New York, Melbourne Chicago, London and Los Angeles occupy the top five positions in that order. The Canadian city of Montreal sits at number 6, Berlin in seventh position and Glasgow in the eighth position. Paris and Tokyo are listed at numbers 9 and 10 respectively. To compile the list, Time Out asks 34, 000 city dwellers ” about food, drink, culture, nightlife, communi-ty, neighbourhoods, overall happiness and other factors, such as their city’s beauty, affordability and convenience.” The same questions were presented to a global network of editors and experts from different parts of the world.

Gov Ambode

“Finally, we crunched the numbers to create the definitive ranking of the world’s best cities in 2019,” Time Out said on its website. That Lagos is missing on the list did not come as a surprise. Nigeria’s commercial capital was rated in August 2018 as the third worst place to live in the world by 2018 Global Liveability Index released by The Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Bank. The state is rife with “petty crime, violent crime, the threat of terror, a threat of military conflict and/or a threat of civil unrest/ conflict,” according to the Global Liveability Index. In May 2017, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics rated the country’s commercial capital and one of its most populated states, as the most crime-infested in 2016. Atop the damning crime index for Lagos State is the crime against persons, which NBS said included murder, manslaughter, infanticide, and concealment of birth. The statistics released by NBS for 2017 are even grimmer with Lagos retaining its spot as Nigeria’s crime capital.


FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

STOCK TABLE


STOCK TABLE

WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

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FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

FinTech’s regulation by CBN: Move in the right direction G

overnment through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently released guideline for regulatioin of Financial Tech-nology (FinTech) companies operating in Nigeria, thus ending the long wait for regulatory approach to fintech operat-ing methodologies in the country. The apex bank’s regulatory approach is skewed towards categorising the financial services delivery and payment space occupied by the Fintech companies and further ensure that services delivered by them meet global standards and not in any way, deployed to short-change unsuspecting consumers. The CBN, in a draft policy document released recently, acknowledged that services rendered by fintech companies are “gaining acceptance” it however argued that emergence of financial technology firms in the country would intensify prevailing risks in the nation’s financial system, a trend that many have feared would further emasculate their exten-sive customer base. The move by apex bank to regulate fintech companies is seen by many is long overdue, even as it has been projected that internet banking fraud could hit over N6 trillion by year 2020. The guidelines, released by the payment system management department of the CBN titled” ”PSM/DIR/GEN/ EXP/01/001” dated 6 November 2018, among others Signed by Sam Okojere, Director, Payment Sys-tem management Department, were in “In exercise of the powers conferred on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) un-der Sections 2(d), 33 (1)(b) and 47(2) of the CBN Act 2007 to promote sound financial system in Nigeria, issue guide-lines, facilitate the development of an efficient and effective payments system in Nigeria” The above was in addition to another document “Circular on the Exposure Draft of New CBN Licensing Regime for Payment System Providers,” the draft signed by CBN’s head of Banking and Payment System Department, Dipo Fatokun, which highlighted the operational risks that fintechs represents. Yet it acknowledges that Nigerian banks are increasingly working with fintechs and this heightens the need to oversee what fintechs can and cannot do. The rules are further in pursuant of financial inclusion objective of the apex bank regulator and arrest emerging chal-lenges with the intrusion of FinTech companies into the banks, and other financial institutions (BOFIA) regulatory

space. The banks and insurance companies are regulated by the CBN, therefore the Fintech companies which now falls under “other financial institutions” must also be regulated by the apex bank, to ensure synergy and fool prove operations. The CBN in the new rule categorised fintech companies as Payments Service Providers (PSP) licenses. Additionally, the Payments Service Providers (PSP) licenses are further divided into three: PSP Super License, PSP Standard License and PSP Basic License. PSP Super License caters for companies currently operating payment gateway platforms, POS services, switching services. Presently, many of these companies operate under licenses such as switching, PSSP, PTSP, Acquirers and Super Agents. Fintechs companies using the Super License are required to maintain a hefty N5 billion shareholder funds and pay a license fee of N1-N2 million per year for three years. The second and third category, the PSP standard and basic licences, are for fintechs operating under the Basic and re-quired to maintain N50-N100 million and N3 billion shareholder funds respectively. In dollar terms, the minimum shareholders’ funds for the three categories range from $275,000 to $14 million. Following the release of the guideline, cross section of stakeholders started expressing mixed reactions, while some said that the rules would stifle start-ups and weaken technological innovations, many others maintained that regula-tion of the fintech space in Nigeria was long overdue. They further argued that amounts ranging from N2 billion to N5billion as licence fee and shareholders value, poses sig-nificant barrier to entry for new fintech businesses which—like most startups—

depend on revenue growth and inves-tor backing after they launch to scale operations. They added that greatest number of Nigerian early stage startups financial base fall far below the CBN’s new financial requirements, taking into consideration such firms also have huge operating costs and operating expenses tied to cost to income. Opposition to the new licencing regime noted that, while the apex bank, in the new rule, offers a blanket reference to fintech companies, the guideline will mostly impact startups looking to offer digital banking services. They added that most fintech companies in Nigeria are young venture-funded companies offering services and partnerships to traditional players in the financial ecosystem and that the CBN’s approach to regulation of FinTech companies could pressure local startups with what they termed “costly new regulation” But it should be noted that start-ups are neither essentially small firms nor lack the requisite finances, they are firms with designed objective to offer restricted services and poised to expand quickly. While many stakeholders have remained awash with high tempo criticisms on the approach by the CBN, the apex bank regulator, made it clear that the new regulations are not negative to the industry and not aimed at slowing down technological innovations in the conventional finance industry. Head, banking and Payments System Department, CBN, Dipo Fatokun, had earlier revealed the need to regulate the finTech space, “Because of the importance of these FinTechs, CBN is drafting guidelines that would enable their regu-lation and supervision to be put in place.” He championed that the new regulations would tighten the engagement of all stakeholders to increase knowledge and

information sharing. It also aims to deepen the payment system capacity against electronic fraud. “The issue of stability, trust in the payment system is very close to the heart of the management of CBN, so each time the governors come together they discuss it and issue guidelines and that is a continuous process,” he stated. We hereby point that it is noteworthy to acknowledge the impact of the new CBN’s law, taking into account that payment systems hitherto carried out by fintech companies are currently unregulated and many unsuspecting Nigerians have been short-changed in the course of accessing their services and subsequently have no established process of remediation. Some have out rightly been duped by “”cloned” fintech sites, which the licenced owners feign ignorance of their ex-istence and usually pass the bulk to the victims. The new law would however position the apex bank to detect frauds before they occur and knowing who to hold accountable. The law would further establish standards of operation for the fintech firms and strengthens unified pay-ments system by Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS). Also, it will enhance relationship between a Clearing bank and indirect participant, in the payment systems governed by a Settlement Agreement. It would further ensure that where the account of a PSP with a Clearing bank is not adequately funded, the Clearing Bank may decline further settlement services and inform the payment processor accordingly. The law would enhance relation with other payment stakeholders as the regulation ensures a tripartite agreement between the Indirect Participant, Clearing Bank, and the Payments Service Provider (PSP) to guide relationships. A clear form of adjudication and sanction system for any dispute arising from fintech operations would be streamlined, cybercrime checked and Ponzi scheme linked to financial technologies detected. Instead of condemning CBN’s new rule, the apex bank should be applauded for its novel regulation which is poised to further enhance risk management framework in the fintech space, enhance awareness of the people on fintech obli-gations to their clients as well as a check on the firms that “Big brother is watching


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

75% of TB cases in Nigeria undetected –Programme

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he National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme says out an estimated 418,000 new cases of Tuberculosis (TB) recorded in Nigeria in 2018 only 104,904 cases or 25 per cent of the cases were notified. Dr Adebola Lawanson, the National Coordinator of the programme, disclosed this at the pre-world TB Day news conference on Thursday in Abuja. Lawanson, who was represented by Dr Emperor Ubochioma, said about 319, 599 TB cases were yet to be notified, which implied that large a number of TB cases were still undetected in Nigeria. The coordinator said this large number of undetected cases in the country constituted a large pool for continuous transmission of the disease in the community. She explained that this missing TB cases could be found in men, women and children with different forms of TB including the drug resistant TB. Lawanson said that the proportion of missing TB cases among children was also worrisome, stressing that Nigeria is only able

to notify seven per cent of the estimated childhood TB cases in 2017. “Nigeria ranked sixth globally and first in Africa with the burden of TB, it is classified among countries with high burden of TB, multi-drug resistant TB and TB/HIV,’’ she said. She said that TB was an airborne disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; it affects primarily the lungs and other parts of the body. Lawanson said the disease was preventable and curable, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. She also said that the disease was a leading cause of death from single infectious agent ranking above HIV/AIDS. The national coordinator lamented that increasing pool of drug resistant TB in the country continued to be a major threat to the control of TB. She said that there was low case detection and low level awareness among Nigerians. “As part of the bold step in finding the missing TB cases in the country, the Federal Ministry of Health with the sup-

Tuberculosis patient port of partners is rapidly expanding TB diagnostics and treatment services to more sites across Nigeria. “We are in with WHO current recommendation on drug resistant TB and expanded the drug resistant TB treatment centres

Expert lists economic benefits of e-waste

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n e-waste expert, Dr Ifeanyi Ochonogor, on Thursday called for better management of e-waste to generate income and provide employment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The expert made the call at the Material Recovery Facility Tour jointly organised by Nigeria Institution of Environment Engineers (NIEE) and the Rotary Club, Omole, Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event was ‘Opportunities for SMEs in e-Waste Management.’ Ochonogor, Chief Executive Officer, E-Terra Technologies Limited, said that e-waste possessed the capacity to generate income after the toxic com-

ponents had been properly disposed by experts. According to him, SMEs could act as suppliers of e-waste or employ people to be suppliers after having gone through training to understand what eco-friendly e-waste is all about. The e-waste expert said there was need for proper orientation and training of the informal sector and suppliers on how to handle e-waste to prevent the hazardous effect. “Most electronic devices have storage media components that contain confidential information. ‘These devices must be properly erased for reuse or permanently destroyed if unwanted to prevent confidential information leakages that can lead to

serious financial, intellectual property and security breach,” Ochonogor said. He, however, said that the aggregate effect of improper storage, handling and disposal of e-waste in terms of health, environmental and confidential data breach had become too serious to be ignored. Also speaking, Abiola Kosegbe, Chairman, Nigeria Institution of Environmental Engineers, Lagos chapter, said that there were various opportunities for SMEs in e-waste. Kosegbe said that in the waste management cycle, there were tiers of management which included the treatment, processing and e-plastics. ”SMEs can approach E-terra, look at the streams of waste that is derivable from the actual e-waste and tap into it,”he said.

from 15 sites in 2016 to 28. “All 36 states and FCT have decentralised drug resistant TB management to communities,’’ she said. Lawanson said in line with TB National Strategic Plan (2015-2020) active case finding among key population including slum dwellers, nomads, IDPs and Persons Living with HIV were given priority. Globally, March 24 is set aside as the world TB day. The 2019 theme of the day is: “It is time’’ with a

slogan “To end TB in Nigeria keep the promise! Find TB! Treat TB!’’ Dr Odime Bethrand, Senior Programme Specialist TB/HIV, United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said U.S. government has been a collaborating with the National TB Programme to provide technical assistance in programme design, policy formulations and training. He added that the U.S. government was working with the local partners that provided services in

the area of HIV/AIDS that would also address issues around TB as sometimes the two ailments occur together. “U.S. also provide support to local partners to ensure that they increase TB case finding among people living with HIV and ensure that those living with HIV that were detected to have TB were linked for appropriate treatment. “We cannot control TB without addressing issues around HIV because there is a correlation between the two ailments,’’ he said.

Oyo Speaker, lawmakers pay condolence Ibadan Southwest Convisit to Olatoye family stituency, Olusegun Olal-

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peaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Olagunju Ojo on Thursday led other lawmakers on a condolence visit to the Alakia family, home of the late lawmaker, Mr Temitope Olatoye to commiserate with his family. The lawmaker was killed in an ambush last Saturday in Ibadan during the Governorship and House of Assembly elections. Olagunju, while signing the condolence register at the Olatoye family home, commiserated with

the family and prayed for the parents, wives and children left behind by the deceased. He writes: “ Oyo State House of Assembly, led by the speaker and all honourable members, commiserate with the family of the late Hon Temitope Olatoye, popularly known as Sugar on his sudden demise. ” May his soul rest in peace. Adieu Temitope Olatope a. k.a. Sugar.“ Among the legislators that accompanied the speaker are: Kehinde Subair, Majority leader,/

eye, Chairman, Parliamentary caucus, representing Ibadan North 2. Other members are: The Minority leader, Akeem Ige ( Ibadan/Southeast 2 and Muideen Olagunju, ADC (Oyo East/ West). The late Olatoye, was a member of the House of Representatives representing Lagelu/ Akinyele Federal Constituency before his tragic death. He was alleged to have been shot in the eye by assailants and died at UCH, Ibadan March 9 during the elections.


WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Average price of kerosene decreased in February –NBS T he National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says the average price per litre paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene decreased to N305.55 in February from N306.28 recorded in January. The bureau said this in its “National Household Kerosene Price Watch (February 2019)’’ released on Thursday in Abuja. According to the NBS, the price of kerosene decreased by -0.27 per cent month-on- month and 5.85 per cent year-on-year in the period under review. It said states with the highest average price per litre of kerosene are Pla-

teau (N335.55) , Anambra (N332.22), and Enugu (N329.17). It also named states with the lowest average price per litre of kerosene to be Gombe (N265.74), Niger (N268.42) and Lagos (N274.35). Similarly, the bureau said the average price per gallon paid by consumers for kerosene increased to N1209.73 in February from N1187.75 in January. It said the price per gallon of kerosene increased by 2.71 per cent month-onmonth and 15.90 per cent year-on-year in the period under review. “States with the highest average price per gal-

lon of kerosene are Jigawa (N1331.25), Borno (N1325.00) and Katsina (N1305.00). “Also, states with the lowest average price per gallon of kerosene are Niger (N1,110.00), Kogi (N1,051.43) and Bayelsa (N1,105.00). The NBS said in arriving at the report, field work was done by more than 700 NBS staff in all states of the federation supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers. It said the NBS audit team subsequently conducted randomly selected verification of the prices recorded.

Over 8,000 benefit from free eye surgeries in C/River–Commissioner

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r Inyang Asibong, the Cross River Commissioner for Health on Thursday said that over 8,000 residents have benefitted from the state government’s free eye tests and surgeries since 2015. .Asibong disclosed this in Calabar at the state General Hospital where free eye surgeries and tests are being carried out in the ongoing glaucoma week. She said that the beneficiaries came in from the 18 local government areas across the state due to the sustained awareness of the glaucoma week. She said that the specialists were drawn from the State Ministry of Health and

the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to handle the cases. She explained that glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which is basically the structure that relays what the eye sees to the brain. According to her, if left untreated, continued damage to the structure may lead to visual field defects. “Since 2015 when Gov. Ben Ayade assumed office, over 8,000 patients have so far benefitted from the free eye tests and surgeries offered by the state government. “In Nigeria, no fewer than 1.8 million people of over 40 years of age suffer

Close up of an eye and vision test chart

from glaucoma with almost 360,000 of them blind in both eyes. “As a state that places premium on health, we are doing our best to manage the eye problems of the young and old. “The Cross River Government has a free eye care programme at the General Hospital, Calabar, were eye surgeries and tests including cataract are carried out,’’ the commissioner said. She advised those with eye problems to visit the Cross River Eyecare Programme at the College of Health Technology, Calabar to update their status and get the necessary treatments and medications.

Ekiti Govt. pledges to patronise local contractors

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he Ekiti State Government on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, reiterated its commitment to patronise indigenous contractors in the execution of projects in the state. The Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, disclosed this while receiving the executives of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ado-Ekiti Branch in his office. Egbeyemi expressed confidence in the ability of local contractors to deliver quality works that would stand the test of time in accordance to global practices. “Competent local contractors will be awarded contracts under the Fayemiled administration to prove that Nigerians can compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world. “Many Nigerians who go abroad to study most of the time excel above their foreign contemporaries. “However, I am disappointed at the way some contractors execute state government projects awarded to them,” he said. He urged the Society of Engineers to keep watch on projects awarded to their members to execute in the state. “I am disappointed in the engineers that constructed Ado-Iworoko Road and the bridge that replaced the colonial bridge. “It was not constructed to standard, thereby, giving

room for flooding during the rainy season. “Even, if the government asked you to construct it that way, you should be able to advise the government and insist on professionalism. “If you engineers see that type of job anywhere in the state, you should be able to point the attention of government to it. “We are already working on making water accessible to the people, as we are talking, some Europeans are already working on some of our dams for effective water supply across the state,” Egbeyemi added. He said work had commenced on some of the dams in the state with a view to ensuring even distribution of water across its nooks and crannies.

Governor Kayode Fayemi

The deputy governor charged the Engineers not to hesitate to call the attention of the State Government to any defects noticed in any of its projects. Earlier, the Chairman, NSE Ado-Ekiti branch, Olumide Ogundipe, explained that the Society was responsible for advancing engineering in terms of practice and research in the state. Ogundipe urged that key engineering ministries, Bureau of Public Procurement and consultancy services in the state be headed by Engineers for good service delivery in the execution of projects. He appealed to the government to appoint Senior Engineering Officers in the public service to the post of Permanent Secretary in the state.


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NEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Drugs: Industrial Pharmacists task FG on tech-innovation

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he Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) has called on the Federal Government to create enabling environment for modern technology for pharmaceutical revolution in Nigeria. Ignatius Anukwu, the National President of the association, made the appeal on Thursday in Ilorin at the fifth NAIP Day, organised by its Kwara banch. He noted that a national policy was important to align industry with technology, adding that such policy will reduce the amount of drugs being imported into the country. Anukwu, who was represented at the occasion by the Vice-Chairman of the association, Alhaji Gana Ahmed, said about 90 per cent of raw materials for pharmaceuticals are imported into Nigeria. He reiterated that Nigeria must take advantage of modern technology in the pharmaceutical industry. Speaking earlier, Gbenga Banbe, the Kwara Chairman of association, said that the biggest challenge for Nigeria was for the industry to align with technology, while getting the pharma-employees to be more innovative and responsive in their thinking to enable optimal use of modern technology. “Technology advancement has become increasingly critical for firms including pharmaceutical companies in order to achieve competitive advantage,” he said. According to him, many industries and healthcare sectors are experiencing own digital transformations, as there are new ways in helping patients manage and overcome illness. He lamented that the technological revolution in Nigerian pharmaceutical industry was slow and in most parts missing out. He explained that tech-revolution will help during new drug development and reduce development costs, tackle a lot of productivity challenges at formulation and produce output and quality management system of facility, among others. Dr Abiola Shittu of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, University of Ilorin, in

President Muhammadu Buhari his presentation said through legislative reform, India’s pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the Indian economy. “Currently, Indian pharmaceutical companies produce between 20 and 22 per cent of the world generic drugs and offer 60,000 finished medicines and nearly 400 bulk used informulations,” he said. Shittu, who teaches at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the university, advised government to establish a National Biotechnology programme that would consist of a National Commission on Biotechnology, also establish a Biotechnology Centre and Bio-safety Authority. He also called for waiver of tax on research materials and equipment, and to encourage specialised technological financing agencies to provide loans to firms or consortia and research institute, among others.

2 coys pay N217.83m insurance claims on terrorism in 2017 — NIA Report

industry, while enhancing the standard of living of citizens. According to him, the technology will eliminate the challenges of gas flaring and add value to the nation’s huge natural gas resources, saying that research has proven that methanol can be used as alternative fuel. The minister said “Nigeria holds the largest natural gas reserves in Africa, ranks ninth in the world in 2016, and is among the world’s top five exporters of liquefied natural gas. “The country’s oil and natural gas industry typically accounts for 75 per cent of government revenue and 90 per cent of total export earnings. “Due to the lack of necessary utilisation infrastructure and low technological capacity, Nigeria still flares a lot of the natural gas it produces . “This amounts to about 12.5 per

cent of the world’s total gas flaring according to World Bank estimates. However, natural gas can be used for the production of methanol,” he said. Onu said that gas could be harvested and converted into methanol for industrial use, as well as fuel production, adding that it would reduce the cost of fuel, boost power supply, create wealth and employment opportunities in the country. He urged the oil and gas stakeholders to collaborate with government to actualise the project in the transportation and energy sector before the end of the second quarter. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said government was interested in the technology which constitutes 15 per cent methanol and 85 per cent

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xa-Manasard Insurance Plc and Continental Reinsurance Plc have paid more than N217.83 million terrorism insurance claims. According to a report by the Nigerian Insurers’ Association (NIA), signed by its Director-General, Mrs Yetunde Ilori, and released on Thursday in Lagos, the amount was paid in the 2017. The NIA said the compilation of data for the country’s insurance industry for year 2018 by the association was ongoing. According to NIA, over N1.18

billion was paid by insurers as flood insurance clams in the same year, with Prestige Assurance Plc paying the largest claims of N55.48 million to D2H Services Ltd and Associates. The association said that the industry had been responsive in paying genuine claims, adding that the industry would continue to honour the payment of all genuine claims. “However, we urge the public to take advantage of conflict resolution bodies, like Complaints Bureau set up by NIA to resolve all

unpaid claims issues. “Also, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has also “Bureau for Settlement of Claims Disputes” to handle insurance claims complaints,” the association said. NIA said the industry operators had started brainstorming on developing more products on terrorism and flood issues. It said that the industry also recorded a gross premium of N364.69 billion and net premium of N258.06 billion in the year under review.

Adoption of methanol fuel technology will drive low-cost transportation, improve power — Onu

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he Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says the adoption of methanol fuel technology will drive low-cost and efficient transportation and improve power generation in the country. The minister said this on Thursday in Lagos during the presentation of report of Technical Committee on Methanol Fuel Technology Implementation Programme to oil and gas industry stakeholders in Lagos. The report was prepared through collaborative effort of the Ministry of Science and Technology; Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Onu noted that the methanol fuel technology programme would transform the transportation and power

of PMS to reduce gas flaring in the country. Kachikwu, represented by Mr Talson Bege, a Director in the ministry, said that methanol was cheaper and more environmentally friendly, and the technology would help Nigeria to reduce emission target. The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the programme was timely in view of Nigeria’s quest to diversify its energy mix. Represented by Mr Ojo Emmanuel, a Director in the ministry, Fashola said “global energy crisis has attracted the attention of both developing and developed countries to explore and find out new means of energy sources to meet this everincreasing demand for its economic activities.

“One of the means of these energy sources is methanol fuel technology which the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology intend to deploy for low-cost and efficient transportation and electricity generation in Nigeria,” he said. He noted that the deployment of biofuel technology was a major component of the country’s renewable energy development, saying it would impact on fuel production and consumption value chains in Agriculture, Environment and technology sectors of the economy. “The inter connected energy production system will provide savings, both in capacity and fuel cost, at the same time ensuring reliability and continuity of power supply cum transportation for the achievement of the overall economy,” he said.


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COMPANIES & BRANDS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

MINT seeks to partner NCC in printing sensitive documents T he Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PlC on Thursday called for collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the printing of sensitive documents. The NCC Director of Public Affairs, Nnamadi Nwokike made the call in a statement in Abuja. Nwokike quoted Alhaji Abas Masanawa, Managing Director, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM), as making the call when he visited the commission’s office in Abuja. The NSPM boss was at the headquarters of the commission to seek for partnership, especially in the areas of printing sensitive documents. Masanawa, who was accompanied by top management staff of the company, however, said that like NCC, the company is aiming to become a world class organisation, which can attract business from outside the shores of the country. Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Dan-

batta lauded the performance of the regulatory body. He said the commission, aimed at beating the record platinum rating it received from a sister agency, Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR) two years ago. According to the NCC boss, the commission is now globally acclaimed for regulatory excellence and operational efficiency. He said this had helped NCC to achieve great success in the key areas of its mandate. “The verdict is out there on the performance of the commission as a word class regulatory agency. “We didn’t pass this verdict by ourselves. “But it took a lot of hard work and commitment by both management and the entire staff of the commission to achieve the enviable position we are today,” he said. Danbatta said despite inheriting a world class organisation, he has not left any stone unturned in his efforts to add to the success story.

Police investigate threat to life of ex-GM, Adamawa Investment company

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he Adamawa Police Command says it is investigating an alleged threat to the life of former General Manager of Adamawa Investment and Property Limited, Malam Abubakar Zira. The command spokesman, Othman Abubakar, who confirmed the development, said the command had received complaint from Zira, to the effect that some yet to be identified men were after his life. Abubakar said the matter was being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the command. Speaking on the matter to newsmen Thursday in Yola, Zira said the suspects had on two occasions, trailed him in what looked like an attempt to kidnap

Adamawa State Police Command

and kill him. Zira said the first attempt on him by the unidentified persons was made on Dec. 16 last year on his way to Mosque at the Federal Housing Estate in Yola for morning prayer around 4.30 am. He said the second attempt was on Feb. 24 this year while he was returning from Michika, his home, to Yola, after traveling home to vote in the Presidential and National Assembly elections. He said that he was trailed by some men in a vehicle but was able to escape. “I have reported the incident to the Police, DSS, NSCDC and Army. “I do not have problem with anybody, except the attempt by some unknown persons, I believed to be land racketeers in Abuja, who cloned or forged the title document of my property in Abuja, which they attempted to sale. “The property consist of a 2 storey building of 21 flats at Karu village extension, plot MF 20, covered by Right of Occupancy No. MZIP/LK//99/DD.506. “I had petitioned the Minister of FCT, Inspector General of Police, DSS and EFCC on the matter. “I had also through my lawyer, written to the Director, Land, Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS), on the need to place caveat on the property to stop those who forged the tittle documents from using it to defraud innocent and unsuspecting person or persons,” Zira said.

Nnamadi Nwokike, NCC Spokesperson

Maritime security: Navy inaugurates regional “Of particular concern is the training school in Lagos realisation that many of these

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he Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas, says the Nigerian Navy has inaugurated Regional Maritime Awareness Domain (RMDA) Training school in Lagos to assist naval personnel in tackling maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG). Speaking in Lagos at the opening ceremony of the regional sea exercise, code named “Obangame Express”, Ibas said that school would enhance maritime surveillance and the operationalization of the Yaoundé Accord. He said that the RMDA training school was facilitated by the US Government and urged regional navies to seize the opportunity for joint training offered to steadily improve capacity for collective response to security challenges in the GOG. “The training school is expected to be beneficial to Nigeria, as it allows the training of a pool of naval personnel and other stakeholders

operating legitimately in Nigeria’s maritime domain. “The training school will also facilitate the synergy and cooperation between GOG countries in fulfillment and operationalisation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct,” he said. On the sea exercise Obangame Express, Ibas thanked all the participating countries for their contributions in ensuring peace, stability and safe conduct in the maritime domain. “It is common dictum that the vast resources and opportunities in the maritime environment of the GOG hold the prospect to finding solution to the economic and developmental aspirations of African states. “The region has, however, frequently been unwholesomely challenged by multifaceted and evolving maritime threats which have led to unpredictable threat-Ievels and deepening conditions inimical to peace and security.

Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff

threats to effective exploitation and beneficial use of our maritime environment increasingly manifest as transnational and cross-border crimes and other illegalities. “The migratory nature of these threats invariably calls for a united response by the regional navies and ‘coastguards through the’ pursuit of prudent capacity building actions on a collaborative model,” he said. The CNS said this approach offered a feasible strategy for addressing the challenges of developing Africa’s blue economy. “This esteemed assembly is no doubt fully abreast of the gains of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 and the Yaounde Code of Conduct of 2013 which have facilitated capacity building within a defined architecture for regional maritime security operations. “This is the spirit that birthed the OBANGAME EXPRESS as a tool for enhancing the collective capabilities of GOG countries to counter sea-based illicit activities by improving regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness and tactical interdiction expertise,” he said. Ibas said these instruments had also emplaced standards for interregional co-operation based on law enforcement at sea, information sharing and training, further enhancing multilateral collaboration in the GOG. “This is the spirit that birthed the Obangame express as a tool for enhancing the collective capabilities of GOG countries to counter sea-based illicit activities,” he said.


COMPANIES & BRANDS

WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

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World Bank lauds Nigeria’s erosion, watershed management project W orld Bank on Thursday commended the staff and management of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) for effectively executing the project to make it a success story in the country. Mrs Maria Savaf, the Bank’s Practice Manager, Department of Environment, made the commendation in Abuja when she made a maiden visit to the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Suleiman Zarma. NEWMAP is a World Bank supported project launched in 2012 aimed at reducing the vulnerability of soil erosion in targeted catchment areas in the country. Savaf, who led the World Bank team to brief the minister on NEWMAP and West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme, attributed NEWMAP feat to its staff hard work. According to her, the World Bank and Ministry of Environment have long time partnership. “As World Bank, if we want to give example of what we do in the environment in West Africa, we will give example of NEWMAP as success story,’’ Savaf said. She sought for the Federal Government’s legal support to facilitate additional financing for NEWMAP project. “Going forward, the whole last year was very hard to get ad-

ditional financing for NEWMAP and then one thing, may be, we will make a request on some helps to move it forward. “Because up till now, additional financing has not been declared effected because we are still waiting for legal opinion. “May be, this is something that I have to request the minister to talk to the Ministers of Justice and Finance to enable us start working on additional financing,’’ World Bank official said. She also commended the Federal Government for including NEWMAP its 2019 National Budget proposal, urging the government to make its counterpart funding available to aid the implementation of the project. Savaf said that the Bank had secured fund to conduct a preparatory study to prioritise plans for the nation’s coastal areas management programme. Responding, Zarma, who thanked the World Bank for investing on the people and the nation’s environment, said that NEWMAP had gone a long way in addressing ecological problems in the country. The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, commended the World Bank for executing NEWMAP in his state. Okeke restated the state government’s commitment to explore every opportunity to check gully erosion in the state.

NEMA to partner NYSC on disaster management

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he National Emergency Management Agency has advocated a closer collaboration with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on disaster management in the zone. Fred Anusim, the NEMA Acting Zonal Coordinator, South East Zone made this known when he paid a courtesy visit to the NYSC Coordinator in Enugu State, Alhaji Ahmed Ikaka on Wednesday. Anusim said that disaster management was everyone’s business and as such, the NYSC which was instituted in all the states in the federation would be engaged in training students on disaster management. “My coming is to familiarize with you and see how to strengthen the existing relationship so that synergy will continue. “Since NYSC operates in all the Local Government Areas, they will be instrumental in helping to train students in primary schools as we already have a curriculum on disaster management in primary schools. “There is the need to be abreast of issues of disaster all over the world due to climate changes that has brought with it certain ecological changes as well as the means of managing the situation,” he noted. The acting zonal coordinator expressed concern about the security challenges in the North East Zone of the country adding that no

one could predict the end product of human disaster they were currently facing. Responding, the NYSC Coordinator in the state, Ikaka said that the easiest way to succeed in risk management was to engage NYSC because corps members were in all parts of the country. He further assured NEMA that NYSC would be readily available to play the role the agency wanted it to play to curtail any form of disaster in the zone. He thanked the Zonal Coordinator and his team for taking NYSC as a worthy partner in progress.

Minister of Environment, Alhaji Suleiman Zarma

BASA: Air Peace for direct flights to India –Envoy arrangement; we will be open to

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he Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur, says that Air Peace has been approved by the Nigerian Government for direct flights to India under the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed in January. Thakur who said this at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja, added that the airline was approved at the signing of the agreement. When BASA is concluded between two contracting countries, it liberalises commercial civil aviation services between those countries. Such agreements allow the designated airlines of the two contracting countries to operate commercial flights that cover the transport of passengers and car-

goes between the countries. “We had the bilateral air services agreement that was signed in January, we already have the approvals accorded to Air Peace by the government of Nigeria and the approvals by the government of India are currently in the process and we hope we can start direct flights sooner than later. “We have the approval that has been accorded to Air Peace for two flights to Mumbai every week and we hope to move forward on this front hopefully in 2019 itself. “This is one of the targets we are working towards and subject to all necessary approvals, we should be able to move forward on this front.” “We are open to any kind of

all possibilities.” The envoy stressed that the agreement was coming at a time when India was set to further uplift and take forward its cooperation with Africa and Nigeria in particular. “I would say we are already late, direct flights are overdue. India is the second largest country in the world and Nigeria is the largest economy and largest country in Africa. “There is no reason why our people should not be traveling, meeting more frequently,” he said. India is said to be Nigeria’s largest trading partner globally with bilateral trade between both countries at nearly $12 billion and Indian companies investing in projects worth $10 billion.


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POLITICS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Nasarawa PDP governorship candidate vows to challenge election result in court

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he Nasarawa People’s Democratic Party(PDP) governorship candidate , Mr David Ombugadu, has vowed to challenge the result of the March 9 Governorship Election in the state at the Tribunal. Ombugadu made this known on Thursday while addressing newsmen at his residence in Akwanga, Akwanga Local Government Area of the state. He said he had rejected the outcome of the election as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He vowed that he would seek legal redress in the court in order to reclaim the mandate given to him by the people of the state. “I have total confidence in the judiciary and I will reclaim my stolen mandate at the end of the day. “The judiciary will do justice to the outcome of the election and the people’s mandate that was stolen will be recovered at the end of the day,”he said. The candidate called on the

party’s supporters to remain clam, saying that he was confident and believed that the tribunal would restore the mandate given to him by the people of the state. He commended the party’s supporters for their peaceful conduct during the elections in the state. He also lauded the people of the state for voting for him and other candidates of the party during the Presidential,National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections. Ombugadu urged PDP supporters and other Nigerians to live in peace, tolerate one another and be law abiding for the development of the country. The INEC had on March 11 declared that Abdullahi Sule polled 327,229 votes to defeat his opponents in the election. Ombugadu scored 184,281 votes to place second, while Labaran Maku of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) polled 132,784 votes to place third in the poll.

Monarch advises Imo gov’ship candidates against challenging Ihedioha’s victory in court

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he traditional ruler of Ohakelem Autonomous Community in Okpala Imo state, Ogbonna Ukaegbu has advised other governorship candidates in the Imo election to humbly accept the result of the poll. Ukaegbu gave the advice during a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, saying they should forget about going to court to challenge the result in the interest of Imo. He said that going to court would not only polarise and create unnecesaay acrimony in the polity but distract the incoming administration. He said: “The people have expressed their choice in the March 9 election. It becomes unnecessary for anybody to say he is going to court to challenge the

result of the election. “The wish of the people should be supreme over that of a court judgment that is subject to technicalities and might be at variance with the peoples’ wish. “The victory of Emeka Ihedioha should be seen as victory for the entire citizenry because the quest for a change of baton in the state had raged for a long time.’’ He called on the politicians and political parties that lost in the election to put the past behind them and work with Ihedioha for the overall development of the state. The traditional ruler, who congratulated the governor-elect on his victory, advised him to extend the hand of fellowship to his co-contestants.

Joseph Ombugadu

Coalition of domestic observers lauds governorship, state assembly polls conduct in Zamfara

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he Coalition of Accredited Domestic Election Observers says it is satisfied with the conduct of the March 9 Governorship and State Assembly elections in Zamfara. The group in a statement made available to newsmen in Gusau particularly commended the In-

dependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the early release of sensitive and non sensitive materials for the elections. The statement was signed by Dr Khalifa Aljameel, Folashade Dasaolu and Miss Sakina Mukhtar, on behalf of the coalition. “This accounted for the com-

Governor Abdulaziz Yari

APGA yet to decide on election results in Imo – Chairman

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he Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo, Mr Peter Ezeobi, says the party has yet to take a decision on the outcome of the March 9 governorship election in the state. Ezeobi made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Owerri, while reacting to a comment credited to the party’s Secretary, Alphonsus Eberendu, that the party had conceded defeat. The APGA chairman said that contrary to Eberendu’s position, the party would announce its decision after due consultation with relevant stakeholders. He said that neither the secretary nor the chairman had powers to

take decisions on behalf of the party without due consultation. “The true position is that the election has come and gone; we, as a party and other stakeholders, will take a critical decision on the way forward. “When that is done, we will tell the world,” he said. Sen Ararume, APGA Governorship Candidate polled 114,674 votes to come third in the Imo election won by Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ihedioha polled 273,404 votes to defeat his closest contender, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance who scored 190,364 votes. Ohaneze Youth congratulates

South-East Govs-elect, cautions against litigation The Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Wing on Thursday congratulated Governors-elect in the South-East and urged them to fulfill their campaign promises. President of the group, Arthur Obiorah, gave the advice in a Congratulatory message made available to newsmen on Thursday in Onitsha. Obiorah urged candidates who lost in the elections to accept the outcome in good fate and avoid unnecessary litigation. “We congratulate the governors of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu; Delta, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa and Ebonyi, David

Umahi on their re-elections. “We also congratulate the new Imo Governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha on his victory. “The governors-elect should give more political appointments to the youths because they are the bedrock of meaningful development in any promising society. “Those who lost at the polls should not go into unnecessary litigations, but see the outcome of the elections as true reflection of the people’s political decision,” Obiorah said. He expressed worry over the declaration of the governorship election in six states by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as inconclusive.

mencement of the election process in good time. “Our representatives and credible reporters were in all the 2,516 polling units in the 147 wards of the 14 local government areas of the state and sent in reports of the polls. “They said elections were successfully conducted except in two units in Shinkafi Local Government where elections were also conducted peacefully the next day, “the statement said. They also commended the Zamfara Government for providing a level playing ground for all the participating political parties and their candidates “which resulted in an impressive voter turnout. “Voter turnout was overwhelming and commendable; the overall electioneering process was peaceful; majority of the voters, party agents, observers, security agents and polling officials witnessed the sorting of ballots and jointly signed all the necessary documents, “the group said. On the allegation of harassment of election observers by security agents, especially the military by one of the observer groups, the coalition maintained that “as far as we know and having gone round the state during the elections, we did not encounter nor hear of any harassment by the security agents”. “In fact, the security agents were everywhere carrying out their routine duty of checking vehicles on election duty and we believe this was necessary in order to guard against any election fraud and other crimes,” it said.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

POLITICS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Sultanate Council remains apolitical – official

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he Sokoto Sultanate Council on Thursday condemned some media reports associating the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Sultanate Council with certain national and state political issues. A statement signed by the Secretary of the council, Umar Ladan, issued to the newsmen in Sokoto said that neither the Sultan nor any member of the council belonged to any political party. “We do not have any contestant to any elective post; the council does not hold any ally and will not in any way interfere with political and electoral issues.

“Whoever did engage in politics, has done so in his own volition and not the Sultan or the Sultanate Council,’’ the statement said. It also said that the Sultan and the council believed in the rule of law, justice and fairness in all our affairs. On the recently conducted general election, it said that whosoever felt aggrieved was free to seek redress in court. “The council remains apolitical and will continue to play its role in the provision of traditional and spiritual leadership for peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians,’’ the statement said.

PDP gains more seats in Kaduna Assembly

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he opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has gained two additional seats in the just concluded House of Assembly election in Kaduna State. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PDP, which had only seven members in the assembly after the 2015 election, now has a total of nine members. The elected PDP members would represent Kaura, Jema’a, Jaba, Sanga, Kajuru, Chikun, Kachia, Zangon Kataf and Zonkwa constituencies. NAN reports that 17 of the assembly members have retained their seats while 16 are fresh members. According to details released by INEC on the election, the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, retained it’s hold on the assembly with 24 members, down from the 27 it has in the 8th Assembly. INEC will hold by-election in Kagarko constituency on March

23, 2019 for the state constituency seat. Members of the APC for the 9th Assembly will be representing Sabon Gari, Basawa, Zaria Kewaye, Zaria City, Makarfi, Soba, Maigana, Ikara, Kakangi, Magajin Gari, Igabi East, Igabi west, Kauru, Makera, Tudun Wada, Unguwan Sunusi, Kubau, Doka/ Gabasawa, Kudan, Lere West, Lere East, Giwa West and Giwa East constituencies. NAN reports that the 16 fresh members include Yusuf Mugu (Kaura); Suleiman Dabo (Zaria City), Aminu Ahmed (Makarfi), Bala Tagagi (Kakangi), Monday Dikko (Jaba), Mrs Comfort Amwe (Sanga), Ishaku Chawaza (Chikun), Salisu Bala (Igabi East) Also among the incoming fresh lawmakers are, Tanimu Musa (Kachia), Ali Kalat (Jema’a), Shehu Inusa (Kubau), Faisal Abbas (Kudan), Kantiok Bako (Zonkwa), Rilwanu Gadagau (Giwa West), and Yusuf Ibrahim Labo (Giwa East).

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto

Building Collapse: Tinubu says incident tragic, commiserates with victims’ families

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ll Progressives Congress National Leader, Sen. Bola Tinubu, says the children who died in Wednesday’s building collapse in Lagos Island did not deserve to die the way they did, describing the incident as tragic. Tinubu, in a condolence message made available by his Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman, on Thursday in Lagos, commiserated with the families of the victims, praying that God would comfort them and grant repose of the souls of the young ones. Some school pupils were among those that lost their lives

Kalu promises harmonious relationship with Orji in Senate

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enator-elect for Abia North and former state governor, Chief Orji Kalu, said on Thursday that he had put his political enmity with his successor, Sen. Theodore Orji, behind him and was prepared to work harmoniously with him in the Senate. Kalu said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria correspondent in Umuahia, shortly after receiving his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Election Commission in Abuja. He said: “I have forgiven him (Orji) for the benefit of Abia people and we are going to work as one family in the Senate in the interest of Abia and Nigeria. “We are going to have a robust relationship in the Senate because the interest of Abia and Abians is uppermost to me.” Kalu and Orji, who succeeded

him in 2007 as Abia governor, had been arch- political enemies for almost a decade due to political differences. Kalu, who won the Feb. 23 National Assembly polls, after two consecutive attempts, said that he would work assiduously to rewrite the history of representation in his senatorial district. “There is a lot of work to do for my constituency and we shall work to support the programmes of the Federal Government to ensure they succeed,” he said. Kalu, who was a member of the House of Representatives in the aborted Third Republic, promised that the ninth Senate would reverse the unnecessay delay in the passage of the annual budget. He said that the Senate would ensure that the Appropriation Bills received expeditious consideratios, once they were presented

by the president. “The consideration and passage of budget estimates would not exceed three months. Once the president presents the bill in September, by December we would have concluded the consideration. “By so doing, the budget would be ready by January for the president’s assent,” Kalu said. He said that during the consideration of the budget, the ministers would be restrained from embarking on overseas trips. “They must be available during the budget defence. They would not be allowed to travel overseas until the budget is ready,” Kalu said. He said that his membership of the Senate would be remarkable, saying that he would strive to build harmonious relationship among all the ethnic nationalities in the National Assembly.

after a three-storeyed building located on Massey Street, in ItaFaji, Lagos Island, collapsed on Wednesday. The school of the pupils was located on one of the floors of the building. Aside the dead, many other persons injured were rescued from the rubble and taken to different hospitals for treatment. Tinubu said: “The building collapse in Ita-Faji, Lagos Island on Wednesday is a tragic occurrence. I commiserate with the families of those children who lost their precious lives. “They do not deserve to die the way they did. May God comfort their families and grant repose of the souls of those young ones. “If after the collapsed building had been found to be weak and marked for demolition and everybody had done what was required of them, perhaps this terrible incident would have been averted. “On its part, the government must fast-track demolition arrangements once a building is discovered to be weak and deserving of being pulled down to save

lives,” he said. Tinubu also said that the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory for buildings should be strengthened and the officers should carry out their work appropriately. According to him, government’s laid down regulations on building construction and maintenance must be faithfully respected and enforced. “To mobilise support for these regulations, community development associations need to come to government’s aid. “Above all, we must all take appropriate lessons and learn from this sad incident,” he said. The former Lagos State Governor urged the state government to ensure adequate medical treatment for the rescued victims. He also appealed to residents to voluntarily donate blood not only for victims who urgently required blood but also to improve the blood bank in the state. “While we await the inquiry into the circumstances that led to the incident, we must all support government’s efforts, ” he said.

Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader, APC


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

NEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Kwara Group warns political office holders against looting, stealing

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Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

Akwa Ibom Assembly passes 2019 Appropriation of immediate importance to Akwa Bill of N672.98bn Ibom people.

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he Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N672.94bn billion, as against N646.65 billion for 2018. The budget, as passed by the assembly has an increase of N2 billion from the amount submitted to the House by Gov. Udom Emmanuel, which was N670.72 billion. The 2019 Budget is made up of N447.90 billion as Capital Ex-

penditure, N97.39 billion for Recurrent Expenditure and N127.69 billion for Consolidated Revenue. Tagged: “Budget of Industrialisation and Poverty Alleviation”, the budget was presented by the governor in November 2018. The Speaker, Onofiok Luke, said that new inputs in the budget were due to a recent public hearing of stakeholders. He said that the overall objective was to give priority to areas

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State

“We tailored the bill to meet salient socio-economic agenda of government, and of particular interests to us were infrastructure development, job creation and revenue generation. “And to keep the budget with current needs, and having considered the opinions of Akwa Ibom people and stakeholders, we decided to increase the total budget outlay by a little over 2 billion to bring the 2019 estimates to 672,984,760,760 Naira. “For instance, to further strengthen secondary education in the state, augmentation to the tune of 61.976million Naira was made to the State Secondary Education Board. “We made similar augmentation to the Akwa Ibom Universal Basic Education Board, where specific provisions were made for the upgrade of library facilities with reading materials including newspapers, magazines and journals for our children. “To strengthen local government administration, we augmented the initial N150 million provision for Local Government Service Commission by 447million Naira. “Under that provision, we included an extra subhead providing for the establishment and setting up of computer units and laboratories at the Local Government Service Commission and in all the 31 local government areas in the state,” Luke said. He directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to send the clean copy of bill to the governor for assent.

civic group, Kwara Coalition for Good Governance and Accountability (KwaraCGGA), has warned political office holders in the outgoing Kwara government to refrain from lastminute looting of public funds or stealing of government’s property. Hassan Omoiya, Secretary General of the group, gave the warning in a statement issued on Thursday in Ilorin. Omoiya said report reaching the group was that some officials have embarked on looting of public funds and property since after the outcome of the governorship election in the state. He also called on Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara not do anything that would create confusion for the new administration. The group said the rumoured plan of the government to create new Local Government Development Areas (LCDA) or negotiate the new minimum wage with labour leaders were not in good faith or in the larger interest of Kwara. “We have it on good record that the PDP government plans to create LCDAs and negotiate the new minimum wage, even though it really doesn’t pay the current minimum salary faithfully. “We hope this is not true because that will be in bad faith

since its term expires in about two months. “It will be unfair to create crisis of confidence between the new government and the people or the workers. “We hope Gov. Ahmed will, for once, act like a statesman that the office of Governor has bestowed upon him. “Also, we call on the incumbent Governor to be a statesman and avoid setting traps for the incoming administration,” Omoiya added. According to him, report reaching the group was that many political office holders have started looting government funds and stealing government properties, especially vehicles. Omoiya advised the incoming administration not to embark on witch-hunt of anybody, but to remain focused in the herculean task of rebuilding the state. He appealed to the people of the state to show understanding with the incoming government in the task to fix Kwara back. According to Omoiya, the work of the incoming administration would be made easier if everyone exercise patience. He also appealed to the people not to hesitate to blow the whistle on any public officer stealing public funds or property.

Enugu Multi-Door Courthouse records 96 cases in 7 months

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sita Okwo, the Registrar of the Multi-Door Courthouse, Enugu state, says the courthouse has recorded 96 cases since its inception in September, 2018. Okwo said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Thursday, adding that 25 cases had been resolved. He said that the courthouse provides services to individuals, cooperate bodies and organisations through mediation, conciliation and arbitration. The registrar said that the institution was established as an alternative to litigation for the quick dispensation of cases in an atmosphere that would build relationships. He further said that the courthouse was designed to resolve court referred matters. Okwo said that the insitution

had a three-month time frame to dispense with any matter brought before it. He added that any case the courthouse could not resolve would be referred back to the court where it originated from. He said: “In multi-door courthouse, we have a time frame of three months within which matters are disposed of.” Okwo commended the Enugu state government for funding the courthouse but pleaded for more funding to enable it to discharge its duties effectively. He said that the courthouse was rendering services at a cheaper rate and required more funds to sensitise the people about its services. He called on agencies and corporate oganisations to help the courthouse to disseminate the information about its services.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

ENERGY/OIL & GAS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

GENCOs release 4,438MW of electricity E lectricity generating companies in Nigeria released an average of 4,438 megawatts of power into the national grid on Wednesday, a daily energy report has said. The report, which was compiled by the Advisory Power Team, Office of the Vice President, was made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja. It stated that the energy released by the companies was down

by 4.82 megawatts from the figure delivered on Tuesday. It, however, indicated that 1,818 megawatts could not be generated due to unavailability of gas. The report said that unavailability of transmission infrastructure also accounted for non-generation of 42.7 megawatt during the period. Similarly, it said that 1,497 megawatts was not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infra-

structure. The report revealed that the power sector lost an estimated N1.6billion on Wednesday to factors such as insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure. On sector reform and activities, it said that the dominant constraint for Wednesday’s generation was unavailability of gas. It said that the peak generation attained on the day was 4,860 megawatts.

Energy integration accross Africa will reduce As we go forward, we want to be unemployment –Baru a desired partner in ensuring that the global energy market are supplied with the diversity of energy sources,” he stated. Other Ministers and high level energy executives from Ghana, Mali, South Sudan, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone participated during the meeting.

Kainji, Jebba power plants generates 922mw daily, says Concessionaire

Mr. Baru Maikanti, GMD - NNPC

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he Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, has said that energy integration across the African sub-region would reduce unemployment, restiveness and improve economies of the affected countries. Baru disclosed this in a statement issued by the Corporation in Abuja, on Thursday Baru spoke at a meeting with the U. S. Energy Secretary, Rick Perry and some African petroleum ministers, on the sidelines of the 19th CERAWeek Conference taking place in Houston, U.S. CERAWeek is aninternational Energy conference organised by IHS Markit and it is a global platform on energy trends and public policy where over 4,000 oil and gas experts convene annually to debate the future of oil, natural gas, renewable energy and new technologies. “Nigeria as a regional leader has already encouraged regional integration by first putting up the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) to ensure gas is available to West Africa. “We are also doing the Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP), even as we are intent on extending the WAGP to Morocco,” Baru told the U.S. Energy Secretary at the occasion, ” he said. He futher said the intent was to come up with a West African Power Pool that would put up power plants and other gas-based industries along those areas within the respective countries. Baru added tha Nigeria’s crude oil production had seen tremendous improvement in recent years, due to Federal Government’s laudable efforts in en-

Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN)

suring security in the Niger Delta region. He said Nigeria and U.S. had been very good partners with about 35 billion worth of trade between the two countries. In his remarks, the U. S. Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, expressed his country’s commitment towards helping Africa achieve energy independence for the benefit of their people. “For our part we will support progress by engaging economically as well as championing open markets in societies. “We endorse the modernisation of critical oil and gas infrastructure which leads to better security and diversification of energy supplies and exports,” he said. Describing innovation as the surest path to energy security, Perry added that once countries innovate, they are greeted with greater economic growth, opportunities and national security. “We support efforts to improve the regional interconnectivity. We also see energy access as critical to increasing prosperity and combating the cycle of poverty,” he added. He said as the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, the U.S.was more than well-positioned to not only share its resources, but also its technology and know-how. He said his country would work towards transforming the Africa’s domestic energy systems so that it would provide power, create jobs, foster development, open up new opportunities and improve almost every facet of human existence on the continent. “The U.S. is very eager to share its energy resources and expertise with the African continent.

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he Concessionaire managing the Kainji and Jebba Hydro Power plants said the cumulative power generation capacity of the plants have increased from 582 megawatts (MW) per day in 2013 to 922MW in 2019. Siraj Abdullahi, the Executive Director of Mainstream Energy Solutions, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the the First Quarter Consultative Forum on Public Private Partnerships (PPP). The Forum was organised by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). Mashi stated that the plants currently generate an average of 20 per cent of Nigeria’s power. “We took possession of the Kainji and Jebba Hydro Power Plants in November 2013 at a time when the total capacitiy of both plants was 582MW. “During the process of taking

Kainji Dam

over these hydro power plants, we made a commitment to the Federal Government, to recover and restore the plants to their capacity of 1,338.4MW. “Today, in spite of the serious challenges facing the electricity supply industry, you will be glad to know that we are at 69 per cent recovery. “Our plants now have the generation capacity of 922MW,” he said. Mashi said that since Mainstream Energy took over the power plants it had made technical improvements on their operations. Some of the improvements he mentioned at Jebba included rehabilitation of eroded banks of spillway channel, fabrication of new draft tube gate, overhaul on plant generating unit 2G4 and installation of new pipping cranes. At the Kainji plant, he said

the company had repaired the leakages in some of the turbines, installed more control panel and cables arrangement of open pit pumps amongst others. The Executive Director said that the company was working to increase its capacity further so that it can begin to export energy to other west African countries. He said also that the company plans to invest in solar and wind energy in order to further boost its power generation capacity. Mashi said the company had many challenges and the major one was the accumulated overdue payment of N73 billion by the Federal government. In addition, he said that when the dollar was devalued from N198 to the present rate of N306 to a dollar, it affected the amount the company now pays as Concession fees.


WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

ENERGY/OIL & GAS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

27

TCN procures 3 power reactors for Ikot-Ekpene, Jos, Markurdi substations

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he Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says it has procured three power reactors, which have been deployed to Ikot-Ekpene, Jos and Apir(Markurdi) 330KV transmission substations for installation. Mrs Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the reactors would help correct the voltage problem along the 330KV Ikot Ekpene- UgwuajiMakurdi- Jos Transmission Line axis. She said the 330KV line had been exposed to constant voltage instability up to 360KV at the IkotEkpene, Makurdi and Ugwaji end of the transmission line. This, she said was due to lack of reactors in the substations. “TCN procured three new reactors that will be installed in the Ikot-Ekpene, Jos and Apir substations. “Once they are commissioned, the reactors will serve to substantially stabilise high voltage along the transmission line. “Two of the new reactors are already in Jos and Apir substations, while the third one is on its way to Ikot-Ekpene. ‘’ Mbah, however, said the 330KV transmission line had other

design errors which included lack of transposition and fiber optic on the Ugwuaji –Makurdi part of the transmission line. This, she said was necessary for effective Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) operations. She said the company was, however, committed to attending to the problems and ensure that the voltage issue on the 330kV line is permanently solved. “Last year, TCN engaged a contractor to produce a holistic mapping of its SCADA requirements nationwide, the report was subjected to an international workshop. “TCN had since then progressed on its SCADA processes which once completed and implemented, will solve the fiber optic problem on the Ugwuaji – Makurdi axis of the 330kV Ikot-Ekpene – Jos transmission line. “The transposition problem on the other hand is also being addressed,’’ she said. She reiterated the company’s commitment to expanding the nation’s grid, noting that TCN would ensure the installation of the reactors by the contractor having delivered the reactors to the three substations.

APC welcomes court order restraining INEC over Adamawa Governor election

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he Adamawa Chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said the court order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting supplementary governorship election in Adamawa has vindicated the party. Alhaji Ahmed Lawal, State Organising Secretary of the party made this known on Thursday while reacting to the court order. Lawal said that the party had earlier objected to the entire governorship election claiming that it was marred with many irregularities. He called on APC supporters

to remain calm as they get ready to go into another governorship election. According to him, APC will win if the process were fair. NAN recalls that the governorship election held in Adamawa was declared inconclusive by INEC. The Movement for the Restoration of Democratic for Development (MRDD) petitioned an Adamawa High Court, on the omission of its party logo on the ballot paper during the March 9, governorship election. The court issued an order restraining INEC from conducting a rerun election in the state.

We are recruiting, NNPC confirms

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he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) says it has opened its portal for recruitment of fresh graduates and experienced professionals into the system. Ndu Ughamadu, its Group General Manager, (Public Affairs Division), confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday. He said that the portal for the recruitment was opened on Wednesday. The recruitment portal address

is https:/careers.nnpcgroup.com. “The portal was opened today and I have received hundreds of inquiries weather it is correct or not. ” We are going to recruit people from different engineering fields , especially fresh graduates and equally in the administrative areas,” he said Ughamadu said that recruitment would be in three categories of fresh graduates, senior officers/ supervisory cadre and managerial cadre.

Mrs Ndidi Mbah, General Manager, Public Affairs - TCN

Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe JDA sign PSC with Total

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he Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority (JDA) has signed a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with Total Nigeria Limited on Joint Development Zone (JDZ) blocks 7, 8 and 11. Speaking at the contract signing on Thursday in Abuja, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfery Onyeama, said the contract was a big milestone for the two countries. He said that Nigeria would continue to support efforts aimed at strengthening its partnership with Sao Tome and Principe in oil business. Onyeama, who was represented by Mr Lot Egopija from the ministry, gave the assurance that government would further strengthen the relations between the two countries. The Acting Chairman of the JDA Board, Dr Almajiri Geidam, said that the contract would facilitate effective management of petroleum resources in both countries. He added that it would bring more investors and expand the existing business between the two countries. Geidam said that the authority had signed a treaty with Total in 2001 on exploration of some oil blocks, noting that this second round of PSC would be effectively carried out. “The Board worked tirelessly to ensure that the signed PSC treaty will be executed with trans-

parency and accountability. This will help investors and partners to utilise the huge potentials of the JDA,” he said. Also, Dr Elsa Pinto, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sao Tome and Principe, said her country would continue to be committed to the terms of the contract. She said that the PSC would come with its challenges and expectation, urging both parties to effectively work to achieve positive result. Pinto reiterated the commitment and willingness of her country to continue to work with Nigeria. “I want to thank the Nigerian government for all the technical support we have been receiving from you. They have given us good results,” he said. In his remarks, the Managing Director of Total, Mr Nicholas Terraz, said that signing the contract was a home coming for Total as it

had worked with JDA in the past on Block 1. “Our signing the contract is our way of demonstrating our willingness to do something meaningful for both countries. We appreciate their confidence in Total,” he said. He added that Total would invest close to 10 million US dollars in executing this project. Also, Dr Ibiwari Jack, the JDA Executive Director, said that the JDZ is an area located between the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, adding that the two countries were at the center. He said that the board took time to deliberate before reaching this agreement bearing in mind the challenges and what it would take to engage an IOC like Total. He said that licensing lines for the contract has been concluded, pointing out that the blocks 7, 8 and 11 covered about eight square kilometers.


WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

SPORTS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

28

Dalung urges Edo government to pay more attention to traditional sports

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olomon Dalung, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, on Thursday in Benin urged the Edo government to pay more attention to traditional sports development. Dalung, who made the call while speaking during a courtesy visit on Gov. Godwin Obaseki, said that Edo had the wherewithal to develop traditional sports in the country. According to the minister, the state is enormously rich in culture in such a way that it will not lack cultural sports to showcase in any national sporting event. He commended the state government for ongoing infrastructural development in various sporting facilities ahead of the hosting of the

National Sport Festival in 2020. He assured the state of federal government partnership and support towards a successful hosting of the event. Responding, Obaseki said the state was prepared to justify the confidence reposed in it by the federal government through the granting of hosting right for the festival. The governor said adjustments had been made on all the sporting facilities being built by the state government to make them fit for the event. Obaseki said the government had secured the assurances of contractors that test-run on some of the facilities would commence in October.

Don’t underestimate role of sports in driving economy, Obaseki urges state govts. He said his was why the state

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ov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has called on State Governments not to underestimate the role of sports in driving the nation’s economy. The governor gave the charge while addressing at the Extra-ordinary Meeting of the National Council on Sports (NCS) in Benin on Thursday. “Edo is noted for its superlative efforts and those records are still being maintained, as shown at the just-concluded 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Abuja last year. “For any state that desires to be regarded in the community of states and which understands the need to attract talent, human resources and human capacity to drive its economy, you can’t underestimate the role of sports.’’ The Governor said his administration views sports activities in the state as being important.

government would soon publish a list of members of its formidable Local Organising Committee (LOC) and sub-committees for the 2020 NSF. Obaseki commended the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, for the revival of the National Sports Festival, which could not hold for six years. The governor assured the Minister and participants at the meeting that the state would ensure the return of the usual standards to the festival. Speaking also, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, commended the Edo government and its people on the successful hosting of the extra-ordinary NCS meeting. Dalung said the meeting was to deliberate on efforts to advance sports in Nigeria, especially by focusing on the review of the last edition of the NSF.

Solomon Dalung, Minister of Sports

Manchester United could have Champions League fixtures reversed, UEFA says

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anchester City and Manchester United will not play their home games in next month’s UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on the same or consecutive nights, UEFA said on Thursday. European football’s governing body said, ahead of Friday’s draw, that this was as a result of a decision by local authorities. It said it would amend the scheduling if both Manchester clubs are drawn to play their home games in the same week. UEFA said Manchester United, who finished below champions Manchester City in the English

Premier League last season, would have their fixture reversed. The quarter-final first leg matches will be played on April 9 and April 10 with the return legs scheduled for April 16 and April 17. “Following a decision made by relevant local authorities, Manchester City and Manchester United cannot play at home on the same night, nor on consecutive nights,” UEFA said. “Should both clubs be drawn within the same sequence (home or away), the team having finished lower in the domestic league the previous season — in this case

United — will be reversed in accordance with the UEFA Club Competitions Committee principles. “In accordance with paragraph 21.01(b) of the UEFA Champions League regulations, the UEFA administration will determine which matches will be played on Tuesday, which matches on Wednesday.” UEFA said that the same rule would apply should both teams advance to the semi-finals. There is also the possibility that derby rivals Manchester United and Manchester City could face each other in the quarter-finals.

Lack of funds delaying commencement of national basketball leagues, NBBF official says

National Basketball Team of Nigeria - D’Tigers

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he general elections and issues of finance are responsible for the delay in the commencement of the 2019 national basketball season, an official of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has said. Afolabi Oni, the NBBF Media Officer, however said on Thursday

in Abuja that efforts were underway to get the basketball season underway very soon. “The peculiarity of this year being an election year is one of the major reasons the national basketball leagues have not started. “Another reason why we haven’t

been able to kick-start the 2019 season is finance. “The first event we hold annually is the stakeholders’ meeting, where we bring everybody together from the Savannah and the Atlantic Conferences to deliberate ahead of the new season. “Hopefully, that will now happen sometime in early April,” Oni who is also an NBBF board member, said. NAN reports that there are four major professional basketball leagues in Nigeria: the men’s Premier League, the Women’s Premier League and the Men’s Divisions 1 and 2 Leagues. The NBBF media officer said the federation was working round the clock to ensure that the leagues’ for this season take off very soon. “We are hoping that the women’s league will commence later in April. “As for the men’s premier league, we are putting into consideration the two Nigerian clubs at the African Basketball Championship. “One has been eliminated though, but we are looking at how successfully the second club will

perform. By and large, the Premier League should commence around the same time,’’ he said. Nigeria is being represented at the African Basketball Championship by league defending champions Rivers Hoopers and Civil Defenders. While the Hoppers have been eliminated from the tournament, the Defenders are still in the race. Afolabi assured basketball-loving Nigerians that once activities pick up, there would not be any more hitches, especially as proper structure has been put in place by the federation. “Now that we have a proper structure, the Divisions 1 and 2 leagues too will follow. We are also planning a road show for the women’s league. “The leagues are expected to run between April and August,” he said. Afolabi also pointed out that the 2019 Nigerian basketball season was going to be affected by the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Before the 2019 edition, the FIBA World Cup used to clash with the FIFA World Cup.

However, 2019 is the first time the FIBA World Cup would not be staged in a football World Cup year. “The World Cup event will clash with the 2019 Africa Games, where Nigeria is also expected to compete in the basketball event. “This will slightly affect our plans for both tournaments. “The FIBA World Cup in China will clash with the Africa Games in Morocco. The World Cup will start on Aug. 31 and within that time there will be the African Games. “But our team’s camping for the World Cup will first begin in the U.S., then continue in Nigeria, before finally ending in China, where Nigeria will participate in an annual basketball tournament before the World Cup. “We also hope that D’Tigers will play some friendly games along the line,” he said. NAN reports that the FIBA World Cup draw will take place at the Shenzhen Cultural Centre, Shenzhen in China on Saturday. Nigeria is one of the 24 participating countries, and they will know their opponents at the end of the draw.


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WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Operators Tackle CBN over National MFBs Establishment Continued from page 1

never got it. If the CBN claims MfBs are not disbursing the money the way they want, then they should tell us how many MfBs they disbursed mon-ey to and publish those that did not pay. You will hardly see one or two. “Let us do a check and see how MfBs in Nigeria are being regulated and compare with other clime and see what is ob-tainable in places such as Bangladesh, Kenya. Some people come to us believing the money is government money, what is the CBN doing as campaign to create awareness, they are not doing it and so these people do not understand that these money are meant for develop-mental purposes’’, he said.. They leave us to our self and they are claiming we are not disbursing. “MfBs are in this industry for business, we are set up for two things, the social and the financial. “If they are complaining that MfBs are charging high interest rates, we have bases to compare. What is the problem of Nigeria, two things are established, access to finance, when there is finance so many things would be in place, today, if the federal government work and ensure that there is power, things would be easy for everybody. “Microfinance is a sub sector in a financial sector. Any country that seeks to develop in this world must not joke with the SMEs because it is from the small that the big comes. Some of our graduate complain of unemployment and so many of them have intellect to produce, they need as low as N100,000 to produce but they cannot get such mon-ey except from the MfBs. “They set up the MfB and promised in the policy direction that they are going to partner and ensure that most of the government interventions pass through this MfBs. But what we are seeing now is the setting up of specialised banks like Development Bank of Nigeria, DBN and if you want to collect money from development bank they will go on air and tell people that they routing their money through the MfBs.

Meanwhile, to access money from the DBN today, you have to sign a 61 to 70 pages agreement. Why will I give what I do not have? And they want me to give it to the people at the bottom end, who cannot sign even one page,” Whensu said. Another operator who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the national MfB is not a welcome development and that it was intended in bad faith, stating: “Everywhere in the world, government has no business in microfinance bank, whoever is encouraging them to establish that bank is not helping them. They taught us according to their principle number eight and I quote: “The job of government is to enable financial services not to provide them directly, government can almost never do a good job but they can set a supporting policy environment” “They are

our regulators, what does the law states? The law says don’t be caught stealing, it is the bible that say don’t steal. If you are caught stealing there is punishment for it. If the CBN has given money to somebody who did not do well, what about those who did excellently well? What the CBN has done is to lump all MfBs together. However, Governor Emefiele, has dismissed the fear as unfounded with no substance.“The existing microfinance in-stitutions are doing their best and I must say that I have heard some of them say that this is an attempt to crowd them out,” the CBN governor said. “It is not an attempt to crowd them out but it is also an attempt to complement their services and also see to it that whatever services that are being provided by these microfinance institutions, which are in their own right also banks- that they should be seen to be fair to

their customers. “We know that those who are weak in terms of being unable to access credit- the big issue for them is also the inabil-ity to provide collateral. So what are we saying here? They will be able to access credit without necessarily providing any collateral. “The asset that we are financing for them, like the poultry business will act as the collateral – that collateral will be reg-istered in the National Collateral Registry as something that is eligible to serve as collateral or security for a loan that has been taken, he assured. The birth of national microfinance banks is laudable and advantageous to economic development. Its simplicity, zero collateral request and a burden assumed by the National Collateral Registry, makes the initiative a good companion for achieving financial inclusion.

ADB pledges $25Bn to climate finance for 2020-2025, doubling its commitments Continued from page 1

The Bank made another milestone announcement. “It is not good enough to simply ask countries to stay away from polluting technologies,” Adesina said. “We have to be proactive in exploring alternatives. We will therefore be launching the ‘green baseload’ facility under the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA 2.0) to provide concessional fi-nance and

technical assistance to support the penetration and scale-up of renewable energy, to provide affordable and reliable renewable energy baseload.” Several donors, including Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Italy, the UK and USAID have indicated their interest in this transformative instrument, which will also help to replace coal. The African Development Bank has played a criti-cal role in building Africa’s clean energy capacities.

The Bank’s last investment in a coal project was 10 years ago. Addi-tionally, and in line with its ambitious New Deal on Energy for Africa, 95% of all Bank investments in power generation over the 2016-18 period have been in renewables. The “Desert to Power” program, a $10 billion initiative to build a 10 GW solar zone across the Sahel—the largest in the world— would provide electricity for 250 million people. Together

with partners such as the Green Climate Fund and the EU, the Bank has now financed the first project under this Initiative: The Yeleen Rural Electrification Project in Burkina Faso. Key Bank projects include the co-financing of the 510 MW Ouarzazate Solar Complex in Morocco, one of the largest solar complexes in the world.

NEWS Vetiva signs MoU AGF over $100 million energy fund Vetiva Capital Management Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Climate Finance Advisory Limited and the African Guarantee Fund West Africa (AGF) to launch the Green Energy Fund (GEF) Program, a renewable energy fund which is expected to raise $100 million in the next 5 years. According a statement the fund is expected to focus on bankable, commercially viable and socially re-sponsible renewable energy generation and distribution, while leveraging available public and private sector credit funds to facilitate access to flexible finance to eco-friendly energy projects. The green energy projects that the fund is looking to support are captive power and mini- grid power projects where renewables and gas are preferred sources of energy. Speaking on the agreement, Jubril Adeojo, Director and Chief Investment Adviser at Climate Finance Advisory Limited, said that “the ultimate aim of the tripartite partnership is to create green asset port-folio in excess of $100 million over a period of 5 years. AGF will provide up to 50 percent partial risk guarantee to enable green energy project developers’ access up to 10 years long-term local currency concessional loans to implement their green projects.” Adidja ZANOUVI, Managing Director of AGF West Africa expressed her pleasure with the MoU, and that “AGF West Africa is pleased, to be part of this tripartite partnership as a partial guarantor to en-hance access to finance for climate and green growth-oriented SMEs in Nigeria and West Africa at large.” Also speaking on the agreement, Damilola Ajayi, Group Executive Director at Vetiva, stated that “the signing of this MOU is another important step in facilitating flow of funding towards bankable, com-mercially viable and environmentally friendly energy projects in Nigeria and, indeed, the rest of Africa. This does not only provide alternative capital deployment channels for investors but seeks to contrib-ute to addressing the energy deficit in Nigeria.” Vetiva had earlier signed a partnership agreement with Climate Bonds Initiative (UK) to develop a liq-uid green and climate bond market in Africa. “On the final note, we are glad that the program has come when Nigeria is strategically making lauda-ble moves to attain its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement on combat-ing climate change,” Adeojo added.


NEWS

WESTAFRICA BUSINESSNEWS

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

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NSE advises engineers to adopt measures against residential, industrial electrical fires

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he Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Thursday in Lagos called for the use of the right cables in industrial and residential areas to avert building fire and other accidents in the nation. The society made the call at a one day workshop, tagged “Effective Selection and Wiring for Residential and Industrial Purposes”, organised by the Apapa branch of NSE in Ijora. The participants discussed measurements, measures, technology and skills to be deployed for safe wiring as well as addressing issues of counterfeiting of cables. Michael Awe, one of the guest speakers, while delivering his lecture said that choosing the right cable was important because someone must pay for the errors made during installation. “Whenever you commit an error during wiring either in residential or industrial areas, somebody somewhere will pay. “No matter how big or magnificent a building is, wrong electrical connection can raze it down,” he said. Awe explained that electrical engineers must be careful not to undersize or oversize cables to avert disasters. He listed factors for choosing the right cables to include temperature, distance, current carrying capacity, voltage and the environment for installation. “Cable selection is very important. Whatever radius chosen should not hamper the performance of the cables,” he said. Awe advised engineers to take issue of sizing of cables as priority, adding that aluminium cables would not do well in the environment that require copper. He listed the various categories and specifications for installation of cables in oil and gas environ-

ment, offices, residential areas, industrial areas and water logged environment among others. Mr Peter Igwe, General Manager, Cometstar Manufacturing Company Ltd., said in his lecture that the firm hit the market in 2016 to address the problem of quality of cables. He raised alarm on counterfeiting of cables and educated engineers on how not to fall victim of huge number of substandard cables flooding the nation’s market. He said that the firm had been at the forefront of ensuring distribution of certified cables which were fire retardent and was collaborating with the NSE and other regulatory agencies to ensure use of the right cables in Nigeria. He urged engineers to also watch out for the mechanical strength of cables and put adequate protection around installation to avert accidents as well as damage to cables due to human activities. “The load carrying capacity of cables is very important,” he said. He used the opportunity to educate the engineers on the use of high tension cables, underground cables, communication cables and other cable varieties. Mr Sunny Ejeje, Chairman of the Apapa branch of NSE, while speaking noted the need for constant learning through workshops. He said that the NSE had an industrial visit that revealed the enormity of the problems of counterfeiting. “You will discover fire disasters everywhere from air-conditioners and others and we got concerned, are our cables no more efficient? “So, we organised this workshop to address this problem from Alaba International Market to other stakeholders. “If we go to the right sources to buy cables, the people producing fake will not sell,” he said.

L-R: Sunny Ejeje, Chairman Apapa Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr Ekpo-Otu, Deputy Director, Works Central Workshop, Mr Peter Igwe, GM Cometstar Manufacturing Company Ltd and Mr Christian Ufot, NSE Apapa Vice-Chairman during a workshop in Lagos on Thursday

Iran’s oil tanker fleet being squeezed as sanctions bite

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ran is running short of options to replace its aging fleet of tankers and keep oil exports flowing because renewed U.S. sanctions are making potential sellers and flag registries wary of doing business with Tehran. Since U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in November, exploratory talks with South Korea for up to 10 new supertankers have stalled. “Panama has also removed no less than 21 Iranian tankers from its registry forcing Tehran to put the vessels under its own flag,’’ local media reported on Wednesday. Washington has put restrictions on Iran’s port, energy and ship-

ping sectors; however it has given temporary waivers to the country’s eight biggest oil customers, which include China, India and Japan, so they can keep buying Iranian crude. With oil exports accounting for an estimated 70 per cent of Iran’s revenues, maintaining a fleet of enough tankers to store and move that oil is crucial for Tehran. However, potential sellers of vessels are more wary under the new round of sanctions after a Greek network that helped Iran buy tankers under previous restrictions was blacklisted. “Iran has been looking for ships, but this time round it is going to be harder, there is so much more scrutiny now.

Health sector: FG battles $10bn annual infrastructure deficit – Perm Sec

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he Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Abdullahi Mashi, said that the country’s health sector has an annual deficit running into about 10 billion dollars (N3.06 trillion), in infrastructure gap. Mashi, who was represented by Dr Omobolanle Olowu, the Head of Public Private Partnership (PPP) at the Ministry disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the First Quarter Consultative Forum. The Forum on PPP was organised by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). Mashi said that with the dwindling oil price, which accounts for over 70 per cent of government’s

revenue, there was no way the government alone could finance the infrastructure deficit in the health sector. He, however, noted that the Federal Government current policy places emphasis on the private sector driving developments within the health sector, adding that this has created a favourable environment for PPPs and investment in health. “The health sector has potentials for private investment and government hopes to establish private sector driven world class hospitals and diagnostic centres to reverse the direction of medical tourism to Nigeria. “This is the right time and opportunity for the health sector to

showcase its potentials as a business sector, rather than just being a social sector,” Mashi said. He said the ministry plans to rehabilitate teaching hospitals, develop solar photovoltaic systems, install temperature scanning machines at the country’s entry point, using a PPP framework. The permanent secretary also revealed the Federal Government’s plan to build the Abuja Medical City, which would be a one-stop-shop for first class medical services in the country, through the Public Private Partnership. Also, the Director-General, ICRC, Chidi Izuwah said the commission is presently working to simplify the PPP process, so that more Ministries, Departments and

Agencies of government can use the model for their capital projects. “In line with the ease-of-doing business initiative of the government, we have removed the requirement of presenting the Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates to FEC, before proceeding to the PPP procurement process. “This has immensely improved the PPP delivery process by reducing the duration of the transaction, which has been a major complaint of many stakeholders. “We are also working with the Federal Ministry of Justice to conclude on a template PPP agreement, which will also improve the time it takes for a PPP transaction to be concluded,” he said.

“It is going to take them longer,” one shipping source said. Western insurers are steering clear of Iranian vessels. While Iran’s attempts to export crude to the U.S.-approved buyers is further complicated by having to put its tankers under its own flag, rather than a third country such as Panama. If Iran runs into difficulties exporting its oil it could have a significant impact. Besides the importance of oil for its budget, Iran is estimated to produce about 2.8 million barrels a day, more than 9 per cent of OPEC’s output. “Panama, the world’s leading flag state for commercial shipping, following the reimposition of sanctions decided to de-flag Iran’s ships,’’ an Iranian official said. Report says shipping data shows nearly all Iran’s tankers had been registered with Panama. All commercial ships have to be registered, flagged in a particular country, partly to comply with safety and environmental laws. A source at Panama’s flag registry said the cancellation, “affects approximately 60 Panama registered ships that are related to Iranian and Syrian owners”. However, the source did not provide further details. No less than two other tankers registered to Panama, the Sarak and the Sobar, that were not previously considered part of Tehran’s fleet, have been re-flagged to Iran this year. The owners of the vessels, who were listed in the British Virgin Islands, could not be contacted. Altogether, over 20 other tankers in Iran’s fleet have been re flagged to Iran this year.


FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019 Vol. 06 No. 304

MARKET WATCH

Online shopping: When trust, confidence become buyer/seller’s concern BY TOLU AIYEGBUSI

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narguably, many people are now living a world where information is at fingertips in which they can book a ride, order food and plan an entire holiday, using an internet connected phone or device. Technology changes the way people live completely in all activities, including business transactions with a massive impact on seller-buyer relationship. For instance, more business transactions are online unlike before and it is possible to start a small business with an online presence so as to reach the outer world. Goods and services were, hitherto, bought by walking into a store close by but with digital transfor-mation and technological devices, buying things online from any part of the world has become easier. Presently, there is a rise in online business transactions where consumers can access whatever they are looking for across the country and get the goods delivered. Online shops, ranging from Jumia, Konga, Dealdey and Slot to Kaymu, are changing many customers’ shopping habits brought about by technological advancements. Because the online shops deal in all articles such as cloths, jewelry, kitchen utensils, sports equipment, electronics, even cars, among others by this innovation, the link between a buyer and the market is stronger. Online supermarkets, stores, retail outlets have also found confidence in online advertisement as they pay for other websites or social media they choose so that internet users can patronise them. WhatsApp application, for instance, has become popular interactive platform, particularly to facilitate effective communication on buying, payments and delivery of goods. This innovation notwithstanding, Mrs Maimuna Barde, Information and Technology expert advises that it is important for sellers to display their store brand and products and allow customers to access the products online with a simplified process. Barde, the founder of Keyhub, a computer training start-up Abuja, advises further that excellent cus-tomer service is very fundamental to establishing online business. “Display your store brand online and allow your customers order for your products with a simplified checkout process,’’ she explains. However, in spite of the rise in online shopping, many people still depend on foot traffic and having a brick-and-mortar presence. This category of people expresses reservations about online shopping, observing that they may not be satisfied

Mrs Zainab Ahmed

shopping online without physical feeling of a product they desire before buying. For instance, Miss Damilola Shittu, a resident of Abuja, expresses concern about online fraud that may be associated with some websites. “Not falling for scammers online and security of goods-in-transit security is another concern but with more advancements in technology, goods can be monitored online and by communicating with the seller,’’ she said. Similarly, Mr John Ogah, a resident of Abuja, says his challenge with online market is the lack of trust in online payments. He states that there ought to be

arrangement for online businesses to come up with safe alternatives of payment by customers. “Where financial information is disclosed in cases of pay before delivery, there may be a risk of securi-ty breach, which is my fear. “Online business owners should invest in security measures such as encryption to minimise this risk, boost consumer trust and mitigate potential damage to their reputations,’’ he observes. Another online shopper, Mrs Mohammed Sadiya, who claims she has been shopping online for more than eight years, says buying approach of Nigerians is still more physical than virtual.

Online business owners should invest in security measures such as encryption to minimise this risk, boost consumer trust and mitigate potential damage to their reputations

She, nonetheless, insists that she has no time to go about on foot as long as what she orders online can be supplied. “I carefully look at specifications, depending on what I want to buy so that what I order for is what I get. “I also usually watch out for reviews on products and promptness in delivery I want, especially in pay before delivery orders; and I usually shop with trusted online stores. “I buy almost everything I need online, even bulk-buying, in this time and age, who has the time to be moving from one place to the other,’’ she says. Irrespective of the public opinions on online sales, Mrs Ade Sade, the founder of second-hand kids wear online platform — buyokrikakids — notes that more people have access in more ways than ever before to online markets. She observes that the introduction of rating systems for online outlets has helped in boosting buyer’s trust to make buying and selling on these online platforms safer. She, however, advises buyers to use only well-rated sellers while shopping and take into consideration the location of the store and where they are resident. Sade observes further that online market is still evolving and fragile to some people, especially to those that use cellular phones to do online shopping. “Things will definitely change in10year’s time because as more people have access to internet and come online, more people will embrace the innovation of buying and selling online,’’ she observes. (NANFeatures)

Printed and Published by Westafrican Business Newspapers Ltd., 9, Fadeyi Street, Ikeja, Lagos. Abuja Office: 1st Floor, BEF’s plaza, Utako, Abuja. Editor, Enyi Moses – 08037152217 Email: letters@wabusinessnewsng.com, westafricabusiness@yahoo.com, www.wabusinessnewsng.com, Newsroom: 08027562807,, Advert hotline, Lagos: 07015151515. All correspondence to Westafrica BusinessNews. P.O. Box 3120, Shomolu, Lagos.

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