Business

Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 1, 2018
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1min20

Nigeria’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Diamond Bank Plc the approval to operate as a national bank following its application for it.

The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, said this in a statement signed by the bank’s Head of Media, Ezechinyere Anyanwu, on Friday in Abuja.

According to Dozie, the move was part of Diamond Bank’s strategy to focus on Nigeria’s significant opportunities.

He said that the change in the license means Diamond Bank could expand product services to Nigerian consumers.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 1, 2018
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3min60

Dana Air has shown clear leadership in crew professionalism among domestic airlines in Nigeria as it crew clinched the Excellent Crew Professionalism Award, and Cabin Crew Excellent Award at the Nigerian Aviation Business Exhibition 2018 and Cabin Crew fair 2018 held in Lagos recently.

The Aviation Business and Exhibition 2018 and the Cabin Crew Fair 2018 organised by Mamanaviworld and Mama J Aviation Consult respectively, are platforms designed for stakeholders to deliberate on industry best practices, human capacity development and way forward for Nigeria’s aviation industry.

Commenting on the double crew excellence awards, the Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air Mr Obi Mbanuzuo said, ‘Dana Air is proud of the level of professionalism that our crew have exhibited in the last 10 years of our operation. They have been highly trained and these awards are testament to the level of courtesy and professionalism they bring to bear in not just ensuring the comfort of our guests but as safety officers.’’

Speaking further, Obi said, recently, we reaffirmed our commitment to professionalism in the industry with our sponsorship of the first-ever cabin crew reality TV show in partnership with the Crew Training Institute, and this is part of our commitment to train and impact prerequisite knowledge and soft skills needed for aspiring cabin crew.’’

He noted that the Dana Air crew also made the airline proud at the last two editions of the Nigerian Aviation Awards where one of its cabin crew members, Joy Louis, bagged the Air Crew of the year award for her human relations and efficiency, while two other members of the airline’s crew (Collins Ginika and Chiogo Okani ) beat other domestic airlines crew to the King and Queen of the Air contest crown.

Obi maintained that Dana Air will continue to be a leading light and will to do its best to encourage best practices andprofessionalism in the industry.

Dana Air recently celebrated 10 years of service to Nigeria with a record breaking load factor, an unrivaled on-time performance, world-class in-flight service and customer-centric products and services


Akeem ReachnaijaNovember 29, 2018
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3min20

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wednesday said it would raise the level of current petrol stock from 45 to 50 days, stating that this should provide adequate supply buffer for the country going into the impending Christmas and New Year season.

The NNPC also urged, through its subsidiary, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), oil marketers under the aegis of Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), to regulate the volumes of petroleum products they send to their members’ affiliate stations close to Nigeria’s borders with other African countries

The move is to stem the smuggling of the country’s cheap petroleum products to other countries.

A statement from the Group General Manager Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, quoted the Managing Director of PPMC, Mr. Umar Ajiya, to have said these when he met with executives of MOMAN in Lagos.

Ajiya explained that price arbitrage which is the differential between the regulated price of petrol in Nigeria and high products prices in neighbouring countries now encourages smuggling of products from Nigeria to these countries.

He, however, expressed confidence that MOMAN would take up the challenge, adding that its members have remained the most reliable partners in the country’s downstream petroleum sector.

According to him, the NNPC and PPMC have built up adequate stock of petrol and other products, and that their petrol stock alone would last about 45 days even in the absence of fresh supplies.

But he stressed that their target was to get the sufficiency level to 50 days.

“We have 2.2 billion litres of petrol, 1.1 billion on land and 1.1 billion on marine, 800 million litres in PPMC depots in addition to 27-day sufficiency of AGO, 98-day sufficiency of ATK and 48-day sufficiency of DPK,” Ajiya said.

He implored MOMAN to take advantage of the stock sufficiency and request for more products for their stations across the country.

Ajiya equally stated that the corporation has stocked in products in its nine Inland depots, including Enugu and Aba and will begin to sell them by December 1, 2018, with a view to forestalling frequent shortages being experienced during Christmas and New Year in the eastern part of the country.

In the statement, the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr. Clement Isong, said the association was committed to taking more products to their stations across the country.

Isong said: “We are ready to support NNPC/PPMC to flood the country with products during the Yuletide season and beyond as we go into general elections next year.”


Akeem ReachnaijaNovember 29, 2018
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5min10

About six youth age 16 to 23 years parked their wheelbarrows containing peeled bundles of sugarcanes along Katako Junction in Jos North local government area of Plateau state.
That’s their usual place of assemblage after they come back from sugarcane market in Farin Gada before they disperse to hawk the cane from street to street in the city of Jos.

On the wheelbarrows the sugarcane cut to size are arranged on the plank and tighten with black rubber bands in order to keep them together when the wheelbarrow was in motion. Each piece is sold for between N20 to N100, defending on the size.
The sugarcane sellers are all over the placwe along major roads, football fields, viewing centres and recreational centres among others places in the city.
Sugarcane is a source of sugar, which is obtained from its sweet sap.
These sellers as Daily Trust confirmed came to Jos for sugarcane business from neighbouring Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano and Jigawa states.
According to them one can start selling sugarcane in Jos if he has a minimum capital of N1, 400 after he gets wheelbarrow, plank to place on the wheelbarrow, rubber bands, bottle for spraying water on the sugarcane to prevent it from drying and a big white nylon for covering the sugarcane from flies.
The sellers mostly farmers are in the business to enable them get money to buy farm inputs for the next farming season, while others engage in the business to cater for their immediate needs.
Source noticed that the sugarcane sellers who usually arrive in Jos after harvesting their crops have now been experiencing a sales boom.
Daily Trust reporter, who visited the sugarcane market at Farin Gada and Kwanar Shagari both in Jos North Local Government Area observed that the dealers are making brisk business.
The Chairman of the sugarcane dealers in Farin Gada Market, Zaharaddeen Sani said the trade has provided a source of livelihood to hundreds of youths.
“Though it is seasonal, but the business is indeed a good and profitable venture because I make a living out of it,” he said.
Sani sold between 10 and 20 bundles of sugarcane daily, selling each bundle at the cost N1, 700.
Yusuf Ado, 17 who came from Wudil town of Kano state started the business last two years, but was able to take care of his needs and even went home with the sum of N100, 000 last year.
“I like the sugarcane business,” Ado said, “it is profitable, like today I bought one bundle of sugarcane at the sum of N1, 500, but out of it I can make extra N1, 600 as profit, last year I went home with sum of N100, 000, this excluding feeding and my transport fares,” he said.
Another sugarcane seller, Rilwanu Danyaya, 18, from Jigawa state was attracted to venture after he realized that the business is lucrative.
“The business is lucrative, if you are not lazy you would make a lot of money, like me on a normal day I do make N1, 300 or even more,” he said.
Danyaya who, after finishing primary school didn’t further his education, averagely makes a profit of N1, 000 and above from sugarcane sales daily.
He said, “My parents are poor and I cannot afford to go to school. I told myself I wouldn’t beg, now I can take care of my immediate needs and even help my parents.
“But if I would get a sponsor I want to further my education, I have a dream of becoming a medical doctor,” he said.
Magaji Hassan, 22 from Kaduna state, who started the sugarcane business three years ago, learnt the business from his elder brother who now abandoned the business to drive a taxi after he was able to save money and buy Vectra car.
“I started the business after I finished secondary school education, my elder brother introduced me to the business, he gave me his wheelbarrow and other things, and I am now enjoying the business.”
Press also gathered that most of the sugarcane traders are either out of school or have abandoned school as result of poverty. Many say they would go back to school they raise enough money or find sponsors


Akeem ReachnaijaNovember 22, 2018
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2min00

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Wednesday intervened in the interbank foreign exchange market by injecting the sum of $210 million into the market.

The central bank offered the sum of $100 million in the wholesale segment, while the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million.

Similarly, the invisibles segment, comprising tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, also received a $55 million boost.

The Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, while confirming the figures, said the CBN was pleased with the state of the forex market, adding that the Bank would continue to intervene in order to sustain the liquidity in the market and guarantee the international value of the naira.

He said the Bank was determined to achieve its objective of exchange rate stability, thus the continued injection in the foreign exchange market.

According to him, the level of transparency in the market was also a confidence boost for the market.

The CBN in its intervention last week injected the sum of $318.03m and CNY 62.18m into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS).

Meanwhile, the naira continued to maintain its stability in the forex market, exchanging at an average of N361/$1 in the BDC segment of the market Wednesday


Akeem ReachnaijaNovember 22, 2018
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3min10

COMMERCIAL banks got N956.64 billion loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in three months to boost their liquidity positions and meet commitment to customers, the quarterly economic report released by the apex bank has shown.

The report, for the third quarter showed that Standing Lending Facility (SLF) daily average transaction value amounted to N19.13 billion in 50 transaction-days, with total interest earned at N3.07 billion.

The apex bank’s tough monetary policy stance has led banks to borrow more. The Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) – benchmark interest — has remained at 14 per cent since July 2016 despite rising calls from economic experts for a lower interest rate. This has raised banks’ demand for CBN’s loans to boost their liquidity.

“Total request for the Standing Lending Facility (SLF) inclusive of Intra-day lending facilities (ILF) that was converted to overnight repo during the review quarter stood at N956.64 billion, compared with N3,960.24 billion in the preceding quarter. Daily average transaction value amounted to N19.13 billion in 50 transaction-days, with total interest earned at N3.07 billion,” it said.

“The banks continued to access the CBN’s Standing Facilities window to square up their positions either by borrowing from the standing lending facility (SLF) window or depositing excess reserves at the standing deposit facility (SDF) window of the CBN at the end of each business day,” it added.

Total standing deposit facility (SDF) granted during the review period was N5.5 trillion, with daily average of N91.09 billion, in contrast to N5.9 trillion, in the second quarter of 2018. The cost incurred on SDF in the review quarter amounted to N1.99 billion, compared with N2.15 billion in the preceding quarter.

The SLF and SDF were available for market participants to square up their positions or invest excess funds at the close of business. Similarly, Intra-day Liquidity Facility (ILF) was accessible as temporary credit to the banks to meet their funding needs within the operating hours of the CBN Inter-bank Funds Transfer System (CIFTS).

The report also said that the total assets and liabilities of the commercial banks stood at N36.2 trillion at end-August 2018, representing 0.8 per cent increase over the level at end-June 2018. The funds were sourced, largely, from mobilisaion of unclassified and foreign liabilities, and realisation of claims on CBN.

The funds were used, mainly, for payment of matured demand deposits, accretion to reserves and extension of credit to the private sector.


Akeem ReachnaijaNovember 22, 2018
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10min10

NNPC took it upon themselves to award the contract, claiming that an executive order issued from the Presidency demands that the contract be awarded immediately.

The terms of reference of the contract is meant to last for five renewable months, coming with some other conditions spelling out penalties that may attend loss of products or breaches to parts of the length of the pipeline,” one of the officials stated.

Controversy is said to be currently trailing the award of oil facilities surveillance contract to a the tune of $18.48million by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), without adherence to the nation’s Public Procurement Act, which is a violation of extant rules.

SaharaReporters reliably learnt that on September 26, 2018, NNPC approved the contract for the security surveillance of the 87-kilometre Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP) to Ocean Marine Solution Limited, owned by a Benin business mogul, Captain Hosa Okunbo, at $18.48 million.

Expressing displeasure over the way the contract was awarded, officials of the Joint Venture Partners who spoke in confidence with SaharaReporters, said the contract was done in secret and characterised by fraud, alleging that it was in violation of the Public Procurement Act, the statutory rule guiding how public contracts and services are awarded. As a result, they have refused to agree to the new contract terms with Ocean Marine because of the “inflated value”.

One of the officials said: “The contract has started raising dust in various circles. We are the operators of the asset; we refused to agree to the new contract terms with Ocean Marine because of the inflated value which will eventually be paid by us through ‘Cash Call’. NPDC could not proceed with signing off on the contract because we, the Joint Venture Partners, had declined.

“Following the decline, NNPC took it upon themselves to award the contract, claiming that an executive order issued from the Presidency demands that the contract be awarded immediately. The terms of reference of the contract is meant to last for five renewable months, coming with some other conditions spelling out penalties that may attend loss of products or breaches to parts of the length of the pipeline.”

Another official who spoke to SaharaReporters said: “There are many questions on the lips of the people demanding answers, such as what is the rational for re-awarding a running contract to a new contractor, at a value almost four times the rate it had previously been awarded to the former contractor? Who issued the said Executive Order? Why the secrecy and why shut out others who could deliver same service at a far lesser bid?

“Why exclude the previous contractor, who had delivered an impeccable service, because there were no negative incidents on the facilities for the period the former contractor ran it. The NNPC, with all its baggage, must provide answers to these questions. I guess you are aware that there have been a couple of very shady and questionable events that have been reported out of the corporation in the last few months, bordering on the question of non-remittance of accruals as well as awards that fell short of meeting due process.

“I think President Buhari should take another look at the way that place is being run by those he has placed in charge. NNPC is directly under his watch and things like this can’t be sailing every time and he should expect us to continue believing he is still a man of integrity.”

Our correspondent gathered that the Joint Venture Partners, including Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd and Shoreline Natural Resources, are said not to be in good working relationship with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), over the alleged fraudulent manner the contract was awarded.

Speaking on the process leading to the approval of the contract, an official of the Delta State Government, specifically in the Ministry of Justice, who preferred not to be named, said the process was full of “sharp practices”.

“You see this issue concerning the award of the contract, which was among the issues that made the youth lead a protest to the Government House in Asaba a few weeks ago, is a very pathetic and controversial one. Our ministry has been relating with some of these Joint Venture partners and along the line, we got know that the contract was a backdoor deal among few individuals in NNPC,” he said.

A former House of Assembly member from the Delta South senatorial district and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also with information about the contract, raised several objections over the manner the contract was awarded.

He said: “This is in violation of the Public Procurement Act, which is the statutory rule guiding how public contracts and services are awarded. First, it is stipulated that no contract from the tune of $20million can be awarded by any MDA without deliberation and the express permission of the Federal Executive Council. This approval by the NNPC, although cleverly spread so that it will look like it has not reached the $20million threshold, has violated that act.

“No one is happy over the arbitrary and unexplained inflation of the contract sum, as well as the choice of the NNPC to beat the standing rule that no ministry, department and agency can award a contract that is up to $20million in value; others are expressing their concerns as well. This is just a conduit pipe contract to fund the APC campaigns in the 2019 general elections.”

In his remarks on the matter, spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Daniel Dasimaka, highlighted the inherent security threat associated with the new contract approved by the NNPC to Ocean Marine, adding that they might not have paid attention to the serious threat this poses to the peace and security of the communities and Delta State in general.

“There’s a running contract, approved by the operators of the assets to a contactor that has been doing an awesome job on the assets; no reports of negative incidents and the communities are happy. Imagine the sort of tension that has greeted this new approval in just a few days, the silent and cold wars. This is a latent crisis situation on our hands and I won’t buy the narrative that they never envisaged a war from this.

“Why award an already running contract to another company and the contract now inflated to about five times the rate of the initial contract. Awarding a security job to two different companies, in an area that is considered volatile is a perfect recipe for chaos and a sabotage to the relative peace of the area. Polarizing the youth bodies and ex agitators is only a recipe for renewed militancy.

“The mindset of the youth is often times focused on destroying or attacking oil infrastructure to gain relevance and recognition. NNPC should not create the opportunity for this to happen.

My appeal will go first to the GMD of the NNPC to have a second look at this security-risk of an action. Why approve such a huge contract without the input of the operators? Is it for lack of better coordination or is there something that the eyes mustn’t see?

The IYC spokesman, therefore, called on all security agencies, the DSS, Nigerian Armed Forces and the Police to address the situation.

Youth and ex-militants from the 111 communities who are hosts to OML 30 assets had raised the alarm over an impending chaos in their communities and the state, on the allegation that the NNPC’s alliance with Ocean Marine was about to deprive them of their means of livelihood.

When contacted, Ndu Ughamadu, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, declined to comment immediately our correspondent introduced the issue, saying “Please I am in a meeting, call back in an hour.” When a call was put across to him after an hour, he asked our correspondent to redirect his inquiry to his WhatsApp line, which was done. However, he did not responded.


Akeem ReachnaijaNovember 21, 2018

4min20

The project was awarded at the cost of $1.5bn to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) but there are indications that government would overshoot the budget following variations not included in the original contract details.

Sources told Daily Trust at the weekend that the variations were being finalized by the technical team and various committees to be presented to the minister for onward presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Daily Trust had reported in December last year, when the project had barely progressed, that a cost overrun was inevitable going by submissions of stakeholders in the project.

Apart from the cost of relocating some facilities, especially the Nigerian Army 81 Ordinance Corps in Yaba which is estimated at over N5 billion, there is also the relocation of oil and gas pipelines within the Lagos axis.

Also, the commitment of government to connect the rail line to the country’s premier port in Apapa comes at a huge cost going by recent presentations made to the minister by the contractor and technical consultant.

Also, the Apapa Port rail sidings initially estimated at 2.4km in the project are now to extend to 6.4km for seamless connection of the standard gauge to all port terminals.

All these items are being fine-tuned for presentation to the FEC after going through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for requisite clearance, a source said yesterday.

The request may get to the president latest by the end of December, it was learnt.

Amaechi last week led the Project Steering Committee and the CCECC officials to Apapa Port to assess the level of work to be carried out there.

After the inspection visit which had the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria and his counterpart in the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, in attendance, it was discovered that some warehouses owned by terminal operators would be partly demolished to ease the rail connectivity.

The terminals to be mostly affected are the APMT and Eni Consortium terminals.

“Most of these things were not envisaged in the original project but this is not strange in a project of this magnitude and the government is determined to execute things that would stand the test of time,” the source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, said.

Amaechi had in reaction to the cost overrun said, “What is best is what we will do. We will go back to Mr President for us to get approval so as to get something that will outlast us.”

Also speaking, the NPA MD explained that there are areas government would take over from terminal operators “for overriding public interest.”

However, she assured that necessary compensation would be paid to operators whose structures would go completely or partially.

Usman reiterated that the necessary rehabilitation would be carried out at the key sides where ships usually berthed to increase their weight and capacity to accommodate the standard gauge rail.

She said, “All these aspects need to be computed and the number to be presented to the Hon. Minister and in turn he would make the necessary request for approval to the Federal Government.”