Business

Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 29, 2018
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5min00
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim K Idris on Friday, October 26th unveiled the new 2019 model of IVM Granite at Innoson vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd Nnewi.

The IGP who was ably represented by DIG Agboola Oshodi-Glover during an inspection of the factory, expressed satisfaction at the level of activities going on at the factory and assured the Chairman of Innoson Vehicles, Chief Innocent Chukwuma OFR that he would personally brief the IGP on the facilities on ground and the capacity of the factory to manufacture specific operational vehicles to be used by the Nigerian Police.

DIG Oshodi Glover thereafter assured Chief Chukwuma that the Nigerian Police will patronize Innoson vehicles because of his conviction that the company has the capacity to produce world class standard vehicles.

The unveiling of the new vehicle also saw the commissioning of a new production line by the Executive Governor of Anambra State who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke. The Governor in his remarks appreciated the tenacity of Chief Chukwuma who against odds has persevered in his determination to put the name of Nigeria among vehicle manufacturers in the world. The Governor called for more patronage from both government and individuals as that is the only way that the vehicle company can be sustained.

Earlier during his welcome address, the Chairman of Innoson Vehicles, Chief Dr Innocent Chukwuma OFR stated that Innoson Vehicles has come this far because of the tremendous support it has received from the Nigerian Government, most especially under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. Chief Chukwuma stated that under the current administration, Innoson Vehicles signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Air Force and collaborated with the Nigerian Army Authority for the design, modification, manufacturing and supply of Military vehicles.

Speaking further, “Today we are unveiling our First automated production line section. This section can weld the whole body of a vehicle in four minutes as against six hours when it’s done manually.

This new line will greatly increase our capacity as a company from 10,000 to 60,000 annual production units. It will also provide more jobs for our teeming population. As we strive to become one of the leading vehicle manufacturing brands, we shall keep no stone unturned in our determination to be the best.” Chief Chukwuma said.

Other dignitaries at the event include; Hon Chris Azubogu, Dame Virgy Etiaba, HRH Igwe KON Orizu CON, State Commissioners of Police from Anambra, Imo and Enugu, Members of of Anambra State Traditional Ruling Council, Captains of Industries, Members of Anambra State Chambers of Commerce and Industries etc.

The 2019 Edition of IVM Granite is in line with the latest generation of international brand of high end Pick Up. It is a wonder on wheel and has four suspension systems to withstand any terrain. It is ruggedly built for African roads. IVM Granite 2019 is equipped with luxurious and comfortable interior and has a 6 manual transmission plus indirect wire manipulation which is a technology shift system adopted for flexible shaft to control the gearshift mechanism. It is also benchmarked with NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness) world standard assuring good performance, and the engine is turbo charged to enhance performance.

Cornel Osigwe
Head Corporate Communication
Innoson Group


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 25, 2018
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4min00

Four years after Nigeria survived an outbreak of Ebola, Director General of the West African Health Organisation, WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, has said the sub-region lost $7 billion in terms of loss aid, income and productivity during the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

Okolo, in his presentation during the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement, REDISSE, 3rd Steering Committee Meeting in Lagos last week, urged countries to prepare for emergency response to prevent economic, human and other losses. He also noted that the region learnt lessons in areas such as poor surveillance infrastructure, poor information sharing and collaboration, poor emergency response and inadequate financing. “We were involved in the 2014 Ebola epidemic and had nearly $7 billion in terms of lost productivity, lost income, lost tourism and aid that came. This is probably only in cost; we are not talking of the nearly 12,000 brothers, sisters, children and women that died, we must not have that again. “So, a lot of work is going on but what I am really charging us to do is get ahead and challenge each other; and also to our leaders, that they imbibe and acquire the models and tools so as to be prepared and fight diseases,” he stated. At the week-long meeting to ratify recommendations made by the sub-committee in Lagos, Okolo said REDISSE project is a regional project funded by the World Bank, covering all the 15 ECOWAS countries and Mauritania in five-year phases from 2016 to 2023. He disclosed that 11 of the expected 16 countries have so far subscribed to the REDISSE project, stating that REDISSE has five components including surveillance and health information, laboratory capacity building, preparedness and emergency response. “I am challenging the 15 countries in West Africa to be ahead of the curve because those involved in epidemic and emergencies know it has huge economic problems. It is important to say that the first 48 hours in an outbreak of any epidemic is critical and what is done then is dependent on how prepared you are within that 48 hours. “Epidemic responsibility is dependent on the easiness of preparedness and the system in each country; in other words, the preparedness in response depends on the preparedness of each and every country. “So, we are looking at how our countries, individually, are setting up their system, their people in terms of surveillance in getting information from all the districts, all the public health communities and how they are analysing the information. Okolo who stressed the need to improve on the lessons learnt from the 2014 Ebola epidemic said “In the region, we have set up super regional laboratories; 12 of them in West Africa for human reference analysis and another two for veterinary. We are also looking at how to train people, epidemiologists, to support the countries; we have 3,000 to support across West Africa.” The World Bank Representative, Mr John Paul Clark said the meeting gave opportunity to discuss the challenges they all face, adding that the meeting would help them map out strategies to utilise the resources that would help WAHO.

“We also seek to provide the technical support and assistance in a more timely manner that will help the bank overcome some of the bureaucratic obstacles presently being encountered as well as streamline the procedures,” he added.” REDISSE project coordinator for Nigeria and Director, disease surveillance, Nigeria CDC, Dr Olubunmi Ojo said: “There is need to restructure, in terms of distribution of the fund. Disease surveillance is at the grassroots and we are trying to improve surveillance, laboratory and create more awareness.”


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 25, 2018
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3min00

The parent company of one of Nigeria’s telecommunications services providers, 9mobile, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), is marking its 10th year in operations in the country.

EMTS, formerly trading as Etisalat Nigeria, in a statement, attributed its successes and achievements over the past 10 years to the support and patronage of Nigerians and other stakeholders.

The firm further said in just 10 years of operations as Nigeria’s innovative Mobile Network Operator (MNO), it has revolutionised the nation’s telecommunications industry with an array of ground-breaking products, services and solutions to empower our youth, entrepreneurs, SMEs and indeed all segments of the Nigerian society.

“Our total commitment to leveraging technology in building businesses across the country and empowering the youth has been widely acknowledged and rewarded with several awards.

“We have recorded many firsts in the industry including our most daring masterbrand campaign ‘0809UChoose’ which put power in the hands of subscribers to choose their numbers. Others are 9Cliq, the first-of-its-kind educational tool in the youth market; and GEM, a unique loyalty proposition in the Nigerian telecommunication industry for high-value customers.

“Moreblaze, our revolutionary data bundle that offers the fastest data; and our 4G LTE service which does not require a SIM swap for customers to enjoy 4G connectivity; also rank on the list. Our innovative multi-device product that allows customers use a single data subscription on up to 5 different devices concurrently remains unique, and our first ever smartpaks product that offers customers different applications including WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc., based on their lifestyle at affordable rates, is unbeatable in the market.

“Our enterprise solutions including Market Access and SME Arena have served as growth enablers for small businesses; while easy payment solutions like 9pay, a mobile wallet that allows people to make seamless payments, continue to drive financial growth.

We have also left significant footprints on education, arts and culture with the 9mobile Telecommunications Engineering Postgraduate Program (9TEPP) – a first in West Africa; our flagship pan-African 9mobile Prize for Literature which promotes literacy and encourages writers to hone their craft across Africa; and the 9mobile Photography Competition,” the statement highlighted.

While thanking and celebrating its pioneer customers and others, EMTS promised to continue to consolidate its successes and milestones in the coming years.

Recall that in October 2008, EMTS shook the industry by surprise with its 080ja campaign, which many Nigerians quickly keyed into.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 25, 2018
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4min00

Heineken NV, the world’s second-largest brewer, increased beer sales in all four of its global regions in the third quarter and said it stuck to its full-year outlook.

Consolidated beer volume +4.6% organically, with growth in all regions. Heineken® volume +9.2% with double-digit growth in Africa, Middle
East & Eastern Europe and the Americas.

The Dutch maker of Heineken, Europe’s top-selling lager, as well as Tiger, Sol and Strongbow cider, said its consolidated beer volumes rose by 4.6 per cent year-on-year to 62.6 million hectoliters in the July-September period.

The only negative spots were declines of beer sales in Nigeria, a major Heineken market, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, Poland and Spain. Heineken lager sales also fell in the Asia-Pacific region.

Brand Spur gathered that in Nigeria beer volume declined high-single digit, driven by increased competitive pressure despite a consolidated beer volume that grew organically by 3.1% in Africa, Middle East & Eastern Europe.

It would be recalled that Jean-Francois van Boxmeer (Executive Board & CEO) admitted that the Heineken is facing tough challenges in Nigeria – one of the brewer’s major international markets. A combination of factors, including the Budweiser launch and a weakened economy from oil price falls, has seen price pressure on the market-leading Heineken lager. Van Boxmeer said problems have been compounded because while Heineken has taken pricing in Nigeria because of duty rises, A-B InBev, which launched Budweiser in the country in April, has not.

The three major players in the Nigerian market Heineken N.V. owners of Nigerian Breweries, AB InBev owners of International Breweries and Diageo-owned Guinness Plc have stepped up their game in their bid to gain market share and profitability. Nigerian Breweries recently launched Tiger Beer into the Nigerian market, International Breweries also introduced Budweiser dubbed king of Beer into the Nigerian market, while Guinness has also increased its Spirit brands in the market.

In South Africa, total volume showed strong double-digit growth, driven by Heineken® and Strongbow brand momentum and an increase in promotional activity. Ethiopia delivered high-single digit beer volume growth despite increased competitive pressure and some social unrest in parts of the country. In Egypt, beer volume was up double-digit driven by increased tourism and a more stable economic environment.

In the DRC, the decline in beer volume moderated to mid-single digit as the business laps prior year price increases. In Russia, beer volume was up mid-single digit, driven by the continued strong growth of our economy brands portfolio and Heineken®.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board & CEO, commented: “Volume growth continued in the third quarter, benefiting from good weather in Europe and strong growth in Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam and South Africa. The Heineken® brand continued to outperform, driven by Brazil, South Africa, France and Russia. In August, we announced the signing of non-binding agreements with China Resources to join forces to win in China. Our expectations for the full year 2018 remain unchanged.”


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 25, 2018
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1min00

Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group, has been named the sixth most charitable man in the World, by Richtopia, a digital periodical that covers business, economics, and financial news, based in the United Kingdom.

Dangote recently endowed his foundation to the tune of $1.25 billion.

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and J. K. Rowlings occupied the first three positions while Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk were in the fourth and fifth position respectively.

Aside Dangote, Tony Elumelu, chairman of United Bank for Africa was 11th on the list and these two were the only Nigerians on the list.

Dangote started his foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation in 1981, with a mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities.

Aliko Dangote Foundation was, however, incorporated in 1994 as a charity in Lagos, Nigeria. 20 years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 20, 2018
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12min00

Recently, a delegation of Nigerian traders in Ghana, led by the president of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji, were in Abuja to appeal to President Buhari, through his Senior Special Adviser on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri- Erewa, to intervene in the ongoing face-off between Nigerian traders in Ghana, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the task force, among others, regarding the implementation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) laws, which has led to the indefinite closure of their shops.

Some of them recounted their ordeal and why urgent action should be taken to restore law and order in the affected markets in the Ashante Region to prevent escalation of the conflict.

Section 27, Subsection 1 of the GIPC law says a person who is not a citizen or an enterprise, which is not wholly owned by citizens, shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place; operate a taxi or car hire service in an enterprise that has a fleet of less than 25 vehicles; operation a beauty salon or barber shop, print recharge cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services, produce exercise books and other basic stationary, retail finished pharmaceutical products or produce, supply and retail sachet water and all aspects of pool-betting business and lotteries, except football pool.

It added that the Minister, in consultation with the Board, might, by legislative instrument, amend the list of enterprises reserved for citizens and enterprises wholly owned by citizens.

Section 28 of the GIPC law says,
(1) A person who is not a citizen may participate in an enterprise specified in Section 27 if that person (a) in the case of a joint enterprise with a partner who is a citizen, invests a foreign capital of not less than $200,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity participation, and the partner, who is a citizen, does not have less than 10 per cent equity participation in the joint enterprise; or (b) where the enterprise is wholly owned by that person, invests a foreign capital of not less than $500,000 in cash or capital goods relevant to the investment or a combination of both by way of equity capital in the enterprise.

(2) A person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading enterprise if that person invests in the enterprise, not less than $1million in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments.

It was based on issues emanating from the aforementioned sections that is the bone of contention between Nigerian traders, whose country is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and GUTA/member of the task force, who locked up Nigerian’s shops, particularly in the Ashante Region.

Chapter 1 of ECOWAS Treaty said the right of establishment means the right granted to a citizens who is a national of the member state settled or establish in another member state other than his state of origin and to have access to economic activities, to carry out these activities, as well as set up and manage enterprises and particular companies, under the same conditions as defined by the legislation of the host member state for its own nationals.

Nnaji said, “So much money has been paid to Ghanaian authorities in the last two months. We came to Abuja last time with all kinds of receipts, of people paying as much as $1,600 as tax. Those who ought to pay $2,000 per month, they raised it to $5,000, which is unbearable. This is just a shop where you sell your goods. Our losses run into millions of dollars, as about 400 shops affected are under lock and key, while those whose shops are not locked are losing a lot to competitors. Our people are walking with fear on the streets of Accra right now. This is not exaggeration.”

He disclosed that the Act is simply targeting foreigners. “When they say Nigerians should comply with the GIPC law, what they are just saying is that Nigerians should go to Ghana Embassy to obtain a visa before traveling to Ghana, which shouldn’t be so.”

He insisted that Nigerian traders are not contravening any law and it is actually the ECOWAS that is not doing its work by allowing the breach of its protocol on the right of establishment by Ghana.

He recalled that when the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) in Ghana came to his office, he asked what they came to do and they said that they came to find out those who had registered their businesses. “Did we contravene any law? We have all registered our businesses. If there is anybody who did not register, they should follow up on that.”

He said it is very expensive to register a company in Ghana as a Nigerian, as it costs at least $5,000; hence he has advised his members to join hands to register their companies with the appropriate authorities.

On the issue of adulterated drugs, he said Nigerians in the whole of West Africa have the highest control when it comes to drugs, “It is not a country thing; it is an individual. If there is anybody that is found selling adulterated drugs, let the authorities in charge deal with the person according to the law.”

He dismissed allegations that Nigerians were bringing substandard products into Ghana, stressing that when the authorities went to the shops of Ghanaians, they did not find any difference in quality of goods in the shops of Ghanaians and of Nigerians traders. He disclosed that the shops that were locked in Suame were spare parts shops and those who locked those shops were their rivals.

Vice President, NUTAG, Ikechukwu Obiora, regretted that the government was finding it difficult to restore law and order in the affected areas and urged the Nigerian government to come to their aid, as GUTA had given Nigerian traders three months to pack out from the market. “The very few shops that are opened, they coerced them to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that they would leave their market in Kumasi after three months, if not, they will come and lock their shops.”

Secretary General of NUTAG, Evaristus Nwankwo, said what is happening in Ghana is a complete rejection of what ECOWAS stands for, alleging that Ghanaians are using the GIPC law to take Nigerians off trading in Ghana. “They are demanding so many things. Even those who have those things they say they will not trade because their shops are located in areas exclusively meant for Ghanaians. Even in the Ashanti Region where they said the shops have been reopened is untrue. “The Police came and opened some Nigerian’s traders shops, but immediately they left, GUTA thugs came there and broke one of the traders’ head. They used welding machine to break those shops. Our members reported to the Police and the Police didn’t do anything.”

“In spite of all these provocations, we have been telling our members to maintain civility and their maturity is very commendable.”

National Secretary of GUTA and 2nd National Organiser of the Ghana Task Force, Jeff Kwame Gyasi, told The Guardian that Ghana has several laws governing and regulating the retail trade which have been grossly abused by foreigners across board; hence the need to sanitise the system. “For the last 30 years, trading associations have had to fight successive governments over negligence of its own laws. The core mandate of the task force was to educate, guide and help foreigners be compliant to all the laws governing trading. We are not treating anybody different from the others. The ECOWAS citizens have advantage over the non-Africans because of the sub-regional integration and the ECOWAS protocols. We only want them to abide, follow and obey whatever we the citizens do. Moreover, we expect them not to do what they cannot, will not and shall not do in their various countries.”

He emphasised that not only Nigerians are affected, just that they are in the greater number in Ghana, saying, “There are around five million Nigerians in Ghana. The second largest numbers of foreigners are the Chinese, who are engaged in galamsey (illegal mining) and most of them have been deported back to China.” He added that shops of those who have been compliant are opened, even from 60 per cent tax compliant have been opened.

Meanwhile, Dabiri- Erewa disclosed that she had met with the officials of NUTAG and was going to present their petitions to the President, saying, “Everything has to be done to resolve this issue as they are ECOWAS citizens. It is a different thing if they committed a crime but these are just traders who have lost so much since July. I learnt a woman even committed suicide because of this issue.” She appealed to the Nigerian traders not to take the laws into their hands.

“I feel sorry for them. If Ghana doesn’t want them, just tell them you don’t want them, rather saying you will do this today and you don’t do it. Our President spoke with the Ghanaian President and the latter assured that the shops would be reopened. In fact, on September 27, instructions were given that the shops be reopened.” She regretted that the instruction wasn’t obeyed, saying, “There is a bit of political undertone, but I believe Ghana’s president will do the right thing.”


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 17, 2018
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4min00

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Federal, state governments and organised private sector to resolve the differences in the ongoing negotiation for a new minimum wage in the country.

The National President of the Union, Mr Olabode Johnson made the appeal while addressing newsmen on its planned 40thanniversary, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

He described as ungodly, the shenanigans displayed by some state governors when it comes to payment of workers’ salaries.

“ We need to give priority to the issue of minimum wage now before the political campaigns starts in full by next month, all parties need to agree on a particular amount on this issue.

According to him, PENGASSAN believes that the Federal and state governments have the capacity to resolve the minimum wage issue before campaigns start, so that it can be legislated upon, passed and eventually becomes law.

“PENGASSAN, as an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, we are also bound to look at the dictates of the agreement.

“ When you look at the issue of the new minimum wage, you will agree that it is long overdue. You must be able to give Nigerians a minimum wage. Look at the current hardship, look at depreciation; look at what everybody is facing.

“I also want to appeal to the Federal and state governments, Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly, (NECA), and other stakeholders, that a stitch in time saves nine.

“ Whatever everybody is supposed to do, because, by the end of November, politics will start; so now is the time to do everything we have to do in that regard,’’ he said

He added that Nigerians should also see the disagreement on this issue that the leaders know what they are doing, saying “ for every state that has political appointees, I have never seen that they are been owed salaries.

“ The issue of minimum wage we want to appeal to government to give it priority. Let this bickering of N24,000, N25,000 and N30,000 be sorted out, so that you don’t create an impression with Nigerians that you are insensitive to their plights. Let us pay everybody his or her due.” he said

On the planned 40th anniversary scheduled to hold, October 18, he said that President Muhammadu Buhari, would be the special guest of honour.

Others expected at the event are businessman, Aliko Dangote, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, state governors, chief executive officers of international oil companies and security experts.

Johnson noted that past labour leaders who fought for the actualisation of June 12 would also be recognized at the anniversary.

He added that the union with the anniversary would expand its scope in ensuring job creation through the world class event center that it would launch.

He said that qualified Nigerians would be employed to run and mange the operation of the center professionally.

He said that the conference would focus on ‘Labour, fuelling the economy.


Akeem ReachnaijaOctober 16, 2018

3min00

A bi-monthly update report on the state of Nigeria’s economy prepared by Lagos-based economic research and analyses firm, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), has disclosed that with the rising prices of crude oil at the international market, petrol subsidy will exceed $3.85 billion initial estimate by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

The October 2018 edition of the report was obtained yesterday by THISDAY in Abuja, and it explained that Nigeria’s low capacity to locally refine the petrol it uses to run its economy would deny her the benefits she could have got from the rising price of crude oil.

Recent petrol supplies figures sighted by THISDAY indicated that the amount of financial subsidy Nigeria currently absorbs to keep petrol pump price at the government rate of N145 per litre had gone up to about N65.6k.

The surge followed the increase in landing cost of a litre of petrol to N196.3k, which when added to the N14.3k which is charged as distribution margin in the pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), would amount to an open market price per litre of petrol of N210.6k and not the N145 the government pegged it.

In its analysis however, the FDC said: “Rising crude oil prices are set to send Nigeria’s bill for fuel subsidies rocketing, threatening to exacerbate the already precarious economic situation of Africa’s largest oil producer as it heads into election season.”

wThe further stated: “The government has to make a decision of whether to increase fuel prices domestically. That’s a very politically charged issue.”

Similarly, in his review of the situation in the report, Jubril Kareem, an energy analyst at Ecobank, explained that at the moment, no one knows exactly what the NNPC pays itself for such under-recovery.

Kareem said: “NNPC is just too big a company, and the opaqueness of the operations is actually aided by its own structure. It produces crude, buys crude, sells fuel as well as regulates itself.

“At least before, we knew what NNPC was paying in subsidy (because of monthly reports that the NNPC no longer regularly issues). Now you don’t know that. You would understand why a government would want to keep it that way.”

The report reiterated that petrol subsidies have long been the subject of abuse and corruption, adding that it equally encourages smuggling into neighbouring countries which include Cameroon and Benin, where fuel can be sold for twice the price, and even more as international oil prices rise.