GTBank Adjudged ‘African Bank’ for 2014

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Read Time:1 Minute, 21 Second
Guaranty Trust Bank plc (GTBank) said it emerged the ‘2014 African Bank of the Year’ for the second consecutive time by the African Banker Magazine.
 
The African Banker awards recognises and celebrates the achievements of the financial services industry in Africa.
 
A statement explained that outlining the rationale for selecting GTBank as the winner of the award, the panel of judges noted that the award recognises financial institutions that are industry leaders, consistently reporting strong financial performance and significantly contributing to the quality of service offered by the financial services industry within their country and across the African continent.
 
Receiving the award on behalf of GTBank, the bank’s Managing Director, GTBank Kenya, Mr Kunle Sonola said: “GTBank is honoured to win this highly coveted award. The award is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the board, management and staff of the bank.
 
“It is also a challenge and a call to do more to project the global relevance of the African banking industry,” he added.
 
He also thanked the bank’s customers for their continued trust and support as well as to assure them that the financial institution would continue to strive to deliver beyond stakeholders’ expectations at all times.
 
Publisher of African Banker Magazine, Mr Omar Ben Yedder, said: “Since we launched the awards we have witnessed the transformation of an industry. There is no room for complacency because there is much room for growth and development to achieve the transformation we all desire and work towards.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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CSCS Grows Profit Before Tax by 56% to N4.8bn

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Read Time:1 Minute, 55 Second
The Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS) had a very fruitful 2013 as it ended the year with a profit before tax (PBT) of N4.82 billion, showing an increase of 56 per cent above the N3.1 billion in 2012.
 
The capital market clearing house ended the year with a  total revenue of N6.8 billion, up by 33 per cent from N5.17 billion in 2012. However, profitability witnessed higher growth with PBT rising by 56 per cent while profit after tax appreciating by 45per cent from N2.577 billion to N3.738 billion.
 
Based on the impressive results, the directors recommended a dividend of 22 kobo per share was recommended by the directors and approved  by the shareholders at the 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos recently.
 
Speaking at the AGM, the Chairman CSCS, Mr. Oscar Onyema  said with the results,  the company   delivered on its promise of enhancing  its  profitability.
 
“In fulfilment of our promise to continually pursue annual growth in revenue and also to steadily scale up our business operations, your company has during the year under review improved its services significantly through the deployment of world class information technology whilst it continues to focus on expanding its businesses,” Onyema said.
 
He disclosed that  CSCS  in  2013 commenced the clearing and settlement of transactions on the Over-the-Counter  platforms of    NASD Plc  and the Financial Markets Dealers Quotations (FMDQ).
 
“Additionally, the company has been engaged to provide clearing, settlement and warehousing services for transactions that will take place on the floor of the Nigerian Commodity Exchange (NCX),” he said.
 
Speaking in the same vein, the  the Managing Director of the CSCS, Mr. Kyari Bukar  said the  while total revenue grew by 34 per cent during the year, operating expenditure decreased  due to efficient cost management approach adopted by the company in 2013.
 
According to him, the financial statements of the company were  prepared in line with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as prescribed by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Securities & Exchange Commission, having first adopted the IFRS in 2012.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Dangote Sugar Splashes N7.2bn Dividend on Shareholders

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Read Time:1 Minute, 57 Second
Shareholders of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (DSR) will begin to receive their dividend for the 2013 financial year as from today. This follows the approval of the dividend by the shareholders at the 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos last Friday.
 
The directors had recommended a dividend of N7.2 billion for the year, which translated into 60 kobo per share. The shareholders commended the board and management for the improved performance for the 2013 financial year.
 
DSR recorded a turnover of N102.467 billion in 2013 as against N106.868 billion in 2012. However, profit before tax rose from N16.331 billion in 2012 to N20.099 billion in 2013, while profit after  tax grew from  N10.796 billion to N13.537 billion.
 
In his address, Chairman of the DSR, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said the 2013 financial year was impacted by variable market conditions, ranging from volatile world market sugar prices to consumer sensitivity.
 
“I am happy to report, however, that by adapting to the needs of our customers , we  sustained our leadership position in the market and grew our profits during the period under review,” he said.
 
He disclosed that pursuant to the introduction of the federal government's National Sugar Master Plan, DSR has begun its own development plan.
 
“This plan is targeted at the production by your company of 1.5 million to 2.0 million tonnes of sugar per annum from locally grown sugar cane within the next five to 10 years. This will further consolidate our position as the largest sugar producer in West African region,” he said.
 
Speaking in the same vein, the Group Managing Director of DSR, Mr. Graham Clark said the company has restructured  its  sugar operations with greater focus on backward integration project.
 
According to him, the targeted selection and acquisition of some 200,000 hectares of land across various states in Nigeria for the development of sugar cane plantations and construction of modern sugar processing factories have begun.
 
“Our targets are clear and a robust framework supported by key performance deliverables will enable us to deliver the expected results in the next five to 10 years with enhanced benefits to all our stakeholders,” he said.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Bullish Run Lifts Market to Three-month High

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Read Time:6 Minute, 29 Second
The bullish run in the Nigerian equities market was sustained last week with the All-Share Index hitting a three-month high
 
Having appreciated by 1.10 per cent the previous week, sustained positive sentiments lifted the ASI by 2.1 per cent to close at 39,831.83.  Apart from the 2.1 per cent appreciation in the ASI,  the volume and value of equities traded on the Nigerian bourse also rose significantly.
 
Operators said   the bullish trend was achieved on the back of the declining yields in the fixed income market, a development, they explained, attracted portfolio reallocations by investors  to the equity market.
 
Market Turnover
Investors staked N23.917 billion on 1.869 billion shares  in  in 23,554 deals, up from N20.861 billion invested in 1.675 billion shares in 24,513 deals the previous week.
 
The financial services industry closed the week as the most active in volume terms with 1.486 billion shares valued at N15.519 billion traded in 12,384 deals. Consequently,  the sector contributed 79.53 per cent  and 64.89 per cent  to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.
 
The conglomerates industry followed with a turnover of 109.647 million shares worth N607.628 million in 1,230 deals. The third place was occupied by the services industry with 81.708 million shares worth N228.740 million in 857 deals. 
 
A further analysis of the trading pattern showed that the top three equities in terms of volume of trading were Wapic Insurance Plc, Zenith  Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, accounting for 815.138 million shares worth N11.613 billion in 3,151 deals.
 
The three stocks contributing 43.62 per cent and 48.56 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.
 
Apart from the equities, 674 units of Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) valued at N127,162.83 were also  executed in 15 deals compared with a total of 10,329 units valued at N3.305 million transacted last week in 18 deals the previous week.
There   were no transactions recorded in debt instruments this week under review.
 
NSE Outperforms Peers
The ASI rose 2.1 per cent close at 39,831.83, while market capitalisation grew by 2.34 per cent to close at N13.152 trillion. All the NSE indices appreciated during the week with the exception of the NSE Industrial Goods and NSE ASeM indices that closed flat. The Oil & Gas Index led with 15.5 per cent attributable to gains in Oando  and Forte Oil  Plc. The  Consumer Index appreciated by 3.5 per cent, while the  Banking and Insurance indices also advanced 1.3 per  cent  and 0.8 per cent in that order.
 
In all, the Nigerian market led the  other African markets in the week under review. While the NSE ASI returned 2.1per cent,  the Johannesburg Securities Exchange delivered 1.6 per cent.  The   Kenya NSE 20 indices fell 1.1 per cent.
 
Gainers and Losers
In terms of price movement, a total of  42  equities appreciated in prices as against 37 that appreciated the previous week. Conversely, 33 equities depreciated in prices  as against 36  equities of the preceding week, while one hundred and twenty-four  others  equities remained unchanged.
 
Forte Oil Plc led the price gainers with N30.59 to close at N186.54 per share. The equity was the previous week included in the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Frontier Market 100 Index. Forte Oil was included along with Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI).
 
Market operators had hailed the development,  it is a testament to the fundamentals and strong growth potential of the energy company.  The operators believe the  inclusion will be a driver of imminent inflow of foreign direct investments that will compete strongly with local investment.
 
They therefore urged Nigerian investors to take advantage of this development and increase their stake ahead of the growing appetite from offshore players.  ETI also rose last week, chalking up N1.13 to close at N15.13 per share.
 
However, Nigerian Breweries Plc closed with the second highest price gain of N13.08 to close at N176.13 per share.  Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc  rallied N10.94, while Oando Plc garnered N4.01. Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc  appreciated by N0.64, just as Ikeja Hotel Plc, Custodian and Allied Insurance, NPF Microfinance Bank  and AvonCrowncap Plc gained N0.27, N0.25,and N0.14 respectively.
 
On the contrary,  Beta Glass Plc  led the price losers with N2.68 to close at N16.22, followed by Jos Breweries Plc and First City Monument Bank Plc  with a decline of N0.34 apiece. Airline Services and Logistics Plc shed N0.17, just as Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Plc and May and Baker Plc went down by N0.15 each. CutixPlc lost N0.11, while Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc and Courtville  Investments Plc shed N0.08 and N0.06 respectively.
 
Listing of Caverton
One significant   development in the equities market last week was the listing of Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc (Caverton)  on the Nigerian bourse.
Caverton, which is a leading provider of marine, aviation and logistics services to local and international oil and gas companies in Nigeria, made history last week as  the first offshore support company to be listed on the NSE.
 
A total of 3.35 billion shares of 50 kobo each of Caverton were listed at N9.50, amounting to a market capitalisation of N31.83billion. The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said  the exchange was proud of the listing Caverton.
 
“We are proud that Caverton has taken a strategic step to join the prestigious club of quoted companies in Nigeria. We commend them for this bold step. We must also note the giant strides made by Caverton in strengthening its governance structure to prepare  as a listed company. The company has been making profit over the years and has paid dividend consistently since 2009,” Onyema said.
 
The Chairman of Caverton, Mr. Aderemi Makanjuola, said they were  extremely pleased as Caverton enters its next phase of growth as a listed company.
 
“Leveraging our expertise and execution capabilities, we plan to embark immediately on fleet expansion and the development of new service areas in the offshore marine and aviation sectors. The  listing will enable the company have access to more capital to finance more contracts that are underway. Caverton is at a stage where it needs to access more capital because more contracts are coming in.
 
"We also need to train more people and ensure that Nigerian engineers and pilots derive greater benefits from the evolving opportunities and that instead of hiring people from abroad and taking out the money, we can help Nigerians to acquire the necessary capacities and hire them,” Makanjuola said.
 
Market Outlook
Assessing the performance of the market last week and looking ahead, analysts at Meristem Securities Limited, said the positive trend would be sustained this week.
 
“Given the momentum of gains recorded in the week, we are of the view that the positive trend will most likely be sustained in the coming week given the relative low pricing of some counters and the fact that no major domestic regulatory shock or global uncertainty should crystallise in the near term,” they said.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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FG Seals Pact With China, Canada to Increase FDI Inflows

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Read Time:2 Minute, 59 Second
The federal government has sealed two agreements that would help to facilitate investment cooperation as well as  fast-track the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
 
While one of the agreements was between Nigeria and China, which is aimed at encouraging and supporting Chinese enterprises to invest in Nigeria; the second agreement was with Canada to help Nigerian and Canadian investors secure access to both countries without encumbrances.
 
Speaking during the signing of the first agreement with representatives from the Chinese government in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said it was critical to seal the agreement since China is the number one exporter into Nigeria.
 
He said: "China is the number one exporter into Nigeria. So, it is in our best interest to have stronger and deeper relationship with China.
 
"This MoU with China we have signed today is very critical in terms of helping achieving that goal of facilitating investment between the two countries.
 
"After signing the MoU, the next milestone is to organise a strategic investment promotion event with China-Africa Development Fund clients in China and introduce them to the investment opportunities in Nigeria so that we can bring them to invest in the real sectors of the Nigerian economy."
 
On the agreement with Canada, the minister described the pact as "a historic moment for the country" as it would help to explore further partnership opportunities and lead to greater prosperity for both countries.
 
The minister said: "This is a very historic moment for both countries.
We are signing an investment and protection agreement and this is the first time we are signing this.
 
"It is historic because this is a bottleneck for Canadian investors because investors want an environment of certainty  and they also want their investment to be protected."
 
He said with the consummation of the deal with Canada, the cost of economic risk as well as cost of investments would be significantly reduced.
 
The Canadian Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, said the foreign investment promotion and protection agreement would secure access to Canadian market with its abundant supply of resources, technological expertise, and low tax business environment.
 
He said the deal would also give Canadian companies the confidence they needed in taking advantage of the many growing opportunities in Nigeria.
 
He said as a result of the new pact, four major investment would be made by some Canadian and Nigerian companies.
 
Some of them are a $5 billion joint venture between SkyPower Global and FAS Energy for the production of clean, sustainable cost-effective renewable energy to support the growing energy needs of the country;and the launch of a solar powered laptop computers  in Nigeria by WeWi Telecommunications.
 
In his remarks, the Vice-Governor, China Development Bank, Mr. Wang Yongsheng, said the Chinese MoU with Nigeria had laid a solid foundation for deepening of the current and future relationship between both counties.
 
He said: “As at the first quarter of 2014, our total asset was $1.3trillion, with our clients spread across about 110 countries.
 
"Our loan balance for Africa as at the first quarter of 2014, was $19.3bn. Africa is our priority and Nigeria is very critical as an area of focus.
 
"The MOU has laid a solid foundation for deepening and strengthening the relationship between Nigeria and China now and in the future.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Shippers’ Council Partners Customs on Ports’ Efficiency

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Read Time:1 Minute, 38 Second
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has said that the council is to partner more closely the Nigerian Customs Service to scale up clearing time limit of cargo in the nation's port, in a renewed effort to increase efficiency at the port.
 
Bello stated this during a courtesy visit to the Controller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko in Abuja.
 
"It is also our expectation that the synergy between the Nigerian Shippers' Council and stakeholders in the port sector especially the Nigerian Customs Service will promote efficiency, reduce port cost, encourage private investments and reduce current mistrust among stakeholders," Bello said.
 
He commended the Nigerian Customs Service for the decentralisation of the issuance of transit permit and the introduction of an electronic platform to facilitate trade, which contributed positively to improving ports efficiency and increasing revenue generation for the national economy.
 
"As you are aware, the port sector before now was characterized by high port cost, poor compliance of imports and exports guidelines, perennial port congestions, administrative bottlenecks and the issue of corruption at the ports," he emphasised.
 
Some of these challenges compelled the federal government to concession the ports in 2006 to private terminal operators.
 
According to him the infusion of private sector in the transport sector is expected to increase operational efficiency and infrastructural development of the ports, as well as safety of cargoes.
 
Bello said President Jonathan has approved the appointment of The NSC as the economy regulator for the port sector in the country. The council is expected to provide guidelines for tariffs, monitor the standard of service delivery, encourage competition, and guard against monopoly and abuse of dominant market position.
 
In his remarks Dikko said that the Nigerian customs is willing to partner the shippers’ council to improve the efficiency of the port sector in the country.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Olukoya: We Will Invest over $100m in Transmission Facilities

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Read Time:13 Minute, 30 Second
Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Symbion Power, Mr. William Olukoya, spoke to Steve Omanufeme and Ejiofor Alike on Western Sahara, a joint venture between Symbion, Iroko Capital and Jyoti Americas of Houston, and other issues in the power sector
 
 
Could you please give us a brief background of Symbion Power?
 
Symbion was formed nearly 10 years ago and it was very active in the war-time reconstruction efforts of the United States government in Iraq and Afghanistan. At that point, Symbion had actually worked at most dangerous times in Iraq, bidding for 11 projects and winning nine.
 
Every single project that was done in Iraq by Symbion was completed on time and on budget and was primarily done by locals that were trained in the United States with American standard of doing work. They were brought back to Iraq to do the work on behalf of Symbion.
 
While we were still in Iraq, we went on to Afghanistan where we built a substation and a power plant in Kabul. Following that, the United States government had under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) given a grant to Tanzania. Tanzania is one of the four identified partners for growth of the MCC of the United States.
 
Tanzania, at that point, got $780 million as a grant from the US government. The bulk of the money was for infrastructure but over $200 million of that was for electricity. Symbion won the most of that particular work for power on electricity side.
 
In that contract, we constructed over 2,000 kilometres of distribution lines and 26 substations. While we were working on this MCC contract in Tanzania, Symbion identified the need for us to get into power generation, so that the lines we were constructing would have the benefit of being able to connect power to people.
 
So, we were able to acquire one particular power plant in Tanzania and that power plant was acquired in the capital, Daresalaam.
 
After acquiring that particular power plant, we were then commissioned to develop two more power plants in Tanzania. The first was in Arusia and the second one in Dodoma. Today, Symbion is the largest Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Tanzania.
 
As a result of our activities in Tanzania, where we had also worked on the rural electrification projects, we then began to look at other areas in Africa.
 
In Tanzania, Symbion set up a training school and just like we did in Iraq, we also took locals to the US to get them trained and they had manuals that were done in their local language – Swahili, and also English. So, we had training manuals on the two languages and when they came back to Tanzania they also trained their fellow countrymen. In Tanzania, Symbion has a labour force that is predominantly locals.
 
Over 97 or 98 per cent of the labour force was locals that are actually doing all the works. Symbion has a commitment to training locals and to empower locals. While we were in Tanzania, we began to look at other African countries at which point the need for us to get into the privatisation in Nigeria happened.
 
What are the activities of Symbion in Nigeria?
 
We came to Nigeria and we spent a lot of time – about one year and a half on the ground, understanding the lie of land; who the key players are; who to partner; who not to partner; and how we should go about doing business in Nigeria.
 
We eventually partnered Transcorp in the privatisation process and ultimately, we collectively won the Ughelli power plant in Delta State. That power plant is a 972 megawatt-capacity plant, which we are now rehabilitating from 160 megawatts, when we took it over, to close to 400megawatts, right now.
 
With our Transcorp partners, we are looking to develop it to over 700 megawatts this year. We are an equity participant in Ughelli and we are also the main technical partner. The Ughelli power plant, again, is staffed primarily by Nigerians and creates a lot of jobs locally.
 
We then join forces with Iroko Capital and we started having discussions about how to further strengthen the electricity process here in Nigeria. What we then decided to do is since we are already in generation, it makes sense that given that the transmission infrastructure is seen as the weakest link where the biggest bottleneck will be in the bid to provide electricity to Nigerians, we decided to get involved in the transmission infrastructure network.
 
We decided to collectively invest heavily in that particular infrastructure network. Based on our collective experience, we are aware that for us to work in the transmission industry, we have to be very competitive and the only way we can be competitive is in the area of steel manufacture.
 
So, Iroko and us formed Western Sahara and then teamed up with Jyoti Americas of Houston to develop Nigeria’s first end-to-end transmission solutions company, which is Western Sahara Transmission Company.
 
Western Sahara will provide everything end-to-end, starting all the way, from tower design, transmission, tower testing – all the way through to manufacture and construction. Because of the technical experience that Symbion and Jyoti have in transmission, we will also bring that into Western Sahara to make sure that our technical expertise is successful.
 
We will also make sure that we can bring in technical expertise to solve the problem. We are going to set up a local factory – tower manufacturing factory here in Nigeria – that will be state-of-the-art and very similar to the one that is currently in place in Houston, Texas, which is one of the power companies owned by Jyoti.
 
Jyoti currently has five power plants – three in India; one in Dubai and one in Houston. The one in Houston is state-of-the-art, brand new and very technologically-advanced. That is the one we are trying to replicate here in Nigeria.
 
You were into generation and you are now forming Western Sahara as a transmission solutions company. Are you going to work with the Transmission Company of Nigeria?
 
Yes, the structure there for us is as follows. Remember, generation and distribution have been privatised. Transmission is retained by the Federal Government. Definitely, government will not do the work itself. What government will do is to issue tender for companies to come and help them build those transmission networks.
 
When they have to build transmission infrastructure, those companies, as it is today, will have to import all the steel, while all the fabrication, testing and design will be done offshore. We all know government’s goal of having local content and import substitution.
 
So, we and Iroko saw that opportunity to now bring in and be able to establish that in Nigeria, where we can then say that we have the whole design that will have been done offshore will be done here. The whole testing that will have been done offshore will be done here. The whole manufacturing that will have to be done offshore will be done here. And once we have all these in place, we can then do the construction of that transmission infrastructure.
 
Now, remember, even if we do not win all the tenders, the companies that are going to be winning the tenders will eventually have to buy steel locally. Since we will be the only one that space, we will be able to afford Nigerians the opportunity of participating in that, so that all the jobs that are required will not be done offshore.
 
We will be able to create a lot of jobs here in Nigeria; and train people. In every single work Symbion has done, we have always trained people. We will set up training school in Nigeria. With our partners, we will make sure that those jobs stay here in this country.
 
So, you want to latch in on the spin offs in the power privatisation exercise?
 
Yes, I think that is the key word. We have articulated it clearly. Across the spectrum, there is so much work to be done in the entire power spectrum. So, it is not just a function of someone just being a generation company. You can look at other aspects of the industry as well.
 
So, what Western Sahara is doing is allowing the three parties to aggressively look at the transmission part of it because that clearly is a big bottleneck and if that can be resolved locally, you begin to reduce the costs, and potentially, also improve the speed of deployments of the transmission infrastructure.
 
Let me also give you some statistics. Currently, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) estimates that about 10 to 15 per cent of power generated is lost in transmission, before it gets to the distribution. So, you can now imagine, right now we are talking about not having enough power. If you lose 10 to 15 per cent of what you are even generating, it does not augur well. When you talk about generating 10,000mw or 15,000mw, 10 per cent or 15 per cent of these figures is very huge.
 
So, it becomes very critical that we minimise those losses. To minimise those losses, you have to invest heavily in transmission. The only way you can have a competitive edge as a country from cost standpoint is to make sure that the cost of improving that infrastructure is minimised so that you will not be spending or wasting too much money on losses.
 
We believe that if we have that kind of company here locally, it will create other industries by creating a lot of direct and indirect jobs.
 
Where exactly will you site your factory or steel manufacturing plant in Nigeria?
 
There are three critical items to note in sitting the factory. You need access to the sea so that when you are shipping, it will be easy. You need access to good roads. You also need access to power because power is what you are going to use to galvanise and build the steel towers.
 
So, those are the three key components. Right now, the factory will be situated in a location that is conducive to those three things. We are looking at series of options right now and different locations right now, but I assure you that  a mix of those three will play a major impact on that consideration.
 
What is the timeline for the completion of the factory project?
 
Okay, in terms of establishing a factory, a factory normally takes between one year and two years to be established with a lot of standards that need to put into it. So, that is the timeline for the construction of the factory. However, one of the reasons why we embark on this endeavour is that we already have in our corner a company like Jyoti that already has that plant somewhere else.
 
So, as a stop gap, they have already invested in this in Nigeria and therefore the pricing of the steel, which they are going to be creating will be supplied here as if the plant was here. So, we, being Western Sahara, will be getting it at cost until such time when our plant is ready. Jyoti are heavily involved in the establishment of that particular tower factory because they have done it before. That is where their own expertise lies. Like I told you before, we are substantially replicating the state-of-the-art tower factory, which they currently have.
 
You participated in the privatisation of PHCN and acquired Ughelli Power Plant with Transcorp as your partner. Just within six months, you have moved into the transmission sector when other investors are complaining about post-privatisation challenges they did not anticipate at the beginning. Does it mean that you see the post-privatisation operating environment as very attractive?
 
That is a very good question. Let me say this and I speak about this on Symbion side. Symbion are very bullish about Nigeria. We believe in her significant opportunities. It also has significant challenges and everywhere Symbion has gone, we have always looked out for solving problems.
 
One of the biggest problems in Africa, as you know is unemployment, followed by electricity. We will not be here or anywhere in Africa as a power company and not take that value to that country. So, yes we are in generation but being into generation is not enough. You generate power; yes but you also need to look beyond generation to what the impact of your generation is.
 
If you are generating power but it is not giving any impact, then you have not really done anything for that country. Remember that I told you that when we were in Tanzania, we were building electricity lines and substations. But if there is no power, because Tanzania at that time had a power crisis; if there is no power to feed into those lines, we are just wasting time.
 
So, we began to look at acquiring a power plant so that the power plant can now generate power that can feed into those lines. Now, in Nigeria, we have acquired a power plant but the power plant is not getting to the end consumers because of transmission issues. So, we then, with our partners looked at that and said how do we solve this particular problem?
 
We have a very strong partner in Iroko that are actually able to assist and work with us and collectively with Jyoti, we begin to navigate and share and understand those challenges and how we can collectively resolve them. That is where we find ourselves and because ultimately you can come in as an investor but if your investment is not really benefitting the man on the street, then it becomes nothing more than just a waste of efforts.
 
Are you looking at investing in gas because gas is also a major challenge?
 
Some weeks ago, we happened to meet one of the investors working for the gas company. Also last week at the World Economic Forum, the guys at the gas side also came in and made some presentations where they stated that some of the gas problems are somewhat temporary, primarily because of vandalism of the pipelines.
 
The pipelines do not just carry crude oil; they also carry gas and so, because of that, there are some challenges there, which they are already working to fix. But they assured us that by the end of this year, the graph will move from a shortfall of gas to power electricity to more than sufficient gas for power. For us, we and our partners are already looking at alternatives in terms of how we can work. I had some discussions, for example, with Wale Tinubu of Oando at the World Economic Forum and our discussion was on the impact of gas and how we can have access to gas infrastructure.
 
 
How much are we looking in terms of the value of these investments in factory, I mean in financial terms?
 
Well, we are looking at tens of millions of dollars. If I have to give you specifics, we may be looking at the range of $50million or $100million or even more. We and your partners, even though we have already started the process, and we started looking at $50million to $100million, we have already telling ourselves that we should do more.
 
As more of those projects come on stream, we will also have to meet a lot of demand and that demand as I am seeing now, is growing significantly. So, we are already talking to ourselves that the plant we are establishing will have a capacity of about 50,000tonnes of steel. However, it will do more as demands grow.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NASENI Sign MOU on Joint Venture With Czech Republic

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Read Time:1 Minute, 36 Second
The Nigeria, Czech Republic Chamber of Commerce and Industry has brokered a joint venture agreement between the technology agency of Czech republic and the national Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) on information exchange.
 
The MOU which was signed in Czech Republic has as its main objective to support and promote bilateral and multilateral scientific research and development, and in particular joint ventures between Nigeria and the Czech Republic.
 
The president of the Chamber of commerce, Mr Daihiru Mohammed, said: ”The parties also agreed on exchanging best practices and know-how in the area of R&D and information, support technology transfer and commercialisation of output”
 
The priority areas in the agreement include: information and communication technology; biotechnology and pharmaceuticals; agriculture and food technology; systems-on-chips; genomic medicine; energy technology; sustainable development of transport; protection of environment; and mining technology.
 
Dahiru said the agreement is a huge success for Nigeria in terms of building the critical capacity in the areas of technology to attain the countries vision 20:20;20, noting that Czech is among the top 30 nations with the highest human development in the world. It possesses an advanced economy and in 2006 achieved the status of a developed country, according to the World Bank.
 
According to the MOU, The cooperative activities shall be on equal basis financially will include organization of study stays, educational activities and workshops or internships for experts f both parties
 
The agreement is for an initial period of five years which can then be renewed for another five years.
 
The Czech Republic ranks as the ninth-most peaceful country in Europe, while achieving the best performance in democratic governance and infant mortality in the region. It is a pluralist parliamentary representative democracy with membership in the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: FG Targets $558.45 Million GDP by 2018

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Read Time:3 Minute, 9 Second
Federal government has said it is anticipating a huge increase in its national gross domestic product (GDP) from $510 million in 2013 to $558.45 million in 2018 especially from the implementation of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI).
 
Chairman of the national steering committee for the Nigeria National Quality Policy, NQP, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who stated this at the 2nd meeting of the committee, said the figure would be a 10 per cent growth within the first five year of implementation period.
 
According to Aganga, who is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, “the increase in the services sector from the previous 26 per cent to 51 per cent, shows the tremendous contributions of the services sector to the economy."
 
He added: “Since the National Quality Policy, NQP is now known to strengthen institutions, private businesses, competence of measurements, laboratories/testing, persons etc, all energies must be channelled to fast-track its early take off to also stimulate our targeted industrial growth and job creation aimed at achieving the Vision 2020."
 
Represented by the President of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, he recalled that the need for a NQP to enhance the country’s reputation as a provider of quality products and services globally led to the signing of agreement on trade facilitation markets at the 9th ministerial conference of World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Bali in December 2013.
 
Aganga added that “Nigeria must ensure that necessary quality infrastructures is in place to make quality a part of our national lives, to sell what we have to both the domestic and foreign markets as well as sustain investments through an established and functional NQI”.
 
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Dr. Joseph Ikem Odumodu, explained that the government inaugurated the committee for national quality policy to boost economic growth through an articulated industrial revolution plan known as the NQP.
 
“In the next three weeks will be going on a road show in all the six geo-political zones of the country, because we want our programme to be acceptable not only to the formal sector, but the generality of the people.
 
“We want the people to take advantage of the programme to contribute their views to the policy. I can observe that we have more government people here than the private sector whereas policy is not made for the government, but for the people.
 
“We need to go on the road show to talk to the people on the policy and get their feedback before we come back to write our report for submission through the minister to the Federal Executive Council, FEC. We expect that the report will be approved by FEC before the last quarter of this year," Odumodu said.
 
The DG said the committee’s works continue after the submission of the report, explaining that “it is an enduring document that will last even till the next five years,” adding that there were some policy documents that are as old as Africa.
 
Odumodu noted that lack of National Quality Policy made the influx of substandard products prevalence in the country, regretting that some people don’t value quality.
 
“Though like I always said, there are substandard products all over the world, the difference is that we seem to embrace these products. People know they are substandard and dangerous to their lives, but always complain of lack of money to buy quality ones," he stressed.
 
The programme is supported by the European Union, EU and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Goodluck Jonathan Administration To Hire Foreign PR Firm For $800m To Burnish Image

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Read Time:4 Minute, 50 Second
The Goodluck Jonathan government is in the process of recruiting an international public relations firm, at the cost of nearly $1 billion dollars, to improve its battered image, SaharaReporters has learned.
 
The effort, brokered by Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is embroiled in corruption allegations of her own that are currently being probed by the House of Representatives, is aimed at countering the blistering negative publicity that has followed the government’s atrocious response to last month’s abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants, and public outrage over $20 billion in allegedly missing crude export earnings. 
 
The authoritative “Holmes Report,” which focuses on such high-level image-making deals, noted during the week that Alison-Madueke and some other unnamed government officials met with several PR firms in London to finalize the cushy contract, for which the Jonathan administration is sufficiently desperate to put on the table over $800 million dollars.
 
The embattled Petroleum Minister is set to face the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives on allegations that she squandered ?10 billion in unauthorized private jet charter expenditures.  Ms. Alison-Madueke is the closest minister to Mr. Jonathan who has ignored several other allegations of impropriety and corruption leveled against her by the media.
 
One top PR firm in London said it obtained a Request for Proposals (RFP) document from the Minister and her team outlining the government’s media strategy and seeking a company to provide “strategic counsel,” “stakeholder engagement,” “proactive” media relations and “key message and storybook development”.
 
According to the RFP, the successful firm will be required to target stakeholders in the UK, USA, Commonwealth countries, “all relevant EU institutions,” academic institutions and NGOs, “arrange 1:1 meetings with influential and open-minded potential champions,” and “arrange briefings to build links at various levels with the UK, US, Commonwealth and major European governments.”
 
The image-making firm that wins the contract will “feed in academic arguments to those identified” and “determine champions who are willing to speak publicly on Nigeria”, in a bid to “rally an alliance of support for the Nigerian government”.
 
The firm will also be required to develop “key messages, including facts and proof points” concerning “events surrounding the security challenges in Nigeria”, pushing the “core platforms of democracy and sustainable development.”
 
According to a source in London, “The Minister and his team will task the firm to ‘Begin the process of developing relationships with key journalists who are friendly and receptive’, and ‘Provide avenues for proactively seeding positive stories’”.
 
To that end, “One to two high profile, credible and friendly” journalists would be targeted for “1:1 relationships,” the source said, alluding to the prospects of enticing such journalists with juicy offers.
 
The willingness of the government to throw vast development resources into the hands of foreign PR practitioners at this time is believed to reflect its desperation as the 2015 elections approach.  The government has in the past several months clearly lost the propaganda war to its critics as its mishaps have played out in full view of the world.  
 
According to “Holmes Report” sources familiar with the situation, any relevant PR counsel would be limited to improving the transparency of the government's communications in light of intense global media scrutiny.  That is a confession that nothing can be done to improve the government’s transparency, or its performance.
 
One source stressed, however, that while the government would benefit from a clearer, more transparent media operation, "What we shouldn’t be doing is promising to clear up the story."
 
That story is the incompetence and corruption that the Jonathan government is famous for, which the $20 billion saga and the global #BringBackOurGirls campaign only illustrate internationally.
 
The source added that in view of the fact that negative media coverage was tarnishing the image of the government, the winning PR firm will lobby the press and make sure that reporting becomes positive, but it is unclear how that can be accomplished.
 
“The main focus right now is increasing investor confidence. We have to include all fronts, including economic angles,” he said. “There has been a barrage of international media coverage and we need to try to convert this interest into positive coverage.”
 
The Ketchum PR firm, one of the agencies reportedly visited by the Nigerian team, declined to disclose any information, citing client confidentiality.
 
At Nigeria’s Ministry for Petroleum Resources, a spokesman declined to comment on the report.  
 
Analysts told SaharaReporters that, if confirmed, the massive bill for the PR splash could inflict another big dent on the very image the government is trying to improve, as those funds could have been more realistically deployed into projects in Nigeria, including improving security and military capability.
 
The PR firms are insisting on securing at least a 3 year deal to enable them make a good profit from the deal.
 
 In March 2014, Saharareporters revealed the hiring of a "high-stakes public strategy firm” , US-based Mercury LLC, to provide PR support to the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the wake of the firing of Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, for blowing the whistle on the theft of $2o billion in crude oil sales. The firm received a deposit of $150,000 prior to starting work.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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