The Sun News » Business http://sunnewsonline.com/new - Voice of The Nation Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:34:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.7 Dangote cuts cement price to boost consumption http://sunnewsonline.com/new/dangote-cuts-cement-price-to-boost-consumption/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/dangote-cuts-cement-price-to-boost-consumption/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:24:51 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133898 Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest producer of the building material, cut prices in its home market of Nigeria in an attempt to boost cement consumption and compete with imports, Bloomberg reports. The price cuts to its 3X cement brand by $30.23 (6,000 naira) per metric ton will still allow Dangote to achieve strong returns, said chief [...]]]>

Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest producer of the building material, cut prices in its home market of Nigeria in an attempt to boost cement consumption and compete with imports, Bloomberg reports.

The price cuts to its 3X cement brand by $30.23 (6,000 naira) per metric ton will still allow Dangote to achieve strong returns, said chief executive Onne van der Weijde in a statement on Thursday.

The Lagos-based company is also hoping the lower prices will help increase export sales to neighboring nations, he said.

Dangote Cement is seeking to grow sales and protect market share in Nigeria, while rapidly expanding elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. The company has grappled with fuel shortages in its home market this year that have hurt demand, and in December it raised prices to protect profit margins amid a devaluing local currency.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer, has been hobbled by a halving of oil prices in the past year and the toll of an Islamist insurgency in the country’s north.

“We hope that reducing the cost of cement will help to stimulate building work across Nigeria at a time when the economy is in need of a boost,” Van der Weijde said.

“We believe our cost-saving initiatives and new pricing strategy will help to support the naira by reducing unnecessary imports and by enabling us to generate valuable foreign exchange earnings.”

About 42 percent of Dangote’s cement sales by volume were sold outside of Nigeria in July, the company said in the statement, compared with 22 percent in the first six months of the year, and just 8 percent in 2014.

Before the price increase in December, Dangote had reduced the cost of cement in November, causing a more than 20 percent slump in the market. Paris-based Lafarge SA is Dangote’s largest competitor in Nigeria.

“Competition has no choice but to bring down the price because Dangote is the market leader,” said Pabina Yinkere, head of research at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management. “The last time they reduced the price it was not sustained because they had logistics problems with their distribution.”

Dangote Cement shares have fallen 13 percent this year to 174 naira, compared to the 14 percent drop of the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index.

(BLOOMBERG)

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Apapa Customs generates N198.5bn in 8months http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apapa-customs-generates-n198-5bn-in-8months/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apapa-customs-generates-n198-5bn-in-8months/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:35:38 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133826 DESPITE the sharp fall in volume of importation occasioned by the devaluation of the naira in response to the crash in global crude oil prices, ]]>

…Hands over N30m pirated books to NCC

Stories by Uche Usim
DESPITE the sharp fall in volume of importation occasioned by the devaluation of the naira in response to the crash in global crude oil prices, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Area 1 Command has generated N198,584,137,007 between January and August 2015.
The command also handed a 20-foot container of pirated books worth N30 mil- lion to the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) on Wednesday. The pirated books were imported from China.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Charles Edike who dis- closed the eight months revenue generation in a data contained in the command’s customer service portal, said the officers and men worked hard to ensure it got every penny due to the government in line with its mandate of generating revenue, promoting security and facilitating legitimate trade.
According to the data, the command generated a total of N30,148,833,911 in August, which was the most challenging month for players in the import business because of Central Bank’s restriction on foreign exchange spending, which crashed import volume as most importers could not immediately source forex to import goods as they used to.
A breakdown of the revenue generation shows that in January, the command generated N20,725,398,408, while it rose to N21,561,736,463 in February. In March, it ballonned to N32,381,285,428. However, in April, the revenue dropped to N20,760,360,390 due a reduction in import and in May, it rose to N23,896,650,054. In June, the command generated N24,613,475,964 and in July, N24,496,388,389.
With regards to other activities within the command, the portal revealed that 63% yard occupancy was achieved in January this year with 41 vessels calling at the terminal and discharging a total of 17,929 containers. In February, 51 percent yard occupancy was achieved with 41 vessels calling and discharging 19,044 containers. For the month of March, 50 per cent yard occupancy was recorded, 36 vessels called and 14,935 containers discharged.
However, in August, 45 per cent yard occupancy was recorded; 31 vessels called, while a total of 16,983 containers were imported via the command’s terminal. The Comptroller said officers and men of his command will always work assiduously to ensure they meet federal government’s target, while facilitating trade. On the impounded pirated books, Edike said they include various textbooks for students of tertiary institutions and dictionaries and were discovered during physical examination of the container by his officers. He described those behind the pirated works as stealing the rightful owners’ intellectual property, resources
and energy. “We know the pains of owners of
works like these. This is stealing intellectual property and human effort. We know the pains our writers, artists and filmmakers go through, the time and energy used in putting these works together. All these works are worth millions of naira and somebody from nowhere will just begin to steal their works and reap where they did not sow,” he said.
He warned that the command under his watch would not condone such act as it would continue to protect the interest of writers and film makers who have invest- ed into their works.
Accepting the seized pirated books, Di- rector/Zonal Manager, Lagos Operational office of the NCC, Chris Nkwocha ex- pressed appreciation to the controller for his support and for the synergy between both agencies in the fight against piracy.

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$300bn deficit: FG, states to partner private sector on infrastructure investment http://sunnewsonline.com/new/300bn-deficit-fg-states-to-partner-private-sector-on-infrastructure-investment/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/300bn-deficit-fg-states-to-partner-private-sector-on-infrastructure-investment/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:31:22 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133824 AGAINST the backdrop of the estimated $300 billion infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, the Federal Government yesterday restated the imperative for massive investment in infrastructure, stressing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept has become a child of necessity that must be nurtured to fruition.]]>

From ISAAC ANUMIHE, Abuja
AGAINST the backdrop of the estimated $300 billion infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, the Federal Government    yesterday restated    the    imperative for massive investment in infrastructure, stressing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept has become a child of necessity that must be nurtured to fruition.
Speaking    at    a    PPP consultative forum organised by    the    Infrastructure Regulatory    Commission (ICRC) in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anastasia    Daniel-Nwobia, said that massive investments which is beyond the means available to government are
needed to close the country’s huge infrastructure gap.
The    PPP concept, she said, is a critical instrument that can marshal private sector investments in the country’s public infrastructure development, attributing the situation to many years of under-investment and poor maintenance.
She observed that the decay was hampering the development and economic growth of the country.
“The Federal Government believes that the private sector can play an important role in providing some of these new investments through public private partnerships. In line with global trends, the era of government only financing public infrastructure using the traditional procurement methods has since become
a thing of the past. For this reason, Nigeria, like other governments worldwide is looking at new ways of utilizing the PPPs to finance its projects including the provision of infrastructure and services” she noted.
Daniel-Nwobia also observed that there was still a major knowledge gap within the public sector since the PPP was a relatively new concept in the country.
She urged officers in the relevant ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) charged with the execution of PPP projects to equip themselves with the requisite skills and knowledge.
According to her, this would    enable them to deliver on the promise that the PPP method of project financing holds for the country.
“This forum provides useful platform through which MDAs can meet regularly to compare notes on the progress of the PPP initiatives in their respective areas and also share knowledge on PPP generally. We must not only learn individually, but also be prepared to learn collectively by sharing our experiences and resources. There is need for every one of us to learn from the consultants and experts working on projects with us and actively participate in conjunction with them in structuring and executing projects. We must also learn from past mistakes on previous projects so that we can deliver quicker, more effective and better projects in a more efficient manner through PPPs,’’ the permanent secretary, said.

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UBA profit rises 40% as H1 earnings hit N167bn http://sunnewsonline.com/new/uba-profit-rises-40-as-h1-earnings-hit-n167bn/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/uba-profit-rises-40-as-h1-earnings-hit-n167bn/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:29:53 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133821 The United Bank for Africa Plc, yesterday announced its audited 2015 half year financial results for the period ending June 30, 2015.The results showed strong growth in earnings and profits, as the bank ]]>

The United Bank for Africa Plc, yesterday announced its audited 2015 half year financial results for the period ending June 30, 2015.The results showed strong growth in earnings and profits, as the bank continued to reap from the loyalty of its large customer base in Nigeria and increasingly important pan African network, now contributing over 23 per cent of its profit after tax. Management also stated its prudent costs and risk administration also played a significant role in the growing numbers. This is even as it said it continued to extend loans to Nigeria to support domestic businesses and entrepreneurs meet the challenges of the market.
In line with best practice in corporate governance, UBA has elected to have its half year results audited, before its release to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Highlights of the result show that earnings grew strongly by 21 per cent to N166.9 billion during the period, compared to N138.2 billion in the same period of June 2014. The bank’s profit before tax (PBT) also rose 35.1 per cent to N39.0 billion, while profit after tax (PAT) also surge at 40 per cent to N32 billion within the same period. As a reward to shareholders, UBA announced the payment of an interim dividend of 20 kobo per share.
Speaking on the results, Phillips Oduoza, Group Managing Director/CEO said, “In spite of a challenging operating environment, our business strategy has proved to be resilient, balancing prudence, with an ability to significantly grow bottom line and continue to focus on operational effectiveness. We look forward to continuing to support our customers and working with them to achieve financial success for the wider Nigerian and African economies”.
Meanwhile the UBA 2015 half year results showed greater improvement in operational efficiencies with net operating income rising 21 per cent to N108.7 billion in June 2015, compared to N90 billion in the comparable period of 2014. The bank said it had continued to focus on operational efficiency, with a cost to income ratio of 64 per cent; as against 68 per cent in the same period in 2014.
Oduoza explained, “We delivered strong growth of 21 per cent in gross earnings and 40 per cent in profit after tax, reflecting better extraction of value across all business segments and our ongoing process optimization. It was also satisfying to see our cost-to-income ratio decline further.  We understand that many in Nigeria are facing difficult economic circumstances and we are very much shouldering our responsibility to support and grow wealth creation”.
UBA also maintained a healthy loan book, a tribute to its risk management and the robustness of its clients’ businesses, with non-performing ratio at just 1.8 per cent of total loans granted, one of the lowest in the banking industry.
Speaking on the performance of the bank’s African subsidiaries Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Ugo Nwaghodoh said; “Our business in Africa (ex-Nigeria) is beginning to significantly impact our returns, contributing 23% of profit after tax, with an even stronger outlook”.
He also disclosed that recent initiatives taken by the Bank to improve operational efficiencies “are yielding positive results, thus reinforcing our optimism on the future of UBA’s African business”.
The UBA Group is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, operating in 19 African countries, as well as New York, London and Paris. It provides a sophisticated suite of banking services to over 8 million personnel and corporate clients across Africa, priding itself on bringing financial inclusion to the continent and supporting Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

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Sugar Council calls for downward review of commodity prices http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sugar-council-calls-for-downward-review-of-commodity-prices/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/sugar-council-calls-for-downward-review-of-commodity-prices/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:27:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133818 WORRIED by the relatively high prices of sugar in the domestic market in spite of the continuous drop in international market prices, the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), has called on local refineries and producers in the nation’s sugar sector to effect a downward review of current sugar prices in line with emerging trends in global sugar market.]]>

WORRIED by the relatively high prices of sugar in the domestic market in spite of the continuous drop in international market prices, the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), has called on local refineries and producers in the nation’s sugar sector to effect a downward review of current sugar prices in line with emerging trends in global sugar market.
According to the NSDC, the move became necessary in view of worrisome trends in the domestic sugar market, adding that “Council had hoped that with time, the trend will reverse, but indeed it has not, hence the need to reach out to all our major sector players to find workable solutions”.
In a press statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the NSDC, Dr Latif Busari, the council said it, “With most of the major producers projecting good crops and many large consuming countries still holding substantial stocks, global sugar prices are more likely to witness further downward pressure and no one knows when it will bottom out”.
On why a downward review of current prices of sugar in our local market has become imperative, the statement quoted the NSDC Executive Secretary as saying that “between January and June this year while world sugar prices dropped by around 18 per cent, wholesale prices in Nigeria rose by 15 per cent. Wholesale prices today are hovering around the high prices of 2000 and Council keeps receiving complaints from both industrial and domestic consumers, who wonder why the declining international prices are not reflected in the local market, given the fact that Nigeria still imports over 98 per cent of its raw sugar needs”, it explained.
“Council had done a conservative estimate of the cost profile and while it agrees that the recent depreciation in our local currency relative to the dollar has eroded some of the gains and our estimates reveal that ex-factory price of refined sugar in Nigeria should cost around N6,000/50kg bag or N120,000/ ton even when a realistic, reasonable margin is factored into the equation.”
It said a downward review of prices as a “strategy would help rein in the activities of smugglers which are already threatening to erode the modest gains of the National Sugar Master Plan and whatever profits the refineries hope to make from the current regime of high prices”.

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Alison-Madueke denies refusing to sign $15bn Indian oil deal http://sunnewsonline.com/new/alison-madueke-denies-refusing-to-sign-15bn-indian-oil-deal/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/alison-madueke-denies-refusing-to-sign-15bn-indian-oil-deal/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 01:24:38 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133719 By Adewale Sanyaolu Immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has  denied allegations that she refused to sign a $15 billion oil deal involving an Indian firm, insisting the allegations made by the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Ajjampur R. Ghanashyam, was  spurious, unfounded, libelious, and  intended to malign her person. Alison-Madueke [...]]]>

By Adewale Sanyaolu

Immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has  denied allegations that she refused to sign a $15 billion oil deal involving an Indian firm, insisting the allegations made by the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Ajjampur R. Ghanashyam, was  spurious, unfounded, libelious, and  intended to malign her person.
Alison-Madueke who spoke through her lawyers, Messers Chike Obi, said the High Commissioner’s acrimony towards her was due to the Federal Government’s refusal to allow an Indian firm, Oil and Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL), default on its contractual obligation to provide a $6 billion investment, (around RS 36,600 rupies) in an 180,000 barrels (bpd) Greenfield refinery and 2,000 megawatt power plant and railway line from East to West of Nigeria.
Ghanashyam, had last weekend, said that Allison Madueke, failed to sign  a long-term agreement with New Delhi, Nigeria’s number one oil buyer, but used intermediaries in the annual $15 billion deal.
The High Commissioner stated that Nigeria was the only country that uses intermediaries in its oil deals with India and that rather than signing long-term agreement, she delayed approval of Oil Concession after receiving $25 million signature bonus.
India is now Nigeria’s number one crude buyer with importation that grosses $15 billion yearly,” Ghanashyam said.
“From other countries, when we buy oil, whatever we want to pay, we pay to the Ministry of Finance of that country. In Nigeria, we pay to intermediaries. We would like to be dealing directly with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It’s not a good thing. Why should we go through intermediaries?
“Secondly, we would also like to have long term agreement, which we have with countries like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and others from where we buy oil. Nigeria is the only country with whom we don’t have an agreement.  When we write a letter to NNPC, we don’t get a response,” Ghanashyam said.
But Alison Madueke said the publication by Ghanashyam to the effect that she delayed the approval of oil concession to two Indian companies, Oil and Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL) and Mittal Energy International JV, OMEL (MITTAL) in 2006, after receiving a $25,000,000.00 signature bonus, was spurious, false and lacking in substance.
Madueke clarified that she was not the Minister of Petroleum Resources in 2006 when the Indian companies entered into contractual agreement with the Federal Government and as such, wouldn’t have received any signature bonus either as citizen or Minister.
She also said she had no personal reason to delay the contract and wondered why the High Commissioner will choose to malign and attack her, rather than commend her acting dispassionately in recommending for refund of the said signature bonus to the Indians when the matter was brought to her attention at the twilight of her tenure as Minister.

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FRC queries Stanbic IBTC’s PBT accruals http://sunnewsonline.com/new/frc-queries-stanbic-ibtcs-pbt-accruals/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/frc-queries-stanbic-ibtcs-pbt-accruals/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 01:23:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133715 From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja As the anti-corruption campaign of the Federal Government continues to gather momentum, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) yesterday said it has zeroed in on some transactions executed by Stanbic IBTC Bank plc. Stanbic IBTC, a foreign deposit money bank with Nigerian affiliation also has partners in different parts of the world. [...]]]>

From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

As the anti-corruption campaign of the Federal Government continues to gather momentum, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) yesterday said it has zeroed in on some transactions executed by Stanbic IBTC Bank plc.
Stanbic IBTC, a foreign deposit money bank with Nigerian affiliation also has partners in different parts of the world.
But the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of  FRC, Mr Jim Obazee, who disclosed current investigation shortly after a meeting with the Director General of National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Mr Dan-Azumi Ibrahim, stated that the investigation was in response to petitions written by shareholders of the bank over  some unapproved transactions with its foreign technical partners.
“The petition from the stakeholders of Stanbic IBTC is on issues relating to Stanbic IBTC and the way they have been appropriating some monies in their account.  And if you accrue money in your account, well there is nothing wrong with accrued monies, but it must be disclosed properly. Now they said the accrual was requiring NOTAP approvals before they can make those payments. Now the person petitioning is saying that there is no need making  those accruals because IBTC has not been  able to secure NOTAP’s  approval. The petition kept coming and then we invited Stanbic IBC to hear their side in the matter. And listening to their side of the story, we believe that the petitioners have a good case. So,  our next step is to look at the agencies that were duly involved. NOTAP itself will give the approval, while Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) is the  regulator. Securities  and Exchange Commission(SEC) is also involved  because they were asking for general mandate for the treatment of third party transactions which we were against because that will not be in line with related party transactions on  accounting standards. We are here to also find out if NOTAP approved any of these payments, such as historical fees. We are looking at transactions from 2011 to date. If they didn’t get approval for 2011 fees, didn’t get for 2012, 2013, 2014,  why are they keeping these monies?” he queried.

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Buhari orders DISCOS, GENCOS to ensure steady power supply http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-orders-discos-gencos-to-ensure-steady-power-supply/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-orders-discos-gencos-to-ensure-steady-power-supply/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 01:22:08 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133713 From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja President Mohammadu Buhari has directed all electricity Generation and Distribution Companies to redouble their efforts to ensure  uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians during his tenure. ‎Buhari’s charge was conveyed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Amb. Godknows Igali, while signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with two indigenous investors in [...]]]>

From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja

President Mohammadu Buhari has directed all electricity Generation and Distribution Companies to redouble their efforts to ensure  uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians during his tenure.
‎Buhari’s charge was conveyed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Amb. Godknows Igali, while signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with two indigenous investors in the power sector – Messrs. New Horizons Energy Resources and Quaint Global Energy Solutions to build renewable projects.
The projects would include building Solar, Biomass and Thermal Plants respectively.
Igali said that the recent increase in power supply was not as a result of rain, as speculated in some quarters, as marginal improvement from Nigeria’s hydro plants cannot be responsible for this feat, but that it was the result of increase in gas supply to the thermal plants, adding that the anti-vandalism campaign was also yielding positive results.
To sustain this trend, the Permanent Secretary said the present administration was determined to look in the direction of renewables, hence greater emphasis will be placed on solar energy source.
He reasoned that with clusters of solar plants built across the country, technical losses occasioned by haulage of energy over long distances will be reduced, as this renewable source can be deplored effectively.  Captive Power in embedded manner will also be available to Discos at the distribution levels.
He commended the companies for working with the Ministry and government in the development of mini power generation and micro grid, insisting that all these efforts will translate into power stability and reliability.
Ambassador Igali announced that the Transmission Company of Nigeria was working on those critical corridors that would enhance the nation’s transmission capacity to be able to evacuate all energy produced now that more gas will be available to the thermal plants.
Seun Solesi, speaking on behalf of Quaint Global Energy Solutions, informed Igali that his company would enjoy a grant of 1.3 million USD from the Obama Power Africa Initiative’s United States Trade Development Agency to carry out feasibility studies for its 50MW Solar Powered Plant in Machiok, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

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H1: May & Baker’s turnover inches up to N3.4bn http://sunnewsonline.com/new/h1-may-bakers-turnover-inches-up-to-n3-4bn/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/h1-may-bakers-turnover-inches-up-to-n3-4bn/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 01:20:47 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133706 With 11 per cent revenue growth and pre-tax profit of N43.73 million,  May & Baker Nigeria Plc posted an impressive  turnover of N3.4 billion in the first six months of the year, up from the N3.16 billion recorded in the same period last year. In the comparative period of 2014, the company had recorded a [...]]]>

With 11 per cent revenue growth and pre-tax profit of N43.73 million,  May & Baker Nigeria Plc posted an impressive  turnover of N3.4 billion in the first six months of the year, up from the N3.16 billion recorded in the same period last year. In the comparative period of 2014, the company had recorded a loss of N161 million.
A statement from the company said the results show that it is fast recovering from the challenges of its mega investment in a world class pharmaceutical production facility in Ota, Ogun State and consolidating on its profitability trend, which began in the second half of 2014 when the group recorded a pre-tax profit growth of 990 per cent.
The result of the healthcare conglomerate for the first half of 2015 shows improvement in all fundamentals. Gross profit for instance, improved by over two percentage points, thus recording overall growth of 34 per cent against 31.59 per cent for the same period in 2014, and achieving N1.159 billion in 2015 compared to N972.5 million in 2014.
Selling cost costs followed the increase in revenue with a growth of 8 per cent while administrative costs reduced by 7.6 per cent from N283 million in 2014 to N263million in 2015. The company also reined in finance charges in 2015 to achieve a  9 per cent reduction from N309 million spent in 2014 to N284 million in 2015.
While costs were effectively controlled, operating profit was doubled by 105.7 per cent from N155.16 million for the comparable period in 2014 to N319.1 million in 2015. Earnings per share of 3.03 kobo against a loss per share of 16.44 kobo in the comparable period of 2014 was equally achieved.
The statement adds that the first half report was a clear indication of efficient management of resources and cost containment. It also points to the systematic recovery of the company as a leading profit maker in the healthcare industry,  just few years after investing over N4 billion to build  a world class manufacturing facility that was recently certified for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) by the World Health Organisation. The construction of the facility had taken a toll on the resources of the company, increasing finance charges astronomically over the past few years.
The recent recovery trend is seen by many as an indication that investors have struck  gold  with their stakes in the pharmaceutical giant.

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Zimbabweans have mixed feelings about Dangote’s investment pledges http://sunnewsonline.com/new/zimbabweans-have-mixed-feelings-about-dangotes-investment-pledges/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/zimbabweans-have-mixed-feelings-about-dangotes-investment-pledges/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:40:05 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133621 Zimbabwe have expressed mixed feelings over visiting Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s pledges to invest billions of his wealth in a country condemned as an investment risk. Opposition politicians were adamant African’s richest man would not blindly pour in cash into a dysfunctional economy plugged by political instability, corruption and recurrent power outages. Similarly, ordinary Zimbabweans [...]]]>

Zimbabwe have expressed mixed feelings over visiting Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s pledges to invest billions of his wealth in a country condemned as an investment risk.

Opposition politicians were adamant African’s richest man would not blindly pour in cash into a dysfunctional economy plugged by political instability, corruption and recurrent power outages.

Similarly, ordinary Zimbabweans took to social media to question how an astute tycoon in the mould of Dangote would consciously invest a generous chunk of his riches in a country with no regard for property rights.

Leading the assail was former finance minister and now MDC Renewal Team president designate Tendai Biti who insisted Dangote was way too smart to squander his fortune in a comatose economy.

“Dangote is a smart man that I know at a personal level,” Biti told NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.

“He is not going to pour billions into an economy that is as dysfunctional, as dishonest and as broken down as that of Zimbabwe.”

Biti said Zimbabweans should not read too much into comments made by the billionaire he had already made his mind towards investing in the country.

He urged the Zanu PF government to attend to broader economic issues to expand the cake as opposed to opening the gates for a single investor.

“We have to fix the economy so that we are able to attract investors from all corners of the world,” he said.

“The Indigenisation and Empowerment Act has to be repealed and it will affect him (Dangote) anyway because he is a foreigner.”

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu also wrote on his personal Facebook page that Dangote would not readily plunge a penny into an economy ridden with corruption.

“Aliko Dangote is a very smart and shrewd entrepreneur. He will never invest in a corruption – infested, lawless country. Just forget it,” Gutu said.

Media rights activist and political commentator Nhlanhla Ngwenya also felt the current government was out to placate a restless population by projecting Dangote’s intended investment in billions.

“YES the guy is rich, and YES he has pledged to invest in Zimbabwe,” Ngwenya said, adding, “But claiming he will pour in ‘billions’ is typical feel-good propaganda that Zimbabweans have been fed on but continue to see their lives deteriorate. Millions, could be closer to reality.”

But a senior private media journalist who preferred not to be named for professional reasons felt Dangote was a businessman cut from a totally different cloth.

“There are other investors who argue that this is the right time to invest in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“They feel that once the current problems which are mainly anchored on the politics of the day are resolved one day, it would be very difficult to come in.

“Dangote could as well belong to that group.

“You could see the enthusiasm he exuded soon after meeting President Mugabe and his ministers.”

The scribe said Mugabe, who wants to be seen as a pan-Africanist, would be reluctant to unnecessarily mess the Nigerian tycoon up.

Dangote’s high profile visit to the crisis-weary country was covered in screaming headlines from the state media with top government officials, among them Jonathan Moyo, celebrating the deal.

(NEW ZIMBABWE)

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Oil theft: NNPC to deploy drones to monitor pipelines, vessels http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oil-theft-nnpc-to-deploy-drones-to-monitor-pipelines-vessels-2/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oil-theft-nnpc-to-deploy-drones-to-monitor-pipelines-vessels-2/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:48:38 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133538 Respite may have come the way of managers of the nation’s oil assets and infrastructure]]>

…Pledges to eradicate menace in 8 months

By Adewale Sanyaolu and Dennis Mernyi (Abuja)

Respite may have come the way of managers of the nation’s oil assets and infrastructure as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has concluded plans to deploy drones across the nation’s territorial waters to monitor pipelines and movement of oil vessels.

Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this in a presentation he made at the special conference on Security in the Gulf of Guinea, organised by the Gusau Institute, in Abuja.

Kachikwu explained that the corporation was working on a range of far reaching options aimed at ending the ugly episodes of crude and petroleum products theft within the next eight months.

On pipeline protection, the GMD explained that, though the corporation was working assiduously with the law enforcement agencies to increase the presence of military personnel in the area, the ultimate security for critical oil and gas assets lies squarely with the host communities.

“ We are launching an armada of approaches which will include the deployment of drones to check movements of vessels within our territorial waters; we are looking at the current logistical nightmares of changing workers at the loading bay of crude oil export terminals virtually every 90 days. We are trying to equip the navy sufficiently, though they are very well equipped in terms of skills but not in terms of arsenal for patrols within the maritime area.

The best security for these pipelines lies with the communities. We are trying to create enough incentives for them to see these pipelines as their own.

Most of our product pipelines are ruptured and attacked frequently. For instance, between June 2014 and June 2015, we recorded about 3, 500 to 4,000 attempts at the various products pipelines across the country. In addition to that, the pipelines that are supposed to convey crude to the refineries are perpetually hacked, ’’ he said.

Kachikwu maintained that the impact of oil theft is hampering the smooth operations of the nation’s refineries, warning that, if left unchecked, the menace could lead to the inability of NNPC to operate the refineries.

He noted that the resort to the use of marine vessels to convey crude to the refineries is coming at heavy cost.

He explained that beyond the loss of crude and products, the incidents of oil theft have also claimed a huge number of human lives, informing that in the last three years, a total of 350 persons including NNPC staff, Police Officers, community members have been killed as a result of the activities of oil thieves.

He informed that in executing the campaign, adequate support will be sought from the International community, especially from countries that have become host nations to stolen  crude oil cargoes.

Earlier in his Keynote Address, His Excellency Patrice Emery Trovoada, Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, called on the countries in the Gulf of Guinea to forge a broad based collaboration to stem the ugly tide of insecurity on all the water ways.

 

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Enugu Disco negotiates tariff over N35bn CBN power intervention fund http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enugu-disco-negotiates-tariff-over-n35bn-cbn-power-intervention-fund/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/enugu-disco-negotiates-tariff-over-n35bn-cbn-power-intervention-fund/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:46:42 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133536 In its effort to repay the N35 billion power intervention fund received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Enugu Electricity Distribution ]]>

By Adewale Sanyaolu

In its effort to repay the N35 billion power intervention fund received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has concluded tariff negotiations with consumers under its network.

EEDC received N10.2 billion out of N213 billion CBN intervention fund and is obligated to repay N35 billion with interest over the 10 year period.

The negotiations are in line with the guidelines approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for public consultations by the distribution companies before applying for tariff review

EEDC’s proposed tariff review will be for a 10-year period from 2015 to 2025 and the company has also pledged to avoid tariff shock by deferring some of its allowable revenue in the early years to later years.

The consultations, which were held in Enugu, Abakaliki, Aba, Umuahia, Onitsha, Awka, and Owerri between July 23 and August 12, 2015, were well attended by EEDC’s residential, commercial, industrial and special customers.

The Head, South East Zonal Office for NERC, Mr. Sam Ekeh and Mrs. Clementina Nwigwe from the Consumer Protection Council, as well as members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) were also in attendance.

The purpose of the meetings was to improve the understanding of customers and stakeholders on the process of setting tariffs, the factors involved, and most importantly to receive feedback and input into EEDC’s tariff review process.

The meeting also served to expose customers to EEDC’s on-going efforts and plans to improve its quality of service and explain its current challenges.

In one of his lead presentations at the consultative meetings, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EEDC, Mr. Robert Dickerman, noted that the tariff review was crucial to the sustainability of the entire electricity supply chain.

“Since electricity generation companies and Transmission Company of Nigeria do not charge customers directly for their services, the tariffs charged by every distribution company must support the effective operations of the distribution company, transmission company and generation companies,”

The Deputy Managing Director of EEDC, Mr. Tope Borishade, noted that “on average, 60 per cent of the amount billed to each customer is for the generation companies and 15 per cent is for the transmission company and other service providers. The remaining 25 per cent is for the operation of the distribution company,” he added.

The company used the opportunity to stress that appropriate tariffs would enable it pay the generation and transmission companies so as to enable them make required investments or raise the capital needed to do so.

Reacting to the tariff review proposal, a cross section of the customers applauded EEDC for arranging the meetings and for its efforts at improving its services.

However, many customers expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s estimated bills, absence of meters, delay in repairing faulty transformers, prolonged power outages and fixed charges.

Some customers also emphasised that the company should improve its services before considering a tariff review and that if services improve, the tariff be well received.

But in his response, Dickerman announced that EEDC had commenced procurement and installation of meters for its Maximum Demand Customers while the procurement and installation of pre-paid meters for its single-phase and three-phase customers is at advanced stages.

He explained that the delay in the role-out of EEDC’s metering programme was due to the high incidence of meter by-pass and meter-tampering experienced in prior exercises. The new program needed to be designed to avert the by-pass and tampering of the new meters.

In addressing the issue of estimated bills, Borishade explained that EEDC will install meters for all its customers and stop estimated billing, in line with its existing business plan.

He further explained that until all its customers have meters, customers without meters will continue to receive bills that will be estimated in line with existing industry regulations.

The company also explained that it had earmarked N25 billion for investment in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and enumeration of customers and assets in its license area, deployment of 750,000 pre-paid meters, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Platform, transformers, construction of relief substations and network expansion.

According to the company, these investments will go a long way in reducing its aggregate technical, commercial and collection (ATC&C) losses and addressing many of its customers’ complaints.

On the controversial issue of fixed charge, EEDC explained that fixed charge is a necessary component of electricity tariffs, adding that it is necessary to support the Capacity Charges for the generation companies, as well as, capital, maintenance and fixed costs of other electricity market participants.

EEDC had equity capital of N33 billion at the handover of the company to Interstate Electrics Limited on November 1, 2013 and has since invested in distribution network equipment, acquisition of new distribution transformers, expansion of its network and construction of relief substations.

The tariffs that were in place between November 2013 and December 2014 were inadequate to support the industry and this led to a revenue shortfall in excess of N210 billion.

Generally, the meetings provided enabling environments for better understanding between EEDC and its customers.

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FOU Zone C Customs impounds N545m contraband, arrests 5 suspects http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fou-zone-c-customs-impounds-n545m-contraband-arrests-5-suspects/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fou-zone-c-customs-impounds-n545m-contraband-arrests-5-suspects/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:44:53 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133534 In furtherance of its anti-smuggling drive, the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, Owerri has again seized two ]]>

By Uche Usim

In furtherance of its anti-smuggling drive, the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, Owerri has again seized two new bullet-proof Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), among other vehicles and contraband goods with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N545,651,050.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the unit, Dimka Victor David, who disclosed this at the weekend while briefing newsmen at the Customs warehouses in Owerri and Benin respectively said five suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures.

David said that the seizures were made along Aba/Eleme axis and Agbor-Benin expressway barely one week after the unit impounded an illegally imported bullet-proof vehicle.

The comptroller also displayed seized 85 bales of second hand clothing with DPV of N8,160,000 and 1 40 foot container of 373 bales of used school bags with a DPV of N22,477,200 at the Customs warehouse in Owerri; while a total of 13 smuggled vehicles, all brand new models which include two bullet-proof Prado SUVs, nine Toyota Land cruiser and three Toyota Corolla cars with DPV of N285,242,000 were similarly showcased at the Benin Customs warehouse.

In addition, two trucks carrying a total of 1,220 bags of 50kg rice with DPV of N22,814,000 were impounded among other smuggled trucks with DPV of N110,187,000 and numerous cartons of imported frozen poultry products with DPV of 96,770,840 already destroyed.

According to David, the banned items secretly smuggled into the country, fell into the hands of the officers, who are still basking on operation “Quick fix”, a new policy unveiled by the former acting Comptroller-General of Customs, John Atteh to address the need of Customs to maximise revenue generation for the nation and also ensure a stronger, more oriented, vibrant and efficient Customs Service.

The Customs boss said while a good number of well meaning Nigerians are appreciative of government efforts to rid the nation of corruption in all its ramification, some smugglers are unrepentantly bent on circumventing the lofty mission for their selfish interest.

While enumerating the obvious consequences of smuggling to the nation’s economy, Dimka wondered why some individuals are still engrossed in the illicit act that has brought sorrows and grief to those caught and members of their families.

He therefore warned that the NCS will not relent in the discharge of its statutory duties until smugglers are brought to their knees and sent to penury.

He added that, the seized imported bags of rice neither have NAFDAC registration number nor date of expiration; and the frozen poultry products also seized were destroyed to spare innocent and unsuspecting consumers from possible death.

In his word “they are harmful, injurious and unfit for human consumption because the method of preservation is unknown and we have enough poultry here in the country that can feed the whole nation.

The Customs Controller said that men of the NCS are now better trained and are undergoing capacity building all over the commands and “Command and Staff College” Gwagwalada to meet its challenges.

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Keystone Bank gets double ISO certifications: 27001, 20000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/keystone-bank-gets-double-iso-certifications-27001-20000/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/keystone-bank-gets-double-iso-certifications-27001-20000/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:43:55 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133531 Keystone Bank, a Nigerian commercial bank has obtained two certifications from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). The certifications include the ISO 20000 for IT Service ]]>

Keystone Bank, a Nigerian commercial bank has obtained two certifications from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). The certifications include the ISO 20000 for IT Service Management Systems (ITMS) and ISO 27001 for Information Security System (ISMS).

Management of the bank, said the certifications attest that Keystone Bank has aligned with world class standards in protecting customer information and providing stellar services to its stakeholders via efficient and effective use of Information Technology.

The certifications were issued after a rigorous audit exercise conducted by the British Standard Institute (BSI), in keeping with Keystone Bank’s vision to be the preferred partner to its customers via the use of Information Technology.According to the Executive Director, Operations & Technology, Mrs. Yvonne Isichei “Keystone Bank is committed to following global best practices and standards in all its operations because we believe our customers should be assured of consistent service delivery, convenience and reliability.

“These certifications also give our stakeholders increased confidence and confirms the security of information and information technology service at all levels.”

Mrs. Isichei also said “With this, customers can be assured that we have put processes in place to protect the information that they give us.”

The British Standard Institute (BSI) recognizes companies that have implemented systems and structures that ensure their operations are in line with international best practices. The BSI Group is one of the largest and most experienced certification bodies focused primarily on training, auditing and certification of qualified organizations.

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Oil theft: NNPC to deploy drones to monitor pipelines, vessels http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oil-theft-nnpc-to-deploy-drones-to-monitor-pipelines-vessels/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/oil-theft-nnpc-to-deploy-drones-to-monitor-pipelines-vessels/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 23:44:26 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133474 Respite may have come the way of managers of the nation’s oil assets and infrastructure as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has concluded plans to deploy drones across the ]]>

…Pledges to eradicate menace in 8 months

By Adewale Sanyaolu and Dennis Mernyi (Abuja)

Respite may have come the way of managers of the nation’s oil assets and infrastructure as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has concluded plans to deploy drones across the nation’s territorial waters to monitor pipelines and movement of oil vessels.

Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this in a presentation he made at the special conference on Security in the Gulf of Guinea, organised by the Gusau Institute, in Abuja.

Kachikwu explained that the corporation was working on a range of far reaching options aimed at ending the ugly episodes of crude and petroleum products theft within the next eight months.

On pipeline protection, the GMD explained that, though the corporation was working assiduously with the law enforcement agencies to increase the presence of military personnel in the area, the ultimate security for critical oil and gas assets lies squarely with the host communities.

“ We are launching an armada of approaches which will include the deployment of drones to check movements of vessels within our territorial waters; we are looking at the current logistical nightmares of changing workers at the loading bay of crude oil export terminals virtually every 90 days. We are trying to equip the navy sufficiently, though they are very well equipped in terms of skills but not in terms of arsenal for patrols within the maritime area.

The best security for these pipelines lies with the communities. We are trying to create enough incentives for them to see these pipelines as their own.

Most of our product pipelines are ruptured and attacked frequently. For instance, between June 2014 and June 2015, we recorded about 3, 500 to 4,000 attempts at the various products pipelines across the country. In addition to that, the pipelines that are supposed to convey crude to the refineries are perpetually hacked, ’’ he said.

Kachikwu maintained that the impact of oil theft is hampering the smooth operations of the nation’s refineries, warning that, if left unchecked, the menace could lead to the inability of NNPC to operate the refineries.

He noted that the resort to the use of marine vessels to convey crude to the refineries is coming at heavy cost.

He explained that beyond the loss of crude and products, the incidents of oil theft have also claimed a huge number of human lives, informing that in the last three years, a total of 350 persons including NNPC staff, Police Officers, community members have been killed as a result of the activities of oil thieves.

He informed that in executing the campaign, adequate support will be sought from the International community, especially from countries that have become host nations to stolen  crude oil cargoes.

Earlier in his Keynote Address, His Excellency Patrice Emery Trovoada, Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, called on the countries in the Gulf of Guinea to forge a broad based collaboration to stem the ugly tide of insecurity on all the water ways.

 

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TD-Mobile, Transcend in mobile pact http://sunnewsonline.com/new/td-mobile-transcend-in-mobile-pact/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/td-mobile-transcend-in-mobile-pact/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:58:53 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133370 In order to remain the market leader in the technology market, Technology Distribution Mobile has signed a mutual pact with ]]>

 Olabisi Olaleye bisiolaleye@gmail.com 08094000013, 08111813040

In order to remain the market leader in the technology market, Technology Distribution Mobile has signed a mutual pact with Transcend Information, Inc, manufacturer of storage and multimedia products.

Briefing the media last week, TD-Mobile explained that the pact was  a major partnership distribution agreement with the company for its complete product lines to provide various memory and storage solutions, as well as multimedia entertainment in Nigeria.

“This partnership will see Transcend leverage on TD-Mobile’s wide reseller base and impressive distribution network to increase the market share of its range of renowned solutions in Nigeria’s fast growing mobile devices market”.

Speaking at the event, Business Manager, TD-Mobile, Mrs. Gozy Ijogun who expressed delight with the partnership, disclosed that the development bodes well for the Nigerian mobile devices market.

“At TD-Mobile, we are very selective about the brands we represent. However, the decision to sign on Transcend was one we took with a measure of excitement. TD-Mobile has been in the fore-front of driving technological revolution in Africa by bridging the digital divide with affordable smart devices which offer a unique user experience. We have remained the major distributor of smart mobile devices in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Transcend, we have found a fitting partner as the company is passionate about adding value in the Nigerian and African market,” she stated.

Urging the considerable number of resellers present to take advantage of Transcend’s best-selling product lines to grow their business, Mrs. Ijogun noted that in line with its mandate, TD-Mobile will continue to push and expand the frontiers of access to quality and pocket-friendly smart devices for many.

With an eye on the future of smart technologies, TD-Mobile has quickly acquired a glowing reputation as the leading distributor of smart mobile devices in the West African sub-region. The company has also carried on the legacy of its parent company, Technology Distributions Limited, by distributing only genuine products sourced directly from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

TD-Mobile, a subsidiary of Technology Distributions Ltd, will add Transcend to a wide product portfolio presently distributed which includes phablets, tablets and smart phones from renowned brands such as HP, Apple, Lenovo, Infinix, Dell, Samsung, Injoo, Techno, Yezz, Wiko, Zinox, Blackberry, Nokia and Toshiba.

As a pioneer in the industry, Transcend continues to diversify product portfolio and provide complete memory and storage solutions to satisfy various demands of users, including the award-winning Car Video Recorder, new-generation storage Solid State Drive, Apple Solutions for Mac storage expansion or upgrade and Mobile Storage for all smart devices.

In his keynote presentation, Country Manager, Transcend Inc., Mr. Wilson Chen, who traced the company’s global trajectory, huge market share and consistently strong financials, noted that Transcend has strategically positioned itself as a value-added one stop shop for all classes of mobile devices users. According to him, Transcend has diverse solutions ranging from multimedia devices, IT components and storage devices for every operating software, including Android, Windows and Apple devices.

“Transcend remains the market leader in the storage and multimedia field as we have consistently shown over the years the ability to respond quickly to the market’s changing needs.

Chen who described the partnership agreement with TD-Mobile as a strategic one, noted that the pact is in line with the company’s determination to extend its footprints into the rapidly growing Nigerian and African mobile devices market.

“At Transcend, we see the African market as a very strategic and important one. Mobile devices penetration in West Africa and Nigeria in particular is growing at an exponential rate and we are keen to give the consumer more value with our wide range of products which is unmatched in the field. We are therefore delighted to announce this strategic partnership with TD-Mobile which will go a long way in helping us achieve our mission of extending Transcend’s globally renowned solutions to the African market,” he said.

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New value proposition for customers as Heritage, Enterprise Banks merge http://sunnewsonline.com/new/new-value-proposition-for-customers-as-heritage-enterprise-banks-merge/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/new-value-proposition-for-customers-as-heritage-enterprise-banks-merge/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:55:53 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133367 It was a moment of joy for stakeholders in Heritage Bank when recently the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted final approval for its merger with Enterprise Bank.]]>

By Amechi Ogbonna

It was a moment of joy for stakeholders in Heritage Bank when recently the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted final approval for its merger with Enterprise Bank.

Expectedly, the approval was one of the last hurdles, managers and directors of the bank needed to scale before integration of the two banks’ processes and systems ahead of the great promises the merger sets to unfold to the business community would begin.

The CBN’s nod which was also coming on the heels of a similar approval by a Federal High Court for the scheme of merger for both institutions into a mega institution tht will deliver quality financial services to the Nigerian and international business community.

In its recent letter to the management of Heritage Bank conveying the news, the apex bank noted  “The Management  of the Central Bank of Nigeria  (CBN) has approved  the grant  of Final Merger Approval  to Heritage  Banking Company  Limited and  Enterprise Bank Limited and  the license  of Heritage Bank Limited (the successor).

An elated Managing Director/Chief Executive at Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo said, “We’re pleased with the final approval of the merger of the two institutions. The stage is now set for us to achieve the vision of a bigger and better bank that offers world class banking services designed to help customers to create, preserve and transfer wealth”.

Sekibo added that “With this acquisition, the new Heritage Bank is better positioned to serve its clients spread across over 200 branches, 177 ATMs, 57 Cash Centres and 2000 POS Terminals in 26 states. We shall harness the better of the two worlds combined in terms of our innovative products, bespoke technology and extended branch network manned by a team of tenacious people; as this automatically transforms our bank from a tier-2 player to a strong tier-1 player that is ONE! BIGGER! BETTER!,”.

He further srtated, “as we integrate into a larger bank, we assure our esteemed customers that this strategic stride is ultimately to serve them better. We affirm our commitment to all stakeholders that we will continue to deliver on our promise of creating and preserving wealth across generations through highly personalised service.”

The road to the merger began on October 15, 2014 when Heritage Bank successfully acquired Enterprise Bank in a mega deal estimated at about N56 billion.

It was indeed one transaction that defied the prognosis of many industry observers who had expected the pendulum would swing to the side of bigger banking brands that participated in the bidding process.

But the assessors of the transaction appeared greatly convinced that a Heritage Bank merger with Enterprise Bank would offer shareholders better value proposition than all other contenders with the benefit of hindsight.

For instance, on the score its technology efficiency, the bank had since settled for business to further demonstrate that its snapping of the Enterprise Bank deal was no fluke having identified its areas of core competence including the financing of small and medium enterprises.

Similarly, Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had on July 27, 2015 ordered an Extra-ordinary General Meeting of all the parties to the deal which was eventually held on August 12, 2015.

At that forum, shareholders of the two banks agreed that the merger would create bigger value proposition for them in the long run and wasted no chances in consumating it.

Largely seen by industry analysts as a brand built on a legacy of innovation, Heritage Bank recently achieved the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification award in recognition of its commitment to effective and secured financial system, thus becoming the only bank in Nigeria to get that certification in less than three years of operation.

With that certification also the bank joins the league of big players including the Central Bank of Nigeria that have been certified in the banking industry.

“This was reinforced when it received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, PCI DSS certification, in addition to the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 award. The PCI DSS is a proprietary information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discovery, and JCB.

The certification was in recognition of the bank’s commitment to effective and secured financial system which has put it in the league of big players in the industry confering internationally-recognised standards on its operations.

The CBN had in December 2012, re-issued SGBN’s banking license, to Heritage Bank Company Limited as a regional bank following which it  reopened for business under a new name on  March 4, 2013.

Under the terms of the CBN license, Heritage Bank is to offer full commercial banking services with a regional bank status, which it flagged off with a validation exercise for account holders of the former Societe Generale Bank (Nig.) Ltd. That exercise however turned out to be a good marketing strategy that guaranteed it a huge stock of loyal customers that enabled it consolidate its customer base as events unfolded.

But not being satisfied with playing on the fringe of Africa’s  largest economy, the bank in October  of 2014, acquired 100 per cent  shareholding in Enterprise Bank, a nationalised financial services provider with over 160 branches and US$1.6 billion in assets so as to enlarge its market share.

To secure this deal Heritage Bank paid AMCON about US$$340 million (NGN:56.1 billion), in cash, for the acquisition.  Heritage Investment Services Limited (HISL), the investment arm of Heritage Banking Company Limited (HBCL), was the winning bidder out of 24 Nigerian and International companies that participated in the race for acquisition of Enterprise Bank restructured by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria after the 2009 banking crisis.

At the presentation of the ISO/NEC 2700-2013 award on behalf of the British government, to the bank in Lagos on August 5, 2015, the Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Ray Kyles commended the bank for setting high standard in the financial industry and pledged the continued support of the British government for Nigeria’s financial institutions. “It is not an easy task. This award remains a cornerstone of your reputation,” he said.

While receiving the award, the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, noted that banking is a business of risks management, from assets to data, adding that it was fundamental that whatever a customer keeps in a bank is in safe custody. “This is a day to beat our chest. Heritage Bank is an idea, not a bank. We are a service company providing banking service; and we are the best in the class of security of our information systems. It means funds kept with us are safe. This award is a validation of our mission to promote high ethical standards, integrity, and good business practices,” he said.

Sekibo stated that innovation is inevitable for the banking industry. This, he said, was due to changing dynamics of the global economy which has penetrated banking. He therefore, reiterated the commitment of his bank to introducing more innovative banking products and services to meet the needs of its customers.

Solomon Edun, Managing Director of Global Infoswift, project consultants explained that the certification is a rigorous exercise that confers internationally recognised standard on the recipient. He added that the award was the most rigorous certification in terms of information, process/data and asset security, assuring it will put Heritage Bank in a good stead to protect customers’ funds and frustrate efforts by fraudsters to access their information and assets.

With growing concerns that substantial part of banks’revenue is being lost to fraud with no single bank being spared, Heritage said it is determined to reinforce safety of customers deposits.

Incidence of Frauds and Forgeries in Banks was put at 8502 between  (January – September 2014 involving about N23.34 billion and an actual loss of  N3.01 billion, the ISO 27000 family of standards helps organizations keep information assets secured. It also helps organizations manage the security of assets such as financial information, intellectual property, employee details or information entrusted to you by third parties.

The ISO/IEC 27001 is regarded as the best-known standard in the family providing requirements for an Information Security Management System, ISMS.

It emanated from the British Standard Institute, BSI an independent, non-governmental organization, the members of which are the standards organization of the 164 member countries.

It is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards and facilitates global trade by providing common standards between nations. Nearly 20,000 standards have been set covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety, agriculture and healthcare.

Little wonder the bank went for the certification which it hopes would further boost customer confidence in its brand.

To further demonstrate its commitment to entrepreneurship development in league with the Entrepreneurship Development Center of the Pan African University (PAU) recently entered into a  partnership to bring together top chief executive officers to discuss Emerging Horizons for Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

The Chief Executive Officers who attended among other things discussed with SME operators on a variety of issues during the 9th EDC annual SME conference sponsored by Heritage Bank scheduled to hold next month in Lagos.

Sekibo noted that, “Partnering EDC to organize conferences on entrepreneurship development was part of its efforts to help SMEs get better and bigger, which was also one of the strategic objectives for the  acquisition of Enterprise Bank”..

“We believe that their testimonials will serve as a big boost of inspiration for SME operators that would attend the conference,” he said.

Heritage Bank partnered EDC and other organisations has helped SMEs build competence, access new opportunities and develop necessary leadership skills required for success in the business world. Some of these include the

Heritage Bank SME Clinic, Heritage Governance Model, the Paris Club Credit Scheme and the Enterprise Stories, a radio programme which focuses on stories of successful entrepreneurs. The sponsorship of the Annual EDC’ SME Conference is to complement these initiatives  aimed at promoting SME development in Nigeria.”

Heritage Bank, since inception in 2013, has been at the forefront of promoting SME development in the banking industry.  The bank  designed and offers an array of products and services based on the perceived and expressed needs of SME businesses.

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29.4m customers yet to be captured on BVN platform http://sunnewsonline.com/new/29-4m-customers-yet-to-be-captured-on-bvn-platform/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/29-4m-customers-yet-to-be-captured-on-bvn-platform/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:53:50 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133365 BARELY two months to the deadline for the customers’ registration for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over 29.4million customers are yet to be captured in the ]]>

…As CBN identifies bottlenecks hampering e-payment system

Stories by Blaise Udunze

BARELY two months to the deadline for the customers’ registration for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over 29.4million customers are yet to be captured in the on-going exercise across the country.

Daily Sun findings showed that of 48,389,614 active accounts in the banking industry only 19million accounts have been linked with BVN, despite the 4 months extension given by CBN from June 31.

Director, Banking and Payment System, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, who disclosed this in a presentation at the bi-monthly forum organised by the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), at the weekend said that a total of 19 million bank customers have so far registered for the BVN.

He therefore urged bank customers that are yet to register to do so before the October 31, deadline.

“As at last week, over 19 million bank customers have been issued BVN. What we are doing now is moving round the banks to see how they are doing and those that are complying. The campaign from the CBN is that Nigerians should go and enroll for the BVN that is why we are going to be very strict with the deadline. “Please, bank customers don’t have to wait till this date,” Fatokun, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Musa Itokpa Jimoh advised.

He stressed that with BVN, there would no longer be a hiding place for fraudsters. “Why we have not caught anybody is because we have not got to the cut-off date. When we get to the cut-off date, any account that does not have BVN cannot receive and cannot take out money. “So, if you are a fraudster and you try to transfer money into an account that doesn’t have BVN, the system will reject it. Now, if you are a fraudster and you transfer money into an account that has BVN, then we know you. It is going to engender transparency in the banking industry,” he added.

He also identified absence of a unique identifier, apathy and poor infrastructure as key challenges confronting e-payment system in the country.

Fatokun hinted that the bank was picking up the pace to confront the identified challenges, including poor infrastructure to enhance smooth operation of the system.

He also said that efforts are on to get rid of fraud arising from e-payment transactions.

The Director said the project identified agriculture, smart cities, health, transportation, hotels, entertainment, government flow, education and Consumer Bill Payment as well as direct debits as focus areas.

He explained that the absence of a unique identifier in the banking industry has negative consequences on the growth of e-payments and that it was the need to resolve the challenge that prompted the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee to launch the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project.

The project, he said, will help build confidence of customers on the e-payment channels and enhance integrity of transactions.

“The BVN initiative is aimed at protecting bank customers and further strengthening the Nigerian banking system by uniquely identifying all bank customers and acts as a stop-gap, prior to the full implementation of the National Identity Card system,” he said.

Meanwhile, the CBN has mandated all banks, switches and processors to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCIDSS) and subsequently conducted an oversight on compliance, which showed that most banks had been certified.

He said the certification lasts for one year and banks are currently at various levels of re-certification. He explained that PCIDSS is a global compliance standard for any entity that stores, transmits or processes card payment data.

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CIBN tasks bankers on professionalism, skill acquisitions http://sunnewsonline.com/new/cibn-tasks-bankers-on-professionalism-skill-acquisitions/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/cibn-tasks-bankers-on-professionalism-skill-acquisitions/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:52:12 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133363 THE Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) has threatened to sanction bankers that fail to adopt professionalism and acquire the required skills to enhance services to the banking public.]]>

…Reiterates commitment to support FG on economy revival

THE Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) has threatened to sanction bankers that fail to adopt professionalism and acquire the required skills to enhance services to the banking public.

President /Chairman of the Institute, Otunba Debola Osibogun, who gave this advice at the 2015 CIBN Graduates Induction and Prize Awards Day urged Nigerian bankers to upgrade their professional skills in the industry.

She hinted that the Institute will join hands with the Federal Government to fight corruption and revive the nation’s economy even from the banking industry.

According to her:’ to update your skills I urge you to embrace the Compulsory Continuous Professional Development Programmes (CCPD) to enable you keep abreast of latest developments in your chosen field’.

While addressing the new graduates of the institute, she noted that as members of the noble profession, bankers should keep alive the finest of the Institute’s values and tradition and commit to its motto of Trust and Honesty.

“They must imbibe in absolute terms, the values of ethics and professionalism which will support the current rejuvenation of our national rebirth for a positive change,” she stated.

Meanwhile, the Institute awarded certificates to 1005 grandaunts, which include 276 student members who were admitted into Associateship category (ACIB), while 20 graduates of the Chartered Banker/MBA Programme were given the Associateship of the Institute.

It will be recalled that earlier in the year in Bangor, the students had been awarded Masters in Business Administration (Bangor) and ACIB (Scotland) after completing the third leg of the triple award of the programme.

About 679 student members also passed the Microfinance Certification Programme and fulfilled all the necessary conditions for admittion as Microfinance Certified Bankers (MCIB). While 28 members who completed the Certificate in Banking (CIB) also received certificates.

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Central Bank injects N338 billion into 27 states to stimulate economy http://sunnewsonline.com/new/central-bank-injects-n338-billion-into-27-states-to-stimulate-economy/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/central-bank-injects-n338-billion-into-27-states-to-stimulate-economy/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:45:55 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133294 In line with the federal government’s resolve to reflate economic activities in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will this week continue the disbursement of its special intervention fund totalling N338 billion to 27 states in the country. Already, the funds to Kwara, Zamfara and Osun States were disbursed last week and they [...]]]>

In line with the federal government’s resolve to reflate economic activities in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will this week continue the disbursement of its special intervention fund totalling N338 billion to 27 states in the country.

Already, the funds to Kwara, Zamfara and Osun States were disbursed last week and they have commenced the payment of salary arrears to workers in their respective states, THISDAY learnt yesterday.

A source at the central bank confirmed that more states would get their monies this week. From the breakdown of funds made available to the first three states to which monies were disbursed last week, Kwara State got a total of N4.320 billion from the special intervention fund, Osun got N34.988 billion, while Zamfara was given N10.020 billion.

The loans repayable at an interest rate of nine per cent over a 20-year period, also showed that Abia State is expected to get N14.152 billion, while Adamawa State will receive N2.378 billion; Bauchi – N8.60 billion; Bayelsa – N1.285 billion; Benue – N28.013 billion; Borno – N7.680 billion; and Cross River – N7.856 billion.

In addition, Delta has got the central bank’s approval to receive N10.036 billion; Ebonyi – N4.063 billion; Edo – N3.167 billion; Ekiti – N9.604 billion; Enugu – 4.207 billion; Gombe – N16.459 billion; Imo – N26.806 billion; Katsina – N3.304 billion; Kebbi – N0.690 billion and Kogi – N50.842 billion.

Nasarawa is also expected to get N8.317 billion, while Niger will receive a total of N4.306 billion; Ogun – N20.00 billion; Ondo – N14.686 billion; Oyo – N26.606 billion; Plateau – N5.357 billion and Sokoto will get N10.093 billion.

The source, a senior central bank official, stressed that with the disbursement of the N338 billion to the 27 states that applied for the special intervention fund, economic growth would be stimulated through the payment of outstanding salaries to workers who have been owed for months.

He explained: “Once salaries are paid, we expect consumption to increase nationwide and this will go a long way in stimulating economic activities.

“After disbursing to Kwara, Osun and Zamfara, more states which applied will get their funds this week, and we have ensured that we kept the interest rate low at 9 per cent and loans repayable over a 20-year period.”

As part of the federal government’s resolve to end the lingering crisis of unpaid workers’ salaries in the country, especially in several states of the federation, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved a comprehensive relief package designed to salvage the situation.

Part of the relief package was the CBN’s special intervention fund to be offered to states, which would be in the form of soft loans available to states to access solely for the purpose of paying the backlog of salaries.

The approval of the special intervention fund was sequel to the decision by the National Economic Council (NEC) at its meeting of June 29, 2015, that had requested that the CBN, in collaboration with other stakeholders, should appraise and consider ways of liquidating outstanding workers’ salaries owed by state and local governments.

The conditions for accessing the facility included resolutions of the respective state executive councils (SECs) authorising the borrowings and state Houses of Assembly consenting to the loans, as well as issuance of Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPOs) to ensure timely repayment at source from the states’ Federation Account allocations.

(THIS DAY)

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