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Dangote Cement Records 24.2 Percent Revenue Increase In Q1

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In the first three months of its 2022 financial year, Dangote Cement saw a 24.2 percent growth in revenue and an 18 percent increase in profit after tax.

The company’s unaudited results for the three months ending March 31, 2022, were announced on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) and showed revenue of N413.2 billion and profit after tax of N105.9 billion.

According to Dangote Cement’s three-month statistics, the company sold a total of 7.2 million tonnes of cement, with Nigerian operations accounting for 4.8 million tonnes and the rest of Africa contributing for 2.4 million tonnes.

Despite the new uncertainties brought by a very volatile global environment, Dangote Cement’s chief executive officer, Michel Puchercos, said the company started the first quarter on a promising note.

Dangote
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He stated that increases recorded in revenue and profitability drove strong cash generation across the group. Profit after tax rose to N105.9 billion, up 18 per cent compared to last year while Group EBITDA rose to N211 billion with an EBITDA margin of 51.1 per cent.

Puchercos said: “on the operational side, we are ramping up production at our Okpella plant and are progressing well to deploy grinding plants in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Demand remained strong across all markets, and we remain confident that Dangote Cement is positioned to meet customers’ expectations despite these temporary challenges.

“Continuing our efforts to deliver shareholder value, Dangote Cement completed the second tranche of its buyback programme. Following the completion of both tranches, Dangote Cement has now bought back 0.98 per cent of its shares outstanding. This share buy-back programme reflects the Company’s commitment in finding opportunities beyond dividend to return cash to shareholders,” he said.

Puchercos added that, “the volatile international context is strengthening our efforts to ramp up the usage of alternative fuels and execution of our export-to-import strategy. Reducing our dependence on imported inputs and making our markets self-sufficient has never been more relevant from a regional perspective. “Our continuous focus on efficiency, meeting strong market demand and maintaining our costs leadership drives our ability to consistently deliver superior profitability and value to all shareholders.”

Dangote Cement is Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 51.6Mta capacity across Africa. A fully integrated quarry-to-customer producer, it has a production capacity of 35.25Mta in its home market, Nigeria.

Leadership

Economic Discourse: Ekpo, Peterside, and others analyze how to make national development programmes work.

Economic Discourse: Ekpo, Peterside, and others analyze how to make national development programmes work.

The 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse held in Lagos yesterday lived up to its billing with leading economy experts highlighting six critical measures necessary to make the nation’s National Development Plans deliver economic development and improve living standards for Nigerians.

These measures, they stressed, include good governance, policy consistency, level playing field, human resource development, predictable regulatory behaviour, infrastructure and policy for a digital economy.

They warned that without these measures, the recently unveiled National Development Plan 2025, will fail to deliver its objectives and targets like the nine previous national plans before it.

The Federal Government however assured that it has put in place measures to ensure the implementation of the NDP 2025 in order to achieve its objectives and targets.

The experts include Chairman Foundation for Economic Research and Training (FERT), Prof Akpan Ekpo, who delivered the keynote address and chairman of the occasion Mr. Atedo Peterside, who is also the Founder/Pioneer CEO of Stanbic IBTC, as Chairman.

Other speakers are Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning; Professor Olayinka David-West, Associate Dean, Lagos Business School (LBS); Mr. Johnson Chukwu; MD/CEO, Cowry Assets Management Limited; Segun Ajayi-Kadir, DG, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN; Aliyu Wabba, President Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC; Dr. Tayo Aduloju, Chief Operating Officer/ Co-Chair at Nigerian Economic Summit Group NESG and CEO, Porshare Group, Mr. Femi Awoyemi.

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Dignitaries in attendance at the Discourse include former Minister of Industry, Chief Mrs. Nike Akande, Director General Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Lamido Yuguda, represented by Hafsat Rufai, Director, SEC Lagos Office, Head, Economic Intelligence Unit, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mrs Olayinka Ojo is around; Visiting Researcher, Lagos State Ministry Of Economic Planning And Budget, Dr. Adebayo Adedokun,

MD/CEO of Highcap Securities Limited, David Adonri; and CEO of PFI Capital, Peter Edegbe.

Others include Executive Secretary, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Mr. Clement Isong, and CEO, Integrated Resources Ltd, Meter Manufacturer & Meter Asset Providers to Electricity Distribution Companies, Engr Durosola Omogbenigun.

Poor governance, leadership style bane of economy devt — Ekpo

Professor Akpan Ekpo, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo and Chairman Foundation for Economic Research and Training, FERT, has blamed the Nigeria’s weak economic development on lack of good governance and dysfunctional leadership style among others.

Presenting the keynote address at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse with the theme: “National Plans and National Performance: Gaps, Learnings and Opportunities”, Ekpo also asserted, “Growth is useless without development.”

He, however, harped on the need for Nigeria to have proper linkages of national plan to budgets and expenditure in order to have meaningful development.

Ekpo emphasized that Nigeria has been too concerned with growth with little emphasis on development, saying: “A country can be experiencing high growth rates yet 80-85% of her citizens cannot provide or have access to the basic necessities of life. Hence, development goes beyond high growth rates to include structural changes, freedom as well as closing the inequality gap.”

He further canvassed for an inclusive growth, stressing that Nigeria exiting recession does not mean that the economy was doing well, adding that GDP is important but other indicators are very necessary.

He stated: “To ensure a proper linkage of the plan to budgets and expenditure frameworks, there is a need for appropriate legislative backing as was contemplated under Nigeria Vision 20: 2020. It will help to curb plan indiscipline and distortions during plan implementation.

“The performance of the Nigerian economy has been rated below average even as the country seems to be growing underdevelopment.

“We highlighted the exit from economic recessions due to the vulnerabilities of the oil sector and the covid-19 health pandemic – these shocks must have worsened the performance of the economy in recent years.”

Speaking on governance, Ekpo, stated: “Good governance indicators such as the rule of law, accountability, political stability, government effectiveness, quality of regulation and the control of corruption was analyzed, and Nigeria was compared with South Africa, Benin, Egypt, Ghana and Togo. Nigeria performed below these countries implying some degree of bad governance.”

To this extent he noted that good governance must be propelled by transformative and visionary leadership, adding: “It is good governance that would ensure that national development plans are effectively and efficiently implemented. Good governance and the satisfactory performance of an economy are organically linked. Learning from the failure of past development plans, the present National Development Plan, 2021-2025 must be subjected to properly monitoring and evaluation during execution.”

FG has put in place measures to achieve NDP 2025 objectives — Agba

Minister of State, Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Clem Agba, yesterday assured that measures have been put in place by the Federal Government, FG, to ensure that the National Development Plan, NDP, 2025 is fully implemented and the objectives achieved.

Speaking at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse, Agba also said that these measures were in recognition of the failures of past development plans to meet the expected objectives and targets. .

Agba who was represented by Mr. David Adeosun, a Director in the Ministry, also said that virtually every stakeholder in the Nigeria project will be involved in implementing the plan.

He stated: “As a Ministry also, we have taken the diagnostic study of the Nigerian economy and did a serious and critical review of previous development plans right from the development plan of 1952 to 1960, and in line with why the previous plans could not perform optimally, why they could not meet the various objectives and targets set.

“On the basis of that the government formulated a new National Development Plan 2020 – 2025, and we are working to ensure that implementation is being given its pride of place.

“A national development plan implementation unit is being set up and will also involve every sector so that it will be participatory, so Nigerians will be able to ask questions at each stage of the implementation.

“As part of the implementation process, we have a web application called ‘IMAC’. The IMAC is a web application that gives any Nigerian, wherever you may be, even in the most remote part of the country, once you have access to internet, you can capture whatever project is being implemented, you can visit such project site, see what is going on there, register your views and send to us at the Ministry of Budget and Planning office where all the views will be harvested and analysed and intervene where need be.

“Let me start by telling you that unlike previous development plans, the National Development Plans 2021 – 2025 plan has three volumes. The first volume is about Policy and Strategy, the second volume is about concept projects and programmes which is to ensure that the budget will ensure that the annual budget is properly aligned with the plan, which also ensures that every MDA both Federal, State and Local has projects on ground that have been captured.

“A Special identification Code has been designed for all 19, 600 projects that have been captured in the plan to ensure that there will be proper monitoring . The Ministry of Budget and National Planning has put a national framework in place that will ensure that the project and programme are properly monitored, every milestone will be monitored to ensure that they are on track

“To address some of the issues that have been raised, this plan has seven clusters, trackers, which also address the digital economy, business environment and a chapter on competitiveness to address the concern of the private sector.

“Under infrastructure, apart from all the infrastructure you are familiar with, financial infrastructure has also been captured because it is seen as one of the infrastructure to drive the economy so as to be able to support the productive sector of the economy.”

Govt must create level playing field to attract investment — Peterside

Founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside, yesterday called on the three tiers of government to create a level playing field to engender the confidence that will attract investment necessary to fund national development plans.

He made this call in his opening remarks at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse noting that the absence of a level-playing field for all investors is one of the key factors responsible for poor performance of the economy in relation to the various National Development plans.

Peterside, who was also the Chairman of the occasion noted that the government made it difficult for right thinking persons to invest in Nigeria as the nation’s economy is rigged in favour of a few people.

He stated: “When you look at the data, the investment to GDP ratio after military rule, was as high as 35 per cent which means that everybody was ready to invest and then growth followed.

“But something went wrong from 2015 and since then, it is either we are in recession or struggling at ground zero. One of the fundamental things we did wrong in the last few years was to deliberately decide that we will not offer investors a level-playing field.

“Imagine three people in the same sector in Nigeria, getting forex at different prices, while some who are close to the corridors of power get at N480 per dollar, the next man gets at about N500 per dollar and the third one with wrong parentage gets at N580 per dollar.

“Since 2015, several African countries around us have been growing rapidly. Some of them learnt from what Nigeria did right before 2015 and replicated it in their countries.

“But since 2015, the investment to GDP ratio continues to go down which is about 15 per cent now. So the investment activities are now so small that the impact cannot be noticed.

So, as a country, we have deliberately rigged the economy in favour of a few people and anybody that is not connected to the powers-that-be were forced out of the business.

Success of NDP 2025 hangs on incoming govt, four factors — Aduloju

The Chief Operating Officer/Co-Chair at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, Dr. Tayo Aduloju, has said that the National Development Plan 2025 (NDP 2025) must be adopted by the incoming government otherwise there is no future for the plan.

Making this assertion in his presentation at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse, Aduloju harped on the need to have a private sector led economy, predictable regulatory behaviour, competent and capable public institutions and inclusive growth, to achieve the objectives of the NDP 2025

He, however, expressed concern over the future of the NDP 2025 noting that none of the presidential aspirants have so far spoken about the NDP 2025 in their campaigns.

He said, “We must have an implementation of the national plan that is impersonal. I have listened to all the political aspirants that are coming out for president; none has mentioned this national development plan. “So this plan that we are discussing doesn’t have a future because everybody that is saying they want to lead has not even mentioned it. We call it inclusive development. So this plan that guarantees inclusive development in the era of the 4th industrial revolution, we must, as citizens, put it forward to the presidential aspirants and ask them, “Will you run this plan? Can you run this plan? How would you do it?” that is where we start this conversation from.”

We need infrastructure, policies for a digital economy says David-West

Professor Olayinka David-West, Associate Dean, Lagos Business School, has said that what Nigeria needs now are policies and infrastructure that will transform the economy into a digital economy.

While speaking at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse David-West while harping on the need to develop Nigeria’s industrial sector, stressed the need for the country adapt to the realities of the fourth industrial revolution which is the emergence of a digital economy.

He stated: “One of the things we have observed is that we don’t feature technology in terms of our operationalization. In terms of the opportunities in technology we are still lagging behind, not looking ahead. “Whether we like it or not, technology is changing our economic models; It is transformational. We see it today. We have a shared economy. Covid-19 enhanced the digital economy.

“We need policies that work. I go back to 2012, when we had a Right of Way agreement. It is yet to be implemented.

“We need digital infrastructure across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria because with digital infrastructure, we can do a lot of things that we need to do.

“Today in Europe, you don’t need to leave your home to work and what they do is that they are attracting young people into different communities, just come and live and work here and you can have access to what is happening there.”

Quality educational system, labour force attracts investment – Chukwu

The Managing Director/CEO of Cowry Asset Management, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, has identified the development of a quality educational system and improvement in the quality of the country’s labour force as the foundation for building a productive and thriving Nigerian economy.

Speaking at the just concluded 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse in Lagos yesterday, Chukwu said that developing a strong educational system and labour force would make the country investment-ready for prospective investors.

Citing China and India as examples, Chukwu said that both countries have built very strong and effective educational systems that have developed the right kind of skills that made it possible for industries to set up in China, while Indian was able to export skilled labour abroad.

He said: “We have a labour force that has to be developed. So, the first thing you have to do is that if you want to drive your own uniqueness as a country, you must define an overarching economic policy.

“For instance, if you want to be a productive economy like what China and India have done, the next thing you have to do is determine how to tap into the natural resources and labour force in place. To tap into the labour force, you have to micromanage the educational system.

“If you look at the demography of the country, more than 42.5 per cent of the population are below the age of 23. For you to tap that, you must go back to the educational system. We must make sure every young person has, at the minimum, in today’s world, a STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). They must be at the foundation of our educational curriculum. If you do that, we are going to have something to sell to the world and the world will come to us.”

He said there is a need for the government to step back from striving to build infrastructure and concentrate on regulation and supervision of the economy.

Private sector needs policy consistency – MAN

In his submission, Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir said that the private sector, among other things, needs policy consistency by the government in order to play its role as engine of growth and the implementation of the nation’s national economic plans.

Represented by Mr. Rasheed Adegbenro, Technical Adviser at MAN, Ajayi-Kadir said that the private sector, over the years, has been constrained by either frequent change in policies or lack of clear direction of government policies.

He stated: “We have heard about the need to be a private sector driven economy for more than 60 years.

“We have had quite a lot of industrial plans by the government but the goal posts kept shifting. Nobody is really able to put a tab on the direction of flow of government policy. Something is announced today, you get ready for it and before you can say Jack Robinson, the policy has changed.

“About five years ago, we launched, very loudly, the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) but it never saw the light of the day. The same malaise has plagued all such development plans up till today. We don’t really seem to have a clear picture

“Where we are really growing as a country. We change policies midway, before investors settle down the policy has changed.”

Human resource devt, workers remuneration must be given priority -Wabba

Human Resources development and appropriate remunerations for workers must be given priority for implementation of National Development Plans to deliver economic performance in Nigeria.

President Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, made this observation at the 2022 Vanguard Economic Discourse yesterday, noting that while Nigeria is good at formulating development plans, implementation is poor and this is because priority is not given to education and payment of living wages to the workers.

Represented by Assistant General Secretary/Head Lagos Office, NLC, Chris Onyeka, Wabba stated: “We need to create wealth. Without human capital we are going nowhere. Without having a robust plan in developing your educational sector, you are going nowhere. Without human resources development, we are going nowhere. “Nigerian workers both in the private and public sectors are almost working slaves. We are not paid well. We are the least paid in the sub region. I mean in West Africa. We are not talking about Africa.

“Talking about the minimum wage of N30,000 to a Nigerian worker that cannot even buy a bag of rice and you are talking about human capital development.

“So until we address that issue of the educational system that is going to the dust and then how you reward the workers that are rendering services, we won’t have meaningful economic performance.”

Source- Vanguard

Stock Market Sets Fresh Record As Investors Earn Over N5tr In Four Months

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Despite global economic uncertainty and increased insecurity, Nigeria’s stock market has continued to rise, bringing optimism to patient investors who have survived long periods of decline on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

After falling to a multi-year low, the stock market has experienced an unprecedented uptick since the beginning of the year, emerging as Africa’s top performing market and the world’s third.

The NGX’s All Share Index (ASI), which tracks the general market movement of all listed stocks on the exchange, has surpassed 53,000 for the first time since 2008, as indices have risen by N5.4 trillion since the start of the year.

Specifically, market capitalisation opened the year at 43,026.23 to close on Friday, May 13, at 53,098.46 points for the first time since 2008, representing 19 per cent appreciation, while trading for the year opened on January 4 with N23,187 trillion to close on Friday at N28,625 trillion, representing N5,438 trillion increase.

The Chief Executive Officer, Wyoming Capital and Partners, Tajudeen Olayinka, hinged the upswing trend on improved system liquidity that is traceable to massive reinvestment of 2021 yearly dividends by investors, who received their payments recently from listed companies.

According to him, the fact that dividends are now paid electronically means that institutional investors who do not have immediate need for cash can reasonably deploy such dividends to more profitable stocks given the low and attractive prices.

Olayinka also attributed the rally to low yield in the money market instruments and liquidity overhang that makes it practically difficult for investors in the fixed income sector to factor in current high inflation rate.

He said the current negative return in the fixed income market is forcing investors to embrace the equities market as an alternative investment class, which is known to readily adjust to inflation from time to time.

He disclosed that Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and other investment companies that pitched their tent in the fixed income market due to lull in equities have currently increased their stake in the stock market to ensure guaranteed investment return and capital appreciation.

“We saw more investors deploying their dividends payout into equities late April and early May, this year. Also, the availability of derivative instruments that now serve as perfect means of hedging against volatility and other risks in the equity market. This is capable of attracting liquidity to the equity market.

“More institutional investors, particularly pension funds and asset management companies, are likely to embrace equity market as a result, and we are beginning to see that in the market,” he said.

Indeed, negative sentiments have been dominating global equities as investors’ appetite for risk assets was clouded by worries over rising global inflation, speedy interest-rate hikes by major central banks and China’s reinforcement of its zero-COVID-19 policy, which stoked concerns about global growth and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

For instance, global markets fell sharply last week, as fears over rising inflation and a slowdown in China’s export growth fueled worries about the health of the world economy.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific markets, Europe and the United States all dropped into the red as investors fretted that global growth is weakening, at a time when Central Banks are raising interest rates to rein in surging inflation.

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Head of Equity Trading, Planet Capital, Paul Uzum, said fantastic first quarter (Q1), 2022 financial results across sectors: consumer goods, agro allied, food and beverages, telecommunication, healthcare, industrial goods, energy and banking beat market expectations.

According to him, high inflation made companies under these sectors to increase prices, which they have successfully passed on to final consumers without increasing cost.

A look at the full year 2021 and Q1 2022 result of some listed firms showed that Fidelity Bank’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased by 35.7 per cent from N28.05 billion in the 2020 financial year to N38.07 billion in the review period. Deposits also grew by 19.2 per cent to close at N2.02 trillion.

Also, Unity Bank’s audited result for the period ended December 31, 2021 showed a PBT of N3.33 billion, indicating a 49.9 per cent increase over N2.22 billion posted in 2020.

The bank’s Profit After Tax (PAT) rose by 52.1 per cent to N3.17 billion from N2.09 recorded in 2021. The bank also grew its gross earnings by 8.1 per cent to N50.28 billion from N46.52 billion in 2021.

Seplat Energy Plc posted a profit before tax of N34.7 billion in its first quarter (Q1) operations, against N10.6 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2021.

Specifically, the company’s unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2022 showed 197.8 per cent rise in profit before tax to N34.7 billion from N10.6 billion recorded in the previous year.

An independent investor, Amaechi Egbo, said if the pre-election peace is sustained with market-oriented economic policies, it would continue to drive equities. He described the improvement as restoration of investors’ confidence in the market.

He attributed the volume of transactions recorded in April and this month to massive ‘buying’ from investors, an indication that there are anticipations of positive prospects coming to the stock market.

“Confidence has been brought back. People are buying in anticipation of positive prospect coming to the capital market. Confidence has been increased. They are expecting sustained bull run that would translate to improved corporate performance in 2022.

Vice President of Highcap Securities Limited, David Adonri, attributed the growth to high crude oil price and generally impressive first quarter results released so far by listed firms.

He said the market has been in a downturn for a while and this presented opportunities for bargain-hunting, which boosted demand for several stocks considered undervalued.

However, he noted that the rally would lose steam due to increasing socio-political risk, recession in industrialised economies and mounting insecurity.

“The continued rally on equities is due to impressive Q1 results and other positive price sensitive disclosures concerning some high cap stocks.

“Favourable crude oil price is also a propelling factor. When political tension attendant to 2023 election starts mounting coupled with economic slowdown in industrialised economies, market correction will set in,” he said.

Although the nation’s market was flat in February and early March, but better-than-expected full year 2021 earnings, positive earnings expectations for Q1, 2022, corporate actions and investors increasing their stake on blue-chip companies in anticipation of expansion in profits have continued to support the market, raising questions as to whether Nigeria is insulated from global market dynamics.

Despite the rout across the global equities market, the rally in Nigerian equities market remained unscathed. This is now the market’s fifth consecutive weekly gain since December 24, 2020.

The stock market segment of the NGX gained N4.46 trillion in its year-to-date (YtD) performance, outperforming the Egyptian Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Ghana Stock Exchange, among others of its peers in the continent.

Data compiled from the website of other stock exchanges in the continent revealed that the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE)/ Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in its YtD performance dropped by 1.72 per cent, just as the Egyptian Exchange’s EGX 30 Index in its YtD performance also dropped by 7.54 per cent.

Further findings revealed that the Casablanca Stock Exchange’s MASI Index in its YtD performance depreciated by 1.66 per cent, while the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index contracted by 3.52 per cent to 2,691.19 index points as of April 29, 2022.

Similarly, the Uganda Securities Exchange’s (USE) All Share Index was down by 12.23 per cent YtD performance to 1,246.99 basis points as of April, 2022.

On the flipside, the Lusaka Securities Exchange’s All-Share Index recorded an impressive performance with a gain of 14.27 per cent to 6,924.34 in its YTD growth just as the Namibian Stock Exchange’s NSX overall Index appreciated by 10.64 per cent to 1,738.93 points as of April 29, 2022.

Capital market analysts attributed the growth of the NGX to steady increase in global oil price and listed companies’ impressive earnings post-COVID-19. They explained foreign analysts’ projections of Nigeria’s economy pre-election also played a critical role in foreign investors’ increased participation in fundamental stocks listed on the bourse.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently raised Nigeria’s 2022 economic growth forecast marginally from the 2.7 per cent it had previously estimated to 3.4 per cent.

THE GUARDIAN

HURIWA Condemns Demolitions Of Alleged Approved Structures In FCT With No Resettlement Options

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) expressed displeasure yesterday with the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) demolition of alleged approved structures in Abuja.

The group also decried the practice of abandoning the impoverished on the streets with no options of relocation or compensation to assist them in finding alternative places to live as human beings.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said in a statement that while the government is required to prevent environmental issues such as floods caused by unscrupulous house developers blocking water channels without government approval, he described the alleged taking of people’s roofs from their heads as callous.

The group noted that the Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, should eradicate what it calls ‘perennial virus of wickedness’ in some of the enforcers of housing and city planning laws, because of their lack empathy by failing to provide relocation alternative for hundreds of affected Abuja residents.

According to HURIWA, Abuja is the only place in the world, where those who have government privileges to loot public funds erect mansions in the city centres, which are unoccupied but almost 65 per cent of civil servants and teachers working even for the FCT Ministry live in Nasarawa or Niger States from where they commune to work daily.

The group also said it was saddening that some of the buildings demolished by the FCTA were done for alleged political reasons.

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It said: “When poor masses can’t find affordable accommodation, they are prone to falling victims to fraudsters, who build makeshift huts on government unapproved lands and when the officials come for demolitions they are treated like animals rather than as victims of dupes and 419 house owners, who most time bribe FCTA staff to look the other way for few months before, striking when the unfortunate victims have settled in.

“The rash of demolitions in Abuja by the FCTA is somehow condemnable and a little bit irrational for lacking human empathy.

“The consequences on human habitations in Abuja and of course the possibility that it will lead to a shoot up of costs of living in the FCT is so appalling.

“With these demolitions, it means hundreds of thousands of residents will be driven further into absolute poverty. This is why the FCT needs to have made adequate alternative arrangements before demolition of these shanties so these people who are thrown out of the streets will have affordable accommodation because many amongst them are victims and not collaborators with those land grabbers.

“The other aspect is that a lot of corruption trails these demolitions like the allegations by Kpokpogri, an ex-lover to actress Tonto Dikeh, that his house was demolished because FCT officials wanted to buy it from him and he refused to sell. This needs to be investigated.”

Recall that FCTA had last week demolished a building belonging to Kpokpogri, an ex-lover to actress Tonto Dikeh, at Guzape in Abuja. The structure is estimated at over N700m.

THE GUARDIAN

NERC Dispels Speculations Over Electricity Tariff Hike

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has stated that tariff reviews do not always result in an increase in electricity rates.

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On Tuesday, NERC issued a statement titled “Notice of Compliance in Respect of the Biannual Review of the Revenue Requirements of Licenses.”

End-users may be reduced in some tariff classes under the Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO 2022, when the impact of greater efficiency in operational parameters for individual licensees surpassed the impact of changes in macroeconomic factors, NERC revealed.

The clarification comes in response to outrage over recent allegations of power distribution companies, or DisCos, hiking bills.

The commission notified that in compliance with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, EPSRA, and other extant industry rules, it would commence the processes for the July 2022 minor review of the MYTO 2022 to consider changes in relevant macroeconomic indices, generation capacity and CAPEX required for evacuation and distribution of the available generation capacity in compliance with extant rules.

PUNCH

Nigeria’s Trade Deficit Increased By 175% In Q1, Hit $764m – CBN

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Figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have shown that Nigeria’s international trade deficit increased by 175.13% from $152.94 million in January 2022 to $420.79 million in March 2022.

According to the trade summary on the CBN’s website, the overall value of international trade in Q1 2022 was $28.77 billion, with imports at $14.77 billion and exports at $14.01 billion, resulting in a total trade deficit of N764.69 million.

Exports were $4.74 billion in January 2022, while imports were $4.89 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $152.94 million.

In February 2022, the trade imbalance reaches $190.96 million, with exports at $4.70 billion and imports at $4.89 billion.

A massive increase is recorded by March 2022 at $420.79m trade deficit, with export at $4.57bn and imports at $4.99bn.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had said in June last year that the country would cut down its import bill in the first quarter of 2022, particularly with the functioning of the Dangote refinery, which would reduce Nigeria’s oil import.

He had said, “Of course for petroleum products, by the time the refinery goes into production by the first quarter of next year and the petrochemical plants we would have reduced our importation by about at least close to 35 per cent.”

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However, Nigeria has failed to cut down its import bill and the Dangote refinery is yet to be completed and operational.

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group in its latest report titled ‘Reforms Towards Resolving Foreign Exchange Challenges in Nigeria’ highlighted the downside of the worsening trade deficit.

According to the NESG, Nigeria is greatly inclined to external borrowing through Eurobonds and multilateral loans to push up external reserves due to the declining trade balance position.

The report read in part, “Owing to the deteriorating trade balance position, the country is increasingly exposed to external borrowing through Eurobonds and multilateral loans to shore up its external reserves. In 2021, the trade deficit widened to N1.9tn from N178.3bn in 2020.

“The country had persistently recorded a trade deficit since the fourth quarter of 2019 when the land borders were shut. However, maintaining a trade surplus consistently coupled with adequate inflows of foreign investments will contribute significantly to improving the net flows of forex through the economy – which crashed from $100.8bn in the first three quarters of 2014 to $44.5bn in the corresponding period of 2021.”

The report further disclosed that the huge dependence on imports has limited the CBN’s ability to effectively manage the demand for foreign exchange.

In its report, the group said, “Meanwhile, the massive dependence on imports has constrained the CBN’s ability to manage forex demand by prohibiting certain commodities that could otherwise be produced locally from accessing forex at the official market since 2015.

“The result of this policy action has heightened demand pressures in the parallel market, leading to a wide gap between the official exchange rate (now the I&E Window exchange rate) and the parallel market exchange rate. The parallel market premium averaged N104.7/US$ in 2021, 64.9 per cent higher than the average premium of N63.5/US$ in 2020.”

PUNCH

Diaspora Housing Scheme: NiDCOM collaborates with FMBN to provide housing for Nigerians in diaspora.

Diaspora Housing Scheme: NiDCOM collaborates with FMBN to provide housing for Nigerians in diaspora.

The Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) on Tuesday partnered with the Federal Mortgage Bank to launch the Diaspora housing scheme.

This was made known during a courtesy visit by NiDCOM chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, to FMBN’s Managing Director, Madu Hamman, in his office in Abuja.

Ms Dabiri-Erewa announced that NiDCOM had reached its final preparatory stage of the housing scheme programme for Nigerians in the diaspora to benefit from.

She added that the partnership with FMBN would help cut off middlemen that would pose a challenge to Nigerians in the diaspora that wish to own homes in the country.

Also, she said that the housing scheme would be beneficiary for Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora.

She pointed out that Nigerians in the diaspora were rated the highest in remittances to their home country, adding that no country could stand alone without its diaspora.

“We have created the housing scheme platform where we now have about 1,700 interested diaspora wanting to enrol.

Diaspora Housing
AIHS 2022

“So, where we are now is to commence the launch which was delayed by the handing over of the new Management team of the FMBN in March .

She also warned Nigerians In the diaspora not to fall victim to fraudsters, urging them to always go through the official platform and address of the scheme: https://nidcom.gov.ng/diaspora-housing-platform/.

Speaking also, the MD of FMBN Mr Hamman, apologised for the delay of the launch, saying that it was due to the change in leadership at the bank.

Hamman gave assurance that a date would be fixed for the launch before the end of May, noting that the process was already at its final stage.

He added that the diaspora were an integral component for any country’s development because of their skills, expertise and resources to invest in their homeland.

“This platform will be of immense value to Nigerians both home and in the diaspora. Before the end of May we will have a date for the launch.

“The committees set for the arrangement will begin work to expedite the lunch and then the venue and other logistics with the approval will be communicated at the end of the month,” he said.

Source- Peoples Gazette

AIHS 2022: Dangote Cement, Lafarge, Others Top List Of 300 Leading Exhibitors

Dangote cement, Lafarge Plc, and Stanbic IBTC bank are currently topping the list of 300 leading brands that will participate in the 16th edition of the Africa International Housing Show (AIHS) scheduled to hold from 25-28 July, 2022.

Others are; Lotus bank, Brain and Hammers, Cosgrove, AFP, Royal, CDK, NMRC, Sterling bank, and Family Homes Funds (FHF).

According to a statement issued by the AIHS Communications Officer, Femi Esan in Abuja, over 300 exhibitors have confirmed participation with not less than 15,000 participants from different countries in Africa and beyond have also registered via AIHS online platform.

AIHS
AIHS 2022

Esan further revealed that the 2022 edition of the event, themed “Housing for All – The Role of Governments in Creating an Effective Enabling Environment,” looks forward to expanding its reach as it sets to welcome participants from over 15 countries, saying “it is time to tackle some post-covid issues and deliver affordable housing for all.”

He went on to say that sessions on non-interest finance, property, the use of capital market bonds and pension funds for housing finance, as well as vocational and skills development sessions, have been designed for participants’ benefit.

The non-interest finance session is facilitated by Sterling bank, Lotus Bank, Taj bank and a host of other banking institutions who are new entrants into AIHS

Speakers from Morocco, Egypt, and Pakistan, according to Esan, will also share their nations’ housing success stories and developments in their mortgage sector.

“Foreign ministers of works and housing, as well as national and international speakers of repute have been invited from various countries to share their success stories in affordable housing construction, technology, innovations, and the latest trends in the mortgage industry”, he noted.

ASUU discovers multi-billion-naira commodity market and other properties controlled by AGF Idris and demands answers.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has asked the Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris, to explain how he acquired some multi-billion naira properties in Kano State.

The ASUU’s Bauchi zone coordinator, Prof. Lawan Abubakar, in a statement on Wednesday, sought the AGF’s explanation on how he bought Sokoto Hotel in Kano at the sum of N500million and ordered for its immediate demolition to build a multi-billion naira shopping mall.

The union confirmed that the project is ongoing.

ASUU
AIHS2022

The university lecturers also asked the AGF to account for the money he used in acquiring multi-billion naira Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange.

The ASUU said: “We would want Gentlemen of the Press to assist us in the conduct of two Investigations.

“The first is to uncover who bought the version of the Sokoto Hotel in Kano with a swooping sum of N500m, cash down, and demolished it the next day for an on-going development of a multi-billion Naira Shopping Mall.

“How and where did he or she get money for such investment?”

 “The second assignment is to assist uncover who is hiding to invest multi-billion Naira in the Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange.

“How and where did he or she get money for such investment?”

On the ongoing strike, Mr Abubakar blamed the AGF and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, for impeding resolution of the industrial action.

According to the union, the duo has “continued to throw spanners in the wheel of progress of the concerted efforts, aimed at amicable resolution of its disagreement with federal government.”

He also alleged that the AGF insisted on Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, in order to gain N16,000 per enrollment of each of the academic staff of universities on the salary payment platform.

“While the Minister of Labour and Employment has continued to exhibit all manners of antics and insisting that government does not have the money to responsibly educate its citizens, the AGF has continued to greedily and selfishly count on the gains of N16,000 per enrollment of each academic staff he would have made.

“Thereby insisting that ASUU members be enrolled on the only payment platform he has now, Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS,” said the coordinator.

The coordinator further alleged that the union had discovered that the AGF “is assiduously working for his retirement benefits, becoming the next governor of Kano State in addition to other financial gains already mentioned.”

Mr Abubakar, therefore, warned that all the AGF’s ambition would fail if he does not assist the government to honour and actualize the promises it made to ASUU and the Nigerian university system.

He stressed that ASUU is not asking the Federal Government to give it money, rather to honour the truce reached on February 7, 2019, tagged, ASUU/FGN Memorandum of Action, bordering on finances to develop university education in Nigeria.

He, therefore, called on students, parents and general public to join forces with the union in the struggle to emancipate the country’s university education system by insisting that the government commit resources to adequately fund the system.

Source: https://dailynigerian.com/

JUST IN: Buhari Names Gen Fada As New NYSC Director General

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The appointment of Brigadier General Mohammed Fada as the next Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari (NYSC).

Fada
AIHS 2022

Fada, who will succeed Major General Shuaibu Ibrahim, will officially resume work on Wednesday.

A source made this known to LEADERSHIP on Tuesday in Abuja.

“The Federal Government has appointed a new Director-General for the NYSC; he’s Brigadier General Mohammed Fada from Yobe State. He was in NYSC on Tuesday and has been briefed by the outgoing DG, Major General Shuaibu Ibrahim.

“After the farewell parade, Ibrahim will come and hand over and leave. It is good that when you’re leaving, it should be tears of joy and instead of people praying,” the source revealed.

Gen. Ibrahim has been in office since May 2019 when he was appointed as the 18th DG of the NYSC.

Leadership