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NLNG Subsidiary Cuts Workers’ Salaries by 50%

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Seafarers in the employ of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Ship Management Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigeria LNG Limited, will from September 1 receive half of their current salaries.

The decision is said to be in response to the more than 60 per cent reduction in the company’s revenues occasioned by the drop in the global oil price, which has fallen from $140 to about $40 per barrel in the last one year.

The Manager, Nigerian Content, NLNG, Mr. Charles Okon, who spoke for the General Manager, External Relations, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, confirmed the review of manning levels and wage scale for officers on the Bonny gas transport vessels.

The decision, he explained, was taken to minimise the need for staff lay-offs as had been the case in several companies in the industry.

Okon said, “This action is in line with the depressed global market situation and consistent with prevailing industry rates, and has been taken in the interest of the sustainability of the business.

“In reality, the reviewed wage scale cannot be said to be a salary reduction as claimed. The fact is that the company has simply adjusted and aligned wages with internationally obtainable benchmarks.”

He stated that the company’s Nigerian officers’ dollar- denominated wages, upon conversion at the existing rates, far exceeded wages for their peers who were being paid in naira.

He added that other conditions of service of all the NSML personnel, including leave days, would remain the same, while leave emoluments earned in line with current wage scales would also be unaffected.

Okon said, “Several BGT vessels have already been laid up and many more areas of reduction are being explored. This is consistent with the national oil company guideline for relevant industry operators to reduce operating costs by 40 per cent.

“Management has already communicated these developments to the staff and shall continue to engage them during the implementation process, and appeals for the continuing understanding and cooperation of all parties.”

However, seafarers with the NLNGSML have protested the decision, claiming that it was taken without proper consultation with their representatives.

Some of the seafarers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their counterparts from other countries like India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia and Croatia, who were also in the employ of the company, had challenged the 20 per cent wage cut imposed on them.

One of the affected seafarers said, “This unjust proposed wage cut could kill dreams of achieving the indigenisation plan, which is committed to ensuring that Nigerian seafarers are well represented on the board of the BGT and NLNG chartered vessels.

“We are being forced to comply with a proposed 50 per cent salary cut within seven days or risk losing our jobs. Why should Nigerian seafarers earn lower than their foreign colleagues?”

The President, Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Matthew Alalade, said the association was informed of the situation last week.

He stated, “Although the company has blamed the economic downturn for this decision, the seafarers are not happy with it. We plan to resolve the issue on behalf of the senior officers. The junior officers are already members of the Maritime Workers Union but we still intend to protect them.

“For the senior staff, it will be a 40 per cent cut in salaries, while it will be 50 per cent for the junior staff.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Toyota Marks 25th Anniversary of Sienna, Lauches Limited Edition

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Toyota launches Sienna 2023 to celebrate the model’s first quarter-century of popularity with a limited edition to mark its 25th Anniversary.

The ultra-sporty XSE model, on which the Toyota 25th Anniversary Edition is based, features dark 20-inch split-5-spoke wheels, bolder front and rear bumpers, black-painted caps, and a sport-tuned suspension that is exclusive to the XSE. The XSE Plus Package adds roof rails, Premium Audio with JBL speakers and GPS, wireless charging, and a 1500-watt converter to the Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition, which is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition is available in Celestial Silver and Wind Chill Pearl, both of which are appropriate for the occasion. The two exterior colors are accented by special black badging and exterior trim, including mirror caps and shark fin antenna.

The external mirrors with memory, auto-dimming, puddle lights, power-fold, and reverse-tilt down function are among the amenities added to this celebratory model from the Limited grade.

The Limited additionally includes heated and ventilated front seats with memory, as well as black leather-trimmed seating with silver-colored stitching.

Onboard comfort is enhanced by the Limited’s memory steering column and second-row seats with ottomans, while lighted door sills greet front passengers.

A customized black key fob cover with silver-colored stitching bears a “25th Anniversary” logo, and special “25th Anniversary” floormats pamper the feet.

Also, the Toyota Audio systems in the 2023 Sienna provide a plethora of connectivity and entertainment options, with something for everyone. The LE grade’s base Toyota Audio system comes with a 9-inch touchscreen, six speakers, Android AutoTM, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, seven USB media ports, hands-free phone capability, and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, SiriusXM with a 3-month Platinum Plan trial subscription, Safety Connect with a 1-year trial, and Wi-Fi Connect with up to 3 GB within a one-month trial.

When minivans initially became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, Toyota first imported its rear-drive Van and then the more market-friendly Previa. Meanwhile, Toyota was working on a far more focused entry, the Sienna, which debuted in 1998.

The Sienna has shown to be right on target for the market, evolving to a degree of family car perfection with each design iteration.

Toyota as a brand has retained a great lead in car sales globally despite chip shortages. Investors King explained that in 2021 Toyota surged by 10.1 percent, beating its German counterpart, Volkswagen, and Electric Vehicle, Tesla to having the highest sales record in the world.

Investors King gathered that maintaining the top sales record for two years in a row, Toyota Motor Co. stated that it sold 10.5 million vehicles in 2021, including those by affiliates Daihatsu Motors and Hino Motors. That is 5 percent fewer than the number sold in 2020, its lowest sales figures in 10 years, and more than 8.88 million vehicles delivered by Volkswagen AG within the same year.

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Fidelity Bank Partners Edo State and GIZ to Host CBN RT200 FX Exports Roundtable and Sensitisation Workshop 

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Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to host an exports roundtable and policy sensitisation workshop for businesses in Benin-City, Edo State capital in partnership with the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and GIZ on Tuesday, 24 May 2022.  

The event, which would be the fourth edition of the bank’s CBN RT200 FX Sensitization seminars following successful outings in Kano, Ondo and Plateau States in February, March and April 2022 respectively, is part of the bank’s initiatives to help importers pivot to exports.

According to the Divisional Head, Export and Agriculture, Fidelity Bank Plc, Isaiah Ndukwe, Fidelity Bank’s decision to partner ESIPO and GIZ is borne out of the need to help exporters to build their business management capacity and is further proof of the value the bank provides to export-oriented businesses in Nigeria.

“At Fidelity Bank we are known for empowering our customers with the necessary financial and non-financial services to upscale their businesses. We consider the CBN RT200 FX scheme an amazing opportunity for businesses to bolster their FX earning capacity and we are delighted to collaborate with ESIPO and GIZ to host businesses in and around Benin City to a workshop to help them take advantage of the scheme”, explained Ndukwe.

Launched on February 10, 2022, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of measures to reduce the increasing demand for foreign currency by importers, the RT200 FX scheme is designed to help Nigeria achieve $200 billion in FX repatriation from non-oil exports over the next five years. The policy has been hailed by stakeholders in the export sector as an initiative capable of stimulating the growth of non-oil exports in Nigeria.

“The goal of the roundtable is to identify and promote viable non-oil export opportunities, provide financing options, and proffer steps to removing the identified bottlenecks in the export process for non-oil products from Edo State to the global market. It will provide a platform for the exporters to meet with the export regulatory bodies and express their challenges which hinder exports. The event will also serve as an opportunity for the regulatory agencies to address the challenges on the spot and provide solutions to them with a view of enhancing Nigeria’s capacity in the African Continental Free Trade Area deal”, commented Marcus Unuebho of the Business Development Support and Export Unit, ESIPO.

On his part, the Technical Advisor for Edo State, Local Economic and Value Chain Development, GIZ SEDIN, Nosakhare Omon Aigiomawu stated that, “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the drivers of local economic development. Collaborating to provide market linkages and access to finance would address major constraints to these groups and ensure more employment creation as well as higher income”.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Bank of Industry Disburses N213.63bn to Over 30,000 Businesses in 2021

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The Bank of Industry (BOI) has revealed that it disbursed a total of N213.63 billion to 30,406 businesses in Nigeria in the 2021 financial year.

The Managing  Director of BOI, Olukayode Pitan disclosed this at the 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank on Thursday in Abuja. He said that the bank was able to successfully scale up its developmental impacts in 2021 despite the challenges and limitations caused by COVID-19.

Pitan said “at the peak of COVID-19 in 2020, the bank took steps to support customers with a two per cent reduction in interest rates for a year alongside an extension of loan tenors and moratoriums. He said that the operating environment improved in 2021 and that is the reason they have decided to extend the incentives until March 31, 2022.”

He added that all ongoing projects were reviewed to assess emerging risks and opportunities and also additional support was provided.

“In the year under review, the bank disbursed a total of N213.63 billion to 30,406 Nigerian enterprises through both direct and indirect methods. This represents a 47.3 per cent increase over disbursements in 2020.

“The 2021 disbursements include N2.99billion to 22,120 farmers through our smallholder  farmers on  lending product and one billion Naira to 4,000 micro-retailers through our MSMEs distributor finance programme.

“At BoI, we have since taken measures to ensure that our systems, processes and people are continuously equipped to meet the evolving business environment.

“Today, we are a more agile and adaptive institution,  able to provide the necessary developmental support for Nigeria’s real sector in an ever-changing economy.

“Our commitment to building a resilient organisation that can respond to the needs of our customers and operating challenges is unwavering.

“We strongly believe that we can achieve this with the continuous support of the stakeholders.” he further said. 

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