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NLNG Subsidiary Cuts Workers’ Salaries by 50%

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NLNG

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.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Business

AfDB Approves $50M Trade Finance Deal with Standard Chartered Bank

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African Development Bank - Investors King

The African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for StandardChartered Bank.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘African Development Bank approves a $50m Multinational Trade Finance Risk Participation Agreement facility for Standard Chartered Bank’ published on the bank’s website on Wednesday.

The statement said, “The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.”

The essence of this agreement is to promote intra-Africa trade, ensure regional integration and lessen the trade finance gap in Africa.

“The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area,”

The bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated that “We are excited about finalising this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra-African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA.

“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600m in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”

Director-General of the bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem, was quoted to have said, “The advent of COVID-19, coupled with stringent regulatory/capital requirements and Know Your Customer compliance enforcement, has seen many global banks reduce their correspondent banking relationships in Africa, while some are exiting the market altogether.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need for financing to reenergise Africa’s trade, which requires more participation of institutions like the African Development Bank.”

The parties in the agreement are expected to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Standard Chartered Bank.

Beneficiaries of this facility are issuing banks in Africa with the ability to grow their trade finance business has been constrained by inadequate trade confirmation lines from international banks.

Other beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms which rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments.

The RPA facility is aligned with the AfDB’s High 5 priority goals which are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

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SMEs

Standard Chartered Launches Flexible ‘Smart Business Loan’ Product To Support SMEs

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Standard Chartered Nigeria - Investors King

Standard Chartered on Wednesday launched its Smart Business Loan (SBL) product to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria.

David Idoru, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, of the bank in Nigeria, said in a statement in Lagos that SBL was an unsecured installment/term loan available to SME clients within key target sectors.

“Qualified SMEs would be able to access up to N20million loan, without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase asset, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.

“This loan was designed to help SMEs meet their short to medium-term needs.

“As a Bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” he said.

Idoru said that the bank was constantly looking for ways to ensure SMEs get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive, adding that prior to the product launch, clients were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank, but SBL had been designed to provide the necessary flexibility to the clients.

“It is accessible to new and existing clients of the Bank with no waiting period, including small and medium scale organisations, who can access up to N20million in loans without collateral for a maximum tenure of two years,” he said.

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Microsoft Overtakes Apple to Become World’s Most Intangible Company

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Microsoft - Investors King

Every year, the Brand Finance Global Intangible Finance Tracker (GIFT™) report ranks the world’s largest companies by intangible asset value.

This year’s number one company in terms of total estimated intangible value is Microsoft (US$1.90 trillion), which has jumped from 4th position in 2020 to overtake Apple (US$1.87 trillion), Saudi Aramco (US$1.64 trillion), and Amazon (US$1.47 trillion).

Microsoft Teams has become embedded into business life for global organisations, once again proving the value of Microsoft’s ability to innovate and roll-out at scale. Microsoft is investing heavily in its business suite solutions. Although Apple is the more valuable company by approximately $200 billion, Microsoft is estimated to have more intangible value with its portfolio of brands and business operations.

Intangible assets are identifiable, non-monetary assets without physical substance. Intangible assets can be grouped into three broad categories – rights (including leases, agreements, contracts), relationships (including a trained workforce), and intellectual property (including brands, patents, copyrights).

Intangible assets boom during COVID-19 pandemic

Over the past year in particular, global intangible asset value has grown faster than usual, and at $74 trillion it exceeds pre-pandemic levels by nearly a quarter, having increased 23% compared to $61 trillion in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated even further the importance of people, innovation, reputation, and brand for businesses all around the world. Intangible assets are now unequivocally a boardroom priority.

Increases through the pandemic were primarily fuelled by the growth of the world’s largest organisations which were resilient to investor uncertainty due to their scale and their focus on technologies which we continued to rely on through lockdowns. This year, growth has been driven by China and the USA, with several industries recovering from the downturn in 2020.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance Plc, commented: “In times of crisis, brands – especially those most valuable and strongest in their categories and markets – become a safe haven for capital. Like gold or fine art during past economic downturns, nowadays well-managed, innovative, and reputable brands are what the global economy turns to in the hour of need. There can be no better evidence for why brands matter than the role they have already played and will continue to play in the post-COVID recovery.”

Global intangible value grows by over 1000% in 25 years

25 years ago – when Brand Finance was established – global intangible assets were worth only an estimated $6 trillion, less than a tenth of the same value today. As of September 2021, global intangible assets are worth over $74 trillion. This is a 1145% growth over 25 years – approximately 11% per annum.

Annie Brown, Associate at Brand Finance, and author of the GIFT™ report, commented: “It is a pivotal moment in financial reporting for intangibles. Total estimated intangible value has grown by over 1000% in the past 25 years. At the same rate, total global intangible value could stand at over $1 quadrillion by 2050 (that is $1,000,000,000,000,000). As investors grapple with balancing various issues such as Climate Change and ESG over the coming years, it is essential that the data they need to understand these vast sums is readily available.”

Internally generated intangibles should be recognised in financial reports

The majority of intangible assets are not recognised, due to the limitations set by the financial reporting rules, which state that internally generated intangible assets such as brands cannot be disclosed in a company balance sheet.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance Plc, commented:

“Investors should not be deprived of this critical information. Intangible assets such as strong, valuable brands and innovative technology can be the differentiators that drive a $2 billion company to $2 trillion in 25 years – as witnessed with Apple. This information vacuum for investors is part of the reason why Brand Finance endeavours to estimate the extent of “undisclosed intangible value” in our GIFT™ study each year.”

To truly aid investors and provide them with useful information, we believe management should be allowed and required to:

  1. Identify the key intangibles of the entire business – both internally generated and acquired.
  2. Provide an opinion on the value of those intangibles in the notes to the financial statements.
  3. Provide an opinion of the overall business value at the reporting date, to help investors to understand whether or not their capital is allocated efficiently.

Kevin Prall, Technical Director, International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), commented: “Despite the importance of intangible assets to the capital markets, only a small percentage are recognised on balance sheets, typically via acquisition from a third-party transaction. The pandemic has further exacerbated the disparity between market values and book values for those industries most reliant on brands, technology, and human capital for value creation. The IVSC supports Brand Finance, and all others, that look to make progress on this most critical issue.”

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