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Block Moulders Begin Strike Over Cement, Granite Price Hike

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Block Moulders

Block moulders in the country on Monday commenced strike over the latest increase in the prices of cement, granite and other construction materials.

The moulders also hinted about plans to raise the prices of their products unless the prices of cement and other moulding materials were immediately reversed.

The President, National Association of Block moulders of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasco Adebowale, who confirmed the development to our correspondent, said the strike would last for five days.

This, he added, was to enable members of the association to adjust the prices of their products in line with the current situation.

He said, “We won’t really call it a strike but a break for one week after which we will decide on a new price for blocks following the increase in price of cement. As the price of cement has gone up, we are at a loss on how to sell blocks; so, we have called all our leaders in the six geo-political zones of the country to decide on the way forward.

“Starting from today, we will not work, sell or supply blocks to anywhere or anybody. This will enable us to work out how to sell our products throughout the federation. Cement is our major ingredient and we do not want to compromise on quality.”

The Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria last week raised prices of their various brands by N600 per bag as factory price and an additional N100 for the cost of haulage.

The increase in factory price was immediately followed by a hike by distributors and retailers to between N2,300 and N2,500, depending on the brand and location of the seller.

Prices of sand, granite, reinforcement rods and many other products for building construction have also been increased.

A popular block maker in Lagos, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said quarry products had risen by as much as 50 per cent and block moulders were at a loss on how to fix prices.

“The 50 per cent increase in the prices of cement and other quarry products such as granite and dust necessitated this. It is not an indefinite strike but we hope that the Federal Government as well as cement manufacturers will look into the issue,” the source added.

A 2nd Vice-President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said the increase in price of cement had created uncertainties in the construction sector, adding that it had dampened the hope for affordable housing construction in the country.

Awobodu, who is also the President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild, said, with the rise in cement prices, “there will be the tendency to reduce the cement to sand ratio and the strength of the block will be weakened; this can lead to more cases of building collapse in the long run.

“So, there is a need for the association to agree on new price for blocks to avoid a proliferation of substandard products.”

A former Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Lagos State Chapter, Mr. Olatunde Jaiyesinmi, said the onus was on the government to put certain measures in place as the construction industry was already suffering low level of activities.

He said, “The announcement of any product price increase now should not be strange to anyone. There is hardly any product in the country that has no import component and our foreign reserve is shrinking by the day and until we decide on what we want to do with our appetite for foreign things, we still have a long way to go.

“The government is not giving good examples as regards this. Except we do something about the implementation of policies in the economy, we may not make any progress. The construction industry is the first casualty in any recession, it is the largest single sector that employs people, and this should be put into consideration.”

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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Energy

Unlocking Investments into Africa’s Renewable Energy Market

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green energy - Investors King

The African Energy Guarantee Facility (AEGF) is launching a virtual roadshow of free webinars allowing a deeper understanding of risk issues for renewable energy projects on the continent, and conversations around risk mitigation solutions. The first webinar will take place on Thursday, 23 September from 14:30-16:00 hrs. EAT. 

The session will be oriented on how to get more energy projects from the drawing board to the grid. While the energy demand in African economies is expected to nearly double by 2040, and although the potential for renewable energy is 1,000 times larger than the demand, only 2GW out of almost 180GW of this new renewable power were added on the African continent.

Clearly not good enough! To improve the situation within the next two decades, new solutions need to be implemented urgently. De-risking and promoting private sector investments will play a crucial part of it.

In this 90-min interactive session, AEGF partners: the European Investment Bank (EIB), KfW Development Bank, Munich Re and the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) will share their experience and provide valuable insights on how they were able to come together and design practical solutions for investors and financiers of green energy projects in Africa aligned with SDG7 objectives.

Across Africa, the complexity of renewable energy projects and their long tenors hold back crucial energy investment. Tailored to the specific needs and risk profiles of sustain­able energy projects, AEGF will tackle the investment challenge by providing underwriting expertise and capacity tailored to market needs.

The AEGF will significantly boost private investment in sustainable energy projects, both expanding access to clean energy and contribute to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals. The scheme supports new private sector investment in eligible renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Energy

Shell Signs Agreement To Sell Permian Interest For $9.5B to ConocoPhillips

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Shell profit drops 44 percent

Shell Enterprises LLC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, has reached an agreement for the sale of its Permian business to ConocoPhillips, a leading shales developer in the basin, for $9.5 billion in cash. The transaction will transfer all of Shell’s interest in the Permian to ConocoPhillips, subject to regulatory approvals.

“After reviewing multiple strategies and portfolio options for our Permian assets, this transaction with ConocoPhillips emerged as a very compelling value proposition,” said Wael Sawan, Upstream Director. “This decision once again reflects our focus on value over volumes as well as disciplined stewardship of capital. This transaction, made possible by the Permian team’s outstanding operational performance, provides excellent value to our shareholders through accelerating cash delivery and additional distributions.”

Shell’s Upstream business plays a critical role in the Powering Progress strategy through a more focused, competitive and resilient portfolio that provides the energy the world needs today whilst funding shareholder distributions as well as the energy transition.

The cash proceeds from this transaction will be used to fund $7 billion in additional shareholder distributions after closing, with the remainder used for further strengthening of the balance sheet. These distributions will be in addition to our shareholder distributions in the range of 20-30 percent of cash flow from operations. The effective date of the transaction is July 1, 2021 with closing expected in Q4 2021.

Shell has been providing energy to U.S. customers for more than 100 years and plans to remain an energy leader in the country for decades to come.

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Crude Oil

Oil Gains 1 Percent on Possible Tight Supply 

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Oil prices - Investors King

Oil prices rose on Tuesday as analysts pointed to signs of U.S. supply tightness, ending days of losses as global markets remain haunted by the potential impact on China’s economy of a crisis at heavily indebted property group China Evergrande.

Brent crude gained 95 cents or 1.3% to $74.87 a barrel by 0645 GMT, having fallen by almost 2% on Monday. The contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) , which expires later on Tuesday, was up 91 cents or 1.3% at $71.20 after dropping 2.3% in the previous session.

Global utilities are switching to fuel oil due to rising gas and coal prices, and lingering outages from the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ada that imply less supply is available, ANZ analysts said.

“While slowing Chinese economic growth and uncertainty around the (U.S.) Fed’s tapering timetable weighed on market sentiment, other developments still point to higher oil prices,” ANZ Research said in a note.

Still, investors across financial assets have been rocked by the fallout from heavily indebted Evergrande (3333.HK) and the threat of a wider market shakeout in the longer term.

“Evergrande’s woes are threatening the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy and making some investors question China’s growth outlook and whether it is safe to invest there,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

While that view of the state of China’s economy is weighing on markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve is also expected to start tightening monetary policy – likely to make investors warier of riskier assets such as oil.

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