Block moulders in the country have concluded plans to raise the prices of blocks by between 11 per cent and over 30 per cent, following the recent increase in the prices of cement.
The new price regime for blocks is expected to come into effect immediately after the moulders call off their five-day strike on Friday (today).
The announcement came on Thursday just as the Chairman, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, Mr. Abdulsamad Rabiu, said the high cost of doing business in Nigeria was a major reason for the hike in the prices of cement.
The price of cement had last week risen from N1,500 per 50kg bag to between N2,400 and N2,500.
On Tuesday that the moulders suspended operation the previous day to protest the latest increase in the prices of cement, granite and other construction materials, with a hint of their plan to raise the prices of blocks unless the prices of cement and other moulding materials were reversed.
The President, National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasco Adebowale, said on Thursday that with the new price regime, the 6x9x18 load-bearing blocks would sell for N220 per unit, accounting for a 37.5 per cent increase over the previous price of N160.
The 9x9x18 load-bearing blocks will sell for N250 per unit, up from N220, while the 6x9x18 and 9x9x18 non-load bearing blocks will sell for N200 and N180, up from N180 and N160 per unit, respectively, according to him.
He said, “NABMON, rising from its one-week break in production and sales, has made recommendations on quality control and new prices for our products.
“In view of the incessant building collapse nationwide, private block moulding activities without the knowledge, supervision and control of the association are hereby prohibited. All members of the association have also been enjoined to comply with standards and quality to justify the new prices.”
A professor of Building at the University of Lagos and the Vice-Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, Martin Dada, said the new price regime was a reaction to market forces but added that it would pose a challenge to the building industry and the economy in the long run, if it was not reversed.“We know that this is not a good omen for the economy. The challenge is that there is no assurance that the blocks will retain quality. So, we are already courting danger for the future,” he said.
He said the rise in the prices of cement and its ripple effects on the housing sector in particular, and the economy in general, would increase cases of building collapse in the country.
Dada said, “We should now be thinking not just of buildings collapsing and killing people during construction but also the lifespan of our buildings. Will they last beyond 10 years with these developments?”
The immediate past President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Tunde Lasabi, said the affordability aspect of housing in the country might no longer be possible with current developments.
“Cement and blocks are basics in construction, so when their prices rise, definitely the prices of houses will increase. So, the affordability aspect of housing now has a question mark attached to it,” he said.
Lasabi said the government needed to consider the reality of affordable housing by subsidising the price of cement.
“With our 17 million housing deficit, the government should begin to think of subsidising cement and cement manufacturers should also reconsider their stance on pricing,” he said.
The Chairman, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, Rabiu, while speaking at the company’s 37th Annual General Meeting in Abuja, said that the operating environment had become harsh on businesses with a lot of challenges on the real sector.
Specifically, he listed some of the challenges as shortage of energy, limited foreign exchange for spare parts and low demand for cement.
He said while the government was mindful of the challenges facing the sector, the drop in oil prices, which had resulted in a decline in revenue accretion to the federation account, had limited the government’s capacity to address the problems.
He said,”The situation is tough; the price of energy, which accounts for a huge part of our operating costs, has doubled.
“The foreign exchange rate has also increased compared to what it was a few months back and all these are impacting negatively on our operations.”
He, however, said despite the harsh operating environment, the management of the company would continue to strive for better shareholders’ value.
Speaking on the company’s financial performance, he said the CCCN recorded a turnover of N13.03bn for 2015 as against N15.1bn recorded in 2014.
The profit after tax, according to him, was N1.2bn in 2015 as against N1.9bn in 2014.
Microsoft Strengthens Partnership With AFDB, to Develop Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Africa
American multinational technology corporation Microsoft has strengthened its partnership with the African Development Bank (AFDB) to provide support to Africa’s youth entrepreneurs under the bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) Initiative.
Through its African Transformation Office (ATO), Microsoft will partner with AFDB to develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa through the creation of jobs and dramatically scaling impact in Africa through digital inclusion.
The partnership will see to the establishment and growth of national-level institutions, leveraging public-private collaboration model to ensure entrepreneurs get the required technical and financial support while building their capacity.
Microsoft reinforced its partnership with AFDB to develop Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem because it believes youth empowerment in the region will bolster solutions to unemployment if there is affordable access to finance, and quality business development services.
Commenting on its reinforced partnership with AFDB, General Manager of Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster, Wael Elkabbany said: “We believe much can be done to help foster youth entrepreneurship by collaborating with the African Development Bank, driving greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, and ultimately building a more prosperous society.”
”Already we’ve seen considerable success partnering together on initiatives such as Coding for Employment, which set out to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa in just 10 years.”
Also, the African Development Bank (AFDB) Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization Solomon Quaynor said “The strengthening of our partnership with Microsoft on the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) is an important development in our journey towards harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend and facilitating the creation of millions of jobs for young Africans by 2025.
“The initiative places much-needed focus on youth entrepreneurship, which is key to achieving our ambitious employment targets.”
This partnership seeks to support the establishment of national-level institutions through a public-private collaboration model to scale up technical and financial support for youth entrepreneurs to build their capacity.
Shell to Acquire Nigerian Solar Energy Provider, Daystar Power
Subject to regulatory approval, Shell Petroleum Development Company is set to acquire Daystar Power.
Subject to regulatory approval, Shell Petroleum Development Company is set to acquire Daystar Power.
Daystar Power, which is one of the leading providers of hybrid solar power solutions to commercial and industrial (C&I) hubs in West Africa, announced the potential acquisition in a press release.
According to the energy provider, the acquisition will help Daystar Power to continue its growth in West Africa while expanding its presence to other African countries in East and Southern Africa.
The Lagos-based company has a target to increase its installed solar capacity to 400MW by 2025.
Daystar Power currently has an installed solar capacity of 32 Megawatts (MW).
This could make Daystar Power to become one of Africa’s leading providers of solar power solutions for commercial and industrial businesses.
The Chief Executive Officer of Daystar, Jasper Graf von Hardenberg disclosed that Daystar Power needed more capital to expand operations to meet the rising demand for solar energy and the choice of Shell as the new parent company comes at the right time.
Jasper further stated that Shell’s strong balance sheet and long history in Africa will help to take Daystar to a new height.
On the other hand, Shell’s Executive Vice-President, Renewable Generation, Thomas Brostrøm noted that the deal will be Shell’s first power acquisition in Africa.
He noted further that the deal is a fundamental step for Shell in growing its presence in the emerging power market.
“We have had a long and established presence in West Africa and with Daystar Power, we are taking our first steps into the renewable power space,” he said.
“Daystar Power has a loyal customer base and a promising growth outlook, and by combining our efforts and expertise, I believe we can make a real difference in the energy transition, for West Africa and beyond.” Shell’s Executive Vice-President concluded.
Investors King learnt that Daystar Power currently has a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Togo. The company also received $20 million in funding last year to boost its operations.
ASUS Committed to Deepen Market Shares in Nigeria
ASUS has disclosed plans to increase its market shares in Nigeria which is currently at 16 percent
Multinational computer hardware and consumer electronics company ASUS has disclosed plans to increase its market shares in Nigeria which is currently at 16 percent.
The electronics company had earlier disclosed that it will continue to create innovative technologies for everyone to enjoy in Nigeria as it targets a 40 percent activation rate.
The country manager for ASUS English-speaking Africa Simplice Zaongo disclosed that ASUS is driven by innovation and commitment to quality products that include notebooks, netbooks, motherboards, graphics cards, etc as it intends to deepen the market.
He said, “I must admit, when we compare ourselves with top competitors in the market, we still manage to achieve the number three position in the consumer industry in Nigeria, according to the IDC 2022.
“Besides being the No.1 consumer notebook brand in Asia-Pacific and East Europe, ASUS gaming notebooks account for the highest market share, No.1 worldwide.
“Our market share is 16 percent, while our activation share is 17 percent.” This means that when we push into the market, there is acceptability. That’s how we interpret it.
“But when we go back over the years, we noticed that market share was below 10 percent activation. We tried to analyze what the problem was.”
While responding to how ASUS intends to go beyond its 16 percent market share to its target of 40 percent, Simplice stated three strategies the company intends to use which are; brand awareness, affordability, and public enlightenment.
According to him, the primary goal for the next quarter is to reach a 40 percent activation rate.
“To achieve our goals, we have decided to strategically deploy three options. So, the first step is to create awareness. The second one is to educate customers. And the third one is to make our laptop affordable. We think it works for us”, he added.
It should be recalled that in February 2019, Investors King reported that ASUS plans to expand its operations in East Africa.
Last week, the electronics company introduced the ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED (UX3402) and Zenbook 17-Fold (UX9702) to the Media.
The company has three distributors in Nigeria, namely Coscharis Technologies, Mitsumi Distribution, and TD Africa, as well as five service centers in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.
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