Moulders Increase Block Prices, End Strike Today
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.
Naira Scarcity: Manufacturers Decry 25% Sales Decrease, Urge FG’s Urgent Intervention
Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has lamented the effect of naira scarcity on its members, saying that sales of manufactured goods dropped by 25 percent.
The association called on the federal government to urgently and permanently put an end to the challenging situation caused by the introduction of new naira notes and its scarcity.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Segun Ajayi-Kadir expressing the plight of manufacturers.
The manufacturers noted that their businesses had been badly hit by the current cash crunch, adding that it affected the turnout of workers which brought about low output and more than 25 percent decrease in income.
Investors King learnt that the Manufacturers Association President, Otunba Francis Meshioye had last month warned against the impending negative effect of the naira scarcity on manufacturers.
He mentioned that the sales of manufactured goods will significantly drop which is presently playing out.
Speaking on digital banking services, the MAN president said online transactions including the use of point of service, POS has not been working effectively thereby making the sales process slow.
Meshioye stated that the nation’s economy has also been negatively impacted which may scare present and potential investors from investing in the country as they are particular about what their resources would yield.
“I want to assume that this is a very short-term problem. It is general. Even if you want to do e-banking, there are some things you cannot do at the moment. We have problems. PoS is not working.
“There is no way the scarcity of something that is essential to the consumer will not affect the producer. We feel it because it hinders the proper flow of our goods to the end user. What effect is that going to have? It means we will pile stock and when we pile stock, it means cash is trapped. We pay high interest rates and they would not yield good returns and investments go to where returns come regularly.
“This is a very big issue in the economy. If you put all these together, you will agree with me that we are really facing a critical time as manufacturers,” he stated.
Merger and Acquisition
HSBC Purchases Silicon Valley Bank U.K Subsidiary, Protects Customer’s Deposits
British multinational universal bank and financial services holding company HSBC Holdings plc has acquired Silicon Valley Bank U.K subsidiary for £1 ($1.21).
HSBC disclosed that the acquisition will help strengthen its franchise in the U.K, noting that all depositors’ money with SVBUK is safe and secure and that all operations will continue as normal.
The company said in a statement, “This action has been taken to stabilize Silicon Valley Bank UK, ensuring the continuity of banking services, minimizing disruption to the UK technology sector, and supporting confidence in the financial system.
“The bank and HM treasury can confirm that all depositor’s money with SVB UK is safe and secure as a result of this transaction. SVB UK’s business will continue to be operated normally by SVB UK. All services will continue to operate as normal, and customers should not notice any changes”.
HSBC’s acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank British arm is coming after a host of potential buyers had submitted proposals to purchase the bank since the failure of its U.S. parent company, amid widespread concern over the immediate future of many British technology and life sciences startups.
Bank of London CEO Anthony Watson disclosed that Silicon Valley Bank cannot be allowed to fail, given the vital role it plays in the community. He added, “this is a unique opportunity to ensure the U.K has a more diversified banking sector, whilst allowing continuity of service to SVB’s U.K client base. It would be deeply disappointing for this moment to lead to further consolidation of power among big banks”.
The acquisition of SVB U.K. subsidiary comes after the bank which specialized in lending funds to technology startups, witnessed a financial implosion on Friday last week, making it the largest U.S. bank failure since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago, Investors King understands.
Silicon Valley Bank’s financial implosion began late Wednesday when it informed investors with the unpleasant news that it needed to raise $2.25 billion to shore up its balance sheet. This spurred customers to withdraw a staggering $42 billion of deposits by the end of Thursday, leading to the collapse of the bank.
Analysts predict that the slump of Silicon Valley Bank could be far-reaching which would see Startups faced with several challenges such as paying employees’ salaries, venture investors struggling to raise funds, massive cost cuts, etc.
Merger and Acquisition
Andela Procures Tech Platform Qualified, Set to Accelerate Its Ability to Source For Tech Talent
A startup that trains developers in Africa and hires them out to global tech companies Andela, has recently acquired a tech skills assessment platform Qualified to accelerate its ability to source and assess talent.
The acquisition of qualified will see Andela’s global tech community expand with the addition of more than 3.5 million engineers via Codewars, an online educational community for computer programming powered by Qualified.
Speaking on the recent acquisition of Qualified, Co-founder of Andela Jeremy Johnson said,
“This acquisition will help Andela expand and accelerates its ability to source and expertly assess talent. Labor marketplaces are constrained by inefficiencies between supply, demand, and quality. Qualified allows us to address those inefficiencies by providing the certified right talent at the right time. Companies will continue to trust that talent sourced through Andela has the needed skills regardless of where they live and work.”
Also speaking on its collaboration with Andela, the Co-founder, and CEO of Qualified Jake Hoffner said, “The tech industry has historically relied on hiring practices that have proven to be ineffective. The expanded platform will allow companies to create hiring processes for software engineers that are predictive of their on-the-job performance. In addition, we provide companies and our growing tech community a bigger, broader, and better opportunity to connect globally.”
Founded nearly a decade ago on the premise that brilliance is evenly distributed but opportunity is not, Andela’s recent acquisition of Qualified, has considerably accelerated the road ahead to ensure that the right tech talents are connected to the right opportunities.
With the biggest challenge hiring managers face in determining how can they know a new hire will succeed, Qualified, as the top technical assessment platform, will accelerate Andela’s ability to solve this problem and thereby raise the probability of success for a new hire by certifying their skills before the engagement begins.
It is interesting to note that Qualified is a leader in this space, enterprise companies like Meta, Zoom, and Dominos already trust them to assess their internal talent.
Investors King understands that Andela is keenly aware of the role AI will play with its recent acquisition, and it believes that the capabilities of Qualified would move it towards a more predictive matching process on its platform.
Andela’s procurement of Qualified will now not only provides access to global talent but raise and standardize the bar at which those engineers are certified. It is interesting to note that in 2017, Qualified and Andela first joined forces to build up Africa’s tech ecosystem. Using Qualified’s developer assessments, Andela successfully assessed over 19k developers.
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