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Stop Blackmailing FG, Fashola Tells Power Firms

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  • Stop Blackmailing FG, Fashola Tells Power Firms

Power distribution companies in the country must stop blackmailing the Federal Government in various advertorials in the media, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.

According to Fashola, the firms should show how much the government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies owe each of the power firms instead of hiding under an umbrella association to claim that they are owed over N100bn.

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors has been placing advertorials asking the MDAs to clear the debt they owe the power firms.

Fashola spoke at the monthly power sector meeting in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja.

He stated, “It is important to remind all of us that the privatisation exercise that transferred the distribution companies was not held as a contract with an association. It was between Nigeria and the distribution companies. So, while I respect the right of an association, the constitution guarantees the freedom of association, the Federal Government will not pay over N100bn to an association.

“That is not how to solve it. An association can’t own those debts. Every Disco knows how much power it supplied. We won’t pay estimates. The figure must remain clear in naira and kobo terms. And we will do our work. Therefore, I think that the adverts that the Discos issued should also have conveyed information to the Nigerian public about how many of them have supplied details of their audited accounts for the last three years. And we have been asking them to provide that.”

The minister said he opened an online platform for the Discos to send their debt claims but as of the November 4, 2016 deadline, none of the firms had complied to provide the required information for verification before payment.

Fashola said, “If the Discos want payment, as I have said, we will pay. But you have to prove the debt too and you have to prove the quantum. Each Disco will have to prove to us how much is being owed it.

“If you want to stash it all together under a gross sum or under an association; that is your choice. But we will pay to each Disco what each Disco proves as its liability. We will not pay an association.”

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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Online Shopping Skyrockets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

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Lagos, Tuesday 30 November 2020 – As we experience the first-ever Black Friday promotional phenomenon under lockdown, the dominance of online shopping platforms has become crystal clear.

To keep track of this development Nielsen Global Connect has conducted extensive research that includes an overarching view of the massive increase in online FMCG  shopping and just how rapidly it evolved over the first six months of lockdown.

Nielsen Connect, Global Intelligence Unit, Executive Director Ailsa Wingfield comments; “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, online FMCG shopping usage has advanced by up to five years in just six short months. As a result, there has been a rapid increase in online shopping and usage with new users, frequency and preference having skyrocketed.

Preference of online as the most-used channel has also more than doubled.

Evidence of this results from the Nielsen New Shopper Normal Study which was conducted in May 2020 allowing for powerful insight into the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on consumers, during an unprecedented time in our history.

The Nielsen study found that in terms of new Nigerian FMCG online shoppers, 29% had never shopped online. Sixty-seven per cent recently shopped online during the past week and 12% shopped most often online during the past week versus only 7% pre COVID-19. In terms of Frequency, 23% said they shopped online multiple times a week and 44% shopped once a week.

The best of both worlds

 Nielsen’s consumer and retail measurement evidence therefore clearly shows a massive and ongoing move to online, but it must be pointed out that this is not in isolation when considering the overall shopping journey. In Nigeria, two-thirds of consumers (67%) say they are now using both online and offline channels with fewer exclusive brick & mortar shoppers at 33%.

Wingfield elaborates; “Overall, consumers are shopping and buying in a mixed reality. In many instances, online shopping options are a new addition to their existing store repertoire but most consumers indicate that they will maintain a combination of online and offline – which will lead to the rise of more omnichannel shopping journeys and experiences.”

Interestingly, this adoption is even more pronounced for ‘Constrained Consumers’ – those who have been impacted by job/income loss. These consumers are less likely to be exclusive Brick & Mortar shoppers as Omni shopping is even more important to help them make better and more frugal choices.

Wingfield adds; “The challenge for retailers is that consumers want equivalent experiences regardless of the environment in which they shop. These are categorised by a seamless experience where the retailer’s online, and bricks and mortar offerings, are connected and offer a similar and familiar shopping experience.”

 Still more work to be done

In terms of the remaining obstacles for retailers to overcome and where online needs to work harder, the biggest concern for Nigerian shoppers is delivery which has emerged as the most important factor to get right. 42% of Nigerian consumers stated they wanted same/next-day delivery while 21% said they don’t want to wait when there are no slots available.

When it comes to Price & Promo perceptions, 57% of respondents said online prices had increased, while 22% perceived less online promotion and 17% said online was more expensive. That said, online price perceptions are currently more favourable than offline (brick and mortar) perceptions. They may also improve even further, following the heavy push by retailers of online-only Black Friday and year end seasonal promotions.

 Looking to the future

 Looking at how consumers’ newfound relationship with online shopping will evolve, Wingfield comments; “We saw that ‘necessity catalysts’ such as safety and precaution considerations and the availability of products initially drew consumers online, but there are still several obstacles to overcome. To sustain online FMCG traction, retailers and brands will need to focus on how they can solve consumers’ changing needs by differentiating their offerings in the Omni shopping journey.”

She goes on to suggest; “They will need to solve for overall satisfaction and experiences in the areas of time, convenience, availability and value based on consumers’ altered circumstances to truly differentiate themselves.”

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Rising Operating Costs, Exchange Rates, Service Charge Increased Airfares by 100%

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Price of air tickets rose by 100 percent across several routes as rising operating costs, high foreign exchange and surged in service charge forced airline operators to raise airfares.

Airlines attributed the increase to a series of price adjustments and the introduction of new fees by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). According to them, airline firms were given special concessions, which will continue to push price up and could hit an average of N100,000 for even the Lagos/Abuja route.

Speaking on the situation, Captain Ado Sanusi, the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, said airline companies could not access forex at the official rate while the FAAN had upped its fees.

He said “We were buying dollars at N360 and it went to N380 but you can’t get it for less than N480.

“We are paying VAT at 7.5 per cent. We are paying 15 per cent duty on our spare parts. The boarding passes, we pay 15 per cent duty on it.

“The passenger service charge has increased by FAAN. So, don’t look at one component but look at the total reason for the increase.

“Yes, there is an increase in demand but it is caused by the lack of aircraft and this lack of aircraft is caused by unavailability of spare parts which is also caused by dollar scarcity.”

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Tony Elumelu Receives Licence to Kick Start Heirs Insurance Limited, Heirs Life Assurance Ltd

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The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony O. Elumelu, on Friday said the company has received operating licences from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for its two new insurance companies, Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance Limited (HLA).

The Chairman disclosed this on his social media page.

In his words, he said “I am proud to announce that the Nigerian Federal Government, through the insurance regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has officially issued the operating licences for our new Group insurance companies – Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance Limited (HLA).

“This represents an important milestone of a long-term strategic journey in providing much needed, quality, & valuable financial services, to a broad demographic in Nigeria. Insurance should not be a luxury, and just as we have democratised other sectors, we will democratise insurance – applying our tried & tested business philosophies.

“Fueled by the determination to improve lives & leave a legacy in the African private sector, we have embarked on this journey to revolutionise the insurance space – deploying technology, customer understanding & operational excellence.

“It has been a five-year journey, but with the optimism & the resilience that have brought us this far, it has been worth the wait.

“I would like to warmly thank our new CEOs—Dr. Adaobi Nwakuche, MD/CEO of Heirs Insurance and Niyi Onifade, MD/CEO of Heirs Life Assurance, our Board members, regulatory partners, those who have believed in this dream, despite the obstacles, & those who have cheered us on.”

This is coming barely two weeks after Mr. Elumelu announced Transcorp has acquired Afam Power for N105 billion.

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