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Stakeholders Lament Neglect of Cocoa Industry

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  • Stakeholders Lament Neglect of Cocoa Industry

Worried by the myriads of problems facing their operations, indigenous cocoa manufacturers has urged the Federal Government to reduce the cost of borrowing in Nigeria, and embark on massive rural infrastructure development to enhance productivity in the country.

Indeed, the stakeholders who spoke in an interview argued that the cocoa industry in Nigeria has remained the most neglected sector of the economy, despite its position as one of the most viable agro-allied industries in the world.

Production of sustainable cocoa significantly impacts the economies of many developing countries and provides livelihood for an estimated 40 to 50 million people globally.

The product, if well managed could be a support to the manufacturing sector by providing the raw material needs of the industrial sector, as well as providing employment to the people, especially in the rural areas.

Among the factors identified, as setbacks to the sector are high cost of borrowing, deregulated environment, inconsistent government policy and slow implementation of policies.

Citing the recent export stimulation facility initiative introduced by the government to drive exports in Nigeria, the stakeholders, who are currently besieged with intense hardship, lamented that no exporter has been able to access the funds for almost one year of its pronouncement.

Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc, Akin Laoye, explained that the deregulated environment is impeding the growth of the processing sector, adding that cocoa sector needs some degree of regulation.

He said: “One of the major challenges the industry is facing is inconsistent government policy. Typical example is the one step forward and three steps backwards policy on the export expansion grant.

“ It jeopardises planning and growth. Whatever be the problems of implementation is within the powers of the government to control. It is unhealthy to throw the baby and the birth water away.

“ To deepen Nigeria’s industrial base, it is counter productive to allow agricultural raw materials to be exported without adding value. Value addition will grow the industrial sector, generate employment, and enhance value of the revenue from export.

He added, “Another challenge is high cost of borrowing in Nigeria and non- accessibility to funds. The industry will do well if operators can easily access single digit credit rates.

He urged government to stop dithering on policies and do everything within its powers to find a lasting solution to tackle the ongoing recession for a brighter 2017.

Another industrialist, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, noted that giving the strategic importance of cocoa, it is imperative that the national precarious over difference on cocoa importation should have been checked.

According to him, Nigeria has the potential of becoming a net exporter of cocoa if the capacity of the existing plantation and factories are enhanced, new ones established, and cocoa farmers encouraged and supported through the provision of credit facilities.

“The cocoa industry is one of the biggest industry in terms of its socio-economic impact in the country. Cocoa industry employs more people than the crude oil industry, but unfortunately, the industry have been treated very badly over the years.

“Government must pay particular attention in ensuring the survival of this industry because its survival is the survival of many families who have been impoverished and poor.”

Osunkeye, who was the former Chairman of Nestle Food Plc, also pointed out that Nigeria has the capacity to produce enough cocoa to meet local demand and even export massively to other countries.

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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Aliko Dangote Remains Africa’s Richest Man With $12.1 Billion Net Worth -Forbes

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Aliko Dangote Remains Africa’s Richest Man With $12.1 Billion Net Worth -Forbes

Nigerian industrialist, Aliko Dangote, is Africa’s richest person for the tenth year in a row.

In the Forbes Africa latest billionaires list, Dangote’s total net worth stood at $12.1 billion, a $2 billion increment when compared to last year. Thanks to the 30 percent increase in the price of Dangote Cement share.

Nassef Sawiris of Egypt followed Dangote with $8.5 billion net worth with the majority of his investments coming from construction and other investments.

In third place was Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa with an $8 billion total net worth.

Mike Adenuga and Abdulsamad Rabio, the two Nigerians, came fifth and sixth with $6.3 billion and $5.5 billion net worth, respectively.Forbes Africa's billionaires list

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Portland Paints, Chemical and Allied Products Plc Agreed to Merge

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Portland Paints, Chemical and Allied Products Plc Agreed to Merge

Portland Paints and Products Nigeria Plc and Chemical and Allied Products Plc have agreed to merge, according to the latest statement from both companies.

In a statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Board of Directors of CAP said we are “pleased to inform you that following discussions and negotiations, the Boards of CAP and Portland Paints have reached an agreement to undertake a merger between both entities (the “Merger” or the “Proposed Merger”).

Accordingly, we “hereby present to you the terms and benefits of the Proposed Merger for your consideration and seek your support and approval to effect the Proposed Merger.

“The Proposed Merger presents a compelling opportunity to create significant value for shareholders of CAP and achieve the company’s strategic growth objectives as a larger company with a broader product portfolio, more corporate owned brands and diversified revenues.

“The resultant entity is also expected to benefit from enhanced distribution capabilities in addition to economies of scale and operational efficiencies.”

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Tony Elumelu Acquires Shell, Total, ENI Stakes in OML 17

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Tony Elumelu Acquires Shell, Total, ENI Stakes in OML 17

Tony Elumelu owned Heir Holdings Limited and its related company Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc on Friday announced it has completed the purchase of 45 percent stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML 17) through TNOG Oil and Gas Limited.

The acquisition includes all assets of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (30 Percent), Total E&P Nigeria Ltd (10 percent) and ENI (five percent) — in the lease.

It was further stated that TNOG Oil and Gas Limited will also have the sole right to operate OML 17.

The field presently has a production capacity of 27,000 barrels per day. Also, there are estimated 2P reserves (proven and probable) of 1.2 billion barrels and an additional one billion barrels in possible reserves — all of oil equivalent.

A consortium of global and regional banks and investors provided a financing component of $1.1 billion for the largest oil and gas financing in Africa in over a decade.

In a statement released on Friday, Shell said the completion was after all the necessary approvals have were received from authorities.

“A total of $453m was paid at completion with the balance to be paid over an agreed period. SPDC will retain its interest in the Port Harcourt Industrial and Residential Areas, which fall within the lease area,” the SPDC said.

Speaking after the completion of the deal, Elumelu said “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs. The acquisition of such a high-quality asset, with significant potential for further growth, is a strong statement of our confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a tribute to the extremely high-quality management team that we have assembled.

“As a Nigerian, and more particularly an indigene of the Niger Delta region, I understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. We see significant benefits from integrating our production, with our ability to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain.

“I would like to thank Shell, Total and ENI, for the professionalism of the process, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the NNPC for the confidence they have placed in us.”

Tony Elumelu is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited, Transcorp and United Bank for Africa Plc.

Also, read Transcorp Plc Acquires FGN’s 100% Equity in Afam Power for N105 Billion

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