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Investments in Oil & Gas Free Zones to Grow 50% in 3yrs

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  • Investments in Oil & Gas Free Zones to Grow 50% in 3yrs

Ahead of Nigeria’s recovery from economic recession, the new management at the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), last weekend indicated that it has concluded plans to rev up investments in the oil and gas free zones in the country by 50 per cent in the next three years.

The oil and gas free zones attract and concentrate local and foreign direct investments to the designated zones where the investors enjoy special international status with incentives and operating environment at global best standards.

Managing director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, who made this disclosure in an interaction with newsmen at the agency’s headquarters in Onne, Rivers State, stated that the targets were part of its recently unveiled 3-year strategic roadmap. He said the roadmap reflected the vision of the OGFZA to be the premier agency of government for the promotion of investment in the nation’s oil and gas free zones.

The targeted growth rate, according to him, would cover the value of new investments, number of new companies attracted and zones created as well as revenue to the federal government and employment generation.

Presently the value of investments in the zones is about $20 billion, while the number of companies is about 140 with total employment of about 200,000.

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On the revenue side Umana stated that between January 2010 and December 2015, the Nigerian Custom Service generated revenue of N143.2 billion from the oil and gas free zones alone, while the Nigerian Ports Authority generated$2.1 billion and N19.3 billion also from the oil and gas free zones.

In the opening drives towards the new goals the agency has re-developed its website for a more effective communication of the investment opportunities in the zones, while the addition of a biweekly newsletter now enhances interaction with existing and prospective investors.

Umana said the agency’s drive for new investments would be facilitated by a corporate culture of integrity, respect for investors and due process, transparency and accountability, as well as passion for and customer-centric engagement with investors.

Commends NASS for amending enabling laws

Meanwhile, Umana has commended the National Assembly for taking steps to amend the principal Acts of both the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and OGFZA.

Umana said his expectation was that when the amendments are passed they would remove imperfections in the two laws, thereby putting both OGFZA and NEPZA on the path to fulfilling their mandates for the good of the economy and benefit of all Nigerians.

Umana said efforts to amend the laws have come at the right time when the Federal Government is focused on the drive to diversify the economy. He explained that while the amendments would deepen specialization and efficiency in the oil and gas sector, they are at the same time expected to strongly encourage investment in the non-oil sector.

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.

Investment

SEC Warns Against Proliferation of Unregistered Investment Platforms

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the investing public to be wary of the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.

SEC’s warning was conveyed via a circular issued in Abuja, Thursday to capital market operators.

It advised the investing public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products.

The circular read: “The attention of the SEC has been drawn to the existence of several providers of online investment and trading platforms which purportedly facilitate direct access of the investing public in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to securities of foreign companies listed on securities exchanges registered in other jurisdictions.

“These platforms also claim to be operating in partnership with capital market operators (CMOs) registered with the Commission.”

The Commission categorically stated that by the provisions of Sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations, only foreign securities listed on any exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription to the Nigerian public.

Accordingly, the SEC notified CMOs who work in concert with the referenced online platforms of the Commission’s position and advised them to desist henceforth.

Public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products advertised through conventional or online mediums.

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SoftBank Reaps $33 Billion Coupang Windfall

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SoftBank Group Corp on Thursday racked up a roughly $33 billion gain on paper through the public market debut of South Korea’s largest e-commerce company, Coupang Inc, the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround for its $100 billion Vision Fund.

Shares of Coupang opened 81% above their offer price on Thursday, after the company raised $4.6 billion in the U.S. stock market’s biggest initial public offering this year.

SoftBank paid around $3 billion for a 37% stake in the company, according to sources familiar with earlier fund-raising, giving it a roughly $33 billion headline profit if prices hold.

Coupang’s hugely successful stock market launch is welcome news for SoftBank, which is grappling with the collapse of billions of dollars worth of funds linked to Britain’s Greensill Capital, a supply chain finance start-up.

Vision Fund is Greensill’s biggest backer.

The Japanese conglomerate last month reported third-quarter net profit ballooned more than 20 times thanks to a recovery at the Vision Fund, a huge venture capital operation famous for investing early in Uber and other tech industry startup successes.

Only a year ago, SoftBank had been smarting from the flopped IPO and collapse in value of office sharing firm WeWork, raising questions over whether Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son had lost his midas touch and threatening plans to establish a successor to Vision.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced Son to sell assets but a second deal reported by Reuters on Thursday bodes well for VF II, a second, smaller fund.

The $225 million late-stage funding round for healthcare startup Forward Health was its first major investment this year, following a pickup in activity and the group’s fortunes in the second half of 2020.

The Vision Fund also made $11 billion on a blockbuster market launch of DoorDash Inc in December, which valued the food delivery company at more than $70 billion.

It also made gains on home seller Opendoor Technologies Inc’s initial offering in December.

The fund still holds large stakes in China’s biggest ride-hailing firm Didi, as well as Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab.

SoftBank is also trying to ride the mania for special purpose acquisition companies, launching a handful of blank-check firms this year, although none of them have found investment targets yet.

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Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) To €2 billion in Nigeria

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The French Development Agency (AFD) is a development finance institution 100 percent held by the French government.

In Nigeria, it is mainly into financing infrastructure projects (water, energy, transport and agriculture).

It also involves financing related to the banking sector, governance and the cultural and creative industries.

Speaking to the media, the AFD Country Director Nigeria, Pascal Grangereau, said €2 billion was set aside to be sent on mainly road financing, water sector, improvement in electricity and agriculture.

He said €300 million was being spent on the Abuja Electricity Backup, a project in collaboration with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to improve electricity at the nation’s capital.

Grangereau said a total of €200 million is equally expended on the North West Electricity Backup.

On agriculture, he said vocational training is currently held across the nation to improve the skills of Nigerians.

He added: “We intend to finance agricultural projects in five states, Benue, Imo and three other states to the tune of €50 million.”

He lamented that while it was endowed with reserves of crude oil and natural gas, Nigeria is characterised by power generation considered by the Nigerians themselves as not adequate.

He said concentrating more than half of the installed electricity capacity in West Africa, only half of which was harnessed by the country, implying a very low per capita consumption, limited access to electricity and frequent load shedding.

He added: “The sector is of strategic importance for successive governments, with the launching in the 2000s of a vast reform, supported by a massive investment plan; which reform although supported by the donors is yet to achieve the expected results. The project aims to strengthen the electricity transmission network, natural monopoly under the responsibility of the public company TCN, thus laying the foundations for a long-term partnership with TCN.”

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