- FG Raises Panel to Probe Fanta, Sprite Content
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has set up a panel of experts to investigate the controversies surrounding the level of benzoic and ascorbic acid in the soft drinks being produced by the Nigerian Bottling Company.
Adewole, in a series of tweets on his verified Twitter handle on Thursday, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government had convened a group of experts, including food scientists and nutritionists, to access the safety of preservatives being added to the beverages.
According to him, he will also meet with officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
He said, “A group of experts have been convened to immediately investigate and submit a report. I have also requested a meeting with SON. The issue goes beyond the legal aspects of the court verdict. It is about morality.
“Nigerians need to know that we will put their safety first. The questions are: Is the Coca-Cola produced in Nigeria safe? Is the acidity level acceptable? What is the difference between Coca-Cola products available in Nigeria and the United Kingdom?
“Nigerians are justifiably angry as it concerns the recent verdict of a case involving an exporter. I have instructed NAFDAC to liaise with SON to address Nigerians immediately concerning the safety of Coca-Cola products made locally.”
The Lagos State High Court had ordered NAFDAC to direct the NBC to include a warning on the labels of Fanta and Sprite bottles that the products could not be taken with Vitamin C.
Meanwhile, the National President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai, stated that the internationally approved benzoic acid levels for the preservation of beverages was 600mg.
Brai noted that while the body would not tolerate any violation of standards by beverage companies, it would be wrong to assume that Fanta and Sprite were not safe for consumption until evidence suggest otherwise.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Council has said it has summoned the management of the NBC to provide detailed information about the composition and all laboratory tests of two of its products, Sprite and Fanta.
The Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, who wrote to the Managing Director of the company, stated that the information to be provided would cover the last 10 years, up to March 2017.
The letter, dated March 15, 2017, with reference number CPC/HQ/2017, was made available to journalists in Abuja.
She said as the apex regulatory agency in charge of the protection of consumer rights in the country, the CPC would be carrying out a detailed independent investigation into the laboratory processes as well as all the composition of the company’s products.
She said that the letter gave the NBC seven days to supply the required information for the investigation.
The letter read in part, “Pursuant to the CPC Act, the council requests your organisation (NBC) to immediately provide all papers, processes, statements, affidavits, motions, arguments, exhibits and files in the case that was the subject of the judgement.
“Identify every witness that the NBC intended to present at the trail, including all witnesses who testified and others intended but who did not testify. In addition, each witness position and the role in the NBC must be identified in your submission.”
The agency also directed the NBC to “provide the composition of your products, otherwise known as Fanta and Sprite. Any and all quality assurance or laboratory tests conducted by the NBC or commissioned by the NBC, or that have come within the control of the NBC with respect to Fanta and Sprite between 2009 and March 2017.”
The company was also directed to identify the custodian of the composition and component of Fanta and Sprite in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Dangote Commits $700M To Sugar Production In Support of Backward Integration Policy
The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has said it is committing over $700m to its sugar projects to support the Backward Integration Policy of the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production.
According to a statement issued on Sunday by Dangote Industries Limited, the company disclosed this to visiting members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly on Friday.
The company noted that Nigeria was one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest importers of sugar, second only to South Africa with an annual import of over $337m.
The Dangote Sugar management however assured the lawmakers that with the completion of its sugar projects in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved more than half of the forex expended on sugar imports annually.
It added that the investment would also lift its people as other people-oriented infrastructures would come with the sugar projects.
The state lawmakers commended the Dangote Group for the choice of the state for the project and the accelerated pace with which the project was being executed, despite occasional delays arising from communal disagreements.
General Manager for the BIP, Dangote Sugar, John Beverley said when the factory was fully operational, it would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tons of cane per day, while 90MW power would be generated for both the company’s use and host communities.
He also disclosed that some 500km roads in all would be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity. He solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers.
The Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Abdullah, and his team members, who were conducted around the company’s 78,000 hectares BIP in Tunga Awe Local Government Area commended the company for the project.
Abdullah noted that it would not only open up opportunities in the state but in Africa as a whole, and said the lawmakers were ready to partner and support the company towards the realisation of the sugar project through the relevant legislation.
When phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it will make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.
French Trade Advisors pledge Massive Investment In Lagos Free Zone
The Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur (French Foreign Trade Advisors) has expressed readiness to invest massively in the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) being developed by the Tolaram Group as they endorsed the zone as the ideal industrial destination for French businesses in Nigeria.
This was made known on Thursday, April 15, 2021, during a visit to the Lagos Free Zone. The delegation led by the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier accompanied by his Economic Advisor, the Consulate General of France in Lagos and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur comprising of CEOs of several French businesses in Nigeria.
Speaking during the visit, the Ambassador of France in Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier explained that the aim of the visit of the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur to Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) was to discover the opportunities in the Lagos Free Zone and the Lekki Port project, which is expected to have a huge positive impact on businesses in Nigeria.
Pasquier commended Tolaram Group, the promoter of the zone, for the foresight of integration of Lekki Port into the master plan of the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), which would serve as the gateway for import and export from the zone thereby giving businesses in the zone a competitive edge.
The Ambassador also commended the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) for its Master Plan for the zone which includes world-class infrastructure that is in line with its vision to be the preferred industrial hub and investment destination in West Africa.
“I am impressed by the huge size of the Lagos Free Zone project. We are very happy that the French companies will be deeply involved in this Lagos Free Zone project. It is really impressive to see how ambitious this project is. The French Minister was in Nigeria yesterday and I explained to him that Nigeria is a country where we can have big projects. For us, this project means big opportunities and that explains why we need to be here. We are happy to be here and work with Tolaram Group”, he added.
It is noteworthy to mention that the first French company to be established in the Lagos Free Zone is the terminal operations arm of CMA – CGM which has established a subsidiary within the Lagos Free Zone and is the appointed operator for the container terminal operations scheduled to commence at Lekki Port next year.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), Mr. Dinesh Rathi assured the Ambassador of France and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur that the zone remains the best destination for investment in Nigeria and the West African sub-region given the seamless integration with Lekki Port and the world-class infrastructure provided by Lagos Free Zone.
Explaining the configuration of the zone, Rathi disclosed that the clustering is planned in line with the international best practices of Work, Live, and Play. He stated that the land-use plan of the Lagos Free Zone allocates 70 percent area towards industrial developments, 20 percent towards logistics and support services while the real estate will cover the remaining 10 percent.
He also stated that Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) has simplified the process of business entry and operation in the zone in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business policy.
“We have made it very easy for the business to berth and take off at zone by making our process less cumbersome and friendly, we are open for business 24/7 and willing to help investors to settle in very fast,” he said.
AIICO Refutes Claims of Non-Remittance of Pension Assets to PTAD
AIICO Insurance Plc has refuted claims of non-remittance of pension assets to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
This was disclosed recently in a statement by Segun Olalandu, the Head, Strategic Marketing and Communications Department.
It stated: “The attention of the Management of AIICO Insurance Plc. has been drawn to a recent report in the media on allegations of non-remittance of pension assets to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
“AIICO Insurance Plc. hereby wishes to inform the public that all pension assets due for remittance have been duly transferred to PTAD since the year 2017, in full compliance with the directive. Both parties are presently engaged in a reconciliation exercise to conclude the process. We implore the public to disregard any information that may suggest otherwise as there is no basis to that effect.”
Mr. Segun assured that AIICO Insurance Plc. remains a responsible corporate citizen of Nigeria and will continue to engage the best practice in all its business activities and operations in line with extant laws and regulatory provisions guiding its practice.
AIICO Insurance is a leading composite insurer in Nigeria with a record of serving our customers that dates back over 50 years. Founded in 1963, AIICO provides life and health insurance, general insurance, and investment management services as a means to create and protect wealth for individuals, families, and corporate customers.
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