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Stakeholders Seek Ban on Manual Block Production

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Block Moulders
  • Stakeholders Seek Ban on Manual Block Production

Stakeholders in the construction industry have called for a ban on the use of manually produced blocks for building construction in order to check the menace of structural failures and collapse.

A professor of building at the University of Lagos, Godwin Idoro, in a paper presented at the Building Collapse Prevention Guild’s workshop for block moulders in Lagos, said that to prevent the production of substandard blocks, the combined efforts of all stakeholders, including governments and their Ministries, Departments and Agencies; professional bodies, clients, designers and consultants, contractors, suppliers and block producers was required.

Idoro said, “The use of non-mechanical method of production should be stopped; it is time for all stakeholders to discourage the use of manually produced blocks. There is a need to encourage fabrication and production of better locally produced block moulding machines.

“There should also be adoption of certification of blocks. For this purpose, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, universities, polytechnics and the Nigerian Institute of Building can be empowered to develop conditions, conduct inspections and award their certification, which can be used in design specifications.”

He noted that there should also be periodic renewal of block production certification and development of codes and standards on sandcrete blocks by government agencies, in collaboration with research institutions and professional bodies, as well as regular training of block moulders on the standards.

“Government should make it mandatory for blocks to carry the name of producers, brand name, date of manufacture and expiration like other manufactured products, and the government should have classification of block manufacturers as SMEs and provide financial support to them like other SMEs,” he added.

Idoro also suggested that there should be periodic testing of the properties of blocks by contractors and other users before purchase.

The President, BCPG, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said the frequent increase in the production cost of blocks in recent times due to the continuous rise in the price of cement and other production variables had encouraged compromise in the quality of blocks.

He said the formation of the National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria was a necessary step at improving on the quality of blocks, adding that the BCPG, in collaboration with SON, had been supporting the association in observing standards in the production of sandcrete blocks.

Awobodu said that learning from the experience of the Synagogue Church of All Nations’ building that collapsed on September 12, 2014, the BCPG Igando-Ikokun Cell had taken it as a social responsibility to host block moulders across the state to a workshop aimed at reducing sharp practices in the block moulding industry to forestall a building collapse crisis.

He noted, “Most of the blocks that are made today are not properly cured as they are taken to site for use before one to one and a half week minimal period for curing. The major reason for this sharp practice is due to the fact that most block moulders do not have sufficient funds to acquire adequate expanse of land for spreading and stacking of the blocks, and also because of their inability to manufacture the product well ahead of the time for its demand.

“To overcome this shortcoming or impatience, cement manufacturers are forced to produce rapid hardening cement for blocks.

“Undue competition and rivalry have also made some block moulders to sell below production costs for standard blocks, which has, invariably, led to gradual quality reduction in block production. The need to let block moulders form an association in order to facilitate communication and equate realistic prices in view of fluctuating production costs cannot be overemphasized. This will, of course, reduce the level of cheating induced by competition.”

A former Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Lagos Chapter, Mr. Tijani Lasisi, who spoke on how to produce high quality sandcrete blocks, said the country was blessed with a lot of cement factories but that there was a need to use the good cement diligently without cutting corners.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Raises ₦42.79 Billion in Successful Commercial Paper Issuance

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc

Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC has successfully raised ₦42.79 billion through the issuance of Series 4 and 5 Commercial Paper notes.

The issuance, announced on Friday, underscores the company’s robust financial strategy and strong market confidence in its operations.

The Series 4 notes, amounting to ₦12.93 billion, were issued for a tenure of 181 days with a yield of 23.00%.

The Series 5 notes, on the other hand, totaled ₦29.86 billion, were issued for a tenure of 265 days, and offered a yield of 25.00%. These notes were issued under the company’s ₦150 billion Commercial Paper Issuance Programme.

The issuance saw substantial participation from a diverse group of investors, including Pension and Non-Pension Asset Managers, as well as other institutional and individual investors.

This broad interest highlights the trust and confidence the market has in Dangote Sugar Refinery’s financial health and operational strategy.

Mrs. Temitope Hassan, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser of Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, expressed her satisfaction with the successful issuance.

“This achievement is a testament to the strong investor confidence in Dangote Sugar Refinery’s business model and financial stability. The funds raised will be instrumental in supporting our short-term working capital and funding requirements, enabling us to continue our growth trajectory and maintain operational excellence.”

The successful issuance of the commercial paper notes aligns with Dangote Sugar Refinery’s strategic objectives of maintaining a flexible and diversified funding base.

By tapping into the commercial paper market, the company ensures that it has the necessary liquidity to meet its operational needs while also positioning itself to take advantage of growth opportunities in the competitive sugar industry.

Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, a subsidiary of the Dangote Group, remains one of Nigeria’s leading sugar producers.

The company continues to play a pivotal role in the country’s sugar industry, contributing significantly to the economy and ensuring the availability of high-quality sugar products for consumers.

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Dangote Group Expands Refinery Storage Capacity to 5.3 Billion Litres

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Dangote Refinery

The Dangote Group has announced a significant expansion of its refinery storage capacity.

The expansion, disclosed by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, during his address at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade & Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Currently boasting a storage capacity of 4.78 billion litres, the Dangote Petrochemical Refinery is set to increase this figure by an additional 600 million litres, bringing the total capacity to an impressive 5.3 billion litres.

This expansion underscores Dangote’s commitment to transforming Nigeria into a hub for refined petroleum products and solidifies the refinery’s role as a strategic reserve for the nation.

Addressing stakeholders at the forum, Dangote highlighted the refinery’s pivotal role in addressing longstanding challenges in Nigeria’s energy sector, particularly the absence of strategic reserves for petrol.

“The country doesn’t have strategic reserves in terms of petrol, which is very dangerous. But in our plant now, when you came, we had only 4.78 billion litres of various tankage capacity. But right now, we’re adding another 600 million,” Dangote affirmed.

The expansion comes amidst various operational challenges faced by the refinery, including attempts by international oil companies to hinder its operations.

Dangote asserted that these challenges, aimed at impeding the success of the refinery, were indicative of broader resistance to change within the oil industry.

“We borrowed the money based on our balance sheet. I think we borrowed just over $5.5bn. But we paid also a lot of interest as we went along, because the project was delayed because of a lack of land, also the sand-filling took a long time,” Dangote revealed, emphasizing the resilience required to overcome these obstacles.

Moreover, Dangote expressed optimism regarding the refinery’s capacity to influence regional fuel prices, citing the success story of diesel price reduction following the refinery’s market entry.

He indicated that while petrol pricing remains a complex issue governed by governmental policies, the refinery’s operations would strive to offer competitive pricing and supply stability.

The expansion of the Dangote Petrochemical Refinery not only marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s industrial landscape but also positions the conglomerate as a key player in reshaping Africa’s energy dynamics.

As construction progresses towards completion, the refinery aims to further consolidate its role in meeting regional energy demands and fostering economic growth across West Africa.

With plans to commence sales of refined products in the coming months, Dangote’s refinery is poised to play a transformative role in Nigeria’s quest for energy independence and regional economic integration.

As stakeholders await the refinery’s operational debut, expectations are high for its potential to drive down fuel prices and enhance energy security across the region.

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Musk Secures Shareholder Support for Compensation and Texas Relocation

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Elon Musk

Tesla Inc. shareholders have voted in favor of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s compensation package and the company’s state of incorporation change to Texas.

The results, announced at Tesla’s annual meeting in Austin on Thursday, reflect shareholder approval despite challenges such as declining sales and a significant drop in stock price.

Musk had hinted at the likely outcome the night before the meeting in a post on X, stating that both resolutions were “passing by wide margins.”

The electric car manufacturer did not disclose the detailed breakdown of the votes.

The approval of Musk’s pay package, although advisory, demonstrates continued investor support for his leadership.

The package had previously been nullified by a Delaware judge in January, but Tesla plans to appeal. Should the appeal fail, relocating Tesla’s legal home to Texas may provide the board an opportunity to reintroduce the compensation plan under potentially more favorable legal conditions.

Originally approved in 2018 with 73% of the vote, Musk’s compensation plan makes him eligible for up to $55.8 billion in stock options if Tesla achieves specific milestones.

Currently, the value of these options is approximately $48.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk’s leadership has been a topic of significant debate, particularly in light of his oversight of six companies and his tendency toward abrupt strategic changes.

Earlier this year, Musk orchestrated Tesla’s largest layoffs to date, only to rehire some of the affected workers weeks later.

In addition to the compensation package, shareholders voted to reelect James Murdoch and Kimbal Musk to Tesla’s board.

Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has served on the board since 2017, while Kimbal Musk, Elon’s younger brother, has been a member since 2004.

Tesla’s stock saw a modest increase of 0.3% in extended trading following the announcement, though the stock had fallen about 27% over the year compared to a 14% gain in the S&P 500 Index.

During the annual meeting, held at Tesla’s Austin headquarters, shareholders showed enthusiastic support as Musk took the stage in a black Cybertruck T-shirt.

He shared updates on the company’s progress, including the introduction of three new models, the expansion of the Supercharger network, and record production levels for Cybertrucks.

“A lot of people said Cybertruck was fake, never going to come out. Now we’re shipping a lot of Cybertrucks,” Musk stated.

In addressing his substantial pay package, Musk clarified that it is structured as options requiring him to hold Tesla stock for five years. “I can’t cut and run, nor would I want to,” he said.

The push for shareholder support involved a dedicated “Vote Tesla” website and advertising on X, with Tesla investors and executives vocalizing their backing for Musk.

Despite some opposition from significant investors like Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the measures passed.

The relocation to Texas has been formalized, with the certificate of conversion available on the Texas Secretary of State website.

However, any future compensation plan will need to be restructured to comply with Texas legal standards, should the Delaware appeal fail.

The recent shareholder vote may enhance Tesla’s position in the forthcoming appeal. Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick’s January decision to void the compensation package cited conflicts of interest and inadequate disclosure.

The appeal’s outcome, expected later this year, will determine the next steps for Musk’s compensation plan.

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