- Lekki Free Trade Zone Investment Rises to $15 Billion
The Lagos State Government has disclosed that the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Africa’s fastest growing economic zone, had attracted $15 billion from domestic and foreign investors in the last eleven years of its existence.
In 2016 alone, the state government disclosed that the largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa, Dangote Group and other companies invested over $6 billion in LFTZ. Of the $6 billion, it said Dangote alone invested $4 billion.
The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye gave the update at a recent news conference he addressed alongside his information counterpart, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Lekan Akodu, among others.
Currently, the zone is under the management of Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC), a joint venture partnership established in May 2006 pursuant to the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act (NEPZA).
The LFZDC comprises a consortium of Chinese Companies by the name China-Africa Lekki Investment Ltd (CALIL) with 60 per cent stakes and Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited (LWIL) owned by the Lagos State Government holding 40 per cent stakes.
At the recent conference, Ogunleye said the zone, which was established by the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had already attracted 116 domestic and foreign investors, 16 of which had started operating.
The commissioner said LFTZ had attracted highest investment in Nigeria, noting that the zone alone had attracted $15 billion; attributing it to the creative approach the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode adopted to attract domestic and foreign investments.
Aside, the commissioner said 116 investors “have registered to operate within the zone. Of the 116 investors registered to operate in the zone, 16 have already commenced operation excluding Dangote Group with a plan to invest $11 billion in the zone.
“This is the where the economic transformation of the West Africa region, including Nigeria is done daily. I can assure you that the zone has become the preferred destination for investors. While some factories are currently under construction, 100 investors have also signified their intention to register and situate their business within the zone.”
Before the end of the 2017 fiscal year, Ogunleye disclosed that the state government and investors will inject $64 million counterpart funding into LFTZ to fast-track development within the zone.
Apart from $15 billion investment the zone had attracted, the commissioner said N740 million had been paid to host communities and families as compensation, citing the communities that benefited to include Yegunda and Abomiti.
He explained that the communities within the arm of the zone where Lekki-Epe International Airport zone would be sited, saying the government compensated the communities in fulfillment of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the host communities.
At a recent different session, the Special Adviser on Central Business District (CBD), Mr. Agboola Dabiri said there were 60 abandoned buildings belonging to the federal government on Lagos CBD, which he said, had been converted to criminal hideouts.
He said most abandoned buildings had been converted “to criminal hideouts where hoodlums perpetrate their nefarious activities. Some of the abandoned buildings harboured as many as 100 hoodlums. Some of them were located at Tinubu Square and Marina.”
Dabiri, however, said the state government would do something about the abandoned buildings in order to dislodge criminals occupying them as their abode. One of the biggest challenges on Lagos Island is over-population.”
He ascribed the challenge to the state’s thriving economy, noting that Lagos State “is the only thriving State in Nigeria where people sell their goods around 5.00 a.m. and by 8:30 a.m., they are gone. The crowd there is too much. We are talking about human traffic.
“Managing human traffic is not easy. When you have large number of people coming to the CBD, it comes with waste challenges. On the Island CBD, about N3 billion exchange hands on a daily basis in terms of transactions,” the special adviser said.
He, however, said all illegal structures and shanties in and around Idumota pedestrian bridge had been completely demolished, thus providing an opportunity for the people to make use of it for the first time since over 15 years of abandonment.
SEC To Ban Unregistered CMOs From Operating By Month End
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it will stop operations of Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that are yet to renew their registration on May 31, 2021.
This was contained in a circular signed by the management of SEC in Abuja on Monday.
On March 23, SEC had informed the general public and CMOs on the reintroduction of the periodic renewal of registration by operators.
The commission noted that the reintroduction of the registration renewal was due to the need to have a reliable data bank of all the CMOs registered and active in the country’s capital market.
“To provide updated information on operators in the Nigerian Capital Market for reference and other official purposes by local and foreign investors, other regulatory agencies and the general public, to increasingly reduce incidences of unethical practices by CMOs such as may affect investors’ confidence and impact negatively on the Nigerian Capital Market and to strengthen supervision and monitoring of CMOs by the Commission,” SEC explained.
According to the circular, the commission said CMOs yet to renew their registration at the expiration of late filing on May 31, would not be eligible to operate in the capital market.
It explained that CMOs were required to have completed the renewal process on or before April 30, however, the commission said late filing for renewal of registration would only be entertained from May 1 to May 31.
SEC also said that asides from barring the CMOs who failed to comply accordingly, their names would be published on its website and national dailies.
It added that names of eligible CMOs would be communicated to the relevant securities exchanges and trade associations.
A Threat to Revenue As Nigeria’s Largest Importer of Crude, India slash Imports By $39.5B
Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity has come under threat following the reduction of importation of crude oil by India.
India, Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5bn in April, compared to the same time the previous year, data from India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
According to the Indian High Commission in Nigeria, India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03bn.
This represented 17 percent of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as quoted by OilPrice.com.
As Nigeria’s largest importer of crude oil, lockdowns in India’s major cities from the COVID-19 surge in April had ripple effects on Nigeria’s oil sales.
The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below dated Brent, the international benchmark, as Oilprice.com showed.
India had been buying the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crudes that suited its refiners.
Reuters reported that the Indian Oil Corporation’s owned refineries were operating at 95 percent capacity in April, down from 100 percent at the same time the previous month.
An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.” Hundreds of seafarers risked being stuck at sea beyond the expiry of their contracts, a large independent crude ship owner reportedly told Bloomberg.
India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day.
This squeezed the group’s share of imports to 72 percent from around 80 percent previously, as India’s refiners were diversifying purchases to boost margins, according to Reuters.
India also plans to increase local crude oil production and reduce import expenses as its population swells, according to Bloomberg.
A deregulation plan by the Narendra Modi-led government to boost national production to 40 million tonnes of crude oil by 2023/2024, an increase of almost eight million tonnes, had already been initiated.
According to Business Today, an Indian paper, the country currently imports 82 percent of its oil needs, which amounted to $87bn in 2019.
Invest Africa and DLA Piper Partner to Support ESG Best Practice in African Renewable Energy Projects
The global law firm, DLA Piper, has partnered with Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets, to support the development of ESG best practice in African renewable energy projects.
Clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and measurements have become an increasingly important part of fundraising as investors seek to align their portfolios with sustainable growth. For a continent boasting ample natural resources, this presents a significant opportunity for Africa’s green energy sector. However, renewable does not always equal sustainable and developing and articulating ESG metrics can pose a significant challenge to projects as they prepare investment rounds.
The project will assemble experts from the worlds of impact investment, development finance and law. Across a series of online meetings, participants will discuss strategies to improve ESG practices in African renewable projects from both a fundraising and operational perspective.
Amongst those speaking in the inaugural session on Thursday 13th May are Cathy Oxby, Chief Commercial Officer, Africa Greenco, Dr. Valeria Biurrun-Zaumm, Senior Investment Manager, DEG, Orli Arav, Managing Director – Facility For Energy Inclusion (FEI) – Lion’s Head Global Partners, Beatrice Nyabira, Partner, DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) and Natasha Luther-Jones, Partner, Global Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG, DLA Piper.
Veronica Bolton-Smith, COO of Invest Africa said, “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change despite contributing very little to global emissions. As the price of renewables fall, they will form an ever more important part of Africa’s electrification. In this context, it is essential that projects be given the tools to apply best practice in ESG not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of good governance, fair working conditions and contribution to social inclusion. I look forward to working closely with DLA Piper on this important topic.”
Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources and International Co-Head Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper also commented, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges companies, and people, face today and when we look at its reduction – whether that be in how we power our devices, what we eat or how we dress, where we live or how we work – all roads come back to the need to increase the amount of accessible, and affordable, clean energy. However, renewable energy companies are not automatically sustainable as sustainability is a focus on all ESG factors, not just environmental. We know the need for renewable energy is only going to continue to rise, and therefore so will the number and size of renewable energy companies. The additional challenge is to make sure they are truly sustainable organisations and that’s what we’re excited about discussing during the webinar.”
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