- Insecurity Threatens Lagos’ Tech Growth, $136bn GDP
Experts have said that the growth of the Information and Communications Technology in Lagos State is being threatened by the rise in insecurity in the state.
They said on Friday that the insecurity challenges, such as the Ikorodu killings and kidnapping, were also a threat to its Gross Domestic Product of $136bn.
In April 2017, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State had described the country’s commercial nerve as the world’s fastest growing mega city, “with a GDP of $136bn.”
Ambode said that the GDP could improve if the state government invested in the ICT, saying, “That is why we are connecting major parks in the state to the Wi-Fi.”
However, a major shareholder in one of the four main telecommunications companies in the country said that the GDP could take a slide downwards if the government failed to improve on security.
“Should vandals continue to destroy our equipment and terrorise Yaba and environs where tech hubs are located, then there is no doubt that this will threaten the growth of Lagos’ GDP of $136bn,” the source said on the condition of anonymity.
While pleading with the state governor to intervene urgently, a technology expert, Akintunde Akinleye, said, “It has been more than 40 days since some six pupils were kidnapped at a school in Epe, on the North side of the Lekki lagoon in Lagos, raising questions about the ability of the state government to address the insecurity challenges.”
He said, “The parents of the abducted pupils have reportedly paid N10m ransom to the kidnappers but they have yet to get their children back.
“Security operatives in Lagos seem to be clueless about the whereabouts of the abducted pupils.
“Insecurity is increasing in Lagos at a worrying rate; apart from kidnapping, which is becoming frequent, cult killing is also becoming rampant in some parts of the state.
“While peace does not necessarily drive growth and development, insecurity disrupts it. The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s goal of making Lagos Africa’s third largest economy is under threat.”
According to him, Lagos has been able to diversify its economy and largely reduce its dependence on oil allocations from the Federal Government.
“The state generates revenue from a variety of sources, including transport, manufacturing, construction and wholesale and retail. To continue growing its economy, Lagos faces challenges such as rapid population growth, urbanisation, as well increasing demands for infrastructure,” Akinleye said.
He also said that the challenges could not be addressed only by widening the tax net, but also by making the state a perfect investment destination.
“Although Lagos has huge potential, much will not be achieved if the current security challenges are allowed to fester further.
“Insecurity makes investors nervous. Therefore, a safer Lagos with its numerous potential will remain an investment destination that can achieve the governor’s dream of a top three African economy by 2020,” he said.
He said, “At this level, Lagos sits comfortably as one of the top ten economies in Africa by GDP. Should Nigerian states start fending for themselves, only Lagos and a few others would be able to survive.
“Lagos generated more than $940m internally in 2016, exceeding the combined Internal Generated Revenue of 30 states in Nigeria.”
He added, “The city-state remains a major economic focal point in Nigeria, generating around 10 per cent of the country’s GDP.
“It continues to grow its revenue as investment flows rise with expanding opportunities in several sectors. Economic growth in the Nigerian port city seems to be boundless but whatever brightness the future holds can only illuminate as far as the dark forces of insecurity recently rampaging Lagos would allow.”
Dangote Cement Refutes Claim it Sells Cement High in Nigeria
Dangote Cement Plc has refuted the widely propagated story that the company sells cement at a significantly higher price in Nigeria compared to other African nations like Zambia and Ghana.
The management of the leading manufacturing company said it sells a bag at N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese, the amounts stated include VAT.
Devakumar Edwin, Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the company sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes.
Devakumar, therefore, described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded, and challenged the media to conduct independent investigation into the price of cement in some other African countries, including Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia.
“To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings.
“We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”
“Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our costs are linked to USD so the cost of critical components like: gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase.
“Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly.
“We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius.
“We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far,” Devakumar said.
Samsung, Vision Care Begin Fresh CSR Activities, Earmark 12,000 Masks for Nigeria
Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited (SHIN) and Vision Care, an international relief organization dedicated to the prevention of blindness, have launched fresh Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to help Nigeria mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Vision Care is a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and participant of ‘VISION 2020’, a global initiative of the IAPB and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vision Care has since conducted more than 25 Vision Eye Camps yearly and has grown into an international non-profit organisation serving 38 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Central-South America.
Since 2015, SHIN has worked with Vision Care in the yearly Eye Camp as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to provide free cataract surgeries to Nigerians who cannot afford the payment. SHIN has been sponsoring the eye surgeries of Nigerians on a yearly basis.
In 2019, SHIN sponsored the eye surgeries of at least 115 Nigerian patients and 224 outward patients as part of its CSR in Nigeria.
Since it started the programme, SHIN has sponsored the eye surgeries of 572 Nigerian patients, 1,593 outward patients and has also donated glasses to 99 patients.
Due to outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the yearly Eye Camp for 2021 had been called off to adhere to Federal Government’s measures in response to the virus.
Consequently, SHIN and Vision Care came up with a fresh CSR initiative this year to donate 496 bags of rice (25kg) and 12,000 reusable face masks to three states in the country to fulfill their commitment of contributing to the society.
The items will be delivered later this month.
The three states that will benefit from the donation are Lagos, Kano and Bayelsa states.
Out of the 496 bags of rice, and 12,000 facemasks, Lagos will receive 96 bags of rice and 200 masks.
SHIN also stated that Kano State will receive 200 bags of rice and 5,000 masks, while Bayelsa State will get 200 bags and 5,000 masks.
“This is an additional CSR activity from SHI in addition to SHIN’s donation of 5,000 COVID-19 test kits from Korea. The washable masks that the head office has purchased from Korea are certified to retain its effectiveness against COVID-19 transmission for up to 50 washes,” SHIN said in a statement.
Senate Summons NICON, AIICO, Others Over N17.4bn Pension Remittances
The Senate Public Accounts Committee has summoned the management of the NICON Insurance Plc, AIICO Insurance and other insurance companies over their alleged failure to remit N17.4bn pension fund to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.
The Senate hinged the summon on the 2016 report of the Auditor-General for the Federation which unraveled the alleged non-remittance of N17.4bn pension fund to PTAD.
Appearing before the panel on Monday, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, informed the lawmakers that PTAD took over the assets and liabilities of the defunct pension offices without a formal handing over.
She said, “On taking over, the directorate wrote all underwriters to make returns and remit whatever amount that was in their custody into a CBN dedicated account.
“Some of the underwriters responded to the request while some did not.
“The bank certificate of balances, accounting statements, three years financial statements and policy files requested by the federal auditor were not handed over to PTAD at the time of consolidation.
“It is worthy to note that we discovered that N17.4bn which comprised of cash, securities and properties from the nine insurance underwriters was unremitted as a result of the letter PTAD sent to them.
“These figures represent the claims by the underwriters with regards to their indebtedness.
“In order to ascertain the true position of legacy funds in custody of underwriters, the directorate appointed a consultant in 2018 who carried out forensic audit of nine out the 12 insurance underwriters and produced a final report on the recovery of the legacy funds and assets for PTAD.”
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