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PFAs Invest N11.36bn in Infrastructure, Eye Airport Projects



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  • PFAs Invest N11.36bn in Infrastructure, Eye Airport Projects

The Pension Funds Administrators have continued to raise their investments in infrastructure even as they move to extend their investment tentacles to the nation’s airports as assets under their management increase, NIKE POPOOLA reports.

The Pension Funds Administrators have raised their investments in infrastructure to N11.36bn from the pension money in their custody, according to the latest report on the issue from the National Bureau of Statistics.

It said the figure was for the end of the second quarter of the 2018 financial period.

The NBS stated in its ‘Pension Asset and Membership Data’ that the total funds under the Contributory Pension Scheme stood at N8.23tn as of the end of June.

The Federal Government, which is the biggest borrower of the funds, has 70.75 per cent or N5.8tn of the total assets in its custody.

The NBS’ report showed that the Federal Government had invested N4.04tn, N1.7tn, N8.35bn, N58.36bn and N7.7bn in the Federal Government of Nigeria bonds, treasury bills, agency bonds, Sukuk bonds and Green bonds.

It added that a total of N151.95bn of the funds was invested in state government securities.

According to the NBS, the pension asset and Retirement Savings Account membership data for Q2 2018 showed that 8,136,202 workers were registered under the pension scheme, compared to 7,975,976 registered workers in Q1 2018; while the pension fund asset under management as of Q2 2018 stood at N8.232tn as against N7.943tn in Q1 2018.

FGN bonds had the highest weight percentage of 49.08 per cent of the total pension fund assets and closely followed by treasury bills with 20.76 per cent; and domestic ordinary shares with 8.62 per cent, while green bonds had the least with 0.09 per cent weight.

The data revealed that participants within the age distribution of 30-39 years had the highest percentage composition, closely followed by participants within the age bracket of 40-49 years and 50-59 years, while participants above 65 years had the least percentage composition.

Other figures obtained from the National Pension Commission on investment in infrastructure revealed that in May 2015, the operators invested N568m in infrastructure and increased it to N1.35bn in December 2015.

The PFAs invested N2.06bn in infrastructure bond in December 2016, and had gradually increased the pension funds invested in the portfolio.

For instance, PenCom’s data showed that the PFAs invested N6.86bn in the nation’s infrastructure as of December 2017.

Operators of the CPS are looking at how to extend the investment of the increasing pension funds to airport projects in the country and other large investment areas.

According to the Managing Director, Sigma Pension, Mr Dave Uduanu, the operators are working with development finance institutions on how to create support for investible projects.

“The pension operators are looking at forming a consortium in such areas for investment because those are large-scale investments, which are beyond the capacity of any one pension fund,” he said.

Uduanu, who noted that more of the funds should be invested in the real sector of the economy, stated that there should be supply of instruments of listed companies and quality infrastructural instruments.

The Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said the CPS had facilitated a pool of pension funds which had consistently accumulated since its inception.

She said there was enormous potential for the growth of Nigerian pension funds to account for a significant proportion of the Gross Domestic Product.

“The commission’s ongoing strategy implementation aims to attain an increase in the ratio of pension funds to GDP to at least 10 per cent by 2019,” she said.

According to her, the specific measures planned to achieve this include, first, the expansion of coverage of the CPS to the underserved economic sectors through micro-pension and renewed enforcement of compliance.

“Our objective in this direction is to attain at least 20 million contributors by the year 2019,” she said.

The acting director-general said it sought to grow the assets through more investments in variable income instruments that could generate higher returns.

In order to achieve this, she said the commission commenced the implementation of the multi-fund structure in July, 2018, which segregated the funds based on the risk profile of contributors and gave them an opportunity to choose subject-to-age parameters.

Dahir-Umar stated that the increase in contribution rates in the Pension Reform Act 2014 from 15 per cent to 18 per cent — 10 per cent by employer and eight per cent by the employee — would also increase the size of pension funds when fully implemented for treasury funded Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“The commission has also intensified efforts at ensuring the payment of all outstanding pension liabilities, including accrued pension rights and pension increases that are yet to be implemented,” she said.

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Goya Foods Takes Legal Action to Assert ‘Goya Olive Oil’ Trademark Ownership



Goya Foods

“Goya Olive Oil” trademark in Nigeria, Goya Foods Incorporated has initiated legal proceedings against the Registrar of Trademarks under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The case, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2023, was brought before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Goya Foods, a prominent producer and distributor of foods and beverages across the United States, Spanish-speaking countries, and Nigeria, seeks to enforce a longstanding consent judgment issued by the court in December 2006.

The judgment directed the Registrar to rectify the Trademarks Register to reflect Goya Foods Incorporated as the rightful owner of the “Goya Olive Oil” trademark, without any further formalities.

The lawsuit, exclusively revealed to sources, underscores Goya Foods’ determination to safeguard its intellectual property against alleged infringements.

According to court documents, Goya Foods obtained the consent judgment against Chikason Industries Limited, which was accused of marketing “Goya Olive Oil” in Nigeria, thus infringing on Goya Foods’ registered trademark.

Legal counsel for Goya Foods, Ade Adedeji, SAN, emphasized the necessity of rectifying the Trademarks Register to protect their trademark interests effectively.

Despite appeals to the Registrar, the requested rectification has not been implemented, prompting Goya Foods to escalate the matter through legal channels.

The case has been adjourned to September 27, 2024, for further proceedings, highlighting the complexity and significance of trademark disputes in the global marketplace.

Goya Foods remains committed to upholding its brand integrity and securing its proprietary interests amidst the evolving landscape of international trademark law.

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IOCs Accused of Blocking Direct Crude Sales to Dangote Refinery



Dangote Refinery

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of obstructing direct crude oil sales to its refinery and forcing the company to use costly middlemen.

This development comes after a statement by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) suggested a “willing buyer-willing seller” dynamic was in place as mandated by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of DIL, countered NUPRC CEO Gbenga Komolafe’s claims, stating that IOCs consistently make it difficult for local refiners by pushing sales through international trading arms, which inflate prices and bypass Nigerian laws.

“These middlemen earn unjustified margins on crude produced and consumed within Nigeria,” Edwin stated.

He noted that only one local producer, Sapetro, has sold directly to DIL, while others insist on using trading arms abroad.

Edwin detailed the financial impact, citing instances where DIL was charged a $2-$4 premium per barrel above the official price.

In April, DIL paid $96.23 per barrel for Bonga crude, which included significant premiums, compared to a much lower premium for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude.

While acknowledging NUPRC’s support in resolving some supply issues, Edwin urged the regulatory body to revisit pricing policies to ensure fair market practices.

“Market liquidity is essential for fair pricing. We hope NUPRC addresses these issues to prevent price gouging,” he stated.

This dispute highlights ongoing challenges in Nigeria’s oil sector, where domestic refiners struggle to secure local crude amidst complex market dynamics.

The outcome of these negotiations could significantly impact the refinery’s operations and broader industry practices.

The situation underscores the need for transparent and efficient crude supply systems to bolster Nigeria’s refining capacity and economic growth.

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Dangote’s $20 Billion Refinery to Begin Petrol Sales Next Month



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Aliko Dangote announced on Monday that his long-awaited $20 billion refinery complex will commence petrol sales starting next month.

The announcement came during a press briefing held at the refinery site in Lagos, where Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, detailed the project’s progress and future plans.

“We are proud to announce that the Dangote Refinery will begin selling petrol from August,” Dangote stated confidently.

“This milestone marks the culmination of years of meticulous planning, construction, and overcoming numerous challenges.”

Dangote’s refinery, touted as the largest single-train refinery in the world, is designed to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day once fully operational.

The facility aims to not only meet Nigeria’s domestic demand for refined petroleum products but also contribute significantly to export markets across West Africa.

“We have entered the steady-state production phase earlier this year, and now we are ready to begin commercial sales,” Dangote explained. “Initially, we will focus on petrol production, with plans to expand our product range as we ramp up to full capacity.”

The refinery’s launch is expected to alleviate Nigeria’s longstanding dependence on imported refined products, thereby boosting the country’s energy security and reducing foreign exchange outflows associated with fuel imports.

Beyond petrol sales, Dangote revealed ambitious plans to list both the refinery and its associated fertilizer plant on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) by the first quarter of 2025.

This move aims to attract broader investor participation and unlock additional value for shareholders.

“We are committed to transparency and accountability in our operations,” Dangote emphasized. “Listing these subsidiaries on the NGX will not only strengthen our corporate governance framework but also enhance the refinery’s financial sustainability.”

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite celebrating the imminent commencement of petrol sales, Dangote acknowledged challenges encountered during the project’s execution, including delays in securing land for a petrochemical facility in Ogun State, which incurred substantial costs.

“We faced bureaucratic hurdles that resulted in significant delays and financial losses,” Dangote lamented. “Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing Nigeria’s industrial capabilities and contributing to economic growth.”

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