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Construction Industry in Critical Need of Reforms — Onashile

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Construction Industry
  • Construction Industry in Critical Need of Reforms — Onashile

The construction industry is in a critical situation and requires urgent reforms to make it function optimally and more profitably, the President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr Obafemi Onashile, has said.

Onashile said after agriculture, construction was the next biggest employer of labour, engaging at least five per cent of the workforce and about two per cent of the nation’s population, with its products serving as the backbone of economic growth.

He, however, stated that the industry had been severely challenged in recent times, reducing its contribution to nation building and economic growth.

He said, “Construction is a very diverse industry that includes activities ranging from mining, quarrying and forestry to the construction of buildings and infrastructure, the manufacturing and supply of products as well as maintenance, operation and disposal.

“The industry services three main sectors of commercial and social; residential; and infrastructure. Construction activities are high-cost, high-risk, long-term activities and best used to control the economy. Its performance is a good indicator of the health of the economy. But the situation of the industry has been critical. We are clamouring for changes and reforms.”

According to Onashile, as important and strategic as the industry is, it is fraught with various ills and inefficiencies, including lack of cohesion; lack of progressive direction as it works at cross-purposes; too many abandoned projects; domination by one or two disciplines; as well as rigid and reluctant to innovate stakeholders.

Others problems are urbanisation, which comes with housing deficiency; degradation of urban environment and over-stretched infrastructure; high construction costs; lack of jobs, because the government is not building enough infrastructure; non-payment of contractors and consultants; limited availability of skilled labour; and lack of recognised and friendly skills acquisition and training programmes, among others.

He said there had also been gradual but persistent lowering of quality of construction materials, high rate of injuries and deaths on construction sites, and lack of consensual industry crafted policies and roadmaps for industry growth.

“All these manifest in corruption, lack of progress, discouragement, mobility of brilliant minds to other sectors and countries, and non-development of the nation,” Onashile added.

He stated that the way forward would be for the government to work with professionals in the built environment to create a roadmap for growth.

He also called for the urgent formation of the Construction Industry Development Board or Construction Industry Development Council as a leadership body of the industry.

The NIQS president noted, “A partnership between the government and the construction industry will get the industry to produce and export, thus consciously improving our Gross Domestic Product. Government should also increase the supply of construction products by being more active in social housing and producing houses for the civil service workers as well as for others in the public service.

“The government should embark on strategic infrastructure development and expansion that will boost the GDP; for instance, the NLNG Train 7 production, seaports development and discharge routes into the hinterland; and adopt modern procurement systems, procedures and processes to run the industry more efficiently; for instance, apart from the traditional procurement system, the adoption of other formal procurement systems such as the design and build systems, construction management systems, project management systems.”

He stated that there should be the urgent formation of the Construction Industry Training Board or Construction Industry Training Council, a body of government and industry collaboration to actively promote and manage technical and vocational training of skills for the industry.

“This may involve subsidised or attractively sponsored training programmes. There should also be urgent creation of purpose-fit juridical systems for the industry and the creation of construction courts in the judiciary systems, with the enactment of laws recognising and promoting faster dispute resolution mechanisms such as adjudication and mediation,” he added.

Onashile said that above all, there should be greater promotion of health and safety in construction to make the industry more attractive.

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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