- Israeli Firm Commences $195m Maritime Security Contract
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the maritime security contract entered into by the Federal Government and an Israeli firm, Messrs HLSI Security Systems and Technologies had already commenced and was ongoing.
The minister stated this during the unveiling of the 2019/2020 Maritime Industry Forecast by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency in Lagos on Tuesday.
The $195m maritime security contract was signed off by the Federal Executive Council in December 2017 and was for the provision of three helicopters, three airplanes, three big battle-ready ships, 12 vessels and 20 amphibious cars, to aid security of Nigeria’s waterways.
In January 2018, the House of Representatives criticised the management of NIMASA for awarding the contract to HLSI, saying it was a breach of Nigeria’s internal security and defiance of the local content law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in May 2018, cancelled the contract via a memo directing the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to terminate the contract and for the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency to investigate how the contractor obtained security clearance without an end-user certificate.
Buhari also ordered HLSI to supply equipment to the tune of the $50m upfront payment it received from Nigeria.
The Federal Government, however, reinstated the contract in August, according to NIMASA.
Speaking through the Deputy Director, Cabotage and Shipping Development in the ministry, Mrs Gloria Adie-Ayabie, the minister disclosed that President Buhari had put in place many reforms in the maritime industry to promote the safety and security of Nigeria’s waterways, for the benefit of Nigerian citizens and investors.
He said although the sector was faced with various forms of criminality ranging from armed robbery, oil theft, piracy and other forms of unreported crimes, government was making efforts to tame these criminal activities, through the presentation of an executive bill at the National Assembly for an Act to provide for the suppression of piracy and other unlawful acts at sea.
He said, “In addition, the Federal Government has signed an agreement with Messrs HLSI to establish and integrate national security and water protection infrastructure in Nigeria, to ensure security in the national maritime domain, the execution of which is ongoing.”
Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have been on the increase in recent times. Last year, Nigeria recorded 30 pirate attacks on ships, the highest number of attacks recorded in the nations around the GoG, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau.
Speaking on the sideline of the event, the Director- General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said if piracy was not tackled, Nigeria would not be seen to be serious about growing the local maritime sector.
“We are very determined to address the issues of piracy and maritime crimes. We are taking very solid steps in terms of providing the right legal framework, acquisition of assets, building the necessary partnership and coalition to fight piracy.
“I believe we are going to achieve a lot of results this year,” he said.
Speaking further, Peterside noted that the 2019/2020 maritime industry forecast dwelt on past trends and the current opportunities for Nigeria in the maritime sector.
He expressed optimism that there would be more demand for Nigeria’s oil and gas along with demand for shipping and allied services this year and the next.
He said Nigeria was equally positioning itself to take advantage of the opportunities by acquiring the necessary assets and growing human capacity.
He said, “At the global level, we look at four key items, the demand for oil and gas, the demand for commodity at expanded level, the trade war between China and the United States.
“We also look at the global economy which is shrinking and will affect the local economy and the revenue that is due to us.
“We have looked at the domestic economy and the impact of the general elections. If the elections end in favour of the incumbent, there will be some consistency in policy, if the elections favour the opponent, there will be a new shift in terms of policy. If they end in deadlock, it will be a challenge.”
He said the forecast also considered the opportunities available in terms of tankers, container vessels, offshore support vessels and other cabotage operations.
It looked at the regulatory challenges such as the effect of the early passage of the anti-piracy bill and the effect of signing into law, the Petroleum Industry bill.
“We have looked at all these factors and backed by statistics or data, we are able to situate what the future is most likely to look like.
“There will be general upward movement in terms of demand for shipping services. There will also be an increase in oil support services, and offshore services.
“More indigenous operators will be operating in the sector.”
Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year
Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.
The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.
In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.
Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.
However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.
Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.
He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.
Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.
The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.
South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Predicts Return of Major Players to Nigeria Despite Recent Exodus
South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains optimistic about Nigeria’s economic prospects, predicting the eventual return of major players despite a recent exodus from the West African nation.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese explained that it is impossible to ignore Nigeria’s large and growing population, “how do you ignore an economy like this?”
Wiese, the former chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd., acknowledges the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, where recent currency woes and policy missteps have contributed to an exodus of international companies.
Procter & Gamble Co. and Shoprite are among the global conglomerates that have announced their departure from Africa’s most populous nation.
However, Wiese sees the recent exits as temporary setbacks rather than a long-term trend. He believes that the allure of Nigeria’s vast consumer market and its economic potential will eventually draw major players back.
Despite the current uncertainty, Wiese remains confident in Nigeria’s future, emphasizing the need for governments to adopt correct policies and for investors to exercise patience.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s single-commodity economy vulnerabilities, Wiese highlights the resilience of the nation’s economy and its potential for growth and development.
He suggests that foreign investors, including South African ones, are adopting a wait-and-see approach, anticipating a time when the economy stabilizes and favorable policies are in place.
Seplat Energy Names Udoma Udo Udoma as Independent Non-Executive Chairman, Bello Rabiu as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Seplat Energy, a prominent Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has made significant changes to its board leadership.
In a recent announcement, the company revealed that Udoma Udo Udoma has been appointed as the new Independent Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Basil Omiyi, who is set to retire on March 31, 2024.
Udoma Udo Udoma, a distinguished lawyer and seasoned board administrator, brings a wealth of experience to Seplat Energy.
He holds degrees from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has had a remarkable career spanning various sectors, including petroleum, energy, and natural resources.
Udoma has served on numerous large-sized company boards, including UAC Nigeria Plc and Union Bank Plc, and held key public sector appointments, such as Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission and Minister of Budget & National Planning.
In addition to Udoma’s appointment, Seplat Energy announced the selection of Bello Rabiu as the new Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2024.
Rabiu, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the petroleum industry, holds multiple degrees and has served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The appointments come as part of Seplat Energy’s commitment to upholding strong corporate governance practices and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.
Both Udoma Udo Udoma and Bello Rabiu are expected to play pivotal roles in guiding Seplat Energy as it continues to expand its operations and consolidate its position as a leading energy company in Nigeria and beyond.
In a statement, Basil Omiyi, the outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, expressed confidence in the newly appointed leaders, emphasizing their capabilities to steer the company towards further growth and success.
The appointments underscore Seplat Energy’s dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the energy sector while meeting the evolving needs of its stakeholders and contributing to Nigeria’s energy transition efforts.
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