- LCCI Recommends Tollgates on Interstate Roads, Others
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recommended, among other things, that tolling be introduced on interstate roads that have been completed to ensure sustainable financing for road maintenance.
The President, LCCI, Mr Paul Ruwase, made this recommendation on Tuesday in Lagos while setting agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office.
He said, “Government should also introduce tolling on interstate roads that have been completed to ensure sustainable financing for maintenance of roads.
“To complement quality maintenance of our roads, it is imperative to introduce proper axle control and enforcement of use of weigh bridges on major roads across the country.”
Ruwase recommended the passage of the National Roads Fund bill saying that its enactment would give legal backing to the proposed National Road Fund, a repository for revenues accruing from road-user -charging systems and any other source for the purpose of financing maintenance and upkeep of Nigeria’s road infrastructure.
On access and cost of credit for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Ruwase said although the MSME sector contributed about 90 per cent to the business activities in Nigeria, operators in the sector lacked sufficient access to capital.
He said, “We need to encourage commercial banks to increase lending to the SMEs sector, but this can only be achieved if there is an effective credit guarantee scheme to de-risk lending to the sector. Credit guarantee schemes for MSME will promote lending and provide guarantee of loan repayment.”
Among the issues the chamber also advised the government to urgently address was the disparity between the Gross Domestic Product and population growth, the need to get more private sector’s involvement in policy making, the need to reduce recurrent expenditure in order to accommodate capital expenditure and to adopt Public Private Partnership model in financing of public sector projects.
Others were economic integration with particular reference to the African Continental Free Trade Area and the need to ensure effective enforcement of the rules of origin to protect vulnerable sectors of the economy.
The chamber also discussed visa policy, saying that nationals of selected advanced economies should be granted a minimum of 30 days visa free entry into Nigeria as practiced by many emerging economies.
On the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, the LCCI suggested that the Council be strengthened and the scope of its activities broadened to cover all sectors of the economy and all agencies of the government that interfaced with the private sector.
“We believe that the economy will be positively impacted if this is done,” Ruwase said.
He expressed concerns about the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service saying that the Service had created uncertainties and bottlenecks in the international trade process and did not subscribe to the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.
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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