- 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.
Uber to Halt Services in Parts of Belgium
Uber will stop its ride-hailing service in most parts of Belgium tomorrow after a court ruling on Wednesday which extends an order given in 2015, banning its p2p (Peer to Peer) UberPop service to also cover professional drivers who provide its ride-hailing service.
Uber told TechCrunch that it is currently closely examining the details of the ruling, in order to arrive at a decision on whether or not to appeal the decision with the country’s Supreme Court.
This also follows a temporary decision to discontinue Uber’s service in Brussels, a decision which was referred to as “exceptional and unprecedented” by the tech giant. The company said that it was merely taking a step to complain about the lack of reform rules which forbid drivers from using smartphones.
After the ruling by the Brussels appeal court, private hire vehicle drivers have been obstructing a major tunnel in the capital of Belgium.
In a statement made concerning Friday’s impending shutdown, the chief of Uber in the country, Laurent Slitsagain criticized the government for not providing a reform which it has been soliciting for, stating that the decision was made depending on regulations which are now outdated as they were written before smartphones.
The company stated that the government has promised a reform but has failed to deliver said reforms for the last seven years.
According to Bloomberg, the shutdown will not be applicable to a small number of drivers who are licensed in the Flemish region of Belgium, and are therefore still permitted to use the application. Uber confirmed that the Appeal Court ruling only applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.
In another statement, Slits stated that the tech giant is hugely concerned about the 2,000 possessors of LVC licenses (rental car with driver licenses) who according to the country chief will lose their ability to generate earnings.
Honeywell Flour Mills Refutes Ecobank Winding Up Proceeding Claims, Assures Investors of Total Transparency
Following media reports that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) is a subject of an ongoing winding up proceedings instituted by Ecobank Nigeria Limited in a suit no: FHC/L/CP/1571/2015, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc has now refuted the publication, insisting there is no winding-up petition against the embattled company.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Yewande Giwa, Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.
It said “It is pertinent to set the record straight that there is no Winding-up Petition currently pending or live against HFMP in any Court in Nigeria. There is also no pending Court Order restraining trading in the shares of HFMP or inhibiting HFMP or its owners from dealing in its assets. HFMP assures its investors, regulators and stakeholders that in all of its engagements with FMN, it received independent legal advice and asserts that the transaction is not in breach of any subsisting Order of Court. The issue as to whether HFMP is indebted to Ecobank is still before the Courts and the final decision remains the exclusive preserve of the Courts. It is also important to state that the Court of Appeal judgement being referred to in the reports did not declare HFMP to be indebted to Ecobank.”
This was in response to a publication titled “Ecobank Warns against Acquisition of Honeywell Flour Mills, Alleges Company Facing Winding Up Proceedings” that claimed Ecobank Nigeria Limited had issued a 7-day ultimatum to Flour Mills to desist from completing the acquisition of 71.69 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on the ground that the company was hugely indebted to Ecobank.
However, Honeywell claimed “The assertions lack merit, were written in bad faith and are a deliberate attempt to undermine a transaction that will result in substantial benefit to the Nigerian economy and entrench the collaboration of two publicly quoted companies. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have entered the transaction with FMN having taken all legal issues into consideration.
“All stakeholders are hereby assured that management of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc will continue to act in the best interests of all concerned and work diligently to preserve value for all its shareholders.
“We expect that from the proposed combination, stakeholders will benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population. The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.”
This whole drama started immediately Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills of Nigeria, in a joint statement, announced FMN has agreed to acquire a 71.69 percent stake valued at N80 billion in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. A deal that will automatically make Honeywell Flour Mills Plc Flour Mills of Nigeria’s asset.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Acquires First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 Percent Stake in Honeywell Flour Mills
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading flour mill company, has acquired First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Umolu, Joseph A.O., Company Secretary/Director, Legal Services.
The acquisition was in addition to the 71.6 percent stake of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) FMN acquired on the same day. Therefore, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc will now hold 76.75 percent equity interest in HFMP.
According to the company, the move will help build a resilient flour mills company that will ensure job continuity, deepen productivity and support national growth.
Commenting on the transaction, Omoboyede Olusanya, Group Managing Director of FMN, said “The proposed transaction is part of our global growth strategy, which is aligned with our vision to not only be an industry leader, but also a national champion for Nigeria in the Food and Agro-allied industries.”
“Given FMN’s parallel negotiations for both stakes culminating in the agreements being signed on the same date, the basis for arriving at key commercial terms including final equity price per share, will be the same. The price payable to FirstBank will be the same with Honeywell Group Limited.”F
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