- Exporters Seek Release of N350billion Accumulated Grant
In the last six months, non-oil exporters in the country have been mounting pressure on the federal government to release the accumulated Export Expansion Grant (EEG), from 2007 – 2016.
In a letter dated 10 April and signed by the Executive Secretary, Organised Private Sector Exporters Association (OPEXA), Mr. Jaiyeola Olanrewaju, and directed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the association pointed out that the federal government had earlier approved promissory notes (PN) programme in 2017, at its Federal Executive Council meeting and forwarded to the National Assembly for their approval in 2018. It was stated that National Assembly had also conveyed its approval for payment of N195 billion claims in January, 2019.
“We, the exporters have been waiting anxiously, since the approval from NASS for the PNs to be issued. It was only on 4th April 2019, almost 70 days after the approval from NASS that the DMO (Debt Management Office) called the exporters to brief us on the implementation of PN program,” the letter stated.
It went on to condemn the sudden move by the DMO to issue the PNs through a Reverse Auction Process, adding that the DMO has not been forthcoming with any further details about the mechanism of Reverse Auction Process.
Consequently, the association made a three-point demand on the issue. Firstly, was that the Reverse Auction Process (RAP) for issuance of Promissory Notes (PNs) should be reconsidered by the government. Secondly, that the government (including the Debt Management Office, DMO) should restrict themselves to issuing the PNs as the shortest term feasible for payment, while equal treatment should be meted to all beneficiaries of all categories of PN.
The third demand by OPSEA was that exporters should be issued PNs with shortest tenure (spread evenly over a maximum period of three years) bearing in mind that payment has been delayed for a period of three to 12 years for member’s claims.
The association declared that members were becoming unsettled in their businesses more than ever and unable to carry out their vital roles.
The association said government’s inaction was causing challenges to their members.
One of such major challenges it stated, was the accumulating interests on loans which was said to be making their investment and pricing decisions in their businesses very difficult. “We have taken up debts to service the receivables and these debts are incurring further interests with the continuing delay in the payment of EEG claims,” the letter added.
Though it is believed that the current government under the leadership of President Mohamadu Buhari, has shown clear intention to take the country out of the perennial dependence on oil revenue by getting other sectors up and working, analysts have insisted that the ongoing dispute could be a stumbling block if not nip in the bud.
According to OPSEA, the inability of government to meet up with the promissory notes for non-oil exporters for dues owed them for over nine years may undermine the successes recorded so far by the policy.
In a letter to the president appealing for his intervention on the matter, OPSEA recounted that before now, the previous administration commenced the issuance of EEG to genuine exporters but the grant was later suspended in 2007 due to duplicitous claims and counter-claims by stakeholders over who and who should indeed benefit from the package.
Meanwhile, initially pressure was on the National Assembly to do its work and give its legislative nod for the issuance of the federal government’s N350 billion Promissory Notes to exporters in continuation of the EEG. But the pressure is now back on the executive to complete what it started by ensuring that the PNs are settled without further delays.
Reliably sources have it that the Federal Executive Council had sent three issues for the formal approval by the National Assembly earlier in the year. The three executive resolutions bothered on the EEG claims, payment of construction contractors and pensions.
While the lawmakers were said to have since rectified the two items, it was however unclear then if legislative action on the EEG claims was made.
Shoprite: New Investor Assures Nigerian Consumers of Improved Services
Following the acquisition deal between Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited (RSNL), owner and operator of the Shoprite stores in Nigeria, and Ketron Investment Limited, the new investor has assured consumers of robust services in the years ahead.
Ketron, a Nigerian company owned by a group of institutional investors led by Persianas Investment Limited, recently acquired the supermarket brand.
The divestment by Shoprite International was in line with its strategy to change from an ownership model to a franchise model. This change in ownership has also received the approval of the Nigerian regulator the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
Speaking on the acquisition, Chairman, Ketron Investment Limited, Tayo Amusan said, “We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of Shoprite, ensuring the continued operations of one of the biggest retail success stories in Nigeria. We look forward to building an even stronger company following our acquisition and are excited about the greater impact we will achieve to the benefit of our customers and other stakeholders now and well into the future.”
Since its launch in Lagos in December 2005, Shoprite has expanded to 25 outlets across eleven states and Abuja, FCT.
According to the terms of the acquisition, Ketron acquired 100 per cent ownership of Shoprite in Nigeria and will continue operations across all existing outlets. It also plans to open additional stores and introduce more Nigerian-made products in the stores. This he noted, will also result in more opportunities for Nigerians.
“It is our vision to create fundamental change for the better within Nigeria,” said Amusan. “With benefits from our knowledge of the ever-evolving Nigerian retail marketplace, well-grounded social and economic research, and hands-on experience from our team, we are confident that this acquisition will foster a robust and sustainable business model for the ultimate benefit of all stakeholders,” he concluded.
Professional services firms, KPMG Advisory Services, MBO Capital Management Limited and Banwo & Ighodalo advised Ketron on the deal. CEO, MBO Capital, Jide Ogundare, stated that the deal signalled an opportunity for Ketron to uphold a thriving business.
“It will be hard work,” he said, “but with the plans we have in place, and with the support of the larger Shoprite family in Nigeria including our staff and every Nigerian shopper that walks through our doors, we are confident of success.”
Shoprite Holdings is Africa’s largest food retailer, operating 2,843 supermarkets in 15 countries and serving 35 million customers in Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. At the moment, Shoprite Nigeria’s supply chain includes more than 300 leading Nigerian suppliers, and boasts small businesses and farmers among its partners and suppliers.
Ketron said Shoprite International will continue as technical advisers and Ketron will sustain the relationships established by Shoprite over the last decade and a half while ensuring a smooth “transfer of values.”
CBN Offers Assistant In Printing Gambia’s Currency
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that the bank is willing to assist the Central Bank of the Gambia to print its legal tender.
Emefiele said this in Abuja on Tuesday during a two-day visit by a delegation from the Central Bank Of Gambia, led by its governor, Mr. Buah Saidy.
This was in response to a request by the CBG for a possible partnership to tackle acute currency shortages among other currency management challenges in the country.
Saidy informed the CBN governor that relying on its current printer, De La Rue of London, for its currency needs was expensive and unsustainable.
He explained that it costs the bank about £70,000 to lift printed currencies from Sri Lanka to the Gambia.
In response, the CBN Governor assured his visitors that the bank had an extremely competitive advantage to undertake the currency printing for Gambia, adding that the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting had a lot of idle capacity to satisfy the demand of the CBG.
He said, “I note your point on currency management. The Nigerian mint was set up in the early 1960s and we’ve been producing our currency since the early 60s and we have a lot of idle capacity to ensure that instead of you going to Europe or other countries, you will be able to benefit from our ideas.
“Our colleagues will take you to the security printing facility. Our colleagues that came in from Liberia two months ago were fascinated by the kind of facilities we have at our security printing and minting facility and I am sure that you will also enjoy them.
“And I am sure they will follow you back to the Gambia to see how they can help you to structure your economic order quantities so we can also be of assistance in printing your currency.
“And I can assure you that we can be extremely competitive if only from the standpoint of logistics and freight from Europe but it’s just going to be a few hours from here to the Gambia and the rest of them.”
The CBG Governor also noted that one of the purposes of the visit was to benefit from the CBN’s vast experiences on how it had successfully regulated the financial system and sought assistance in the areas of information technology, modernisation, cybersecurity, forex shipping and management, among others.
Emefiele in response attributed the successes to the support which the apex bank had enjoyed from the National Assembly.
He said, “On the issue of the CBN independence, I thank you for the kind words. But I think the point is that we thank our own parliament. Our parliament has been extremely supportive of the CBN.”
He, therefore, advised the CBG to work with its parliament to create laws that would provide the independence needed.
Emefele further stated that the apex bank was not sparing any effort to address issues of supply management to ensure economic growth.
Ardova to Acquire 100 Percent Stake in Enyo Retail and Supply Limited
Ardova, an indigenous energy company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, with extended operations in Ghana, has reached an agreement with Enyo Retail and Supply Holding Limited to acquire a 100 percent equity stake in Enyo Retail and Supply Limited.
This announcement follows the execution of a share purchase agreement by the two companies.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Oladeinde Nelson-Cole, Company Secretary/General Counsel, Ardova Plc.
The statement highlighted the parties’ commitment to closing the transaction in line with the share purchase agreement, as soon as agreed closing conditions are satisfied, and regulatory approval is received.
Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited and Banwo & Ighodalo are acting as Financial and Legal Advisers respectively to AP, while Rand Merchant Bank and Herbert Smith Freehills Paris LLP are acting as Financial and Legal Advisers to ERSHL and certain of its shareholders.
Olumide Adeosun, Chief Executive Officer of AP, stated that “On completion, this acquisition will lead to a stronger downstream energy group that benefits from the increased customer reach and service delivery excellence of both companies, with the combination expected to produce stronger financial results.”
Ardova Plc and Enyo Retail & Supply Limited will communicate details of future progress made on this acquisition.
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