- 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.
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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