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Afreximbank, NEXIM Bank Unveil Initiative to Support Nigeria’s Exporters

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The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Project Preparation Fund.

The initiative is expected to provide early project preparation financing and technical support services to public and private sector entities operating in Nigeria’s trade sector.

According to a statement obtained yesterday, under the terms of the MoU signed last month, Afreximbank and NEXIM would collaborate through the joint project preparation fund to unlock investments into sectors such as export manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals development and beneficiation services, as well as healthcare, information and communications technology, and creative industries.

The initiative would support public and private sector investors by providing technical and financial support services that would result in a steady pipeline of well-structured, bankable projects that Afreximbank, NEXIM and other financial institutions can readily finance.

The fund would assist the early development process of projects from concept stage to bankability by covering the preparation of feasibility studies, project development and advisory services and related costs.

Afreximbank and NEXIM aim to mobilise up to $50 million in the form of project preparation funds for investments in Nigeria.

Commenting on the initiative, President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said: “The execution of this MoU marks yet another significant milestone in our collaboration with NEXIM. I am particularly pleased that Afreximbank and NEXIM are boldly venturing upstream to help investors develop well-structured projects that meet market standards.

“This intervention is timely as the fund will play a catalytic role in accelerating the diversification of the Nigerian economy by ensuring a steady flow of bankable projects in priority tradable sectors in a timely manner.

“In addition to enhancing bankability, the fund will, on a case-by-case basis, undertake feasibility studies to assess the viability of accessing markets in the sub-region, thereby promoting intra-African trade under the AfCFTA.

“We are pleased to be replicating a similar initiative we pioneered in Malawi in partnership with Malawi Export Development Fund (EDF) and look forward to more opportunities across the continent.”

On his part, Managing Director of NEXIM, Mr. Abubakar Abba Bello, said: “We are quite pleased by this opportunity to, once again, partner with Afreximbank in proffering a solution to one of the major challenges that have limited the flow of credit to the Nigerian export sector.

“The fund is designed to mitigate the project selection challenges, particularly amongst the SMEs, towards boosting their contribution to formal exports. This technical expertise will therefore enhance NEXIM’s implementation of its export development programme, especially with regards to the State Export Development and industrialisation initiatives.

“This partnership strongly aligns with the NEXIM’s mandate and strategic plan and will no doubt facilitate its intervention towards attracting critical investments in trade enabling infrastructure and the promotion of value-added exports.”

The Joint Project Preparation Fund constitutes a direct response to complement Nigeria’s initiatives to address the twin challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and existing economic difficulties associated with the country’s dependence on crude oil revenues, which account for 50 per cent of consolidated government revenues, 30 per cent of banking sector credit and 90 per cent of export earnings.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Dangote Cement Refutes Claim it Sells Cement High in Nigeria

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Dangote Cement Plc has refuted the widely propagated story that the company sells cement at a significantly higher price in Nigeria compared to other African nations like Zambia and Ghana.

The management of the leading manufacturing company said it sells a bag at N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese, the amounts stated include VAT.

Devakumar Edwin, Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the company sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes.

Devakumar, therefore, described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded, and challenged the media to conduct independent investigation into the price of cement in some other African countries, including Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia.

To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings.

“We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”

“Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our costs are linked to USD so the cost of critical components like: gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase.

“Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly.

“We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius.

“We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far,” Devakumar said.

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Samsung, Vision Care Begin Fresh CSR Activities, Earmark 12,000 Masks for Nigeria

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Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited (SHIN) and Vision Care, an international relief organization dedicated to the prevention of blindness, have launched fresh Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to help Nigeria mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Vision Care is a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and participant of ‘VISION 2020’, a global initiative of the IAPB and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Vision Care has since conducted more than 25 Vision Eye Camps yearly and has grown into an international non-profit organisation serving 38 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Central-South America.

Since 2015, SHIN has worked with Vision Care in the yearly Eye Camp as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to provide free cataract surgeries to Nigerians who cannot afford the payment. SHIN has been sponsoring the eye surgeries of Nigerians on a yearly basis.

In 2019, SHIN sponsored the eye surgeries of at least 115 Nigerian patients and 224 outward patients as part of its CSR in Nigeria.

Since it started the programme, SHIN has sponsored the eye surgeries of 572 Nigerian patients, 1,593 outward patients and has also donated glasses to 99 patients.

Due to outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the yearly Eye Camp for 2021 had been called off to adhere to Federal Government’s measures in response to the virus.

Consequently, SHIN and Vision Care came up with a fresh CSR initiative this year to donate 496 bags of rice (25kg) and 12,000 reusable face masks to three states in the country to fulfill their commitment of contributing to the society.

The items will be delivered later this month.

The three states that will benefit from the donation are Lagos, Kano and Bayelsa states.

Out of the 496 bags of rice, and 12,000 facemasks, Lagos will receive 96 bags of rice and 200 masks.

SHIN also stated that Kano State will receive 200 bags of rice and 5,000 masks, while Bayelsa State will get 200 bags and 5,000 masks.

“This is an additional CSR activity from SHI in addition to SHIN’s donation of 5,000 COVID-19 test kits from Korea. The washable masks that the head office has purchased from Korea are certified to retain its effectiveness against COVID-19 transmission for up to 50 washes,” SHIN said in a statement.

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Senate Summons NICON, AIICO, Others Over N17.4bn Pension Remittances

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The Senate Public Accounts Committee has summoned the management of the NICON Insurance Plc, AIICO Insurance and other insurance companies over their alleged failure to remit N17.4bn pension fund to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

The Senate hinged the summon on the 2016 report of the Auditor-General for the Federation which unraveled the alleged non-remittance of N17.4bn pension fund to PTAD.

Appearing before the panel on Monday, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, informed the lawmakers that PTAD took over the assets and liabilities of the defunct pension offices without a formal handing over.

She said, “On taking over, the directorate wrote all underwriters to make returns and remit whatever amount that was in their custody into a CBN dedicated account.

“Some of the underwriters responded to the request while some did not.

“The bank certificate of balances, accounting statements, three years financial statements and policy files requested by the federal auditor were not handed over to PTAD at the time of consolidation.

“It is worthy to note that we discovered that N17.4bn which comprised of cash, securities and properties from the nine insurance underwriters was unremitted as a result of the letter PTAD sent to them.

“These figures represent the claims by the underwriters with regards to their indebtedness.

“In order to ascertain the true position of legacy funds in custody of underwriters, the directorate appointed a consultant in 2018 who carried out forensic audit of nine out the 12 insurance underwriters and produced a final report on the recovery of the legacy funds and assets for PTAD.”

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