Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has urged the government to faithfully follow through with the Backward Integration Policy in the sugar industry as the nation stands to rake in foreign exchange up to $700 million yearly from Sugar production self-sufficiency.
Chairman of Dangote Sugar Refinery, Aliko Dangote, on Thursday, at its 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, said that allowing for distortions in the sugar masterplan framework will adversely affect the target of the nation attaining self-sufficiency as projected.
He described the backward integration policy as commendable which will not only reduce imports of raw sugar but save the nation enormous foreign exchange used for importation.
Dangote expressed delight that the BIP in the Sugar industry is going on well and added “if the National Sugar Master Plan is followed strictly and the players all follow the rules, the country will be better for it as Nigeria will save between $600 million and $700 million annually as forex.”
He stated that the backward integration policy of Dangote Sugar Refinery is recording appreciable progress even as he declared the company’s irrevocable commitment to the policy.
Addressing the shareholders, Dangote opined that despite the disruptions in the economy occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Dangote Sugar Refinery has announced an increase in production volume which rose by 13.7 percent to 743,858 tonnes in the financial year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 654,071 tonnes in 2019.
He stated that the Company posted a Group turnover of N214.3 billion a 33 percent increase over the N161.1 billion in 2019, while in the same period the Sugar Group also posted a 6.9 percent increase in sales volume from 684,487 tonnes in 2019 to 731,701 tonnes in 2020.
Therefore, the Board of the company declared a dividend payment of N18.22 billion to the shareholders, amounting to N1.50kobo per ordinary share of 50k each.
According to Dangote, the improvements were attributable to operations optimization strategy despite the disruption caused by civil unrest in the last quarter of the year. “Our growth continued to benefit from the sustained efforts to drive customer base expansion and several trade initiatives and investment.”
Dangote said the Company has revised its sugar production target to 550,000 metric tonnes achievable by 2024 in line with the revised plan on the BIP by the federal government.
In his remarks, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ravindra Singhvi, speaking on the results said the sugar group continued the growth path with commitments to improve performance and generate value for all stakeholders.
He explained that this was reflected in the sales volume delivery of 731,701 tonnes, and production of 743,858 tonnes being a 6.9 percent and 13.7 percent increase in volumes over the comparative year 2019.
He said the Company would ensure all hands are on deck to meet the targeted 550,000tonnes projected to be achieved by 2024. “Our Backward Integration goal is to become a global force in sugar production, by producing 1.5M MT/PA of refined sugar from locally grown sugar cane for the domestic and export markets”.
According to him, “our focus on the implementation of our key strategies in the face of the several challenges posed by the COVID Pandemic, the peculiarities of the Apapa traffic situation amongst others we achieved a topline growth in revenue of N214.30 billion, a 33.0 percent increase over 2019; a 53 percent YOY increase in PBT, and 33.2 percent increase in PAT.
“2020 was indeed very eventful for our company ranging from the weak macroeconomic fundamentals caused by the underlying impact of COVID-19 pandemic which saw to the steady rise in forex rate, high inflation and the significant rise in our cost of production, to the worsening traffic gridlock on the Apapa Wharf Road which led to delays and at times disruption of the distribution and deliveries to customers.”
He noted that one of the key highlights during the year was the successful completion of the Scheme of Arrangement – the merger of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (DSR) and Savannah Sugar Company Limited (SSCL) with effect from September 1, 2020, to operate under one unified entity.
He added, “We are confident the merger will enable us to achieve operational, administrative, and governance efficiencies resulting in increased shareholder value. We will continue to pursue our Backward Integration Projects, and other key initiatives to grow our sales volumes, market share, optimize cost and operational efficiencies.”
Also speaking, Dr. Farouk Umar, President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders commended the management of Dangote Sugar for the impressive performance of the company despite the hiccups in the year 2020.
He said the shareholders expect more robust results next year since the economy is already picking up and for them to have performed excellently under pandemic, then next year will be greater for us all. The leadership of the company has been very wonderful.
Commenting in the same vein, Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association, Sir Sunny Nwosu said the management of Dangote Sugar led by Dangote has never let the shareholders down for once “their management style is second to none and that is why the company has been growing steadily.”
He said the way and manner the Company has been executing its BIP projects was also commendable as this will afford the Company opportunity to meet the target within its projected timelines.
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Begins Full Operations of Lagos-Ibadan Train, Releases Timetable
The newly completed Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge railway service from Lagos to Ibadan will commence full operations on Tuesday, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
The management of NRC disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr. Jerry Oche in Lagos on Sunday.
According to Oche, the Lagos Ibadan Train Services will henceforth be available in the morning.
He said “The updated timetable for Tuesday to Friday is as follows: Lagos to Ibadan: 8:00 a:m from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alogo megi Ebute – Meta Lagos. Also, the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:00 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The train will take off from Lagos to Ibadan: 4:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station Alagomji, while from Ibadan to Lagos: 4:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The standard gauge train schedule on Saturday from Lagos to Ibadan: 8:30 am from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomeji while the train will leave from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:30 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“For Saturday evening from Lagos to Ibadan: 6:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomji, while the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 6:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya,” Oche said.
He added that the Alagomeji, Abeokuta, and Moniya were still the stop stations of the Lagos Ibadan Train Services
MyOffice to Supply 220 Million Rubles Worth of Licenses to Republic of Burundi
MyOffice, a Russian developer of office software for document collaboration and communication, announced the expansion of cooperation with the Republic of Burundi. MyOffice distribution partner in Africa, Independence.digital, and INGO Tech s.a.r.l., a Burundian IT company and integrator, have signed a contract, under which Russian office software licenses worth about 220 million rubles ($3 million) will be supplied.
This news was reported by Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice, at Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2021.
In accordance with the contract, over the course of five years, the customer will receive MyOffice Standard and MyOffice Professional licenses, depending on their needs. The purchased office software will be installed on the national servers of the Republic of Burundi. The purchase of Russian software will help bolster the digital independence of the country and organize the secure storage of electronic documents and files. At the same time, full control over user data will be ensured.
MyOffice has been ramping up business relations with the Republic since 2019, when the company announced at the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum that it would supply 300 licenses of MyOffice Professional to the Government of Burundi. At the time, it was the first international contract for the Russian developer.
“The Republic of Burundi has been successfully using Russian software for two years now. Several top government officials have been trained at a certified training center in Russia and have mastered the office software. The decision to expand cooperation was made in the wake of the positive experience of using Russian office software and our high evaluation of its reliability,” said Rossalyn Kamariza, CEO of INGO Tech.
“The digitalization of the African countries is progressing by leaps and bounds and has a direct impact on their economic well-being. According to the estimates of independent analytical agencies, fast-paced implementation of modern technological products will cause the GDP of the region to grow by $148–318 billion by 2025,” stated Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice.
“Our contract for the supply of MyOffice software shows that the government of the Republic of Burundi not only cares about the economic development of its country, but also pays great attention to the security of the digital solutions it uses. In turn, for MyOffice, this commercial delivery during the pandemic, with many international processes slowed down, is an important milestone in bolstering its position on the global market and a spectacular example of the high export potential of Russian IT solutions.”
Cuba’s Central Bank Suspends US Dollar Deposits Nationwide
Cuba, the island country located where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet, said this week U.S. dollars will be suspended in the country.
The mandate comes from the country’s central bank and foreign tourists have been told to leave U.S. dollars at home when visiting. The announcement was invoked at a roundtable discussion that was aired on state-sponsored Cuban television.
“In view of the obstacles that the U.S. embargo creates for the national bank system to deposit abroad the U.S. dollars that are collected in the country, a decision was made to temporarily suspend deposits in U.S. banknotes in Cuba’s bank and financial system,” the Central Bank of Cuba (Banco Central de Cuba, BCC) members said.
Yamilé Berra Cires, the vice president of the BCC, explained during the roundtable discussion that at the beginning of the Trump administration’s leadership, the U.S. tightened the embargo’s grip. The United States has had an embargo with Cuba since 1958 and the U.S. has had numerous issues with Cuba during the Eisenhower presidency and Kennedy presidency as well. After the 2008 crisis, the U.S. and Cuba seemed to gravitate toward friendlier terms during the Obama presidency.
However, BCC vice president Berra Cires claims issues have gotten worse since Trump and said 24 foreign banks stopped dealing with Cuba. Berra Cires also said during the roundtable discussion that 95 foreign financial institutions reported on the transgressions of Cuban national banks doing business with counterparties. “It is ever more difficult for Cuba to find international banking or financing institutions willing to receive, convert or process U.S. currency in cash,” Berra Cires further remarked.
“People who will be coming into the country during this time will have to arrive with a currency other than the dollar,” Francisco Mayobre Lence the BCC’s first vice president said.
Of course, after hearing about the USD ban in Cuba, members of the cryptocurrency community wanted Cuba to adopt digital currencies like El Salvador recently did with bitcoin. “It’s like [a] 50-year embargo. It’s really depressing,” one individual wrote about the Cuba situation with America on Reddit. “Will they take crypto now?” another Redditor asked in the r/cryptocurrency thread. Another crypto enthusiast responded to the question and said:
I doubt they want to be the last Latin American country to do so.
Minister-president of the Cuban central bank, Marta Sabina Wilson González explained during the roundtable discussion that Cuba had no choice but to make the decision. “We had no choice but to take this measure, which we are explaining at the Round Table, as we always do when it is a measure that affects the people, who will understand that there is no other option,” the minister detailed.
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