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Alleged Capital Market Violations: SEC Seals Oxford International Group, Two Others

Premises of Oxford International Group/Oxford Commercial Services, Farmforte Agro Allied Solutions Limited/Agro Partnerships and Vektr Capital Investment/Vektr Enterprise have been sealed for illegal business operations.

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For allegedly involving in illegal capital market activities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sealed off the premises of Oxford International Group/Oxford Commercial Services, Farmforte Agro Allied Solutions Limited/Agro Partnerships as well as Vektr Capital Investment/Vektr Enterprise.

Investors King gathered that the companies’ offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja were shut down for allegedly carrying out investment operations that fall within the ambit of fund management without registration with the apex regulator.

According to a statement by the commission, this is contrary to the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act, 2007.

“These companies do not have registration of the SEC to conduct fund management activities and have been found to promise exorbitant rates of returns to lure investors. The SEC has exercised its powers under Section 13 (w) Investments and Securities Act 2007, to shut them down.

“The Commission hereby notifies the investing public that none of these entities or their investment platforms are registered by the SEC.

“The public is hereby reminded that it is unlawful for any private enterprise whether incorporated as a company or not, to solicit funds from the public by whatever means, to fund its private ventures as doing this will be in contravention of the Investments and Securities Act, 2007”, the commission said in the statement.

Meanwhile, SEC has advised members of the public to always confirm whether an entity providing investment services had been duly registered and whether the investment schemes are authorised by the Commission. It warned that any member of the investing public dealing with unregistered entities was doing so at their own risk, further advising the public to exercise due diligence and caution when making investment decisions.

The commission also disclosed that a list of valid operators can be obtained on its website.

Investors King recalls that SEC had sealed other similar companies engaging in illegal market activities which are within the purview of its regulation. The commission had also created a dedicated email account for the submission of Annual Financial Statements by all Capital Market Operators (CMOs). According to the commission, those who do not comply with the submission directives will be penalized, as prescribed in the SEC Rules and Regulations.

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NNPC E&P Ltd and NOSL Begin Oil Production at OML 13, Akwa Ibom State

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NNPC Exploration and Production Limited (NNPC E&P Ltd) and Natural Oilfield Services Limited (NOSL) have commenced oil production at Oil Mining Lease 13 (OML 13) located in Akwa Ibom State.

The announcement came through a statement signed by Olufemi Soneye, the spokesperson of NNPC E&P Ltd, highlighting the collaborative effort between the flagship upstream subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and NOSL, a subsidiary of Sterling Oil Exploration & Energy Production Company Limited.

The production, which officially began on May 6, 2024, saw an initial output of 6,000 barrels of oil. The partners aim to ramp up production to 40,000 barrels per day by May 27, 2024, reflecting their commitment to enhancing Nigeria’s crude oil production capacity.

Soneye said the first oil flow from OML 13 shows the dedication of NNPC E&P Ltd and NOSL to drive growth and development in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

He stated, “The achievement does not only signify the culmination of rigorous planning and execution by the teams involved but also represents a new era of economic empowerment and development opportunities for the host communities.”

For Nigeria, the commencement of oil production at OML 13 holds immense significance. It contributes to the country’s efforts to increase its oil production capacity, essential for meeting domestic energy needs and driving economic growth.

Moreover, Soneye reiterated NNPC E&P Ltd and NOSL’s commitment to operating in a safe, environmentally responsible, and community-beneficial manner.

This partnership underscores their dedication to sustainable practices and fostering positive impacts in the local communities where they operate.

The commencement of oil production at OML 13 marks a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, signifying not only increased production capacity but also the collaborative efforts between industry players to drive growth and development in the nation’s vital energy sector.

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Manufacturers Grapple with Losses Amid Economic Strain

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In the first three months of 2024, some of Nigeria’s major manufacturers found themselves navigating treacherous waters as financial losses mounted amidst economic turbulence.

According to data compiled by BusinessDay, rising interest rates and a further devaluation of the naira contributed to the woes of these industrial giants.

The latest financial reports from 13 listed consumer goods firms paint a grim picture, with seven of them collectively recording a staggering loss of N388.6 billion in Q1.

Names such as International Breweries Plc, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, and Nigerian Breweries Plc were among those that bore the brunt of the downturn.

On the flip side, a few companies managed to buck the trend. BUA Foods Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, and Dangote Cement Plc reported a combined profit of N171.9 billion, showcasing resilience amidst the challenging economic landscape.

While the overall revenue of these manufacturers saw an impressive 79 percent increase to N2.27 trillion, it was overshadowed by soaring financing costs.

In Q1 alone, finance costs skyrocketed to N616.5 billion from N65.8 billion in the same period in 2023.

Analysts attribute these mounting losses to the confluence of factors, including the devaluation of the naira and escalating interest rates. With the naira experiencing nearly a 30 percent devaluation this year alone, coupled with a 40 percent devaluation last June, companies faced intensified pressure on their margins.

Moreover, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to raise the monetary policy rate to 24.75 percent in March further exacerbated the situation.

This marked the second consecutive increase, following a 400 basis points hike in February, aimed at curbing inflation.

The adverse effects of these economic headwinds were felt across various sectors. Nestle reported the highest finance cost of N218.8 billion, followed closely by Dangote Cement and Dangote Sugar Refinery.

Commenting on the challenging business environment, Uaboi Agbebaku, the company secretary at Nigerian Breweries, highlighted how increased interest rates and FX volatility led to a staggering 391 percent rise in net losses compared to the same quarter in 2023.

Looking ahead, manufacturers remain cautiously optimistic but vigilant. Thabo Mabe, managing director at NASCON, emphasized the importance of navigating the turbulent waters while executing robust strategies to ensure sustained growth.

As Nigeria grapples with economic uncertainties, the resilience of its manufacturing sector will play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economic trajectory.

However, concerted efforts from both the public and private sectors will be needed to steer the industry towards stability and growth.

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Shell Nigeria’s $1.09 Billion Tax and Royalty Payments Power Economic Growth

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Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) paid a sum of $1.09 billion in corporate taxes and royalties to the Nigerian government in 2023.

This figure, revealed in the recently published 2023 Shell Briefing Notes, shows Shell’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s development through substantial financial contributions.

According to the briefing notes, SPDC disbursed $442 million in taxes and royalties, while SNEPCo remitted $649 million.

Despite a decrease from the $1.36 billion paid in 2022, these payments highlight Shell’s continued role as a key contributor to Nigeria’s revenue generation efforts.

Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director and Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria said “Shell companies in Nigeria will continue to contribute to the country’s economic growth through the revenue we generate and the employment opportunities we create by supporting the development of local businesses.”

The briefing notes also provided insights into Shell’s ongoing operations and initiatives in Nigeria. The company’s investments span more than six decades, with a focus on powering progress and promoting socio-economic development.

Through collaborations with stakeholders and communities, Shell aims to provide cost-effective and cleaner energy solutions while fostering sustainable growth.

“It is important to emphasize that Shell is not leaving Nigeria and will remain a major partner of the country’s energy sector through its deep-water and integrated gas businesses,” Okunbor reiterated, underscoring Shell’s long-term commitment to Nigeria’s energy landscape.

Shell’s contributions extend beyond financial payments, encompassing initiatives aimed at enhancing local capacity building, fostering job creation, and promoting social development. By prioritizing safe operations and environmental stewardship, Shell seeks to align its business objectives with Nigeria’s sustainable development goals.

As Nigeria navigates economic challenges and seeks avenues for growth, Shell’s substantial tax and royalty payments serve as a testament to the company’s enduring partnership with the Nigerian government and its commitment to driving economic progress.

Through continued collaboration and investment, Shell endeavors to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s journey towards prosperity and sustainability.

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