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Nigerian Private Sector Sees Growth in April as Cash Crisis Eases

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Nigeria’s private sector has experienced a welcome boost with growth recorded in April, following the easing of the country’s cash crisis.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report by Stanbic IBTC Bank showed that the private sector returned to growth, with the index moving back above the 50.0 no-change mark for the first time in three months, pointing to a solid overall improvement in business conditions.

Key findings of the report showed that there was a renewed rise in new orders, output, and purchasing, with firms reporting expansions in new business and output amid improved access to funds. However, employment fell slightly, and companies remained cautious with regards to hiring.

The survey noted a more normal business environment as customer numbers improved in line with greater access to cash.

While input costs increased at a sharper rate, firms increased their selling prices at the softest pace for three years as they attempted to attract more customers. Rebounds in activity were seen across agriculture, manufacturing, services, and wholesale and retail sectors.

The report, however, showed that business sentiment remained subdued despite a slight pick-up from March, with optimism among the lowest seen since the survey began in January 2014. The cautiousness regarding employment is expected to continue, and firms may take some time to fully adjust to the changes.

The renewed growth in the private sector is a positive indication for the Nigerian economy after a difficult period of cash shortages. The improved access to funds has helped firms to increase output and attract more customers, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the overall health of the economy.

However, it is important to note that caution remains necessary as the economy continues to recover from the cash crisis, and it may take some time for the private sector to return to pre-crisis levels. Nevertheless, this is an encouraging sign that Nigeria’s private sector is moving in the right direction.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Lafarge Africa Plc Announces Resignation of CEO Khaled El-Dokani, Welcomes Lolu Alade-Akinyemi as Successor

Lafarge Africa Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading cement manufacturing companies, is undergoing a significant leadership transition as it bids farewell to its Chief Executive Officer, Khaled El-Dokani, and welcomes Lolu Alade-Akinyemi as his successor.

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Lafarge Africa Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading cement manufacturing companies, is undergoing a significant leadership transition as it bids farewell to its Chief Executive Officer, Khaled El-Dokani, and welcomes Lolu Alade-Akinyemi as his successor.

In an official statement released yesterday, Lafarge Africa Plc informed shareholders and the investing public about the resignation of Mr. Khaled El-Dokani as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO), effective from June 30, 2023.

Mr. El-Dokani joined the board of the company as an Executive Director on January 18, 2020, and his tenure was marked by exceptional leadership during challenging times.

Under Mr. El-Dokani’s guidance, Lafarge Africa Plc successfully navigated the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving remarkable financial performance year after year.

He implemented a comprehensive turnaround plan that addressed the company’s industrial, financial, and human resource challenges, earning accolades for his strategic decision-making.

Although stepping down as GMD/CEO, Mr. El-Dokani will continue to contribute to the company as a Non-Executive Director, leveraging his extensive experience and expertise to support the future growth and success of Lafarge Africa Plc.

Mr. Lolu Alade-Akinyemi Appointed as the New Group Managing Director/CEO

Simultaneously, Lafarge Africa Plc announced the appointment of Mr. Lolu Alade-Akinyemi as the new Group Managing Director/CEO, effective from July 1, 2023. Mr. Alade-Akinyemi brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record in various leadership roles within the company.

He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the supply chain director of Lafarge Africa Plc, joining the board as an Executive Director on April 8, 2020.

With over 20 years of cross-functional experience in finance, supply chain management, business development, and sales, Mr. Alade-Akinyemi has demonstrated his ability to drive growth and improve business performance.

His achievements in turnaround situations, coupled with his extensive international exposure gained through working in the UK, Belgium, Ghana, and Nigeria, make him well-suited to lead Lafarge Africa Plc in its next phase of growth and expansion.

Mr. Alade-Akinyemi’s impressive professional background includes his tenure as Finance Director at PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc for four years, as well as a 16-year career at The Coca-Cola Company, where he held roles of increasing responsibility in finance, business development, supply chain, and sales.

He began his career as a trainee at ExxonMobil before carving his path as a seasoned business executive.

The board of Lafarge Africa Plc expressed their gratitude to Mr. Khaled El-Dokani for his dedicated service and exceptional leadership during his tenure as GMD/CEO. They acknowledged his significant contributions, which propelled the company’s success even in the face of challenging circumstances.

Meanwhile, the board extended their warmest congratulations to Mr. Lolu Alade-Akinyemi on his appointment as the new Group Managing Director/CEO. They expressed confidence in his ability to build upon the company’s achievements and drive Lafarge Africa Plc towards greater heights.

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App-Based Transport Workers in Nigeria Launch Nationwide Strike Over Fuel Subsidy Removal

The Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), representing drivers from platforms like Bolt, Uber, and others, has initiated a nationwide strike today in response to the removal of fuel subsidy.

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The Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), representing drivers from platforms like Bolt, Uber, and others, has initiated a nationwide strike today in response to the removal of fuel subsidy.

The removal of the subsidy has resulted in a surge in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), causing e-hailing drivers to express concerns about the inadequate fare increase implemented by ride-hailing companies. This, in turn, has had a detrimental impact on their income.

In a statement released by AUATWON, it acknowledged that the Federal Government has engaged in discussions with the Nigeria Labour Congress to address the fuel subsidy removal and facilitate negotiations on behalf of the workers.

Nevertheless, the union alleges that app companies have obstinately refused to establish a platform for negotiations with the drivers, thereby prolonging the planned industrial action.

The union said,

“App companies are not bigger than the government. If our government despite its strength can negotiate and have documented agreements with NLC and TUC, why will-App companies remain in their dictatorial attitude It’s time we negotiate with them and have documented agreements away from the terms and conditions they are changing every day without our input.

“As a result of this insensitivity, the union is directing all its members across the nation to shut down their service on all ride-hailing applications from Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in protest against every dictatorial practice and lack of concern for welfare and security of App-Based Transport workers of Nigeria.”

The union is urging driver partners, fleet managers, and app-based transport workers nationwide to stand in solidarity and support the strike. Additionally, they emphasize that during the protest, all drivers on rentals or hire purchases should be granted a waiver.

Checks by Investors King showed that to address the drivers’ concerns, they are requesting several measures, including a minimum of a 200 percent increase in fares, a 50 percent reduction in commission charges, and an end to the unjust deactivation of drivers who decline to work due to low fares and resulting lack of profitability.

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SnackFix From Bühler Adds Value to Local Grains in Nigeria and Boosts Food Security

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The SnackFix small-scale cereal bar production system from Swiss technology group Bühler is the ideal solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to add value to locally produced grains in Nigeria and assist the country to address food security, says Manuel Murrenhoff, Managing Director, Bühler Nigeria.

On-the-go snacking consumption in Nigeria is rising steadily, presenting opportunities for SMEs to enter the market. “In terms of bars, fruit, and sweet snacks alone, this market segment is expected to exceed half a million tonnes by 2025,” says Murrenhoff. The main driver is the burgeoning population, estimated at 223.8 million in 2023, a 2.41% increase over 2022, and expected to grow to 377 million by 2050.

“The economically active part of the Nigerian population is quite sizeable and very mobile, which is boosting on-the-go snacking consumption,” says Murrenhoff. In addition, with half of the population living below the poverty line, there is more than ever the need to drive consumption of the full range of locally grown grains to keep final product prices in check.

“With the price of wheat projected to rise to record heights, Nigeria cannot possibly feed the growing population by importing wheat and other products. On the one hand, there is a shortage of forex and on the other hand, prices are escalating globally. That is where innovation, using local grains, plays an important role in food security, especially as these can be successfully incorporated into ready-to-eat foods,” says Murrenhoff.

Iyore Amadasun, Sales and Channel Business Manager at Bühler Nigeria, says that Bühler’s Snackfix, designed for food producers seeking a share from the on-the-go snack segment, promotes the processing of locally sourced grains for snacks while maintaining the highest food safety standards.

SnackFix is a multi-grain solution that allows SMEs to innovate across the spectrum of locally produced grains in Nigeria. The technology presents an entry-level, plug-and-play solution that is compact, cost-effective, and easy to commission and operate.

SnackFix includes a continuous mixer, a cooling tunnel, and a cutting system, all in one – everything needed for quality production. The combination allows SMEs to manufacture a huge variety of cereal bars at a volume of up to 130 kg per hour.

Customers benefit from Bühler’s experience in product development using a wide range of locally produced grains including, for example, sesame seeds, cashews, and peanuts. “We can help newcomers in the market achieve the best recipe to satisfy functional and indulgence consumer requirements in this segment and then supply them with a customised solution,” says Amadasun. In addition, Bühler has an innovation centre and laboratory in Switzerland to assist with different formulations and product development.

“The ready-to-eat market is of strategic importance to Nigeria, as it can adapt local grains for snacking consumption, promote healthy eating habits, and at the same time assist with Food Security,” says Amadasun.

With offices in Lagos and Kano, Bühler Nigeria is a leader in grain and food processing and offers solutions for grain drying and storage, flour milling, rice milling, cacao and chocolate processing, wafer and biscuit, pasta and noodles, feed, and aqua feed milling. Bühler Nigeria also provides support in the form of solutions for ink and coating applications and flexible packaging systems.

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