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Moulders Increase Block Prices, End Strike Today

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Block Moulders

Block moulders in the country have concluded plans to raise the prices of blocks by between 11 per cent and over 30 per cent, following the recent increase in the prices of cement.

The new price regime for blocks is expected to come into effect immediately after the moulders call off their five-day strike on Friday (today).

The announcement came on Thursday just as the Chairman, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, Mr. Abdulsamad Rabiu, said the high cost of doing business in Nigeria was a major reason for the hike in the prices of cement.

The price of cement had last week risen from N1,500 per 50kg bag to between N2,400 and N2,500.

On Tuesday that the moulders suspended operation the previous day to protest the latest increase in the prices of cement, granite and other construction materials, with a hint of their plan to raise the prices of blocks unless the prices of cement and other moulding materials were reversed.

The President, National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasco Adebowale, said on Thursday that with the new price regime, the 6x9x18 load-bearing blocks would sell for N220 per unit, accounting for a 37.5 per cent increase over the previous price of N160.

The 9x9x18 load-bearing blocks will sell for N250 per unit, up from N220, while the 6x9x18 and 9x9x18 non-load bearing blocks will sell for N200 and N180, up from N180 and N160 per unit, respectively, according to him.

He said, “NABMON, rising from its one-week break in production and sales, has made recommendations on quality control and new prices for our products.

“In view of the incessant building collapse nationwide, private block moulding activities without the knowledge, supervision and control of the association are hereby prohibited. All members of the association have also been enjoined to comply with standards and quality to justify the new prices.”

A professor of Building at the University of Lagos and the Vice-Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, Martin Dada, said the new price regime was a reaction to market forces but added that it would pose a challenge to the building industry and the economy in the long run, if it was not reversed.“We know that this is not a good omen for the economy. The challenge is that there is no assurance that the blocks will retain quality. So, we are already courting danger for the future,” he said.

He said the rise in the prices of cement and its ripple effects on the housing sector in particular, and the economy in general, would increase cases of building collapse in the country.

Dada said, “We should now be thinking not just of buildings collapsing and killing people during construction but also the lifespan of our buildings. Will they last beyond 10 years with these developments?”

The immediate past President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Tunde Lasabi, said the affordability aspect of housing in the country might no longer be possible with current developments.

“Cement and blocks are basics in construction, so when their prices rise, definitely the prices of houses will increase. So, the affordability aspect of housing now has a question mark attached to it,” he said.

Lasabi said the government needed to consider the reality of affordable housing by subsidising the price of cement.

“With our 17 million housing deficit, the government should begin to think of subsidising cement and cement manufacturers should also reconsider their stance on pricing,” he said.

The Chairman, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, Rabiu, while speaking at the company’s 37th Annual General Meeting in Abuja, said that the operating environment had become harsh on businesses with a lot of challenges on the real sector.

Specifically, he listed some of the challenges as shortage of energy, limited foreign exchange for spare parts and low demand for cement.

He said while the government was mindful of the challenges facing the sector, the drop in oil prices, which had resulted in a decline in revenue accretion to the federation account, had limited the government’s capacity to address the problems.

He said,”The situation is tough; the price of energy, which accounts for a huge part of our operating costs, has doubled.

“The foreign exchange rate has also increased compared to what it was a few months back and all these are impacting negatively on our operations.”

He, however, said despite the harsh operating environment, the management of the company would continue to strive for better shareholders’ value.

Speaking on the company’s financial performance, he said the CCCN recorded a turnover of N13.03bn for 2015 as against N15.1bn recorded in 2014.

The profit after tax, according to him, was N1.2bn in 2015 as against N1.9bn in 2014.

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.

Business

Air Passengers Drop as Domestic Airlines Resume Operations

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air peace

Number of Air Passengers Drop as Domestic Airlines Resume Operations

The number of air passengers dropped despite Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu lifting the curfew imposed to address looting and destruction of properties in the state.

The busiest airport in the country, Murtala Mohammed Airport, resumed full operations on Monday, however, passengers are cautious about flying, especially because of the tense situation across the nation.

Some of the officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria as well as those of domestic airlines confirmed that domestic passenger volume had been on a slow start since they commenced full operations.

Okwudili Ezenwa, the spokesperson for Dana Air, said “We are hoping that by next week, everything should have settled down because right now, people are still trying to be sure of their movements.

“Passengers are being cautious before they come out. So, things have not balanced. People are not leaving Lagos as such from the airport now; rather, they are being careful.”

He added, “In locations where no curfew was announced, other places will still have to feed such locations. So since we have curfews here and there, ultimately it affects areas where we don’t have curfew.

“But we hope everything settles down well before next week.”

Similarly, Stanley Olisa, the spokesperson, Air Peace, explained that even though domestic flight operations had resumed, passengers were still wary of flying.

Yes domestic flights have resumed out of the Lagos airport but it is something that is only picking up gradually,” he said.

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333,000 Artisans: FG Commences One-Time Payment of N30,000

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MSME

FG Begins One-Time Payment of N30,000 to 333,000 Artisans

The Federal Government on Monday said it has commenced a one-time payment of N30,000 to 333,000 artisans under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund.

In a statement issued by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disbursements were being done to verified beneficiaries of the Artisan Support Scheme.

The statement read in part, “In the first stream of payments starting today, beneficiaries are being drawn from the FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta States. They form the first batch of applications for the scheme submitted between October 1 and October 10.

“The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a component of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, which was developed by an Economic Sustainability Committee established by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020.

“The President asked his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to head the committee which produced and is overseeing the implementation of the plan. “Under the ESP, the Survival Fund is generally designed to among other things, support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their different obligations and safeguard jobs in the sector.”

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Absorb Exited Npower Beneficiaries, N-power Youths Congress Tells FG

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Absorb Npower Beneficiaries of Batches A and B, N-power Youths Congress Tells FG

The N-power Youths Congress (NYC) has pleaded with the Federal Government to absorb the 500,000 exited Npower beneficiaries of Batches A and B and pay their outstanding allowances.

The National Coordinator, NYC, Comrade Joseph Enam Maga, stated this in Maiduguri during a press briefing held on Saturday at the NUJ Press Center.

He said thousands of exited beneficiaries are yet to be paid since the month of Match.

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to offset all the outstanding allowances of Batches A and B and create a permanent job for them.

He said “It is a fact undisputable that thousands of beneficiaries have not been paid since the month of March.

“Promises upon promises have been made on this, but yet no positive result has been recorded. Sometimes I wonder what it takes for the data base manager of Npower to rectify this! Something that can be rectified in a couple of hours has lasted for seven good months now.

“Worst still, this is happening within this period of hunger and starvation because of Pandemic. We call on the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management to be human enough to respond to our request and give prompt attention to them.

“We equally wish to bring to the notice of Mr. President that Batch B Beneficiaries have not received their devices as was promised and signed at the commencement of the program.

“It is very sad that up to the disengagement of Batch A and B, nobody has come out openly to tell us what happened to our devices.

The coordinator paused to ask why are Nigerian youths being treated like nobody in their country? What have we done to be neglected like this?

“When the Humanitarian Minister was asked why we were disengaged at this critical time in historical epoch that corona virus is terrorizing the whole world, she responded that we were disengaged because it’s a two years programe that we signed.

“Then comes the question: why did Batch A stayed 4years? And if we signed for two years contract that warranted our disengagement, didn’t we equally signed to be given a device that would help us in our different places of primary assignment and equally increase of knowledge? Please we need answers ma. We need answers.

“We, the 500,000 batches A and B of Npower beneficiaries are calling on our government to respond to our demand. We don’t want to believe that it’s only a state of violence anarchy and doom will make a sane government to listen to her Youth’s grievances.

“Look at the Endsars protest for instance, after many lives have been lost and properties destroyed, our government decided to speak up. Niger delta militants were attended to when they resort to arms.

“The insurgents were given amnesty because of their terrorism. But we the innocent 500,000 graduates have been innocently complaining to our government but they paid deaf ears. We are law abiding citizens and we will continue to be law abiding citizens.

“We want Mr. President to understand that a hungry man is an angry man. We have really endured a lot. We need a quick response to our requests. We can’t be used and dumped like refuse. We refused to be used and dumped”, the National Coordinator added.

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