The Global Vice President at General Electric, Mr. John Rice, who was at the recent Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, spoke with EVEREST AMAEFULE about how some power equipment brought into the country by his company had to wait for one year at the port, among other issues
You have been to Nigeria a number of times; what is your impression about the country?
It appears to be rebounding a little bit from the recession and this is encouraging but one or two quarters don’t make a recovery. So, we need to watch that carefully but for us the country holds tremendous amount of potential.
We see progress in some areas; opportunities for progress in other areas but from our global perspectives, it is a very important place for General Electric. We don’t see that changing.
The size of the country, the population, the natural resources, the commodities that are here, the need for infrastructure — all play to GE’s strength. So, we think as a company we can provide a lot of the basic infrastructure needs or support the development of the basic infrastructure.
In addition to specific projects, equipment and services that we provide, we try to get heavily involved in capacity building – training and development of people so that there is longer lasting benefits than just a specific project that accomplishes a specific objective.
What are the countries that are in competition with Nigeria for investment funds?
I think every country competes with Nigeria, and Nigeria competes with every country. If you think about global capital and industrial activities in the development of economies, the work requires a combination of private and public capital.
The public capital can easily come from the government. The private capital can come from many sources but all of these sources have choices about where they invest — whether for a company like GE that operates in 180 countries or a company like Dangote which is an indigenous Nigerian company with broad regional and global capabilities.
Each of those investors makes the choice about where they allocate capital on behalf of their shareholders. And so they have to think about risk-adjusted returns. You want to put your money in a place where you think you are going to be paid back or get a return on an investment.
So, it is really important for the government to solve the challenges that come with infrastructure in Nigeria. Government has to contend with attracting fund for direct investment. To do that, you have to give investors some confidence — not a guaranty because there is always a risk with these kinds of decisions — but some confidence that they are going to have a return on investment over time.
We are a big company. So it is easy for us to get involved in multiple countries.
The bigger question for us is: can we actually make things happen here? We have lots of ideas; the government has lots of ideas. We are looking at energy investments and the big question for us a lot of times is: what will it take to make this deal work? And how do you move forward in a reasonable timeframe?
The government has a role because it can do things to move projects forward so long as they can do things to slow projects down. The same way we can. We can do things to move projects along; we can do things to slow projects down.
In my comments in the plenary session, I talked about the importance of speed. Governments should be measured on speed and how they are capable to fix problems and fixing them quickly. Companies should be held to the same standards and measurements.
It is important for us to do things in Nigeria that matters quickly; not just when we feel like it. I think it is true for the Federal Government and the state governments. I think there is a level of accountability that people expect. When they don’t get that, they are disappointed, angry, and they vote for change.
When you talk about speed, can we focus on Nigeria and what exactly are you looking at?
You have to break it down to the lowest common denominator. I can refer to our first power project we committed to the government to do early last year. We delivered the units for the first power project a year ago and they were in Customs for almost a year. When you think about that, this is a country that needs power badly. Why would the units sit down for a year? It is paper work; it is approvals; it is this argument; it is that argument.
The moral of the story is that nobody was responsible for the speed of processing those units; processing the paper work and getting the units out of the ports to the places where they were supposed to be situated and where the power can be generated.
So, I am guessing but I will bet that nobody from the government perspective that is involved in this is being measured on speed. The job of a Customs organisation is not to keep things out but to let things in – the right things. Keep the wrongs things out and let the right things in.
These are power generation units; they are the right things. If you look at all the processes and regulations that affect the speed matrix, they should help to move things faster.
Honestly, I can make this comment in many of the countries where we do business. So, this isn’t an isolated circumstance. Think about government bureaucracies around the world; I don’t think many people know that they are paid to let things go quickly.
Is it not possible that you did not do your documentation properly?
Maybe, initially. But that is not what caused the delay. Sometimes, it is a documentation problem; sometimes, it is a situation we contributed to but when it is our problem, we go and fix it. We haven’t been paid for those units. Our interest is having them through, getting them situated, turning out the electricity and getting paid.
The GE is involved in the country’s power industry, and there are projects here and there. When are these power projects going to yield the desired results?
The units we finished talking about — 240 gigawatts of power that should have been installed last year haven’t been installed. There is much more power in the grid today than when I started coming to Nigeria 15 years ago.
One of the things I think we have to do is to recognise that all infrastructure is not created equally. There is a hierarchy like a pyramid of infrastructure. At the very bottom of the foundation is electricity infrastructure.
Electricity, healthcare, and clean water are the basic building blocks on which you build an economy that can create jobs and allow for growth. You cannot just rely on natural resources.
If you don’t have electricity, it is very hard to educate people. It is very hard to help small and medium-size enterprises; they have to run their own power generation, and it is expensive. So, it adds to the cost of what they do. Electricity happens to be one of the fundamental building blocks.
What I am asking is that the GE happens to be one of the companies involved in power projects in Nigeria. Why is it difficult for these projects to deliver power to the people after the money spent on them?
It is hard to get equipment into the country. We have projects that were held up because the roads and bridges that we require to move the equipment from the ports to the sites hadn’t been developed well enough. That takes a long time to get fixed.
The issue with respect to power getting to people also involves the grid. That requires a whole level of investment.
The newly privatised companies now have to invest to develop the grid because you generate the electrons. But if you cannot move them in an efficient way to the place they need to be in order to be paid for, then you haven’t solved the purpose of the power generation.
A study indicates that there is some substantial amount of investment that has to be made on the grid.
Is it that a holistic approach is not being taken to provide power to the consumers?
It has to be a holistic approach because you have to start with the generation and end up with a paying consumer or a paying company. Too many of the electrons that are generated in Nigeria today don’t accomplish that objective. They don’t end up getting to somebody who is going to pay for it. It is not an easy problem to fix.
This is a massive challenge that many countries have. You can generate the electrons. You have to get them where they need to be, and you have to have someone that is willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you are not going to be able to sustain a regular investment in your electricity infrastructure.
Apart from installing equipment, is there any other role that GE can play in ensuring that the power gets delivered to the paying consumers?
We have what we can get involved in dedication of financing for some of these projects. So, we have the equipment. We provide lifecycle maintenance service. And we have an array of digital technology which now can help in the efficient transfer of the electrons from the point of generation to the point of consumption.
Securing financing, bringing in third parties, and getting export credit from around the world to support some of Nigeria’s power needs; these are all roles we can play.
Are you in talk with the government to explore such roles?
Yes, we are and the government is very receptive to that but if you want to attract capital (private capital) to energy projects, you need an offtake agreement. Somebody has to agree to pay for the power. That somebody can be the government, a company or a state. It has to a responsible counter-party.
USAID/Power Africa Announces $2.6m in Healthcare Electrification Grants to Solar Energy Companies in Nine Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announces grants totaling $2,620,650 to solar energy companies to provide reliable, affordable off-grid electricity to nearly 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nearly 60 percent of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 percent of hospitals and 28 percent of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access. Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilization equipment, diagnostics, cold storage for vaccines and medication, information technology, and lights to enable the delivery of continuous health care services. Efficient health services and responses to diseases – including COVID-19 – depend on reliable access to electricity.
In support of the accelerated provision of off-grid solar energy to healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, Power Africa is awarding grants to the following solar energy companies:
- Havenhill Synergy Ltd. (Nigeria)
- KYA-Energy Group (Togo)
- Muhanya Solar Ltd. (Zambia)
- Nanoé (Madagascar)
- OffGridBox (Rwanda)
- OnePower (Lesotho)
- PEG Solar (Ghana)
- SolarWorks! (Mozambique)
- Zuwa Energy (Malawi)
These companies will utilize Power Africa funding to provide off-grid solar electricity solutions to 288 healthcare facilities across the nine countries represented.
“Solar energy holds great potential to expand and improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar technology offers a clean, affordable, and smart solution to electrify healthcare facilities located beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Acting Coordinator. “Power Africa’s experience shows that off-grid solar energy systems can be rapidly deployed to even the most rural facilities.”
“These awards demonstrate what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors join together to break down the barriers to reliable electricity for rural healthcare facilities,” said Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID, on September 22, 2020 during a virtual event announcing the grant awardees.
ABOUT THE GRANTEES AND HOW THEY WILL POWER HEALTHCARE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
Havenhill Synergy will electrify 21 rural healthcare facilities in Oyo State, Nigeria, using an energy-as-a-service business model. The facilities are mostly within peri-urban communities with limited reliable electricity access. Havenhill will provide long-term operation and maintenance of the solar energy systems.
KYA-Energy Group will electrify 20 health centers in Togo. In addition to electricity access, KYA will provide automated solar hand washing stations for infection prevention and solar phone charging stations for generating additional income.
In partnership with the Churches Health Association of Zambia, Muhanya Solar Ltd. will provide electricity access to seven rural health facilities in Zambia. Muhanya will also electrify staff housing to generate revenue for the operation and maintenance of the solar systems installed at the health facilities.
Nanoé will electrify 35 rural health facilities in the Ambanja and Ambilobe districts of Madagascar. The company will deploy nano-grids with the health facilities as anchors and connections running to staff housing. Electricity will be sold to the surrounding communities to generate income for the operation and maintenance of the nano-grids.
With their containerized solution, OffGridBox will provide renewable energy and clean water to six rural clinics in Rwanda. The company will also set up a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) business model, selling electricity and clean water to the surrounding communities.
OnePower will electrify seven rural health facilities in Lesotho, using the facilities as anchor loads for mini-grids. In addition to powering the health facilities, the mini-grids will provide electricity access for rural communities served by the facilities.
PEG Solar will provide electricity access to 91 rural community healthcare facilities in Ghana. PEG will adopt a private sector approach to energy service delivery for public health facilities, enabling rapid electrification of the facilities while significantly reducing the upfront financial burden of transitioning to solar energy.
SolarWorks! will electrify 92 rural healthcare facilities in Mozambique’s Sofala province. To ensure sustainability of the systems beyond the grant implementation period, SolarWorks! will cover operational and maintenance costs of the solar energy systems for five years.
Zuwa Energy will install solar energy solutions in nine health facilities in Malawi. Electricity access will enable the facilities to provide higher-quality health services throughout the day and more comprehensive services at night. Additionally, Zuwa will electrify staff housing with the aim to increase staff wellbeing and retention rates.
“Through these grants, USAID is investing in a set of pilot projects that demonstrate how healthcare electrification can be delivered in a commercially sustainable manner, with strong private sector involvement,” said David Stonehill, the Lead for Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative. “These grants demonstrate the Power Africa model in action: We use a modest amount of public funding to de-risk transactions, thus opening the door for private investment.”
Market Cap of Five Largest Hotel Chains Decline by $25.2bn Amid Coronavirus Crisis
World`s Five Largest Hotel Chains Lost $25.2bn in Market Cap Amid Coronavirus Crisis
The coronavirus outbreak has affected every sector across the globe, but the hotel industry is among the hardest hit. Although hotels implemented increased safety and sanitation measures and cautiously reopened for the summer travel season, recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take years.
According to data presented by Stock Apps, the combined market capitalization of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, as the five largest hotel chains in the world, hit $79.2bn in September, a $25.2bn plunge since the beginning of 2020.
Marriot International Witnessed the Biggest Market Cap Drop in 2020
To curb the spread of the virus, countries across the world have imposed lockdown rules, leading to thousands of canceled vacations, and closed hotels between March and May. Although many of them lifted off travel restrictions in the last three months, the first two quarters of the year produced colossal revenue and market cap drops to the largest hotel chains globally.
The market cap of Wyndham Worldwide, the biggest hotel chain in the world by the number of hotels, stood at $5.89bn in December, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. By the end of March, this figure dropped to $2.93bn. Although the second and third quarter of 2020 brought a recovery, the combined value of stocks of the U.S. corporation, which owns 8,092 hotels, stood at over $5bn in September, an $870 million plunge since the beginning of the year.
The second-largest hotel chain globally, Choice Hotels International, lost $440 million in market capitalization amid the coronavirus crisis. In December 2019, the total value of stocks of the company that owns 7,118 properties amounted to $5.76bn. During the last nine months, this figure dropped to $5.32bn.
However, statistics indicate that Marriot International, the third-largest hotel chain with 5,974 hotels in more than 110 countries, witnessed the most significant drop in market capitalization since the beginning of the year. In December, the combined value of stocks of the Washington-based corporation stood at $49.51bn. By the end of the second quarter, it halved to $24.25bn. Although the company’s market cap recovered to $33.86bn in September, this figure still represents a 31% plunge since the beginning of 2020.
Intercontinental and Hilton Lost $8.3bn in Total Stock Value
Intercontinental Hotels Group ranked as the fourth largest hotel chain globally, with 5,070 hotels across nearly 100 countries. Statistics indicate the market capitalization of the British multinational hospitality company amounted to $12.3bn in December 2019. After falling to $6.2bn in March, it rose to $9.7bn in September, a 21% plunge amid the coronavirus crisis.
The total value of Hilton Worldwide Holdings stocks, the fifth-largest chain of hotels globally, dropped by $5.66bn since the beginning of 2020. In December, the market cap of the hotel group that generated around $9.45bn in revenue last year stood at $30.94bn. After a sharp drop caused by the Black Monday crash, it recovered to $25.28bn in September. Nevertheless, the figure represents an 18% fall since the beginning of the year. Statistics show two hotel groups lost $8.3bn in combined market capitalization amid the coronavirus crisis.
Premier League Brand Value Hit €8.5bn, Bigger than La Liga and Bundesliga Combined
Brand Value: Premier League Worth €8.5bn, More than La Liga and Bundesliga Combined
The revenues of the big five European football leagues have soared in the last twenty years, reaching €17bn in the season 2018/2019. However, English Premier League convincingly tops the list of professional football competitions in Europe, both in terms of profit and brand value.
According to data presented by Safe Betting, Premier League hit €8.5bn in brand value in 2020, 19% more than La Liga and Bundesliga combined.
€1.5 bn Higher Revenue than Other Top Football Leagues
Besides leading in brand value, the Premier League also generates the highest revenue of all the European football leagues and has the highest operating profit. Although the coronavirus outbreak caused a massive financial hit to England’s top division teams, Premier League clubs are still expected to generate at least €1.5 bn more than their counterparts in Germany and Spain, revealed the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2020.
The reason for that is broadcasting rights. Statistics indicate the Premier League clubs are set to reach €2.4 bn in revenue from broadcasting rights this season. Commercial revenues are forecast to hit €1.7bn value in 2020, a €139 million increase year-on-year. Matchday profits follow with €614 million in revenue this season.
Manchester United tops the list of the professional football clubs in England, with over €1.3bn in brand value in 2020, revealed the Brand Finance Football 50 – 2020 survey. Statistics show the club generated €627 million in revenue last year, while its wage costs amounted to €352 million. The 2019 Global Sports Salaries Survey also revealed that Manchester United’s first-team players earned an average of €6.8 million last season, ranking as the second leading football club in Premier League and seventh globally.
Liverpool FC hit over €1.2bn brand value this year, the second-largest among all Premier League clubs. Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2020 showed the club generated €533 million in revenue in season 2019/2020, while its first-team members earned an average of €6.1 million last year. Liverpool also represents the second most-expensive football team globally, with €1.02bn in the combined market value of its 30 players.
Manchester City ranked as the third most valuable football brand in England, with over €1.1bn in brand value in 2020. However, statistics show the club, which generated €538 million in revenue last season, tops the list of the highest-priced football teams in 2020, with €1.04bn in the combined market value of its 31 players. In the 2019/2020 season, Manchester City had an average annual first-team member salary of €7.7 million, the highest among all Premier League clubs.
La Liga Has the Most Valuable Football Club Brands
Although La Liga ranked as the second leading European football league with almost €4bn in brand value in 2020, statistics show the two top Spanish clubs represent the most valuable football brands globally.
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona both hit over €1.4bn in brand value this year, accounting for 70% of the total brand value of the highest-leveled Spanish football league.
Statistics show the first-team players of Real Madrid, the world’s largest football brand, earned an average of €9.45 million this season. At the same time, their combined market value hit €930.3 million, ranking them as the fifth most-expensive football team in the world.
FC Barcelona, the second most valuable football brand in the world, tops the list of European football clubs with a €10.4 million average annual player salary in the season 2019/2020. The club’s players also represent the third most expensive football team globally, with €1bn in their combined market value. Moreover, the Spanish football giant hit a record revenue of €813.3 million in the season 2018/2019 and ranked as the biggest cash-generating football club for the first time.
With €3.2bn in brand value or 2.6 times less than Premier League, Bundesliga ranked as the third most valuable European football league. The leading German football club and the sixth globally, FC Bayern München, accounts for one-third of that figure, with over €1bn in brand value this year.
Italy’s Serie A and French Ligue 1 follow, with 1.8bn and 1.2bn in brand value, respectively.
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