- Rice Smuggling Thrives in Lagos, Ogun, North
Rice smuggling through land borders is still high despite its ban, a report has shown.
The commodity, which is a staple food in the country, is being brought through the land borders in Lagos, Ogun and part of the North.
From Idi-Iroko to Owode, Alapoti, Atan and Sango Ota, all in Ogun State, smugglers use bush paths to convey the commodity.
The smugglers, sources said, are cashing in on the high price of rice to bring it at a cheaper rate.
Rice is sold for N14,000 per bag. But the smuggled product goes for between N12,500 and N13,000 per bag.
The smugglers are said to be conniving with some Customs officers.
The smuggled rice is transported with motor cycles, buses and specially-refurbished vehicles.
A trader at the popular Lusada Market in Ado-Odo,Ota, Ogun State, who refused to give her name, gave reasons why the trade is booming.
“I lost a lot of money when the vehicle bringing my rice to Lagos was impounded by Customs in April, along Seme border. The period was very bad for me. But in June, my friend introduced me to a man who will help me in the rice business through the Ado-Odo area and I decided to try it. My experience is that there is not much Customs attention on rice in this area, and the profit we make is higher.
“If you use Seme axis, the highest profit anybody can make on rice is between N200 and N250 per 50kg bag, while we make between N500 and N600 on 50kg bags of rice through Lusada,” she said.
She said the demand for rice is high, adding that “business people” continue to travel long distances from inland towns and risk being arrested to smuggle rice.
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, she said men and women flock to Cotonou and other neighbouring countries to buy rice and smuggle them in, mostly on Sundays.
Investigation revealed that there are no Customs’cheek-points between Agbara and Atan and from Lusada to Alapoti and Ado-Odo Ota.
There is no effective policing of the paths leading to the border by Customs to check the menace.
The Customs, it was learnt, must strengthen its patrol to track down the smugglers.
UAE Agrees to Issue Visas to Nigerians, FG Approves Emirates to Fly Into Nigeria
UAE to Issue Conditional Visa Visa to Nigerians
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has changed its position on Nigeria’s immigrants following the federal government’s decision to restrict flights from the Arab nation from operating in Nigeria’s airspace.
The Minister of Aviation, Sirika Hadi, disclosed this on Wednesday on his official Tweeter handle@hadisirika.
However, the minister said the commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Therefore, he pleaded with Nigerians to bear the unusual condition attached to the agreement reached by the Federal Government and the Arab nation.
The tweet read, “UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria. Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks.”
UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria. Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks 🙏🏽🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬🙏🏽
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) September 30, 2020
United Arab Emirates had stopped the issuance of visas to Nigerians following COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria and the rest of the world. In return, the Nigerian government restricted flights from the Arab nation from operating in the Nigerian airspace immediately it resumed operation.
The two countries have now reached an agreement to welcome immigrants from each other but the condition attached to visa issuance for Nigerians looking to travel to UAE remains unclear and vague at best for now.
HealthPlus Founder, Alta Semper Foreign Investor In Leadership Battle
HealthPlus Founder Bukky George and Alta Semper, the foreign Investor that invested $18 million In the company in Leadership Battle
HealthPlus Limited, one of Nigeria’s major integrated pharmacies, is enmeshed in a leadership tussle as a foreign Private Equity firm, Alta Semper, that invested $18 million in the company two years ago is pushing for a complete takeover and has terminated the appointment of Mrs. Bukky George, the Chief Executive Officer and the original founder of the company.
In a letter signed by two directors, Afsane Jetha and Zachary Fond, the majority of the company’s board on September 25, 2020 issued an instruction appointing one Mr Chidi Okoro as the new chief transformation officer to provide interim leadership for HealthPlus Limited.
The statement reads, “The difficult decision was made in full compliance with Nigerian law and following a long and drawn-out process of engagement, through which the board sought to address multiple issues with the way the company was being managed.
“Despite a series of significant breaches of the terms of Mrs George’s engagement as CEO, the board explored a range of options that would enable her to continue to play an alternate leadership role.”
The statement also said a larger number of the board determined that a change of leadership was necessary for HealthPlus to achieve its strategic goals.
It said, “Mrs George continues to serve on the board, while Mr Okoro oversees the day-to-day operations of the company.
“The decision of Alta Semper Capital to acquire majority control of HealthPlus in 2018 and its belief in the company’s potential to become a market leader, not just in Nigeria, but across the continent, is a testament to the strength of the HealthPlus brand.”
However, another statement titled ‘Attempted hostile takeover by foreign private equity firm’ and signed by the management of the company said the announcement is false, wrongful and should be ignored.
It said, “It is the handiwork of unscrupulous foreign and local businesswoman and businessmen intent on reaping where they have not sown simply because they now see opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is instructive to note that the chairman of the board of directors resigned two days ago and another director resigned five weeks ago. Both gentlemen had been displeased and frustrated by the impasse and its debilitating effect on the company, its fortunes, employees and, above all, the sheer injustice occasioned by it all.”
“Mrs Bukky George founded and grew HealthPlus against the odds to the household brand that it is today. She continues to run the company as founder and Chief Executive Officer.”
The management said in 2018 HealthPlus limited decided to partner with Alta Semper Capital to grow the company through fresh capital injection but since the deal was signed, it has been problematic.
According to them, the private equity company was to exit HealthPlus after five years as stated in the agreement reached two years ago. They also stated that George was ready to give a controlling stake to Alta Semper in order for the company to realise its investment.
“Unbeknown to Mrs George and HealthPlus Nigeria, the collaboration was doomed from the beginning because of the greed of the owners of Alta Semper and their ulterior motive of hijacking a thriving pharmaceutical concern in Nigeria,” it added.
Five Largest Cosmetic Brands Now Worth Over $40bn, Gained $4bn Despite COVID-19
World`s Five Largest Cosmetic Brands Worth Over $40bn in 2020, a $4bn Increase Despite COVID-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted the multi-billion-dollar cosmetics industry, causing thousands of closed stores and weak first and second-quarter sales.
However, the largest cosmetics companies and top beauty brands globally managed to increase their value despite the coronavirus crisis. According to data presented by Buy Shares, the world’s five largest cosmetic brands hit over $40bn value in 2020, a $4bn increase year-on-year. With $11.7bn in brand value, L’Oréal ranked as the largest cosmetic brand globally.
L’Oréal Brand Value Jumped by $1.3bn in 2020
In 2019, the brand value of the French multinational cosmetic giant L’Oréal amounted to $10.38bn, revealed the Brand Finance 2020 annual report. In the last twelve months, this figure rose by $1.3bn, an 13% increase year-on-year.
The report revealed that L’Oréal`s brand value increase had been primarily boosted by steady growth in sales across key markets in the last decade, especially in Asia, where over 20% of net sales are concentrated. The North American market sales rose by nearly 20%, mostly driven by CeraVe, SkinCeuticals, La Roche-Posay, and Vichy, which all delivered double-digit growth. The Group has also benefited from its digital transformation strategy, especially in Eastern Europe, where online sales surged by 50%.
Gillette ranked as the second-largest cosmetic brand in 2020. Statistics show the value of the US brand, owned by the multinational corporation Procter & Gamble increased by 18% in the last four years, rising from $7.1bn in 2016 to $8.48bn in 2020.
With almost $7.4bn in brand value, NIVEA represents the third-largest cosmetic brand globally. In 2016, the German personal care brand vas valued at $6.1bn. In the next twelve months, this figure rose to nearly $6.7bn. After a slight drop in 2018, the NIVEA brand value jumped to $6.8bn last year and continued rising. Statistics indicate the value of brand owned by the Hamburg-based company Beiersdorf Global AG rose by almost 20% in the last four years.
Estée Lauder Brand Value Surged by 41% in Two Years
The Brand Finance data also revealed that the brand value of Estée Lauder, the fourth-largest cosmetic brand in the world, jumped by 27% in 2020, the most significant increase among the top five companies. In 2018, the US skincare brand was worth $4.4bn. Over the last two years, this figure surged by 41% to nearly $6.3bn in 2020.
Statistics show that 2019 has been the most successful year in Estée Lauder’s history, with the global net sales reaching almost $15bn, an 8.6% increase year-over-year. Although the US corporation reported a net loss of $6 million due to the COVID-19 outbreak, statistics show its online sales skyrocketed in the first half of 2020.
The value of the US skincare producer Clinique, the fifth-largest cosmetic brand in the world, jumped by 15.4% year-over-year to $6.22bn in 2020.
Analyzed by geography, the United States represents the leading region globally, with $59.5bn in the total value of the eighteen leading cosmetic brands and 42% market share in 2020. French cosmetic companies ranked second with $40.1bn brand value and 28.3% market share. Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom follow, with $12.6bn, $9.5bn, and $8.5bn value, respectively.
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