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Terminal Operators, Others Owe NPA N30b

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NEPC
  • Terminal Operators, Others Owe NPA N30b

Terminal operators are owing the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over N30 billion.

NPA’s Managing Director Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, sources said, was furious when she learnt that four terminal operators and two firms at Onne Port were owing the agency  $7,931,247 and N9,458, 785,726.

The debt excludes  what the Nigerian  National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other terminal operators are owing the agency.

Ms. Usman has directed NPA’s  accounts section to recover the debt so as to boost the nation’s revenue profile.

During her visit to Onne, the NPA boss said agreements signed with the  operators and others would be reviewed, stressing that her administration would plug all loopholes to ensure transparency and accountability.

She directed all firms  to collect their receipts after transactions, saying NPA would pay revenue generated to the Federal Government through the  Single Treasury Account (STA).

Ms Usman also directed that a competitive tariff and pricing regime be introduced at all sea ports, saying NPA would ensure that operators complied with the agreements they had with the government.

She urged the debtors to pay up, or face sanction, saying she was not happy with the neglect of the quay apron by some operators.

Ms Usman accused some of the operators of violating the concession agreement they signed with the government at Onne Port, threatening to take action if one of them fails to fix the collapsed Berth 8 section of the terminal.

A senior Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF) official said that the debts of three concessionaires on lease and throughput fees amounted to  $1,56 million.

NPA, the official said, would double its revenue next year if  operators complied with the agreement they signed.

Many of the companies, including some operators, it was learnt, were contesting the NPA’s right to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on services provided by the authority.

Investigation revealed that the  amount withheld as VAT by the protesters is N705.8 million.

NPA, it was learnt, is insisting  on collecting the VAT because  the Federal Inland Revenue Service may ask it to pay the tax, if the it fails to collect the money.

Some of the challenges militating against revenue generation which Ms. Usman has taken steps to address, include:

  • the need to have a modern signal/control tower;
  • an efficient signal station to monitor ship and other activities in the ports;
  • going to court over NNPC and other terminal operators’ debts
  • provision of pilotage services by the NPA;
  • addressing Information Communication Technology ( ICT) challenges to improve service delivery through automation, hardware and speedy network;
  • provision of marine craft and operational vehicles;
  • removal of abandoned service boats, barges and canoes on the waterways/channel and
  • the provision of transit accommodation for pilots embarking and disembarking from vessels in Bonny Town .

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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Experts Reacts to Shoprite Planned Exit From Nigeria

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Shoprite Planned Exit Triggers Experts Reaction

Experts have expressed their concerns over the decision of Shoprite Holding Limited to exit the Nigerian Market, Africa’s largest economy, at a period that unemployment is projected to hit 39.4 million.

On Monday, Africa’s largest retail company, Shoprite, announced it would commence a former process of exiting the Nigerian market or sell a major stake to willing investors that it claimed have started approaching its organisation for a possible partnership.

Experts, who spoke with our correspondents, said the decision would worsen Nigeria’s present economic position, especially with Osinbajo-led committee predicting that unemployment could hit 39.4  million in 2020.

Dr. Musa Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  said the Shoprite move would impact investors’ interest in Nigeria. Yusuf is likely making reference to a series of other factors hurting Nigeria’s economic outlook in recent months.

Barely a month ago, OPay, one of Nigeria’s promising startups started by a Chinese company, announced it will be shutting down some of its business units in Nigeria due to harsh business environment and other COVID-19 related issues. That was a company that raised about $270 million about a year ago.

The series of uncertainties hurting businesses amid unclear economic path have left many investors and businesses seeking exit plan. Even at that, several of the foreign-owned businesses and investments are stuck in the country with their owners unable to access foreign exchange to repatriate their funds.

A recent report showed the Central Bank of Nigeria has over $5 billion forex backlog, yet the nation’s external reserves is hovering around $36 billion since plunging from $45 billion in June 2019.

Prof. Uche Uwalaka, a professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University in Keffi, said, “The exit of Shoprite, or any other foreign business for that matter, ordinarily should be a cause for concern especially for a country like Nigeria that is in dire need of foreign direct investment.”

“The importance of Foreign Direct investment, especially in the area of job creation cannot be overemphasised.

Speaking on the matter, Samed Olukoya, CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, explained that “Shoprite just upped Nigeria’s economic uncertainties barely a month after OPay and other foreign-owned companies commenced their process of shutting down or have already shut down part or most of their operations in Nigeria.

He added that “at this rate, it would be hard to increase capital importation or boost  the nation’s Foreign Direct Investment with negative economic outlook and weak investment sentiment.

 

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Custodian Investment to Purchase 51% Stake in UACN Property Company

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custodian and UACN Deal

Custodian Investment to Acquire 9.5bn Shares in UACN Property Company

The management of UAC of Nigeria Plc on Monday announced that they have entered into a binding agreement with Custodian Investment Plc for Custodian to acquire a 51 percent equity interest in UACN Property Development Company Plc (UPDC) from UAC.

In the statement released by the UAC of Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company said Custodian will acquire 9,465,584,668 UPDC ordinary shares held by UAC, representing 51 percent of UPDC’s issued share capital.

The company further stated that the sale of shares will be done in two tranches.

The first phase includes an initial sale of 946,558,467 shares, representing 5.10 percent of the issued capital of UPDC, on the execution of binding transaction agreements.

This will be followed by a sale of 8,519,026,201 shares, representing 45.90 percent of the issued share cpaital of UPDC upon receipt of requisite approvals.

According to UAC, the agreement marks the start of a new partnership between Custodian and UAC that will achieve both companies’ objectives in the real estate sector. It also marks a significant milestone aligned with UAC’s strategy to focus on its core businesses.

Commenting on the partnership, Wole Oshin, Group Managing Director of Custodian Investment PLC, said: “We at Custodian are excited about the possibilities arising from this partnership with UAC which provides multiple levers for value creation. The rationale for the Transaction is that Custodian and UAC share the view that their ambitions for capturing opportunity in the real estate industry will be better achieved working in partnership.

“UPDC is one of Nigeria’s leading real estate development companies, having completed several landmark residential and commercial developments over the past twenty years. This Transaction will provide Custodian with a platform to capture arising real estate opportunities. It also immediately provides recurring cash flow visibility and attractive yields as a result of its direct exposure to Nigeria’s leading real estate investment trust (“UPDC REIT”) with a track record of profitability and annual dividend distribution which offers a good compliment for our product portfolio.

“We are confident that the recent recapitalisation of UPDC, significant reduction in finance costs, and recently reconstituted leadership have repositioned the company to operate sustainably and capture growth opportunities aimed at increasing stakeholder value going forward.”

Also, commenting on the deal was Folasope Aiyesimoju, Group Managing Director of UAC, Aiyesimoju said: “The Transaction is a significant step in achieving our objectives for UPDC. In 2018, the Board and management of UAC embarked on a strategic review to evaluate the performance of the company and its subsidiaries. The objective was to achieve sustainable positive financial performance from our existing operations and enable management focus on businesses that align with our strategy.

“In reviewing UPDC, the Board weighed the long-term opportunities in the Nigerian real estate sector against the fundamental differences between the cash flow profile and capital needs of UPDC and those of the other entities in UAC’s portfolio. Following its review, the Board concluded that it would be in the best interest of UAC to exit its interest in the real estate sector, allowing UPDC to operate as a standalone legal entity, free to source appropriately structured capital and to unlock value for its shareholders.

“In September 2019, the Boards of Directors of UAC and UPDC jointly announced three significant strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening UPDC and positioning the company to operate as a standalone entity. This included a rights issue to recapitalise the business, plans for UAC to transfer UAC’s equity interest in UPDC pro-rata to UAC’s shareholders (“UPDC Unbundling”), and plans for UPDC to unbundle the UPDC REIT to its shareholders (“UPDC REIT Unbundling”). The ₦16 billion UPDC rights issue was successfully completed in April 2020, proceeds of which were used to reduce borrowing costs and significantly improve UPDC’s capital position.

“In the process of progressing the unbundling initiatives, UAC received a credible offer from Custodian. The terms of the offer compelled the Board to re-evaluate the planned approach to deconsolidate UPDC and influenced the Board’s decision to proceed with the sale of a portion of UAC’s interest in UPDC to Custodian, effectively putting an end to the UPDC Unbundling.

“We are delighted about the positive impact that a strong anchor shareholder like Custodian will have on UPDC and are focused on ensuring a smooth transition.”

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Forex Scarcity Weighs on Manufacturing Sector

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Steel Manufacture At Evraz Plc West-Siberian Metallurgical Plant

Manufacturing Sector Suffers from Lack of Dollar Liquidity

The  Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, has said lack of dollar availability continues to weigh on the manufacturing sector in the first half of the year as the sector recorded its third consecutive month of contraction in the month of July.

According to Yusuf, several manufacturers had to source for forex on the black market, increasing scarcity on the already stressed section of the forex even more. This, other experts have blamed for the high Dollar-Naira exchange rate on the black market.

On Monday, the Naira was exchanged at N473 to a US dollar on the parallel market popularly known as the black market. The local currency gained N2 from the N475 it was exchanged before the Sallah holiday to N473 on Monday when the market opened.

“Across, practically, all sectors, we are experiencing cost escalation, loss of credit lines enjoyed from foreign creditors, forex remittance challenges and many more.  We need an urgent response from the CBN to calm the situation and restore confidence in our foreign exchange management framework,” Yusuf stated.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said most of its 2,000 members have been hit by the dollar shortage and wide foreign exchange rate that is presently eroding their profits.

“If the situation persists, it will lead to lay-offs. If you are not producing, there will be a shortage of goods in the market, prices will go up,” he added

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