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Business

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is seeking partnership with the Chinese Government and businesses in key sectors like infrastructure development, industry, energy, information, and communication technology, and transportation, in efforts to drive development in the State.

The Governor, who is on a working visit to China, is expected to execute meaningful partnerships that will support the State’s aspiration of becoming a 21st-century economy, will visit the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC), and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), for project appraisal.

On this visit, Sanwo-Olu seeks to explore his presentation to China-Africa Business Council, to put Lagos before the Chinese investment community and declare the State’s openness to investors.

Likewise, the Governor’s economic ambassadorial role will take him to Zhuhai Changiong Ocean Park, Huawei, GAC Motor Factory and GREE Electrical Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai for possible collaboration in the areas of industry, tourism, and facility development.

Specifically, Lagos State is seeking investments in infrastructure development, industry, energy, information, and communication technology, and transportation; and Sanwo-Olu’s administration has been unequivocal about its quest for both local and foreign investors to actively participate in the economic and infrastructural development of the State.

While presenting the proposed Lagos State budget of N1.1trillion for 2020 to the State House of Assembly last week, the Governor had noted that, “the State has revised some of its approval procedures and operating laws to enable business thrive.”

Interestingly, these efforts were corroborated in the acknowledgment of Lagos State by the World Bank for its significant contribution to Nigeria’s impressive performance in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index published last month, in which the country moved 15 places higher in the global ranking of countries.

“Our recorded fifteen places upward-movement in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business has impressively positioned Nigeria as one of the most improved economies globally for business operation. However, it is important we identify and consciously leverage the feat to attract opportunities and investments into the country,” noted Sanwo-Olu, while commenting on the significance of Nigeria’s achievements on Ease of Doing Business to its economic development.

Recently, the Governor had witnessed the signing of four agreements with China Development Bank (CDB), including a $629 million financing facility, to accelerate completion of the Lekki Deep Seaport project, which started in 2011, and will be completed in 30 months.

The loan was secured from the Chinese bank after China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which owns majority shares in the project, signed a 45-year concessionary agreement with Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLTZ), to complete the Phase 1 of Nigeria’s first deep seaport project in Lekki – a coastal community in the nation’s commercial nerve-center – Lagos.

After completion, the deep seaport would have two container berths of 680-metre long and 16.5-metre water depth. It will also have the capacity to be berthed by fifth-generation container ships, which has a capacity of 18,000 TEU ship.

Sanwo-Olu described the development as “another milestone” for the State in infrastructural development and commerce, saying the signing of agreements ended period of uncertainty that had trailed the delivery of the project. He noted that the project completion will invigorate the Lagos economy, and push it up in the index of largest economy in the world.

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Nigerian Business News

Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Oct. 7, 2019 (NAN) In line with global requirements of communications, Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications, said Nigeria was ready to deploy 5G network across the country to ease network flow.

Pantami said this on Monday at the ongoing 39th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) holding in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

 

GITEX is a global technology exhibition that brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, IT experts, countries, Information Communication Technology startups from over 145 countries of the world, to share trends of ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations.

Nigeria’s participation in GITEX, which is spearheaded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a week long programme holding from Oct. 6  to Oct. 10.

5G mobile network is the next-generation standard for wireless communication, set to start taking over the mobile network environment in 2019. 5G delivers vastly increased capacity, lower latency and faster speed.

 

The minster said “ Nigeria is ready for 5G network but preparation is key. We are ready but need deployment and before that we need pre-deployment and post-deployment.


“We are working to handle the challenges of pre-deployment but the approval has been given for the trial.


“Nigeria is not yet into the 5G network deliberately. Some of the telecom operators are ready to deploy the 5G network but the proposal was put on hold, so we can be productive and proactive.


“There could be potential challenges that could obstruct 5G network, which include regulations. You cannot just rush into it without preparing your ground,’’ he said.

He said that the Federal Government is engaging some security agencies like the National Intelligence Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police, among others to ensure a seamless process, while establishing regulations on deploying the 5G network.

 

The minister also said that 5G network cannot be deployed across the country yet due to some gaps in citizens being unable to access 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

“At the pace we are moving, some places do not even have 2G, there are over 200 cluster areas in the country and with this you cannot say we can move to 5G when some people are yet to access 2G, 3G.

“The gaps are already there, it is not a new one but you cannot delay advancement because other people are not benefiting, what we should do is to bridge the gap.’’

 

He added that Nigeria was not doing badly in technology, however, patriotism and confidence in indigenous products and services was lacking.


Pantami recalled that a Nigerian in the UK was the first person globally to develop, build and design first real time 5G network dedicated to self-organised networks in the UK , using general purpose processors.


According to him, we usually fail to deploy what we produce, we are so much addicted to foreign products and whenever we hear anything local it appears to us as inferior.


“That perception of undermining our effort is what we need to change.’’


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Postal Service, Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Exchange Commission, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board are some agencies representing the country at GITEX. (NAN)

NAN

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Nigerian Business News

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the sovereign wealth fund of Africa’s largest economy, is looking for co-investors to develop two gas industrialisation projects worth more than $1 billion (Dh3.67bn), as it continues to broaden its portfolio of investments.


NSIA plans to develop a basic chemicals platform with a project value in excess of $1bn that will produce ammonia and fertilisers in Nigeria. The second one, a project to convert flare gas into LPG, could cost more than $100 million, Uche Orji, the chief executive of NSIA, who is in Abu Dhabi attending a two-day Africa Investment Summit hosted by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, told The National.


“We will be looking hopefully to develop [the projects] with sovereign wealth funds and other co-investors,” he said. The talks are at early stages, he said and did not name any potential partners.


Nigeria, Opec’s biggest crude producer in Africa, relies heavily on the oil and gas sector, which accounts for about 20 per cent of its gross domestic product, and 85 per cent of total exports, according to Opec data. The country expects investments worth $48bn between 2018 and 2025 in the sector, Maikanti Baru, former managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said in July.


Mele Kyari, who has replaced Mr Baru as the head of NNPC, said that state-owned energy companies Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company are also considering investing in Nigeria’s energy sector.


“We are open to all partners, all like-minded partners. We have no restrictions, we have ongoing discussions with so many people,” Mr Orji said of the potential deals with long-term investors across sectors of Nigerian economy. “We have health care, we have infrastructure [projects], it really depends on what the interest of our partner is”


Additional equity from the government, Mr Orji said, will help NSIA to broaden its investment base. The fund’s current focus remains on achieving growth through joint investments.


“I’m expecting more from the government but a lot of it would depend on the oil price movement,” he said. “We are very hopeful that we will get some funds,” he said. The current price level of $62 per barrel for Brent crude is still above “our benchmark rate”, which is $57 per barrel, he saoi.


NSIA invests through its three main funds: the Stabilisation Fund, Future Generations Fund and Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, which account for 20, 30 and 50 per cent of its investments, respectively.


NSIA not only manages its own funds, but it also those on behalf of the Nigerian government and its total assets under management are between $2.5bn to $3bn.


Over the years, NSIA has increased its focus on domestic infrastructure projects and it is investing in three major transport infrastructure schemes – the Abuja-Kano highway, Second Niger bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan road projects.


“These projects are quite significant altogether. When they are done, they would be around roughly $2bn [in value]”, he said.


The projects are being financed through the funds provided by the government and NSIA’s own equity and it will look to raise $500m in external funding from the market next year, Mr Orji said.


“We are appointing advisers next year to commence the capital raising process,” he said without specifying the timing of the deal.


Development of power, agriculture and the healthcare sectors is among the top priorities for NSIA, and the authority is looking to join hands with sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and beyond for co-investments in these sectors.


“Less than 20 per cent of the Nigeria’s arable land is cultivated for agriculture so that’s an opportunity right there. We are talking about a large quantum of land here,” he said.


Within the healthcare sector, it has already finished two projects this year and is on track to finish another in the first quarter of 2020. The country is looking to launch another two next year out of the active pipeline of 12 projects, he said.

The National


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Business

First Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to promote sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development.


Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.

 

He said that the bank would hold its 2019 FirstBank Agric Expo themed; “Agricultural Value Chain – Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks, would hold on Aug. 30, with Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of AFREXIM Bank as the Keynote Speaker.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FirstBank Agric Expo, launched in 2017, provides platform for national discourse on sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development, improved contribution to her balance of trade as well as foreign exchange.


Adeduntan said: ”In the last 125 years, more than any other financial institution, we have played a key role in financing different sectors of not just the Nigerian economy but other economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

“As Nigeria expands opportunities in its non-oil sector – especially Agriculture – we remain committed to the growth of the agricultural sector and its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.”


Adeduntan said that the bank’s consistency in convening the FirstBank Agric Expo is a demonstration of its commitment to building the agribusiness economy.


He said that agribusiness was capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating exports, supporting sustainable income and creating employment opportunities.


Adeduntan said that the expo would host over 600 delegates and over 60 exhibitors to display the latest technology in farm equipment, tools and machinery as well as packaged finished agricultural produce, logistics and supply.


He said that it would also keep the participants and sundry agribusiness practitioners abreast with new opportunities in the Agricultural industry. (NAN)

NAN

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Nigerian Business News

The Federal Government of Nigeria at the ongoing 39th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) has invited investors to leverage on the potential of Nigeria to do businesses for the boosting of its digital economy.


Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications, made the call at the African Investment Forum (AIF), a platform designed to showcase the opportunities in Nigerian, African ICT sector.


GITEX is the biggest annual technology gathering of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia with over 200,000 technology interests and over 145 countries in participation.


Pantami, who emphasised on the opportunities in Nigeria, said that investors could leverage on the demography, youthful population, skills and readiness of Nigerians to come and do businesses.


According to him, Nigeria has the right policies for businesses.


“Africa’s population is growing at an average rate of 2.57 per cent which is almost 220 per cent, the average global growth rate of 1.17 per cent per annum.


“The  United Nations also estimates that half of global population growth, projected to  occur  between  now  and  2050,  is  expected  to  occur in Africa.


“These statistics show that even though we already have a large market of about 1.2 billion people in Africa, investors should expect an even larger market in the upcoming years.


“Nigeria’s geographic and financial position on the continent make it a very strategic  country  and  good  starting  point  for  investors  interested  in  the African continent.


“Nigeria is located between the Central and Western parts of Africa and offers investors, immediate access to over half of the African continent represented by those that reside in Western and Central Africa,“ he said


He said Nigeria could also boost of approximately 200 million people living in the country.


Pantami further said that with an average age of over 18 years, Nigeria had a potential and critical mass of ‘digital natives’ that could transform the country into a regional and global ICT power house.


Citing World Bank, the minister said Nigeria had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP), valued at 397 billion USD and being the largest economy in Africa with 10 th largest oil reserve in the world.


He said Nigeria was making huge efforts in increasing broadband penetration, digital literacy, developmental regulation, local content development, among other strategies, to build digital economy.


He also said that digitisation of services was not restricted to the public sector alone, adding that Nigerian government was encouraging educational institutions and the private sector to digitise their service delivery.


Pantami reiterated that Nigeria accounted for about 31per cent of the digital platforms deployed by the private sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.


According to him, government is mitigating challenges posed by cyber criminals.


“One of our strategies is to ensure that there is a proper digital identity for all those that transact in the digital economy.


“We have addressed the issue of about 9.4 million improperly registered SIM cards by either blocking them or doing proper registration.


“This is to secure our cyber space. We went to this great extent to give Nigerians and our potential investors’ confidence in the sector,” he said.


He also said that investors could acquire visa on arrival, register businesses online up to 95 per cent of the business which could be done electronically.


Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA),said that  government was ensuring that there was ease of doing business.


Inuwa recalled that the World Bank recently included Nigeria among top 20 countries of the world with a seamless process of the ease of doing business.


‘’The government just set up Industry Policy Competitive Advisory Council which is mandated to work with the private sector to accelerate the industralisation of Nigeria.


“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is also there with objective of economic recovery, building global economy and accelerate inclusive growth by developing human capital,’’ he said.


The 39th GITEX is a week long programme from Oct. 6 to 10. (NAN)

NAN

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Nigerian Business News

Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on Monday urged companies operating in the country to file in their annual returns as provided by the law or risk being de-listed from its register.

Mr Moses Adaguusu, Head Public Affairs, CAC, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the call became necessary in view of the need to keep the commission abreast of such companies that were still in operation or otherwise.

An annual return is a mandatory requirement every enterprise or incorporated trustees must file annually by delivering to CAC a return in the prescribed form containing specified matters related to the organisation in accordance with Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

“A very vital importance is that filing of the annual return by a company helps to simply keep the commission abreast that such company is still actively in operation and still engaging in business activities or otherwise,’’ Adaguusi said.

While emphasising that the Enforcement and Monitoring Department of the Commission would intensify efforts to ensure compliance, Adaguusi, however, urged companies to embrace voluntary compliance.

 

According to him, although, we go out on enforcement, we are not going like task force because the economy is difficult.

“We want companies to embrace voluntary compliance so that there won’t be penalties.

“Penalties run into millions of naira and that is enough to close a company,’’ he said.

Adaguusu expressed concern that rather than comply with filing annual returns to the CAC, some companies seek for waiver on penalties.

According to him, in extreme cases, the commission considers waivers on penalty.

He also pointed out that companies need to be up to date with CAC to enable them get registered with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

Adaguusu said, “companies that execute contracts would have difficulties being paid if they are not registered with the BPP.

“Companies that want to do business must be on the Bureau of Public Procurement and before you are registered with BPP you must be up to date with CAC.

“This is another window that is encouraging companies to come and update with CAC,’’ Adaguusu said.

He, however, pointed out that the process of delisting companies from CAC’s register for failure to file annual returns is an ongoing process.

“It takes a process and it is ongoing.

“In 2008, 10 companies were deregistered and in 2016, 38 companies were also deregistered; so, it is a continuous process and there will be no need to leave companies that are not complying on the register,’’ Adaguusi said.

He emphasised that the task before the Monitoring and Enforcement Department was to ensure that companies do not only file their annual returns but stay away from sharp practices.

” For instance we will go from door to door to ensure that companies maintain the original names they used for registration.

“Also, the department will ensure that companies display their registration numbers in all their correspondence as well as indicate the list of directors.

“A company with a reputation will give people who want to do business with them a breath.

“On the contrary, where the directors are not know, people will be skeptical to do business with them,’’ Adaguusi said.

He further said that CAC would sustain efforts aimed at ensuring that the process of registering companies was devoid of hitches.

Adaguusu said that the upgrade of the Company Registration Portal (CRP) is to enhance the incorporation process.

The Company Registration Portal is the software that drives the operations of the commission.

The commission’s spokesman added that the move to upgrade the software was geared toward ensuring improved efficiency, provision of greater customer experience and ease of doing business.

Credit: (NAN)

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