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Address challenges militating against growth of steel industry, MAN urges FG



The Basic Metal, Iron, Steel and Fabricated Metal Products Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged Federal Government to address challenges impeding development of the industry.

Mr Oluyinka Kufile, the immediate past Chairman of the Group, gave the advice on Tuesday at its 2019 Annual General Meeting in Lagos.

Theme of the programme was: “Reviving The Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Aluminum Smelters Company of Nigeria (ALSCON): Priority for Developing the Mental Industry in Nigeria.”

Kufile said that dearth of raw materials and policy misalignment were some of the factors which had pushed the mines, steel and aluminum industry in Nigeria into comatose.

He also listed lack of legal and regulatory framework, poor infrastructure, policy inconsistency and lack of skilled manpower as other challenges hindering the growth of the industry.

Kufile stressed the need for the Federal Government to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Aluminum Smelters Compy of Nigeria (ALSCON) to jump start development of the steel industry.

Commending the efforts of government in the areas of providing enablers and other measures at boosting industrial growth and development, Kufile urged government to formulate policies aimed at revamping the steel industry.

“Part of the measures that touches the industry greatly is the ban placed on the export of scrap metals from Nigeria, which incidentally is a major raw material for the steel industry.

“This singular action is an important value-addition that has been highly beneficial to the industry in all fronts.

“But, this has been misplaced in the policy equation to the detriment of the industry’s stakeholders.

“In the mid 1970s, Nigeria Government embarked on the journey of building a strong iron and steel industry with the quest to fast-track industrialisation by establishing the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Aladja Steel Complex, Itakpe, Iron Ore Mining sites and other rolling Mills.

“Unfortunately, the set objectives of establishing these core industries are yet to be achieved as the facilities operated haphazardly for only a few years, and had since been abandoned,” he said.

Also, Mr Ime Ekrikpo, Director, Steel and Non-ferrous Metal, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, assured the manufacturers of the government’s commitment toward reviving the mines and steel industry in Nigeria.

Ekrikpo, a guest speaker at the programme, said that various challenges were militating against efforts to revive the Ajaokuta Steel complex, while analysing several attempts made by the government in that direction.

According to him, the strategic long-term goal of Nigeria is to explore and exploit the solid mineral potential and add value to them.

“Government is committed to supporting genuine investors in the mines and steel industry with virile and sustainable enabling environment through articulated policies, provision of regulatory framework as well as attractive incentives to industry players.

“Presently, the government is collaborating with universities in the country to train more people in the mines and steel profession,” Ekrikpo said.

He, however, urged manufacturers in the steel industry to contribute their quotas toward revival and development of the industry.

In his speech, Mr Kamoru Yusuf, the new Chairman of the Group, pledged the commitment of his administration to make the association to reach its greatness.


NSE: Investors react positively to ministers’ inauguration, assignment



Investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday reacted positively to the inauguration and assignment of ministers to with their various portfolios by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the All-Share Index rallied by 294.32 points or 1.09 per cent to close at 27,352.94 against 27,058.62 on Tuesday.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Nestle Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Ecobank Trans International (ETI), Dangote Sugar Refinery and CI Leasing.

Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd, attributed the market growth to the inauguration and allotment of ministers by the president.

Omordion said that investors reacted positively to the news leading to increase in buying interest in anticipation of positive policies from the ministers.

He said the inauguration of the new federal cabinet and the expected policies from fiscal and monetary authorities would stimulate the much needed economic growth and development.

“With real governance kicking off with the ministers being assigned portfolios, it is expected that the management of economic information and pronouncements will address investors concern about the safety of their capital and return on investment.

“It is very important that there is effective coordination between the fiscal and monetary authorities, if the economy will make any headway going forward.

“This should come in the form of constant synergy among policy makers to boost confidence in the system again,”he said.

He added that the approval of N600 billion for the revitalization of the power sector was a good step in the right direction.

Omordion, however, noted that implementation would determine its impact on the economy at the long run.

NAN reports that the market capitalisation rose by 0.91 per cent due to the delisting of Skye Bank Plc and Fortis Microfinance from the NSE Daily Official List.

The Exchange said the delisting of the afore-listed companies was approved by the National Council on May 30 in line with its regulatory delisting process.

It said that the companies were delisted as a result of the revocation of their operating licenses by their primary regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria.

However, market breadth closed positive with 23 gainers and 16 losers.

Honeywell Flour Mills recorded the highest price gain of 9.68 per cent, to close at N1.02 per share.

ETI trailed with gain of 9.60 per cent to close at N6.85, while AXA Mansard Insurance appreciated by 9.41 per cent to close at N1.86 per share.

Union Diagnostic Clinical Services rose by 9.09 per cent to close at 24k, while Jaiz Bank appreciated by 8.82 per cent to close at 37k per share.

Conversely, Forte Oil led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent, to close at N15.30 per share.

Okomu Oil followed with a loss of 9.18 per cent to close at N44.50, while Livestock Feeds dipped 8.89 to close at 41k per share.

Wapic Insurance lost 5.56 per cent to close at 34k, while Access Bank shed 4.62 per cent to close at N6.20 per share.

The total volume of shares traded grew by 73.6 per cent with an exchange of 363.97 million shares worth N4.52 billion traded in 3,451 deals.

This was in contrast with a total of 209.62 million shares valued at N3.24 billion exchanged in 3,743 deals on Tuesday.

The banking equities drove the activity chart with United Bank for Africa (UBA) emerging at the most active with 64.73 million shares worth N381.92 million.

Access Bank followed with 58.12 million shares worth N372.27 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank sold 43.99 million shares valued at N1.17 billion.

FBN Holdings traded 36.14 million shares worth N177.94 million, while Zenith Bank transacted 34.56 million shares valued at N608.11 million.


Edited by Remi Koleoso

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FG to inject N600bn in electricity market to boost power supply — TCN



The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), says that the Federal Government has approved N600 billon for electricity market to boost power supply.

The forum has as its theme: “Rules Compliance for Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) Development and Sustainability’’.

Ejie said the intervention by the Federal Government was at a very advanced level, adding that it had already been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the intervention is for the payment of the shortfall in electricity invoices for the entire market.

“The whopping sum of money has never been injected into the power sector before but even when it is privatised, the government is spending more telling you that the privatisation is given a red flag.

“The fund will be ready for disbursement any moment from now.’’

He explained that the intervention was not restricted to a single chain in the market, as it was holistic.

Mr Usman Mohammed, the Managing Director of TCN said that one of the factors that would make the Nigerian Electricity Market Participants to thrive was by complying with rules, codes and orders.

Usman said that there was the need for the operators to be proactive in recognising that regulatory and standard compliance were the key to market development.

“The theme of the event reflects the growing recognition, concern and importance of regulatory compliance and ruling documents implementation.

“Today’s interactive forum is part of the Market Operator effort to support you and improve the market performance,’’ he said.

He said that the forum was to access the market performance, changes and their impact on the market participants’ readiness and challenges, predict what lies ahead and to determine compliance to rules or lack of it.

Mohammed said that TCN had commenced the provision of Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) in all trading modes in the country provision.

He said that TCN also plans to establish a lasting Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment and facilitating operational audit of both the System and Market Operator.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama








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FirstBank to promote new agribusiness opportunities




By Oluwafunke Ishola

Lagos, Aug. 21 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 Nigeria News Agency 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.

Edited by Nick Nicholas/Wale Ojetimi

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CIBN to enhance digital banking, financial inclusion



The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), is poised to enhance digital banking and financial inclusion for robust economic growth.

Mr Peter Ashade, the Chairman, CIBN Lagos chapter disclosed this at a media briefing on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to Ashade, digital banking has become strategic in enhancing the economy, particularly now that the country is seeking greater financial inclusion and more efficient banking services.

“Digital banking services are one of the most significant developments in the banking industry in its long history with its most important features being speed and convenience.

“Bank customers can access their accounts, view their statements, make transfers, pay bills and more, all from the comfort of their homes, offices or on the go,’’ Ashade said.

Ashade, however, lamented that in spite of the many benefits to customers, there are major concerns and challenges, including fraud currently estimated at 31 billiondollars globally.

“Traditional banking habits, security, technical issues and transaction difficulties, all pose major challenges facing the banking industry in the country today,” he said.

To address the issue, Ashade said the institute would hold a forum with the theme; “Rethink Banking Models in the Digital Age for Aconomic Development in Nigeria’’ on Aug. 29 in Lagos.

He said that through the forum, the association would retool the system to minimise challenges as well as optimise benefits to operators and end users for more economic development.

Ashade said that in spite of the challenges, the demand for electronic banking services was waxing strong and critical to inclusive economic growth.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama


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Nigerian varsities partner NASSI to close skills gap



The Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology of Nigerian Universities is seeking to partner the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) to boost entrepreneurship in the country.

Prof. Christian Bolu, former Chairman of the committee made this known on Wednesday in Abuja when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to NASSI management.

Bolu, also Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Covenant University said that the aim of the visit was to involve NASSI in the training of engineers in Nigerian universities, particularly in the practical aspect.

He said that the partnership would close the gap between the academia and entrepreneurial in the country.

“There are about 55 universities offering engineering programmes out of the 200 universities in Nigeria and this committee is for all the Deans of the faculty of engineering.

“The main goal of this committee is to share ideas on how we can improve the training of our engineers. We found out that there are many things lacking, particularly getting our students to work and understand how industries operate in Nigeria.

“We want to make sure they acquire exact skills they need so that when they graduate, they don’t have to run around doing jobs outside their fields or go into banking rather they should be useful in factories,’’ he said.

According to him, the committee also wants to find out the problems in the industry and communities and be part of the solution so that the things we do as practical will be based on problems coming from the industry.

The Professor of Engineering recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in June signed a new Engineering Law which emphasised on Nigerians solving their problems.

Bolu, also the Leader of the Committee working on Industry Academia Partnership underscored the need to ensure Nigerian engineering students were changed by this partnership for Nigeria to benefit economically.

Prof. Salami Ismailia of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta also decried the huge disconnect between the academia and industry.

Ismailia thanked the association for its cooperation and also hoped that the fear of sharing information which was one of the challenges in the industry could be tackled.

Chief Solomon Vongfa, NASSI National President said the partnership was timely, in view of the present challenges in the sector, adding that the association would work together with the committee for entrepreneurial development.

He said that there were 41 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, adding that such meaningful collaboration which would close the huge gap was needed to enhance the sector.

“There is a challenge on skills gap, so engineering students will be allowed to visit our factories for intensive training. Industrial Attachment is not enough.

“We are having relationship with China, India and U.S.A to meet up with global competitiveness, We will like to bring in modern machines to face the international market.

“The students will also be exposed on how to operate the equipment through the technology and knowledge transfer from our foreign partners.

“We have been doing a lot of trainings, especially in the internal villages to develop small scale entrepreneurs in the country. We are open for collaborations to build the industry,’’ he said.



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