BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN – Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has waded into the dispute between Dangote and BUA companies owned by two business moguls from the state.

This is in order to resolve the lingering conflict among the two Kano State prominent indigenes Aliko Dangote and Abdussamad Isyaka-Rabi’u over the establishment of a sugar plant by BUA.

The dispute was over who controls the sugar market in Africa’s biggest economy. While Dangote accused his competitor of attempting to appropriate undue advantage, Rabiu says Mr Dangote, Africa’s richest man, wants to monopolise the market and manipulate prices. But Dangote denied the price-fixing allegation.

A statement by Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor on Thursday in Kano, said the reconciliation meeting took place on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Kano Emirate and the Kano State Council of Imams joined the governor in the reconciliation meeting.

Recall that recently there were reports that Dangote complained about the establishment of a sugar plant by BUA International Limited in the Port Harcourt free trade zone, saying it was out of tune with export laws.

Anwar said that after the meeting, the Chairmen of both Dangote and BUA agreed to work together to supply enough sugar to satisfy the demand of the country.

According to him, the meeting put a stop to all rumours that the duo were in dispute over sugar business control in the country.

“They all dismissed allegations that Dangote was planning to see the increase of sugar price, thereby pressurising BUA to succumb to the increment. They described the allegation as baseless and lacking any iota of truth.

“The meeting was seen as the zenith of other similar efforts to reconcile the two giants by the governor. Alhaji Aminu Alhassan Dantata played the role of a father during the meeting,” Anwar said.

Present at the meeting were the Minister for Commerce, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and representative of the Kano Emirate, Alhaji Aminu Dan-Agundi.

Others are Chairman of the Council of Kano Imams, Sheikh Muhammad Nasir-Adam, the Chief Imam of Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani Friday Mosque, Kofar Mata, Kano and the Chairman of NEPZA, Adamu Panda, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

All the two business moguls agreed to work together in unity for the growth and development of the nation.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Management of Dangote Cement Plc, yesterday, denied any form of price increase, clarifying that the product from its factories and plants nationwide sells for N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese inclusive of value-added tax (VAT).

Lamenting the misinformation in certain quarters, the company’s clarification followed recent insinuations that it was selling cement in Nigeria at a significantly higher price relative to other countries, particularly Ghana and Zambia.

Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Devakumar Edwin, explained that while a bag of cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it goes for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, taxes included.

He said though the company had direct control over its ex-factory prices, it, however, could not influence the pricing of the product when it gets to the market.

Edwin advised that it was important to distinguish Dangote’s ex-factory prices from those at which retailers disposed of theirs.

To effectively puncture the deliberate de-marketing by vested interests, he tendered before reporters at a news conference invoices from Nigeria and some other African nations, including Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, even as the GED urged them to conduct independent inquiries into the price of cement across West Africa.
 
Stating that Dangote controls 60 per cent market share, Edwin added: “DCP has no control over neither the prices charged by other cement manufacturers nor the prices charged by retailers in the markets.”

He continued: “The demand for cement has risen globally as a fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. Nigeria is no exception, as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activities.

“To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned terminals, thereby forgoing dollar earnings. We also had to reactivate our 4.5 million tonne capacity Gboko plant, which was shut four years ago, and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to meet demand and keep the price of cement within control in the country.”

The official further said: “Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50 per cent of them are linked to the U.S. dollar. So, the cost of critical components like gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts has increased significantly due to the devaluation of the naira and VAT increase, Guardian reported.
 
“Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019, while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly. We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 to N350 per bag for delivery within a 1,200-kilometre radius. We have been responsible enough not to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices.”

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has slammed Africa’s Richest businessman, Aliko Dangote for allegedly exploiting Nigerians via the Dangote Cement Company.

The IPOB leader alleged that the Dangote cement is sold cheaper in other countries while the price is doubled in Nigeria.

Kanu made the allegation on Wednesday via a tweet on his verified Twitter handle.

“In Zambia, Dangote sells cement for 55 Kwatcha (1150 Naira). But here in Nigeria, the same cement is going for 3,000 to 5,000 Naira.

“Dangote is the biggest problem in Nigeria(#Zoo)
#EndNigeria #EndNigeriaNow #EndNigeriaNowToSaveLives”.

Dangote, the wealthiest man on the continent, is the founder of the Dangote Group, which is West Africa’s largest conglomerate.

The company also owns the largest cement producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Aside from cement, the company also produces products such as sugar, salt, flour, steel, oil, and gas.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) styled Infrastructure company named Infra-Co with an initial seed capital of one trillion naira.

Buhari has also asked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to chair a Steering Committee tasked with setting up the company.

In a statement by the Vice President spokesman, Laolu Akande, on Friday in Abuja, said it was envisaged that over time, the entity would grow up to N15 trillion in assets and capital.

Infra-Co will be one of the premier infrastructure finance entities in Africa and will be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

The entity has been developed with concept designs from the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He revealed the initial seed capital for the entity will come from the CBN, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), and the Africa Finance Corporation.

Board of Infra-Co will be chaired by the Central Bank Governor and include the Managing Director of NSIA, and President of the Africa Finance Corporation.

Others in the board are representatives of the Nigerian Governors Forum, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

The Board will also have three independent directors from the private sector.

Akande explained that to address the infrastructure deficit, the Federal Government continues to explore innovative options, including through financing initiatives such as the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) designed to cater for the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, among others.

There is also the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme which is being used for the funding of the Bodo-Bonny Bridges and Road (with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG), The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

He noted that the scheme is also used for funding of the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway (with Dangote Group), among others.

Infra-Co will finance public asset development, rehabilitation and reconstruction as well as invest in cutting edge infrastructure projects for roads, rail, power and other key sectors.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Trade Union Congress (TUC) has reacted to the planned increase of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol following rise in the price of crude oil to $60 per barrel.

TUC wondered why the Federal Government was quick to make reference to rise in crude prices but takes weeks or months to implement agreements reached with Organised Labour.

In a statement signed by TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, lambasted government officials for their “care-free attitude and indifference to the plight of Nigerians’’, adding that the current administration has no mercy for the poor.

‘‘Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has expressed shock over the recent statement credited to the Ministry of Petroleum on the recent rise in the price of crude in the international market.

“The question is why is government always quick to tell us about the rise in the price of crude in the international market and the need to increase the price of PMS but it takes them weeks and sometimes months to implement agreement reached with the Organised Labour? It all points to one thing: they have no mercy for the poor people of this country.

‘‘In every move and statement by government officials you could see and feel their care-free attitude and indifference to our plight’’, it said.

The congress noted that “It appears they are not disturbed by the poverty -ridden plight of Nigerians and the unemployment/insecurity situation that their obnoxious policies have created in the country. There is nothing honorable about what the Minister has said, The Nation reported.

“Nigeria is among the six oil producing countries in the world. Reports have it that our oil is one of the best, giving us an edge over others.

“Unfortunately, we have not taken advantage of that.  We have four refineries that are not functional. Why are they not functional and why is government closing its eyes to it?

“Their refusal to attend to them is reason why the country is subjected to the vagaries and volatility of the price of crude in the international market.

“Nigeria is now depending on Dangote and Niger Republic refineries to supply us fuel! Dangote is an individual while Niger Republic is far less than Lagos in population. The pain the masses of the country bear is a needless one. It is artificially created.

“The TUC, nay organised labour is trying seriously to avert a major industrial crisis. We have tightened our belt so hard to the extent that we are finding it difficult to breathe but the government seems not to care. Government’s knee is on our neck and we are appealing to them to have a change of heart”, TUC stated.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Lokoja – Dangote Group says it has completed Nigeria’s longest rigid pavement located in Kogi State.

The 43-kilometre Obajana-Kabba road, built by Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has been described by motorists as the country’s most strategic highway in aiding travelers between the North and the South, according to a statement issued by the group on Sunday.

Project Director, Olatunbosun Kalejaiye, expressed his excitement on the completion of the Corporate Social Responsibility Project to be used by Nigerians, adding that while the rigid pavement had been completed, the company was dressing the shoulders.

Site Engineer, Samuel Obosi, assured that the dual carriage way would be durable and less susceptible to potholes and repairs like asphalt road.

He added that it would crash the rate of road accidents in the country.

 The Bajana of Obajana Land, King Idowu Senibi, described the project as gigantic and the first of its kind anywhere in Nigeria.

“This is a great opportunity for us and many generations to come. Our society will be opened as you can see vehicles and commercial activities have started coming up. May God Almighty bless Dangote and all his staff,” he stated.

Speaking in the same vein, the traditional head of Akpata Land, Frederick Balogun, said his people were very proud of Aliko Dangote, adding that the Dangote Cement Obajana plant had brought honour and respect to their kingdoms.

The King of Okebunku Land in Kabba Bunu Local Government, Timothy Omonile, also noted that the construction of the road had helped cut down the criminality rate in the state.

He commended the president of the Dangote Group and charged other philanthropists to emulate him, adding that that was the only way Nigeria could develop its economy and infrastructure.

BUSINESS GlobeNews NEWS

NEWSMAN – Dangote Industries Limited ended trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Friday, as the biggest loser leaving its owner, Aliko Dangote, with a drop in net worth by $900m.

Bloomberg Billionaires Index which ranks the first 500 richest
people in the world showed that his wealth fell from $18.4bn on Thursday to $17.5bn on Friday, taking him from 106th to 114th on the list of wealthiest people in the world.

The majority of Dangote’s fortune is derived from his 86 per cent stake in publicly-traded Dangote Cement, Bloomberg said .

He holds the shares in the company directly and through his conglomerate, Dangote Industries, Vanguard reported.

“A $12bn oil refinery that is currently being developed in Nigeria isn’t included in the valuation because it’s not yet operational and construction costs are calculated to outweigh its current value”.

Dangote is the only Nigerian on the list.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – President of Dangote Industries Limited and Africa’s biggest philanthropist, Aliko Dangote, has urged all operators in the private sector to commit one per cent of their profits to fund the health sector challenges in Nigeria.

He made these suggestions while responding to questions posed to him by a moderator Francine Lacqua during the virtual Bloomberg New Economic Forum (NEF), at a session titled, “Cross-Sector Mobilisation in Times of Crisis: Public Health Perspective.”

Other speakers alongside Dangote, who made their remarks at the Bloomberg NEF session hosted by the Dangote Group included, Founder and Chief Executive of Flagship Pioneering and Co-founder and Chairman of Moderna, Dr. Noubar Afeyan, and Co-founder and Chief Strategist at Partners in Health Care, Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, USA, Dr. Paul Farmer.

Responding to a question from Lacqua on if funding was one of the main barriers to actually dealing with health crisis effectively, Dangote replied, “Yes, I agree with you. It is more to do with funding. Like what we are doing in Nigeria as a foundation (Aliko Dangote Foundation), we are trying to sponsor a bill to our Congress where we want them to impose a tax. This is a separate tax, not a corporate tax, of maybe about one per cent of all our profits, in the private sector, so that they will fund health.

“And I think it is the only way; we cannot just leave government alone. Government alone cannot fund health. So we the foundations, the private sector and then the government, we have to actually work together to make sure that we fund health. You know, it is a very, very important sector and without a healthy population, there is no way you have a healthy economy.”

In his remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic and its ravaging impact on African health and economic sectors and the role played by the private sector, Dangote noted that, “for us here in Nigeria, mostly in Africa, the COVID-19 is really an eye-opener because when you look at it, we have two impacts. One is the human impact, the other one is the economy.

“One, I think in Africa, most of it is actually the economic impact, because what you have done at the beginning, we shut down all our activities, we shut down the airports. So when you look at the economic impact for us, it is huge. But the human impact, we as at today we have about 65,000 cases, thereabouts in Nigeria, and we have 1,165 deaths.”

“So it’s not really much compared to population, which is, you know, the population of 200 million. But because of the economic impact, a lot of people couldn’t really go out to make their livelihood. So what we did, we have this Coalition against COVID-19 of which I actually mobilised the private sector and we raise the sum of $112 million dollars. And what we did was now to go all out and set up 39 isolation centers, of which the smallest one is 100 beds and biggest ones are 200 beds. And they have ventilators which we bought; they have all the equipment, EaglesOnline reported.

“And then we also said, what do we do about these isolation centers? Now people were not able to afford money to eat. So what we did, we went out and we bought food for 10 million people, which is five per cent of the population; thus people at the bottom of the pyramid. And what we did, we took 10 million people and we said, this 10 million people, it means that you have minimum of 1.7 million households. And we gave them food and we distributed. So that will actually reduce the effect of the lockdown. So that’s what we did”, Dangote added.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Government has allowed Dangote Cement to resume exports across its land borders.

This is despite the closure of all land borders by the government for over one year.

The move has, however,  raised hopes that Nigeria may be opening up trade with neighbors after a year-long blockade.

The regime of President Muhammadu Buhari gave its authorisation for Africa’s biggest producer to export cement to Niger and Togo in the third quarter for the first time in ten months, Michel Puchercos, chief executive officer, said on an investor call in Lagos. The export was made possible “through authorisation given by this administration,” he said.

The exemption to Dangote Cement is seen as a softening of the government’s position on a border closure that started in August last year, and could open the way for other bushinesses to fully resume exports across the country’s land barriers, Bloomberg reported.

Nigerian authorities closed borders with neighbouring countries including Benin and Niger to curb smuggling and boost local production.

Although the blockade encouraged the consumption of locally grown produce such as rice, it hurt factories across West Africa, which rely on Nigeria’s market of 200 million people.

Dangote resumed land export with “restricted volumes,” and plans to grow the trade using the sea channels, according to Puchercos.

The Lagos-based company’s plan to buy back some of its shares has been delayed by market volatility and low liquidity, which have affected valuation, Guillaume Moyen, acting chief financial officer said at the same conference call.

BUSINESS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Dangote Group said its two billion-dollar granulated urea fertilizer plant located at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos will begin operations before the end of December.

Anthony Chiejina, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, confirmed the development to newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

“The project will be ready for take-off before the end of December. The pre-testing has already been done and the delay in starting operations was due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, Chiejina said.

Aliko Dangote, Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, had in February projected that the plant would begin operations in July.

Dangote had said that the project would be the largest fertiliser plant in the world with its three million tonnes per annum capacity.

He said it would make Nigeria the only urea exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating $2.5 billion annually, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

According to him, the amount is almost 10 per cent of what Nigeria is getting from home remittances, which is one of the highest in the world.