Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria.
- The importation of sugar for local consumption would soon be a thing of the past, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar , has assured. The Minister asserted that “The government is fully prepared to support genuine investors to succeed in their investment anywhere in Nigeria. “Nigeria is getting into agriculture development proper as the abundance in the past was not well handled, which is the reason for the current hardship the country is presently facing.” Link
- An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Sub-Sahara Africa economic outlook has projected that Nigeria will maintain a 0.8% growth post-recession in 2017. The IMF also insisted that the growth is premised on a higher oil production subject to maintenance of peace in the Niger Delta and strong agricultural production. Link
- Nine states in the country would participate in a new World Bank supported $200 million agricultural programme, an official said in Kaduna on Wednesday. The team leader said 40 per cent of the amount would go to projects to support youth and women in the participating states. He said that Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Cross River, Kogi and Enugu have been selected to participate in the programme while the remaining three states would be announced after fulfilling set conditions. Link
- The Federal Government on Tuesday unveiled a 10-year food security and nutrition strategy for the country’s agricultural sector. The government said the document, which was titled: ‘Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy 2016-2025’, would mainstream nutrition into all the value chains of agriculture in Nigeria. According to the Government, nutrition will be considered before production of food products are embarked upon. Link
- President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) to make Calabar Free Trade Zone a pilot industrial city in the country, the new managing director Emmanuel Jime announced this in Calabar, capital of Cross River State. The government wanta Calabar to be the first of six cities that will be designated as industrial cities in Nigeria. Link
- The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its partners on Tuesday came up with a scheme to increase gas supply for domestic consumption by 285 per cent from 1.3 billion standard cubic feet per day to five billion scf/d by 2020. They plan to achieve thought Seven Critical Gas Development Projects. The projects are said to include Assa North-Ohaji South Field Development; Oil Mining Lease 24 and OML 18 Joint Development and Shell Petroleum Development Company Joint Venture/Nigeria Agip Oil Company Joint Venture Unitized Gas Fields. Others are NPDC’s OML 26, 30, 42 and Chevron Nigeria Limited’s OML 49 Makaraba Cluster Development; SPDC JV Gas Supply to Brass Fertiliser Company; OML 13 Cluster Development and Cluster Development of Okpokunou/Tuomo West (OML 35/62). Link
- Nigeria’s Minsiter for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has said that Nigeria will enter negotiations with General Electric over a railway project. GE was the sole bidder in a $2 billion railway project connecting northern cities to the south of the country Link
- The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says it is working to upgrade the combined capacity of its four refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt from the present 445,000 to 700,000 barrels per day under the planned repair programme for the plants. The repair work on the refineries, expected to commence after the selection of the contractors by September this year, is expected to put the them in a position to attain optimum performance. Link
- Alhaji Muneer Bankole, Chief Executive Officer, Medview Airline Plc, on Tuesday said the airline would begin flight operations on the Lagos-Dubai route on July 4. Link
- The Senate on Tuesday received the report of the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance on the 2017 Appropriation Bill (2017 Budget). The bill is expected to be passed on thursday. Link
- The Nigerians Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) amendment Bill scaled through third reading at the lower chamber of the National Assembly yesterday. The bill is contentious and includes provisions that many believe will impact negatively on the operations of the company. For example, the National Assembly seeks to end the company’s status as dollar-denominated. Link
- The Senate on Tuesday has insisted on going ahead with its planned probe into the alleged fraud amounting to over $4,926,464,100 against Chevron Nigeria Limited, despite the request by a petitioner, Dr George Uboh of Panic Alert Security System, PASS, who had written to inform the Senate Committee on Public Petitions of his decision to withdraw his petition. Link
Nigerian Governors who have tested positive for Coronavirus
Six Nigerian governors have contracted the novel coronavirus, but some have recovered.
On Saturday, July 4, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. This makes him the 6th Governor to have tested positive for the virus that has infected over 11 million and killed no less than 532,000 people globally.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El- Rufai was the first governor confirmed to have been infected and recovered in April.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, was also infected in March and was reported to have recovered on the 9th of April.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, announced that he tested positive on 30th, March, 2020 and his recovery was reported on the 5th of April.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, tested positive last week on June 30th and Delta’s Ifeanyi Okowa announced that he and his wife had tested positive on July 1.
So far, the governors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are:
1. Nasir el-Rufai
2. Bala Mohammed
3. Seyi Makinde
4. Rotimi Akeredolu
5. Ifeanyi Okowa
6. David Umahi
Earlier this weekend, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom announced that his wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, their son, and some of the wife’s aides had tested positive for COVID-19.
With Nigeria and the rest of the world still battling to contain the dreaded virus, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 28,167 from 148,188 tests carried out as at Saturday, July 4, 2020. In addition, while 11,462 have recovered, 634 persons have died.
BUA cement to build power and cement plants in Adamawa state
BUA Cement’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021.
BUA Cement has announced plans to build a 50 megawatts power plant and 3 million metric tonnes cement plant in Lamurde and Guyuk local governments in Adamawa States.
BUA Cement which is Nigeria’s second-largest cement producer by volume with plants in Sokoto and Edo States, with the projects wants the boost the country’s power supply and increase the local production capacity for cement.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, in a press statement on Sunday, July 5, 2020, in Lagos.
The BUA Cement Chairman who led the company’s management team on a courtesy visit to the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, after preliminary findings showed that Guyuk and Lamurde areas had quality limestone.
According to Rabiu, “Preliminary findings show that the two local governments of Guyuk and Lamurde are reputed to have good quality limestone deposits and BUA Cement is ready to begin the investment in the state.
“BUA will use new technologies to supply power to the proposed cement plant and communities of Guyuk and Lamurde in addition to providing three thousand direct and five thousand indirect jobs.
“Guyuk Cement Plant will be a major investment in the North-East by BUA, while we solicit the support of Gov. Umaru Fintiri to set up the factory in Guyuk.”
He added that while the company has invested billions of dollars in various sectors across Nigeria, it has taken a decision to source its raw materials locally and therefore urged the Adamawa state government to support BUA to actualize the GUYUK Cement project.
The Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, in his response assured the Chairman and management team of BUA, that the state government would provide all the necessary support and make available whatever was needed to make the projects a reality.
BUA Cement’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021 and expects that its total production capacity will get to 14 million metric tonnes of cement per annum upon the completion of Guyuk Cement Plant.
BUA Cement has been having a running battle with Dangote Cement over the ownership of 3 mining sites in Obu and Okpella in Edo State. The mining sites have been subject of legal tussle between the 2 biggest cement companies in the country.
GSK, Sanofi to agree $624 million deal with UK for COVID-19 vaccine
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed.
British and French pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi are close to reaching a $624 million (500 million pounds) deal with the United Kingdom (UK) government for the supply of 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as many countries move for possible COVID-19 treatments.
Reports suggest that the UK was considering an option to buy the vaccine should the human trials, which are due to commence in September 2020, turn out successful.
The funds would be paid in stages as the vaccine progresses, with the final payment made on delivery.
In order not to be left behind, the UK government has been engaging a wide range of companies both at home and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines. They said that the right announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized.
The British business ministry’s spokeswoman, who confirmed that the ministry is handling Britain’s supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines, said talks were going on with different parties about access to possible vaccines but didn’t confirm if GSK/Sanofi project was one of them.
According to the ministry official, ‘’The Government’s Vaccines Task Force is actively engaging with a wide range of companies both in the UK and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines.”
“Appropriate announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized and signed.”
Sanofi is presently working on 2 possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant made by GSK to potentially boost its efficacy. The timeline for its clinical trials is behind the likes of Moderna Inc, the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc and an alliance of BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, whose projects all made headlines by moving to human trials as early as March.
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed in developing a vaccine.