Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria today.
- Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to hit $595 billion in the next three years (2020), according to the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 released by Quantum Global Lab. Link
- The Nigeria equity market on Tuesday improved further by 0.66 per cent, just as the market capitalisation rose by N74 billion due to price growth by some blue chips. Link
- Construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail has been suspended over right of way issues and a flyover bridge at Ijoko, Ogun State. The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, gave the indication on Monday, saying the height of the bridge would have to be raised for future electrification of the rail line. Link
- Nigeria and Libya may be asked to cap their crude oil output soon in an effort to help re-balance the market, the Kuwait Oil Minister, Issam Almarzooq, said on Wednesday. The two countries have boosted oil production since they were exempted from the global cuts led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers. Link
- Power situation in the country saw a 24 percent improvement in June cumulatively, 69,800 megawatts, MW, were sent out as against 53,339MW sent out in May, daily operational report of the Nigerian Electricity System Operation, as shown. Link
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected $142.5 million into the inter-bank foreign exchange, days after intervening in the retail segment of the market with $254.3 million. Link
- The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Investors and Exporters Foreign Exchange window has traded about $3.83bn since it was established on April 24, it has been learnt. Foreign exchange traders said this on Monday as the naira traded more strongly on the window than on the black market, Reuters reported. Link
- The Federal Government has said that it will ensure adequate insurance of its assets. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said this during the National Insurance Conference of the Insurance Industry Consultative Council with the theme: ‘Nigeria open for business’, in Abuja on Monday. Link
- The World Bank has called for a single regulatory authority for the regulation of the operations of free zones in Nigeria. Link
- Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Director-General Osita Aboloma has said the agency has shut seven steel companies of the 41 rolling mills registered with it for various reasons “in the last few months”. Link
- Western Lotto Nigeria Limited has disclosed that lottery can generate over N141.3 billion annually for the development of Nigeria’s economy. The Managing Director, Western Lotto Nigeria, Mr. Elvis Krivokuca, stated that “In South African, 82 percent of the population play the lottery at least once in a week. In 2012 alone expert put the lottery shares of funds to the country finances at about N141.3 billion. In same year, United Kingdom lottery made a significant contribution up to the sum of £2.2 billion which was used to host the 2012 London Olympics games.” Link
- Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja (HOFA) has appealed to the Federal Government to provide a development fund dedicated to tourism and hospitality for private sector investors to help grow the sector. Link
- Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN) has disclosed that investments in backward integration projects have boosted local content by 53.17 per cent. Link
- The All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) on Tuesday warned the Federal Government against importation of maize into the country. Alhaji Nuhu Aminu, the Chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of AFAN said that farmers across the country had invested heavily in agriculture, with little or no subsidy from government. “President Muhammadu Buhari directed us to go back to the farm; we have actually accepted the directive in good faith but to our greatest dismay, the Federal Government is now importing maize from outside; we learnt that a ship, laden with 50,000 tonnes of maize, had recently arrived Nigeria,” he said. Link
- The Nigerian electricity generation dropped to 3,511 megawatts (mw) on Monday, losing 603mw about 24 hours after a peak capacity of 4,114mw was reached. Available records from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed that the highest peak generation in July was reached last Friday when a peak of 4,223mw was generated but in the same day, the peak generation dropped to 3,089mw. Link
- The Debt Management Office (DMO) paid out over N4.8 trillion as interests in the last five years to banks and other investors. The money was lent to Nigerian Government from the domestic market through the FGN Bonds; Treasury Bonds or Treasury Bills issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of measures to check inflation caused by excess liquidity in the economy. Link
- The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has issued new guidelines for the establishment of hydrocarbon processing plants. It also issued an addendum “supplementary guidelines for the design, construction and operation of modular refinery plants in Nigeria. According to the DPR, the guidelines shall cover all refinery establishment, adding that the establishment of modular refinery plants, shall be with design capacity not more than 30, 000 barrels per day (bpd). Link
- The federal government Monday disclosed that it would restructure the total debts owed to service providers in Nigeria’s privatised electricity market by the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) with the aim of easing the debt burden and allowing them to source for monies to fund their capital projects. Link
- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has started an aggressive enforcement of the agency’s codes of corporate governance to address customers dissatisfaction. Prof. umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission said that the enforcement was necessary to ensure that operators in the industry continued to operate as viable businesses. Link
- First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced the appointment of Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim as an executive director. Prior to his appointment, Ibrahim was the bank’s group executive, retail banking in the North since January 2016. Link
- The American International Insurance Company Limited (AIICO) on Tuesday formally handed over and transferred landed property, private equity holding and cash as legacy funds to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). Link
- The Federal Government has disclosed that no agreement on concessioning of the National Iron Ore Mining Company, NIOMCO, to Global Steel Holdings Limited, has been revoked as claimed by some persons. This was stated by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abbas Mohammed, who represented the Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi, at the ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines, EFEDCOM, General Assembly Meeting in Abuja. Link
- Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. trading as Etisalat Nigeria on Tuesday informed its customers that the change of brand name will not affect its operations. Link
- Chairman/CEO of Stanel Group, Mr. Stanley Uzochukwu, joined by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and other dignitaries, formally inaugurated the company’s ultra-modern luxury mega center (Stanel World) in Awka, Anambra State. Link
- Dipo Falkner, country general manager, IBM West Africa, has disclosed that the company would be training five million Nigerians over the next two years on information and communications technology skills required to enhance the small and medium enterprises (SME) business entrepreneurs. Link
- The Managing Director of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Engr. Ernest Mupwaya said the firm has reinforced 4,048 sub-stations in its network through maintenance services while surveying the protection system of 68 others. Link
- Shareholders of Eterna PLC at its 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, approved the board’s proposal for the payment of 30 kobo per share amounting to N391 million for its financial year ended December 31, 2016. Link
- Etisalat Nigeria is focused on getting the telecoms group back on track to make a profit after it was saved from collapse, while working on the paperwork to eventually raise new capital. “Our mandate is to make sure the business runs as profitably as it can. What is most important now is to … ensure that the business runs and meets its obligations,” the company’s new chief executive Boye Olusanya told Reuters on Tuesday. Link
- Financial relief came the way of victims of the recent Yoruba and Hausa communal clash in Ile Ife, Osun State, as Dangote Foundation donated N50 million to 220 victims to cushion the effect of the violence. Link
- Kano state assembly has passed a bill for its Health Trust Fund Bill. The fund could generate up to N2.5 billion a year for spending in health. It proposed the fund will be financed through a 5% deduction every month from the total tax revenue of the state and another 1% dedicated monthly from statutory allocation to the 44 council areas in Kano. Link
- The acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the appointment of 19 judges for the National Industrial Court. The newly appointed judges with their states of origin are, Targema John Iorngee (Benue), Namtari Mahmood Abba (Adamawa), Nweneka Gerald Ikechi (Rivers), Kado Sanusi (Katsina), Adeniyi Sinmisola Oluyinka (Ogun), Abiola Adunola Adewemimo (Osun) Opeloye Ogunbowale (Lagos), Essien Isaac Jeremiah (Akwa-Ibom) and Elizabeth Ama Oji (Ebonyi) .Others are, Arowosegbe Olukayode Ojo (Ondo), Ogbuanya Nelson S. Chukwudi (Enugu), Bashir Zaynab Mohammed (Niger), Galadima Ibrahim Suleiman (Nasarawa), Bassi Paul Ahmed (Borno), Danjidda Salisu Hamisu (Kano), Hamman Idi Polycarp (Taraba), Damulak Kiyersohot Dashe (Plateau), Alkali Bashar Attahiru (Sokoto), and Mustapha Tijjani (Jigawa). Link
- President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Tuesday condemned the Kogi State Government for its alleged roles in the ongoing process to recall the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, from the National Assembly. Ekweremadu, while raising a point of order at the plenary on Tuesday, referred the lawmakers to a three-page advertorial by Attorney General of Kogi State, Mr. Ibrahim Sani Muhammed, noting that every page of the advertorial cost about N700,000, adding “for this alone, they spent about Nm and I understand that it is in about five other papers so we are looking at about N12m spent to responding to my comment.” Link
Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020
A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs.
Microsoft Corp aims to provide free online classes and resources for job-hunting to 25 million people by the end of 2020 as a way to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The classes are going to be held on LinkedIn and GitHub online platforms and are expected to teach 10 highly demanded jobs.
The training is available to workers across the globe and it is geared towards teaching digital skills. The pandemic, having created a more technology-dependent face of work, and Microsoft is on a quest to aid the development of digital skills ranging from data analysis, digital marketing, and help-desk services.
Microsoft, leveraging data from its LinkedIn business, chose 10 job roles as a result of the growing demand for them as well as their potential to provide opportunities for a wide range of people – including those without college degrees.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, called it “the largest skills initiative” explaining that Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the skills required for probably every occupation; hence, workers without digital skills will fall further and further behind.
“Everything we envisioned when 2020 began has accelerated more quickly than we imagined. Even when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, equipping individuals with work skills will remain an extremely important priority for companies like us and for the economy as a whole.”
Skills training in recent years has moved increasingly online, as providers of online classes like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and others have emerged, offering ease and affordability compared to traditional education options.
A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs. Just last month, Bank of America noted that job training and career reskilling would be one of its four focus areas for $1 billion in funding for economic-opportunity initiatives over the next four years. In the same month, Walmart Foundation had also donated $6 million to Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying and scaling successful workforce-development programs.
Microsoft will give users access to LinkedIn content for “learning paths” relating to the 10 jobs until the end of 2020. Its commitment also includes $20 million in grants to organizations that will support individuals using the free resources, as well as $5 million to companies that cater to the needs of communities of color.
Andela to expand presence to all African countries
Andela also announced it will accept Pan African applications from engineers with full-stack programming experience.
Global Engineering Talent company, Andela that helps companies build remote engineering teams announced on Wednesday that it now accepts Engineers from all African countries.
Andela says it is a bid “ to double is final talent pool and connect an even greater number of specialist engineers with opportunities”.
Andela also announced it will accept Pan African applications from engineers with full-stack programming experience such as Node, React, Python and Ruby.
Andela co-founder, Jeremy Johnson says, “Over the past five years, we have become experts at identifying engineering excellence from non-traditional backgrounds. We know that there are extremely talented engineers across Africa and we believe that opportunity should not be limited by proximity to a major tech hub. Being a remote-first engineering organization allows us to open up access to Andela for engineers across the continent.”
He added that the removal of location-based restrictions will help double Andela’s talent pool to roughly 500,000 engineers in Africa, who will leverage on Andela’s work with top international engineering teams.
Andela’s customers include Cloudflare, Wellio, ViacomCBS and Women Who Code and helps them gain access to high-quality software engineers who work as long-term, embedded team members.
Andela said the announcement will enable companies that it works with to source the talent they need, “by opening up to additional talent pools access the continent.”
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Co-founder Johnson also said the world is realising remote work will be a catalyst for “democratization of opportunity by doubling our talent pool, we are professional to help accelerate their critical work of building the future.”
Absa was launched in 2014 and prior to being a fully remote organization, Andela operated in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. the company says it has fully completed the transition to full remote with a pilot program in Ghana (2018) and Egypt last year.
Mr. Price plans to exit Nigeria, closes stores in the country
The company said it is going to be focusing on South Africa in a more concentrated way.
Mr. Price Group is making plans to close its Nigerian business to focus on its home market business in South Africa.
The popular affordable clothing, sport, and home wear brand has closed four out of its five Nigerian stores and expects to close the last one in the coming months.
This was disclosed by its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Blair.
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Nigeria is the third country where the company has exited, as it had left Australia and Poland just last year. The Durban-based company cited challenges like supply-chain disruptions and challenges in getting funds out of the country as reasons it has struggled to operate in Nigeria.
Mark Stirton, Chief Financial Officer of Mr. Price explained that, “We are really going to focus on South Africa in a more concentrated way.”
The company is just one out of the few companies that have left Nigeria over the past few years. Companies like Woolworths Holdings Ltd. left the country in 2013. Shoprite Holdings Ltd. had also noted just last year that it may close some stores in the country as well.
The company predicts that it might face a few challenges among other retail companies in South Africa particularly owing to the lockdown it is only gradually emerging from.
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Consequently, Mr. Price had been seeking out ways to conserve cash; it froze head-office salaries and did not declare a final dividend. It also announced plans to sell shares so as to expand its operations through growth, last year.