In an uncanny press release issued on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oando Plc berated media houses for reporting that it is under investigation by SEC.
Oando chastising media
Oando expressed its disdain for media reporting without getting their own side of the story.
The Company is concerned about media houses going public with information without first obtaining a balanced view as this may in some cases lead to the publication of unconfirmed, misleading and damaging information. Oando is a public listed company quoted on both the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges and any damaging information in the public domain could have a material impact on the Company. We therefore demand an immediate retraction of the report and urge media houses to refrain and/or desist from further publications in future, without first verifying the accuracy of such facts from Oando.
Channels TV had reported earlier on Friday, that the quoted oil company is currently under investigation by the Security and Exchange Commission over an alleged complaint by some foreign shareholders of the company. Channels Television has since pulled down the story.
Excerpt of Channels original report
“Oando is under a comprehensive investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission…..following petitions filed by some foreign investors in Oando Nigeria PLC, in relation (sic) shareholding structure following the 1.65 billion Dollars cash that Oando paid in June 2014 to acquire the oil production assets of Conoco-Phillips in Nigeria…”.
According to Oando, it reveals in the press release that they are aware that “SEC is in receipt of correspondence containing (in our opinion) unsubstantiated, misleading and defamatory claims with respect to various matters that had already received board, shareholder and where required SEC approval”.
Oando also revealed that it is fully co-operating with the SEC by providing all appropriate clarifications and rebuttals on the matters raised in the said correspondence. Oando also committed to providing full disclosure of the outcome as soon as the SEC review is completed.
Note that Oando avoided using the word “investigation” in their report.
So what’s the fuss about?
It’s not clear why Oando is so upset about Channels report as their press release did not deny the claim in any way. In fact, it admitted that SEC was in position of a of what it said was “unsubstantiated, misleading and defamatory ” without exactly explaining what the allegations brought against them were.
However, Channels TV withdrawal of the story suggest they may have been wrong in asserting that the allegations had to do with the Conoco-Phillips deal.
What we can conclude
- There is an allegation against Oando
- SEC is aware and are investigating (ignore the semantics) which is why Oando is responding
- Oando did not provide details on what the allegations are.
As usual, capital market regulators, SEC and NSE also did not get Oando to disclose publicly that it was under investigations and getting them to disclose fully what the investigation is about. The press release issued by Oando is also a further example of the sort of information asymmetry that currently exist in the capital market.
Oando’s share price fell 9.5% at the end of closing on Friday.
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.