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Nigeria may seek more funds from World Bank to battle erosion

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Minister of Environment Mallam Ibrahim Jubril has hinted that Nigeria may seek more funding NEWMAP project. He also disclosed that 12 new states would be added to the programm, while the Federal Government was about concluding discussions with the World Bank for additional financing.

What is the NEWMAP project  about ?

The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) is a collaborative effort between  the Federal Ministry of Environment in concert with the World Bank and its partner agencies have designed the Nigeria to address  gully erosion in the south east as well as land degradation in the North.

Initial funding was for seven states namely Abia, Anambra, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo. The Project has further scaled out to twelve states in Nigeria including: Delta, Oyo, Sokoto, Gombe, Plateau, Kogi, Kano, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Nasarrawa, Katsina and Niger states.

Why this is major

Erosion leads to loss of lives, lands and properties in the Country. This also has a negative effect on the economic well being of those living in the affected areas. Land degradation in the North leads to migration to other parts of the country and pressure on land.  This in turn leads to conflict between host communities and migrants. Crisis again leads to loss of life and property. Various communities in the country have had clashes with Fulani herdsmen.

About the World Bank

The World Bank is an international finance institution that provides loans to countries for capital programs. The bank was created in 1944 at the Bretton Woods conference alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The World Bank Group comprises five constituent institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via [email protected]

Business

Jumia sees competition from startups in growing African e-commerce market

Investors have experienced a couple of twists and turn since the stock debuted in New York.

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Q3 ’19: Jumia grows revenue by 52%, Five gone, more to follow as Jumia shuts down Tanzania operation for 2022 projection 

One of Africa’s leading e-commerce firms, Jumia Technologies AG, is facing a new set of competition from startups in the Africa e-commerce and logistics market, after the coronavirus pandemic increased the demand for online deliveries.

The Co-Chief Executive Officer of Jumia, Sacha Poignonnec revealed that the restrictions and lockdown, which were implemented by various countries as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, have attracted more entrepreneurs into the e-commerce business. He, however, demonstrated good sportsmanship, saying:

“Greater competition is to be welcomed, given there are still so few people in the region that transact online. I would rather grow the market than just try to take everything.’’

Nairametrics had reported that Jumia reported a loss after tax of 37.6 million euros (N17 billion) in the second quarter of 2020. E-commerce firms were expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers, during the lockdown, moved towards online transactions to meet their essential needs.

However, the losses were an improvement on the 66.7 million euros that was reported for the corresponding period in 2019. Apparently, the firm is trying to dig itself out of a massive loss hole.

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The Lagos-based online market place, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was one of the pioneers of internet trading in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the company’s performance falls behind that of its peers around the world due to various challenges ranging from poor internet connection to now competition.

Jumia investors have experienced a couple of twists and turns since the stock debuted in New York last year. Allegations of corruption, persistent losses in the Nigerian business and a damning short-seller report contributed to an initial share-price slump. But the coronavirus outbreak has helped to greatly increase market value this year.

It was reported earlier that one of the early investors in Jumia, MTN Group Ltd, was considering selling its stake in the business. Reacting to this, Poignonnec disclosed that Jumia may offer MTN’s shares as part of a potential new equity offer within the next 3 years if the Johannesburg-based firm decides to sell.

He also revealed that expanding into food delivery business has helped to increase Jumia’s sales and footprint in its African markets, which are led by Nigeria. This includes grocery and pharmacy orders as well as restaurants takeaways.

The logistics business unit of Jumai is another revenue stream as it is also now open to third parties who wish to use the firm’s network of drivers to deliver packages.

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Oba Otudeko: A self-made billionaire entrepreneur

Courtesy of his several businesses, Otudeko is currently ranked among the richest men in Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s manufacturing sector has some of the most influential and richest men in the country. Among them, the name of Dr. Oba Otudeko rings a special bell.

Though he started out in the banking sector, he is now a notable personality in the manufacturing sector, creating thousands of jobs along the value chain and improving local production for the country.

This week on Nairametrics’ founders profile, we bring you Obafunke Otudeko’s life achievements and how he has attained such heights.

Early life

Ayoola Obafunke Otudeko was born into a royal family on August 18, 1943, in Odogbolu, present-day Ogun state. This perhaps explains why close friends sometimes jokingly refer to him as “the only Oba without a palace.”

He had his early education at St. John’s School, Oke Agbo, Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State, and Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo, before he travelled out to study Accountancy in Leeds College of Commerce, Yorkshire, UK.

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After returning to Nigeria, Otudeko took a bank employment as a clerk in the defunct Co-operative Bank, Ibadan. Over the next two decades, he moved through the ranks to become the General Manager and acting Chief Executive Officer of the Bank. He voluntarily retired from the bank in 1983 and was appointed a Director to the Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

His foray into the business world

Having a mother who was a businesswoman, Otudeko always knew he would someday go into business. His retirement from the bank gave him the time to pursue this interest.

It was at this time that Honeywell Enterprises started off as a trading enterprise, importing and marketing commodities between the northern and southern states of Nigeria in the 1970s. The company later grew into Honeywell Group, one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous conglomerates.

To sharpen his business skills, he took several courses from several international institutions, which include the International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland, Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, Hult International Business School, and Arthur D. Little School of Management, USA.

His many businesses

From a flour mill, the Honeywell Group has evolved into a conglomerate with different subsidiaries in different sectors of the economy.

HOGL Energy Limited is in the oil and gas sector, and was incorporated in 1995. As an indigenous oil and gas marketing company. The company procures, imports, and distributes fuels and gases, as well as lubricants which it produces for industrial and domestic uses.

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Honeywell Flour Mills Plc is a food processing company focused on flour-based products including baking flour, ball foods, noodles and pasta. The company started operations in 1998.

Pivot Energy Company Limited (PECL) is in the business of providing engineering, procurement and construction services to the power industry.

RealUraga RealEstate Limited is in the real estate sector, providing funding, whilst managing and developing properties and facilities across the country.

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Anchorage Leisures Limited makes its investments in the tourism and hospitality sector, and runs the 5 star Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel in Victoria Island.

Pavilion Technology Limited provides security services to individuals and clients in public and private space, from electronic security systems, to manned guards, escort services, and security consultancy.

Huston Power Limited is into power generation and distribution in Nigeria, and has been licensed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Courtesy of his many businesses and his stakes in these companies, Otudeko currently ranks among the richest men in Nigeria

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The Ecobank imbroglio

Ecobank Nigeria Limited filed a bankruptcy suit to recover an alleged debt of N4.1 billion from the Chairman of Honeywell Group, Dr Oba Otudeko.

The bank claimed that Otudeko had personally guaranteed the loan obtained by three of his firms – Honeywell Flour Mills Plc; Siloam Global Services Limited; and Anchorage Leisures Limited. Following the alleged failure of the firms to liquidate the loans, it fell on him to pay the debts.

The bank, therefore, asked for “a receiving order against estate, funds, investment, shares or other interests of the debtor, principally in Siloam Global Services Limited and in Honeywell Group Limited; Honeywell Flour Mills Plc; Anchorage Leisures Limited; Honeywell Oil and Gas Limited; Uraja Real Estate Limited; Broadview Engineering Limited; Uraja Power Solutions Limited; Honeywell Energy Resources Limited; Hudson Power Limited; Pivot Engineering Limited and Pavillion Technology Limited, which interest is held either directly or through the said Siloam Global Services Limited and/or in any other company within and outside Nigeria.”

It also asked for leave to appropriate or utilise the “investments, shares or other interests of the debtor (Otudeko) in all the companies listed above and in any other company/corporate entity in Nigeria or outside Nigeria in partial or full satisfaction of the debt due.”

Among its prayers, Ecobank wants the court to order Otudeko to immediately avail it his “statement of affairs, statement of net worth and other credible financial details requisite and in furtherance to the Bankruptcy Act.”

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Otudeko through his counsel, filed a preliminary objection, urging the court to either dismiss/strike out the suit or stay proceedings “in deference to arbitration.”

He described the suit as an abuse of court processes, contending that it was filed in gross violation of Section 7(1)(a) of the Bankruptcy (Proceedings) Rules Cap B2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.

The case is still in court.

Other services

In 2003, Oba Otudeko established a non- governmental organisation called Oba Otudeko Foundation (OOF) as an official vehicle to carry out his philanthropic acts. Over the years, the foundation has organised empowerment programmes, as well as capacity building, and building of institutions.

The foundation built an Auditorium for Pan Atlantic University, an Administrative Block to All Saints’ College, Edun Village, Ibadan, Footprints Occupational Training Centre, and the Endowment of the Centre of Entrepreneurial Studies of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State among others.

Otudeko chairs the Board of Trustees of Honeywell Flour Mill Plc and FBN Holdings Plc and is a member of the board of Lagos Sheraton Hotel.

He is a Fellow, Institute of Chartered and Corporate Accountants, UK, Chartered Institute of Bankers, UK, and Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, UK. Oba is also a member of the Office of Distinguished Friends of London Business School and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

He is a seasoned corporate governance guru, having served on boards like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Guinness Nigeria Plc, British American Tobacco Ltd, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, headquartered in Lome, Togo, NEPAD Business Group of Nigeria, Delmar Overseas Ltd and Khali & Dibbo Ltd. He is the Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc.

At different times, he was also Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, FBN Bank (UK) Limited, Airtel Nigeria, Fan Milk of Nigeria Plc, Digital Africa Conference Exhibition in Abuja, Business Support Group, National Maritime Authority, and Nigerian- South African Chamber of Commerce.

He was the 16th President and Chairman of Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange serving between September 2006 and August 2009. He is also a council member, Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Banks Employers’ Association, West African Banks’ Association and the Presidential Advisory Council on Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.

Otudeko holds the Nigerian National Honours of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR, and currently serves as a member of the Office of Distinguished Friends of the London Business School (UK).

On Monday, August 18, 2020, the business mogul will be 77 years old. He clearly shows no sign of slowing down his activities and impacts any time soon.

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Personal Finance

10 Business mistakes to avoid post-COVID-19

With the emergence of lockdown and social distancing, businesses are now incorporating innovative working arrangements.

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The "new normal" in business and economy

Not only did COVID-19 spread globally, it also stopped all activities in almost every sphere of human endeavour.

Apart from the fact that the pandemic affected many lives, it also brought about a great disruption in the business sector.

SMEs and large enterprises have experienced various forms of contractions, and this has led to business closure for some. Many companies thrived on an existing modus operandi and were not prepared for the impacts of the pandemic. However, with the emergence of lockdown and social distancing, businesses are now incorporating innovative working arrangements like remote working, online services as well as regular variation in shifts.

While the pandemic is still being brought under control, a new order of business operations has been established and going forward, businesses must carefully plan and think out ways to thrive.

While planning on how to navigate the whole situation carefully, it is advisable to take note of certain mistakes that could hinder their progress.

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This article provides for you ten (10) mistakes you should avoid making in your business post-COVID-19.

1. Not having an online presence

The pandemic brought a halt to movement and large gatherings, and this stopped many businesses that existed mainly on physical interactions to stop and pack up. Business owners must learn that it is a huge travesty to plan their strategy without having an online presence; in fact, they would be missing a lot. They must strategically think of going digital and maximize the opportunities that come from interacting with over 4.5 billion people.

2. Limiting the business vision

The pandemic has pushed heads of enterprises to a position of mere survival. Plans and decisions are being made just for the moment without considering the long term existence of the business. Every business started off with a mission, a set of objectives to achieve and needs to meet. Regardless of the economic transition, it is important to hold those goals in mind while constantly seeking ways to attain them.

3. Poor marketing strategy

With the emphasis placed on marketing, especially on digital marketing lately, and the importance it holds for any business, it is not only a mistake for an establishment to limit its marketing strategies but a business taboo as well. Many products and services have emerged during the pandemic which poses competition to already existing providers. It is a necessity to brush up the marketing game in order to gain relevance in the business sector and source for more leads as well.

4. Building on hope

Optimism is good, but planning is better. We are moving into an era of intense technological integration which has influenced various business operations. E-commerce, as well as remote working, has become a norm and businesses will have to move with the flow. There are quite a number of entrepreneurs who are waiting for the tides to calm so they can paddle their boats. The trick is in planning while waiting. It is okay to place one’s bet on hope but mapping out plans for sustenance is more advantageous.

5. Unplanned redundancy

It will seem like the way out for most enterprises to lay off some of their workers in order to survive the disastrous financial situation they may experience. However, one key factor in adopting this strategy is to carefully examine the effect it might have on the growth of the business. Over time, there might be a need to hire new workers which will incur a cost in recruiting and training new employees. Low man-power influences productivity. As such, measures must be put in place to make up for the labour pool that will be cut off.

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6. Pouring new wine in old wineskins

Innovation has been on the rise on account of the pandemic. New commercial and industrial techniques are sprouting paving the way for longevity. Holding onto old and familiar methods that are no longer effective could constitute a big mistake for any business. Entrepreneurs and managers have to embrace the reality that comes with post-COVID-19 with a sense of focus.

7. Ill-suited rigidity

Flexibility is one of the keys to thriving after the transition. Understand that the pandemic has affected the world economically and otherwise. Hence, it is crucial to adapt to the changes by inculcating new plans, being versatile and multifaceted rather than being inappropriately unbending.

8. Neglecting creativity

Neglecting the power of creativity is a costly mistake every business should avoid making. The post-COVID-19 period will be a salient time to be creative and innovative. Establishments should be on the lookout for how to meet the needs of consumers, ways to improve their services in order to stay in vogue. Teachers are resorting to virtual classrooms; traders are integrating e-commerce; companies are investing in work-from-home technology. It is all about creativity.

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9. Ineffective communication

With much regards given to remote work and other emerging working arrangements, it is important to devise means to ensure effective discharge of duties by members of any business. The ineffective flow of communication can retard the growth of businesses which is one of the mistakes to avert. When workers understand that it takes collective effort to ensure the continuity of the business, it becomes easy for them to efficiently invest their energy.

10. Poor assessment

Disregarding the place of systematic evaluation of the performance of any enterprise is one of the business mistakes to avoid post-COVID-19. There should be a feasible assessment carried out to ascertain where the business stands in terms of labour force, expenditures, cash flow and returns on investment.

Conclusively, there is no green light as to whether a post-COVID-19 will exist or not. However, as the virus lingers, each business owner must adjust to make sure they do not make the above-mentioned mistakes or other possible business mistakes that may not have been mentioned in this article.

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