Tolaram Group, the Indomie maker that has dominated the Nigerian instant noodles market for years, is now delving into the ports and cargo business. In specific terms, the company is set to invest the sum of $1.1 billion to build what analysts are projecting to be the biggest and busiest port in Nigeria and the entire West Africa region.
What we know: According to a report by Financial Times, the project is being sponsored with Chinese money. About $630 million was sourced from the China Development Bank, while the remaining $470 million was gotten in the form of equity from China Harbour Engineering Company. The state-owned engineering firm would be responsible for constructing the port.
In the meantime, ownership structure for the project has been broken down thus:
- Tolaram Group: 22.5%
- China Harbour Engineering Company: 52.2%
- Lagos State Government: 20%
- Nigerian Ports Authority: 5%
In his reaction to this development, Tolaram Group’s Managing Director for West Africa, Haresh Vaswani, was quoted as saying that it was not an easy thing to raise the money needed for a project of this magnitude.
“This is a real game changer for us, doing project financing of this scale . . . It’s easy to raise money for a factory — you need $30 million, $50 million. But you want to raise $800m? That’s a whole different ballgame.”
However, the money has been raised and will now be used to finance Tolaram’s biggest project yet. The port in question here is the Lekki Port which has been described as “the anchor of an 800-hectare free economic zone” located in the Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Tolaram’s expansion drive: The company has been expanding aggressively in Nigeria and elsewhere ever since 1988 when it first imported the Indomie noodle brand into the country. In 1995, it began manufacturing Indomie locally and has since then dominated the market. Its subsidiaries also operate in other sectors apart from the fast-moving consumer goods space. But does it have what it takes to excel in the ports and cargo business?
Tolaram Group believes it does have what it takes, besides the money, of course. According to the company, the aim here is to build a modern, state of the art port facility that can compete with other ports in neighbouring West African countries whilst ultimately positioning Nigeria to become a major player in the business. To do this, plans are also underway not only to build a fantastic port but also to ensure that the facilities around the port (such as roads) are equally good. As such, part of the $1.1 billion will be dedicated to this.
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Note that Nigeria imports a whole lot of goods and as such, needs functional state of the art ports. So far, it has been managing with the services rendered by the Apapa Port which, unfortunately, is not up to the task. It is, therefore, expected that Tolaram’s emergence as a major player in this field will be very useful to the Nigerian economy. In doing that, the company will be positioned for more profitability in a country that has already given it so much in terms of profitability.
Guinness warehouse in Lagos on fire
The warehouse was said to be used in storing plastic crates.
A warehouse that is reportedly owned by Guinness Nigeria Limited, along the WEMPCO Road, Ogba, has been gutted by fire.
The warehouse was said to be used in storing plastic crates.
READ MORE: Why Guinness is a stock to pick – RenCap
Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, explained that emergency responders, including the LASEMA response team and official of the state fire service, were on ground to salvage the situation, adding that the immediate cause of the fire could not be ascertained.
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He said, “On arrival at the scene of the incident at 0430am, it was observed that a warehouse storing plastic crates which appears to belong to the Guinness Nigeria Limited and used to store plastic crates, had been burnt.
“The immediate cause of the fire could not be determined. However, the agency’s responders and LASG Fire Service officials are on ground to carry out a dampening exercise to forestall any spread or secondary incident.”
READ ALSO: UPDATE: CAC headquarters in Abuja on fire
More details later…
NBC slams N5 million fine on Nigeria Info over Mailafia’s inciting comments
This was contained in a press statement which was issued by NBC on Thursday.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5m on a radio station, Nigeria Info, over the recent claim by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia.
Mailafia, in an interview in one of the radio station’s programmes, claimed that some of the repentant Boko Haram militants confessed that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
This was contained in a press statement which was issued by NBC on Thursday, August 13, 2020, titled, ‘’The National Broadcasting Commission fines Nigeria Info 99.3 for Unprofessional Broadcast’’.
The NBC expressed its displeasure at the radio station for providing its platform to be used to promote unverifiable and inciting views that can lead to crime and public disorder.
The NBC’s statement reads, ”The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30 am and 9.00 am. The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.”
”The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.”
NBC noted that Dr Obadiah’s comments on the Southern Kaduna crisis, were devoid of facts and the broadcast of such by Nigeria Info 99.3 violates some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which include;
- No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain an offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;
- Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;
- The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;
- The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;
- The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;
- No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;
- The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
The NBC further states, ”Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only. This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide a platform for subversive rhetorics and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.”
The NBC also stated that it will not hesitate to suspend the license of broadcast stations that continue to breach to breach the broadcast code.
Ride-hailing: Uber says industry guidelines are inconsistent, unclear
The new regulatory framework by the State government is expected to take effect from August 20, 2020.
Few days after the Lagos State Government announced a new guideline designed for ride-hailing operations in the state, one of the major operators, Uber, has picked holes in the guideline.
While the ride-hailing firm admitted that it is the responsibility of the government to regulate the industry and ensure operational allignment, it stated that such regulations are expected to support innovative technology ideas that fit the 21st-century businesses.
This was disclosed by a spokesperson for Uber, who replied Nairametrics’ emailed enquiry but pleaded anonymity.
The Backstory: Under the new regulatory framework by the state which will take effect from August 20, 2020, ride-sharing companies would be required to pay the Lagos State Government a 10% service tax on each transaction. Part of the framework said:
“Operators must also pay a provisional license of N10,000,000.00 for every 1000 cars in their unit and N25,000,000.00 for every unit above 1000 cars.
“Annual renewal of the license would cost N5,000,000.00 for every unit of 1000 cars and N10,000,000.00 for units with over a thousand cars in operations.”
The Lagos State Government also demands access to operational database for any ride-sharing company operating in the state.
Under section 3.11 of the guidelines, Lagos State also proposes that vehicle owners must, amongst other things:
State of Vehicles to use: Where the vehicle is not new, the vehicle must be within the first three (3) years of its manufacture as specified by the manufacturer.
In their response, Uber’s spokesperson said:
“We have always been willing to engage with governments on regulations to ensure our operations align with best practices locally and internationally, as we believe regulations need to support innovative technology ideas that fit 21st-century businesses.
“The current proposed regulations are inconsistent and unclear. We are working to better understand how they will impact the future of our business and network of driver-partners. We will give an update in due course.”
What it means: If the guideline is implemented, riders may have to pay more for services rendered by the ride-hailing firms, as the companies may increase the fares to keep their heads above water.
On the type of vehicles allowed to operate by the guideline, several drivers and car owners may be frustrated out of business, a development that may push up the unemployment rate in the state.
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Note that most of the operators currently allow vehicles manufactured as late as 2004 in their fleets. But with the new directive, any vehicle manufactured earlier than 2017 would not be allowed to operate in the state.
This means drivers that would be frustrated out of business will join the teeming unemployed residents in the state at a time the nation’s economy is expected to contract in 2020.