Dangote Sugar Refinery in Tunga, Nassarawa State is expected to produce 450,000 metric tonnes and generate about 90 megawatts of power annually when completed.
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nassarawa State, said at a sugar sensitisation workshop organized by the National Sugar Development Council, Lafia, that aside the refinery producing 90 megawatts of power yearly, it would only use an average of 45 megawatts to operate.
The remaining 45 megawatts would serve the community as it is more than enough power for Lafia to use alongside other areas like the Obi, Keana and Awe local government areas of the state.
Recall that Nassarawa Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dangote Sugar Group to construct a $700 million sugar project located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Sule said that the constraints on agricultural financing in the country was enormous. Also, the challenges posed by the land tenure system, he said made it difficult for investors to acquire land.
“The masterplan for Tunga sugar plantation started 7 years ago, but we have not gone more than 7%. We are supposed to be at 70% by now. And the reason is simple. The challenges are enormous, we are used to refineries in Nigeria.
“But with the refineries, you lose all the opportunities of the value chain. You lose the opportunity of the greatest of all, employment opportunities.
“Sugar industry has an excellent formula of what we call out-grower. They can take land from a farmer, and give it back to the farmer and also guarantee buying of this product so that at the end of the day, it’s the same sugar industry that is growing,” Sule said.
What you should know: The aim of the sugar project by Dangote in collaboration with the Nassarawa State Government was to create job opportunities for 30,000 teaming youths in the state.
Aliko Dangote had said that the project was to further align Dangote Group with the present government’s policy of diversifying the economy by a renewed focus on the non-oil sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and solid minerals, where the group is already well-positioned and is a leader.
Buhari reappoints 3 Chief Executives of agencies under Federal Ministry of Petroleum
3 Chief Executive Officers of agencies under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources have been reappointed.
President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the appointment of 3 Chief Executive Officers of parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources with immediate effect.
The appointments that were renewed by the president include that of Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau as the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Ahmed Bobboi as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) and Simbi Wabote as Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The disclosure was made through a series of tweet posts by the presidency on its official Twitter handle on Friday, September 25, 2020.
The statement disclosed that the renewal of the appointments followed recommendations to the President by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Syla.
It stated that Dr Aliyu Gusau was credited to have run the PTDF successfully in the past four years, keeping faith with the Seven Strategic Priorities he had introduced in January 2017.
These are Domestication, Cost cutting, Sustainable funding, Efficient internal processes, Linkages with the industry, Utilization of centres of excellence, and Pursuit of home-grown research.
It also stated that Bobboi got his reappointment for having run PEF in a way that made it a key and strategic player in the administration’s oil and gas reforms, especially in stabilizing the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, among others.
Going further, it stated that the NCDMB boss, Wabote, won his pips for managing the NCDMB and completing its headquarters building. Wabote was also credited to have initiated many landmark projects that were widely commended by industry players.
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PRESIDENT BUHARI RENEWS APPOINTMENTS OF PTDF, PEF, NCDMB BOSSES
President @MBuhari has renewed the appointments of Chief Executive Officers of agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 25, 2020
UBA launches new online entertainment platform, ‘RED Radio’ with Wizkid interview
UBA’s RED Radio launches with an exclusive interview with its brand ambassador, Wizkid.
Pan- African financial institution, United Bank for Africa, (UBA Plc), continues to lead in innovation with the launch of its dynamic and creative Online Radio channel – RED Radio.
RED Radio, powered by UBA is a lifestyle web platform that has been set up to inform, educate, entertain and to bring to the fore, the best of Africa. Much like its sister platform, REDTV, RED Radio is expected to showcase the best in lifestyle, entertainment, music, news, comedy and fashion.
Speaking on the launch of RED Radio, Group Chairman of UBA, Tony O. Elumelu applauded the creative initiative, emphasising that UBA is a financial institution always ready to support creativity and entrepreneurship. The 2020 Time 100 most influential person in the world who has committed USD100 million to empowering young entrepreneurs across Africa said about RED Radio, “Creativity and innovation are a powerful combination and every detail in an art piece is important and meaningful. This applies to growing businesses and budding entrepreneurs. You will encounter challenges, like I did, but each experience is a lesson that brings you closer to your goal. That is the beauty of creativity.”
Continuing, Elumelu remarked, “There are many ways to make something beautiful, to make a sound interesting or to bring a story to life. You can define your expression, and today, as UBA’s RED Radio launches, I wish Bola Atta and her enterprising team many successes through this beautiful medium of expression.”
In appreciation of the support of UBA Group Chairman for the exciting creative initiative, UBA’s Group Head, Corporate Communications, Bola Atta, said ‘just like, REDTV which is Africa’s leading online entertainment network, RED Radio is positioned to fast become the foremost online radio platform in Africa’.
Also expressing his delight, UBA’s Brand Ambassador and star boy, Wizkid, said, “I am never too busy for my UBA family,” as he granted an exclusive interview on one of the station’s flagship shows ‘On the Street’ where he spoke extensively about his upcoming album and what his fans should expect from him in the coming weeks.
RED Radio promises to bring rich and engaging content that will keep its audience coming back constantly for vibrant and robust entertainment. Listeners can tune in to www.itsredio.com 24/7.
Logistics became more essential during COVID-19 – Moses Enenwali, CEO and Co-founder, Topship
Moses Enenwali discusses the Logistics business and expresses optimism of massive growth in the nearest future.
Around the world, there are fears that drones and robots could take over a lot of jobs in the near future. For the Nigerian logistics sector, however, this is going to have its challenges.
The Nairametrics Business Half Hour radio show hosted Moses Enenwali, where he recounted how his inability to send a parcel out of the country during the lockdown led him to start Topship Logistics.
Moses said that a lot of real-life scenarios on Nigerian roads would have to be factored in, as well as the cost-effectiveness of the system.
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“One has to consider the bumpy roads, thugs on the roads, thieves and several others which are a possibility on Nigerian roads. One also has to factor the cost of the drones, and decide if it is cost-effective,” he explained.
As several sectors mourned the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and the resultant shutdown of the global economy, entrepreneurs in the logistics sector were smiling to the bank, due to the sudden change in fortunes and the realization that the world was indeed going digital.
“Logistics found me…”
Moses Enenwali, co-founder and CEO of Topship logistics, a business that rose from the dust of the pandemic, affirms that his faith in the logistics industry was strengthened at this time. With everyone locked in their homes and countries at this time, it became glaring that logistics was not only an important business, but an essential one.
In January 2014, he started out with Ernst & Young as an associate and worked there for about 17 months. He moved to Africa Courier Express (ACE) as a client manager, which formed his initial experience in logistics. He later worked with Sage as Strategic Business Development Manager, and as a consultant with Sahel Consulting.
Moses then served as a part of the Sendbox team responsible for driving supply-side growth across service lines. He recalled that all of those jobs gave him extensive experience in the logistics industry.
“I did not discover logistics. I think logistics found me. I was looking for a certain kind of leader and founder and that was what I found in Tunde Kehinde that inspired me to go work for ACE,” he recalled.
The business was born in the midst of the lockdown arising from the pandemic, at a time most people were looking for safer but cheaper options to move things in and out of Nigeria. Moses recalls that he was trying to move some things into the country and could not get one that suited his needs.
“I was able to find two providers but one of them was very expensive and difficult to understand, while the other was not selling to people like me who wanted one-offs,” Moses explained. This clearly showed a gap in the space and given his extensive experience in logistics, he reasoned that he could provide a solution.
A light model that comes without strings
Logistics is a complicated and difficult space to operate in, and most startups there find themselves choked by the sheer enormity of the initial set-up costs and operating expenses. Often, they could struggle to recoup initial costs and loans before breaking even, or even contemplating expansion.
Topship started with the aggregator model – one that allows them to enter partnerships with parties that have some of the required startup resources. Instead of going for a mass purchase of vehicles, motorbikes or airplanes, the company entered several partnerships with these parties.
Moses explained, “This model allows us operate and scale significantly faster than most. We are like the Uber for logistics, aggregating partners and working with them to ensure that we give the most effective services.”
The model came from his previous work experiences. “ACE raised a lot of money but used a huge chunk to buy logistics assets and solve logistics problems so I learnt not to do that because that would make it even more capital intensive. At Sendbox, I also learnt that a lot of people are willing to partner with you when you present an opportunity to them to sign up on your platform, so we saw that the uber model can also work for logistics,” he said.
Customers for this business include students sending scripts and documents to countries like Canada, or small-scale entrepreneurs trying to export their products (wigs, shoes and bags), or even parents trying to send supplies to their children schooling in other countries. Corporate bodies also use the company for their logistics.
Connecting with customers
Topship thrives on technology, which means that most of its customers connect digitally. Enenwali notes however that there is always need for a physical presence, even though the company offers doorstep pickup. “People want to know that there is a physical location where they can see and connect with you and know if their packages would have issues with the customs. They can walk in, weigh their packages and send the desired packages to their loved ones,” he explained.
Still in its first year of operation, Topship has two locations in Nigeria, one in Lagos and another in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The goal is to have physical presence in all states of Nigeria, with a processing manager to man these centers.
To protect customer satisfaction, insurance policy is a necessity for fidelity guarantee, and theft of goods in transit, if they occur.
Business in the new normal
The new normal has come with new sets of rules on occupancy and social relations. Employees no longer meet physically to bounce ideas off one another. In this new plan, Topship has a bulk of its staff working remotely with just the processing manager left to work physically from the office. Customers have to abide by the new guidelines as well, to limit contact.
“It is not a work culture I am very comfortable with, but we all have to make adjustments for our safety. I like to look people in the eyes and interact with them, but there is only so much we can do with zoom.”
Having eliminated major expenses, the founders of Topship were able to bootstrap the initial costs. However, there are plans to raise funds from external investors for expansion purposes, since the model is not capital-intensive.
“Nigeria is opening up to the world and exporting her products to other countries. Local manufacturers in places like Lagos, Ibadan and Aba would like to take advantage of it. This means that there is a large market for us, and I believe that in the next five years, we would be a 200-300 million dollar business,” Moses said.
Topship logistics is aiming high in the Nigerian logistics market. Moses sees the business becoming a last stop for e-commerce businesses, given its rich network and model which allows it to handle on-demand deliveries and real-time deliveries. It is both cheaper and more effective so more businesses would be willing to key in.
Topship operates a model that is centred around partnerships, and to protect this, the company uses Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to protect it from defaults.
“However, there are points where we have to employ empathy because we understand the situation in the country. Sometimes the dispatch riders make all attempts but traffic, rainfall or accidents could disrupt their arrival time so we have to apply a human face before dishing out sanctions,” he explained.
Besides the partnerships, there is a need for staff, and getting good manpower often poses a challenge for startups. Topship adopted a Stu-tern method, getting undergraduates and graduates interested in interning for a while where they learn while earning
“More importantly, I work with referrals from A players because I believe that A players know A players. The choice of staff can make your brand the best or worst for your customers,” Moses emphasized.