Abdullahi Bashir Haske is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AA&R Investments, an indigenous oil exploration company. In this interview, he highlighted how the oil and Gas has faires and how it would survive and importance of creating an enabling environment for the non-oil sector to thrive. Excerpts:
• How would you access the oil and gas industry in the heat of global crude oil prices crises?
Normally when there is price crash of crude, investments in the oil and gas sector will be affected especially the capital projects. That said, from what we are seeing lately, the prices are beginning to go up again with the opening of major economies such as the U.S.A and China which were closed because of the global pandemic. This is going drive demand and continue pushing prices up.
However, for a country like Nigeria which is largely dependant on revenues from the sale of crude any negative shock to prices will affect the entire economy. Now due to the current situation we are sweating over how to fund the country’s budget.
This is the more reason why this country must urgently develop the non-oil sector and reduces the cost of running the government. They must also provide enabling environment for private businesses to come and invest in the economy to create jobs and generate revenue.
• The oil prices recorded a surge yesterday, what are the factor responsible for that and how sustainable are they?
Oil prices began facing some shocks sometime in late February and early march when Saudi and Russia fell out and were unable to reach an agreement to cut their output. Over the past three years the two countries had agreed to be part of an agreement to sustain an increased production. However, when the Saudi Government requested for production to be cut by over a million barrels, the Russians refused. Saudi was requesting for the cut to keep oil prices high because demand was slowing down from china (the world’s largest importer of oil) who were already in the middle of the covid-19 crisis.
So, we found ourselves in a situation where the market was flooded with excess oil thereby causing prices to crash. So, while demand was falling rapidly, supply was increasing. Then in the months that followed, the pandemic took a toll on the global economy and virtually every country was closed this further compounded the problem.
• AA&R Investments found oil in Bauchi. How did you feel about the feat and kindly share your experience with us?
For the records, AA&R investment is the group company where we have all our subsidiaries including Etihad Oilfield Services Limited which was the contractor for the drilling campaign in Bauchi.
I must say it was a long journey getting to where we are now, very tough, and challenging. Firstly, when we first conceived this idea and wanted to be part of the story, most people never believed our vision for this project some told me that it was never possible, and it will never work.
Secondly due to the security challenges in the region, it was difficult to convince service providers and investors to take part in the project similarly, there was the fear that we will not find anything even after drilling.
But we never gave up we kept pushing and trying to set up a project team and we eventually got there we mobilized to site and commenced operations. It was the first-time a project of this magnitude has ever been carried out in the northern part of this country as result we faced many challenges.
We thank God after several months of operations we hit, and it was a success. I felt fulfilled and excited about it for the fact that I come from the north east region and I have seen how for many years the region has become backward as result the terrorist attacks. Secondly that we achieved this feat as an indigenous company the first of its kind.
It is my hope that the opportunities that will come with this project and future projects because of the success of our operations will be put to the good use of the country and her people.
• What is your level of investment in the agriculture sector and what was the attraction?
Agriculture is one area I have much interest in now we have two projects we are working on. The first is setting up of a modern 12 ton/hour rice mill in Adamawa state which we intend to expand to 24 ton/hour as time goes on and we expect to complete the rice mill by end of third quarter 2020.
We also intend to set up rice irrigation farm project on 5000 Hctr land close to mill to ensure we have adequate supply of raw materials and optimize production. The second project is cassava starch processing plant in Kwara sate which we also hope to commence development within the year.
As for what attracts me to agriculture, I would say that it is one huge sector with very little investments in it. It also has the potential to employ millions of people in this country and provide food sufficiency to the country.
• Do you think the sector is really lucrative considering several challenges facing it now?
The sector is promising and has huge potentials to make it lucrative. As you rightly noted, the sector has several serious challenges this has made it impossible to succeed in the sector and until these challenges are addressed professionally, the sector will continue to suffer
You know the agriculture sector has a long value chain, expensive to run at commercial and industrial levels and highly risky. From the upstream where raw materials are produced to mid-stream where you look at aspects such as storage to the downstream where these raw materials are processed into finished products.
• You are a self-made serial entrepreneur. Do think Nigeria space is really encouraging entrepreneurs/SMEs, regarding access to fund?
No, I do not think so, on the contrary the business environment is very tough despite the huge business opportunities out there. We hear of so many initiatives to provide access to credit for businesses but accessing them is difficult, you have to go through series of bureaucratic and outdated ways of getting your documentations which takes so much time and by the time you get them your ideas have become obsolete, either your financial analysis and projections have been affected by one government policy or inflation or even currency fluctuations.
So really, a lot of work has to be done for entrepreneurs to get access to credit, I can understand that we do not have a robust credit rating system due to a poor database. Therefore credit facilitators are left with no option but to put high risk management requirements to mitigate the chances of default by borrowers which is already a problem.
• Tell us about Etihad Group, subsidiaries, feat achieved over the years?
As I said earlier, AA&R investment is the group and we have about eleven subsidiaries under it of which Etihad Oilfield Services is one of them. Our business interest as you are aware is Oil and gas, marine services, agriculture, information technology and logistics services. The Oil and gas sector of our business have seen some tremendous success of which the Drilling project in the north east is one of them.
In the information technology space, we have recently been successful in getting a Value-Added Service (VAS) licence as an aggregator by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). In the agriculture sector, we expect to commence operations of our rice mill in the Adamawa state by end of 3rd quarter or beginning of 4th quarter this year.
When completed, it will the first of its kind the entire north-east region of Nigeria. We also have in the pipeline a cassava starch processing plant in Kwara state. So, in general we have achieved a lot and still working to do more.
• What are the main challenges you faced that almost made you turn back?
As I always say all the time, the major challenge I faced was getting your partners and people you work with to believe in your dreams and vision. This has been tough especially at the beginning when you first start. The moment we achieved that and had a team that was driven by a shared vision we were set and never looked back.
• If there are, what are your driving forces amid the challenges?
The driving force is to remain positive during the difficult times and never give up.
• How do you adjust to the new industry realities?
To see every challenge or problem as an opportunity to develop new ideas and solutions to current problems through research and innovation to meet with the new realities.
• What are your projections for Post-COVID-19?
The pandemic has changed the way we do things possibly for the rest our lives, and its normal when things like these happen that businesses try to adjust to these new realities. My projections post the pandemic is that we need to design and improve current business continuity strategies on how to minimize the impact of such problems on businesses.
• Who are your mentors and do you mentor some?
My father remains my biggest mentor, we lost him when I was very young but my memories of him and the legacies he left in the minds of people as I grew up and got to realize have been a driving force in my life and my aspirations.
Soloti Gaming Limited announces entry into Nigeria’s Gaming Industry, promises best betting experience
Soloti Gaming Limited is poised to revolutionise the sports betting industry in Nigeria.
The management of Soloti Gaming Limited, a new investor in Nigeria’s fast-growing gaming industry has announced its entry into the gaming sector.
Soloti Gaming Limited recently obtained its operation licenses from the National Lottery Board and the Lagos State Lottery Board and is poised to revolutionise the sports betting industry in Nigeria.
The Chairman of Soloti, Mr. Adebayo Tade expressed optimism at the consistent growth trend in the gaming industry in Africa and Nigeria.
According to Mr. Tade, “We have over the last two years been conducting extensive research on the gaming industry in Africa, notably West Africa, and we believe it is time to revolutionise and reposition the gaming industry in Nigeria, offering innovative and more strategic outcomes beneficial to the over 70 million Punters in the Nigeria Gaming industry”.
Speaking on the entry of Soloti Gaming Limited’s foremost product FRAPAPA, Mr. Derrick Bell, Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are thrilled to announce the entry of FRAPAPA; a unique product under Soloti Gaming Limited into Nigeria’s fast-rising gaming industry. Our entry into Nigeria supports our strategic business decision and global growth strategy aimed at adding value to the gaming industry through innovative offerings, human capital engagement and the value chain of wealth creation.”
Mr Bell, a Technology & Business expert has over the last ten years working as an ICT business consultant in the United Kingdom further stated that “Over the next few weeks, FRAPAPA will be unveiled for engagement and patronage with unique propositions that are of global standards”. The FRAPAPA brand value proposition will create passion, wealth, and more wins for Punters. The new platform will address the challenges observed during consultations with Punters. FRAPAPA is expected to provide faster pay-outs, great odds, a user-friendly platform, and most significantly an attractive welcome bonus.
While commenting on the entry of FRAPAPA to the Nigerian market, Mr. Layi Olayinka, the Chief Operating Officer said, “I am super excited to be part of the highly innovative team of experts coming to the Nigerian gaming industry. Our vision is clear; we want to create a gaming framework that provides a superior betting platform with impactful, life-changing offerings and more.”
He further stated “Our team boasts of more than 40 years of combined experience in the UK Gaming and Technology sector, and we aim to use our vast array of experience to deliver a platform that offers a premium gaming experience while ensuring swift pay- outs, withdrawals, SMS notifications for winnings, odds boost and a data-friendly apps/website for a thrilling user experience. Collectively, our knowledge will be used to forge a highly effective and intuitive network for our business, providing abundant resources and organizational tenacity that will result in the successful delivery of the ideal betting experience that Nigerian punters deserve and envision.”
Soloti Gaming Limited is committed to upholding its brand promise as both an enabler and business entity providing an opportunity to empower more Nigerians to become financially independent both as Punters and Agents.
In fulfilment of its key goal in contributing positively towards youth employment and empowerment in Nigeria, Soloti Gaming Limited has indicated that they would be creating job opportunities both directly & indirectly for thousands of Nigerians over the next 3 years.
The Best ETF Brokers
In layman’s terms, ETFs allow you to own multiple underlying assets, rather than one.
Exchange-traded funds, or better known as ETFs, are baskets of securities that trade on an exchange, similar to stock. Their share prices fluctuate daily as they are bought and sold and can contain all types of investments. The reason why ETFs are so popular is that they offer low expense ratios and fewer broker commissions than buying stocks individually.
In layman’s terms, ETFs allow you to own multiple underlying assets, rather than one. Thanks to that fact, they have become extremely popular. With all that being said, we wanted to provide you with some of the best ETF brokers on the market which can help you make the right decision and invest smartly. We are also going to name the types of ETFs as a way to get you more familiar with this type of investing.
Types of ETFs
Let’s start with the types of exchange-traded funds first. There are 5 main types of ETFs which are used for income generation, price increases, speculations, etc. The first type is bond ETFs which include corporate bonds, municipal, and government bonds. They are well-known for their transparency pricings, something that was only available to institutional investors.
Next up, we have industry ETFs which track a particular industry, like oil, banking, gas, or technology. These ETFs have a high level of liquidity, which means that there are rarely any tracking errors. Commodity ETFs are used to invest in physical goods like natural resources and precious metals. They are usually focused on a single commodity or investments in future contracts.
Currency ETFs are used to invest in foreign currencies as the name of the ETF suggests. These investments allow ordinary people to gain exposure to the forex market. Finally, inverse ETFs are constructed by using derivatives to profit from a decline in the value of an underlying benchmark.
Now that we’ve got the types of ETFs covered, let’s check out which are the best brokers in this field. While the full list of ETF brokerages contains more companies and it is worth a look, we are going to check out the top three competitors.
eToro is often regarded as the best ETF broker in the UK. It is home to homer 13 million traders from all around the world. One of the biggest benefits that you will experience with eToro is the chance to invest on a commission-free basis. To make things even better, eToro does not charge you with any ongoing maintenance fees and the company puts a massive highlight on its user-friendly service. eToro has multiple accepted payment methods that include credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, and certain e-wallets.
Next up, we have Libertex, a platform that is very easy to use, which is a great benefit, especially for new investors. Not only that, but the minimum deposit at this platform is lower than the competition, which adds a lot of flexibility to you. The commission fees are pretty low, it comes with a mobile app, supports MT4, it is secure and trustworthy, and supports multiple payment methods, including PayPal.
Libertex allows people to trade ETF CFDs with 0% spreads.
Lastly, we have a company that provides you with an alternative way to access the multi-trillion ETF industry. With Plus500 you can speculate whether certain ETFs will increase or decrease in value, rather than owning the assets. With it, you will experience certain benefits with Plus500 that you cannot find in the old-school brokerages. Not only that, but you also don’t pay any commission fees when using their services.
If you plan on registering at this site, the process of opening an account and depositing money lasts just a minute. Due to its advanced system, Plus500 is the perfect choice for the more experienced traders.
Things to Remember
Of course, when deciding to invest and when picking the right ETF brokerage company, it is important to know your needs. Be honest with yourself and your goals. If you are new to the game, you should place your focus on educating yourself first. After you get educated on the topic, you must start narrowing your field.
As you saw, there are plenty of options and industries to invest in. Spend some time to see which industry suits you the most. Figuring out what the fees for using brokerage firms are is also an important step. Finally, test the brokerage platform that you choose and get familiar with the process of depositing and withdrawing funds. That means finding out what is the minimum deposit and withdrawals, how fast are the transactions, what are the accepted payment methods, etc.
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