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Business News

FG approves $3.1 billion for automation of Customs, targets $176 billion revenue

The approval for the e-Custom modernization project followed a memo she presented to the council.

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Power: Mambilla Power Project not prioritised by Ministry of Power for 2021 Budget - Finance Minister

The Federal Government has approved $3.1 billion for the automation of the operations of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

This is in pursuit of the diversification of the economy with a target of $176 billion revenue from the $3.1 billion concessionary investment.

This was disclosed by the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during a press briefing, with State House correspondents, after the Federal Executive Council Meeting on Wednesday.

READ: Port loses N84 billion to SON’s system failure in 14 days

Ahmed disclosed that the approval for the e-Custom modernization project followed a memo she presented to the council.

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Ahmed said: “The purpose of the memo we presented to Council was for a project that will enable the complete automation of the Nigeria Custom Service processes and procedures using the application and information and technology in all aspects of Customs administration.’

She said the main objective is to completely automate every aspect of the customs business and institutionalize the use of smart and emerging technologies to boost the statutory function of the Nigerian Customs Service in the area of revenue generation.

READ: NigComSat at risk of losing $150 million Chinese loan over dissolution of FEC 

She revealed that the project would be financed through a Public Private Patnership (PPP) under a concessionary period of 20 years.

She listed the sponsors of the project as Bionca Technologies West Africa Limited and Bargain Securities and Supplies Nigeria Limited. She also listed the African Finance Corporation (AFC) as the lead financier and Huawei Technology as a technical service provider.

READ: BUA Group chooses French giant, Axen, for its multibillion dollar refinery project

She explained that the $3.1 billion that was approved by the Federal Executive Council was an anticipatory contract for customs’ full-fledged transformation.

Zainab Ahmed said, “So, Council today ratified Mr President’s approval for the PPP concession for a 20-year period to Messers E-Customs HC Project Limited as a concessionaire for the delivery of customs modernization project.’’

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READ: FG to establish petroleum depot, oil and gas logistic centre in Akwa Ibom

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“This is a project that will not have an immediate cost to the government, the investors are providing all of the financing and this revenue will be deployed in three phases and they will look over the investment in the concessionary period of 20 years.’’

“The key point is that it is not costing the federal government one thing, the 3.1 billion dollars being proposed will be sourced by the sponsors and the partners,’’ she said.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Corporate deals

Nigeria tops South Africa in FDI in 2020 – UN Report

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy attracted a total FDI of $2.6 billion in 2020 down from the $3.3 billion it attracted a year earlier.

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Slower recovery in key markets will drag growth in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021- United Capital report

Africa recorded a total FDI of $38 billion in 2020 representing a drop of 18% from $46 billion recorded in 2019, data from the United Nations Trade Association shows.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy attracted a total FDI of $2.6 billion in 2020 down from the $3.3 billion it attracted a year earlier. South Africa, a major competitor for FDI inflows in Sub Saharan Africa attracted less with $2.5 billion the report highlights.

Egypt recorded the highest influx of FDI among African countries with a total inflow of $5.5 billion representing a whopping 38% drop. Despite the drop, Egypt remains the top investment destination in Africa.

Egypt continues to remain the top destination for FDI in Africa.

According to the UN report, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”

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Nigeria has failed to push the needle on FDI investments in the last decade attracting more portfolio inflows compared to direct investment which is viewed as more stable and required to boost economic growth.

FDI-related inflows are mostly targeted at the real sector funding investments in infrastructural development, technological innovation, manufacturing, health care, and Agriculture. According to the United Nations, lower oil prices and the pandemic induced locked down significantly affected Nigeria’s ability to attract inflows.

What UNCTAD is saying

  • “FDI inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa decreased by 11 % to an estimated $28 billion. Inflows to Nigeria declined to $2.6 billion from $3.3 billion in 2019.”
  • “Lower crude oil prices, coupled with the closure of oil development sites at the start of a pandemic due to movement restrictions, weighed heavily on FDI to Nigeria.”
  • The report also indicates South Africa attracted about $2.5 billion during the year about 50% less than the $4.6 billion it attracted a year earlier.
  • FDI to South Africa almost halved to $2.5 billion from $4.6 billion in 2019.
  • Nigeria lost a massive Google investment after the internet giant preferred to set up in South Africa investing $140 million.
  • “However, several large projects were announced including an investment by Google (United States) of approximately $140 million in a fibre optics submarine cable and an additional investment of $360 million by Pepsico (United States) to expand the capacity of Pioneer Foods.”

How the data compares with the National Bureau of Statistics

Nairametrics observed a stark difference between the data captured for Nigeria as FDI by the UN compared to what is recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics.

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  • Third-quarter NBS data released in November 2020 indicated Nigeria had attracted about $777.6 million which if annualized comes to about $1 billion.
  • It suggests Nigeria may have attracted about $1.5 billion in the last quarter of the year which is highly unlikely.
  • A further check by Nairametrics reveals the NBS tracks FDI inflows from data obtained from Commercial Banks accounting only for cash received other than commitments to invest in the country.
  • A recent Nairametrics article also points to about $4.3 billion in Corporate Deals in the country out of which $1 billion is recognized as FDI-related investment according to our categorization methodology.

Africa compared to other Continents.

According to the report, global FDI flows fell by as much as 42% in 2020 from about $1.5 trillion to an estimated $859 billion.

  • According to the report the drop was mostly recorded in developed economies where FDI fell by as much as 69% to $229 billion.
  • However, developing economies where FDI is badly needed, recorded a 12% decline representing about 72% of a share of the global FDI.
  • However, most of the inflows went to China with about $163 billion, the largest recipient in 2020.
  • India’s FDI of $57 billion was higher than the entire $38 billion attracted by African countries.

Access the report here.

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Corporate Press Releases

Sahara Group celebrates 25 years of global expansion, operational efficiency

Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.”

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Executive Director, Sahara Group, Temitope Shonubi has said the energy conglomerate’s impressive growth trajectory since 1996 has been driven by knowledge, business integrity, humility, diverse people and robust global network.

“These past 25 years, knowledge has been the empowering tool for Sahara, business integrity our greatest asset, humility our utmost ethos, diverse people and network our greatest value,” he asserted while unveiling Sahara’s 25th anniversary logo and the Group’s plan for the future.

Shonubi said Sahara had since disrupted previously held notions that put looking to Africa for the implementation of global energy solutions beyond imagination. According to him, since its inception, Sahara has deployed “transformational energy initiatives” to become a conglomerate with a proud African heritage and vast operations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East Asia.

“Today, the narrative is rapidly changing with Sahara at the vanguard of the transformational story from Africa to the world. Founded in 1996 with an initial focus on Oil trading, Sahara Group is widely regarded as a leading energy conglomerate renowned for championing capacity building and promoting the ‘best in Africa for Africa’ to the world narrative globally,” he affirmed.

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Shonubi said Sahara would increase its investment in technology, artificial intelligence, and human capital transformation as critical drivers of its next expansion phase, adding that innovation will define Sahara’s brand positioning and offering In the coming years.

“For us at Sahara, it has been 25 years of instituting a stamp of distinction. Like most start-ups, we were chasers then followers, and today are the dream actualized corporation. It is much more expensive and difficult to be a trailblazer, defying the impossible to emerge as an enterprise that creates value innovatively, responsibly, and sustainably. Still, at Sahara we are focused on remarkable growth and grateful for the opportunity to serve and bring energy to life across global markets.”

Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.” Emphasis will be on promoting the “capacity to do and achieve positive and sustainable transformation” in the energy sector.

An analysis of Sahara’s operational model shows that creating a sustainable economic, social, and governance impact has remained central to Sahara’s corporate strategy. The conglomerate has grown its operations to achieve annual revenues in excess of $10 billion, with over 4000 employees and operations in over 40 countries. “Sahara’s focus is on continuous improvement, operational efficiency, and sustainability. We plan to deploy best-in-class Terminal Automation System (TAS) for efficient terminal operations in the oil & gas sector, Plant Data Visualization System (PDVS) for enhanced remote monitoring of plant operations, Customer Energy Management (CEM), and GIS-based Network Monitoring System (GNMS) for customer-centric power distribution & data management services,” said Shonubi.

The Group considers the activities of the Sahara Foundation as one of its most cherished accomplishments. Following its initial partnership with the Carter Centre to eradicate guinea worm disease in Nigeria, Sahara Foundation has over the years, emerged as a global promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with over 2,000,000 (two million) beneficiaries across its locations through interventions in Health, Education, Capacity Building, and lately, Extrapreneurship – a concept that promotes opportunities for social innovators and entrepreneurs.

In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), through the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) established the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) as a pivotal platform for business leaders opportunity to contribute to extraordinary social impact and cultivate partnerships of tremendous transformative capacity. From an initial list of 100 shortlisted global multinational companies, the United Nations SDG-F selected 13 companies and inaugurated them in Madrid. Within the African continent, Sahara Group was one of the only two companies that made the final selection.

In line with its commitment to supporting growing global demand for safe and clean energy and the shift towards a lower carbon footprint, Sahara and the UNDP in 2019 entered into a partnership to promote access to clean and affordable energy in Africa, with a target of providing access to clean and affordable energy to over 650 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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“Sahara Group remains passionate about green energy and environmental conservation. Our Green Life project, aimed at driving energy and ecological conservation initiatives across our business operations and partnerships, saw the Group pioneer the commencement of an electronic billing system (e-billing) at Ikeja Electric Plc, the Group’s power distribution arm to promote environmental conservation in the energy sector,” Shonubi said.

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To reinforce its commitment to clean energy initiatives, Sahara Group also initiated the use of electric buggies and bicycles at its Egbin Power, Africa’s largest privately-owned Power Plant, with plans to replicate same at other operational facilities across the Group.

Shonubi said Sahara’s zero-waste approach to promoting operational efficiency and commitment to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen Egbin Power Plc invest in an oxygen bottling facility on the plant to harness the oxygen generated as a by-product of the plant cooling mechanism. Egbin Power supplies oxygen, a key ingredient in the fight for life in the ICU, freely to medical facilities in Lagos State and the FCT, Abuja Nigeria, through Fortitude Children’s home, the largest orphanage in Nigeria.

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Sahara’s Covid-19 interventions also include donation of personal protective equipment (PPE), driving Covid-19 awareness and education in sub-Saharan Africa through educational literature in indigenous languages across various countries and leading the delivery of the 300-bed Thisday Dome Isolation and Treatment Centre and donation of medical equipment, including fully equipped world-class Intensive Care Units, to the centre and other medical facilities across Nigeria.

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Coronavirus

Lagos State already making contacts with vaccine manufacturers – Sanwo-Olu

Governor Sanwo-Olu has stated that the Lagos State Government has commenced talks with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers.

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Lagos announces resumption time table for public and private schools, FESTAC town, Lagos cancels 2018 land use charge, LAND USE CHARGE, Lekki sealed buildings, Lagos state governor issues new guidelines for lockdown, consider full reopening of its economy,Sanwo-Olu gifts families of slain police officers N10 million naira each

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state has started talks with vaccine manufactures, citing that the state will only work with frontline suppliers.

This was disclosed by the Governor during an interview on Channels TV on Sunday evening.

“We want the Federal government to take the lead and rightfully so, as a sovereign they have all of the protocol and contacts to make that happen. 

“We are conversing, we have a meeting on Tuesday with PTF and NCDC under the Federal umbrella. We want the nation to take the lead (vaccine procurement) and as a state, we are giving them that space, because they are a sovereign they can have that conversation,” the Governor said.

The Governor stated that Lagos has started conversations with companies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer and will skip the operations of middlemen so as not to run foul of protocols.

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“But other than that, as a sub-national, we are also taking our destiny to our hands, we have started conversations with some of the vaccine manufacturers,

“Pfizer, for example, we have made contact with them. The Oxford-AstraZeneca, I have made contacts with them, Johnson and Johnson are not out yet

“We are making our own sub-national contacts, parts of the things that will come out of it is that once we see what the nation is doing because this is something that we do not want to deal with middlemen or people that are not the frontline suppliers,

“We don’t want to run foul of the protocols, but we have started making contacts at board level with the manufacturers.

“How that will work out, we still have a week or 2, but we have started making contacts already,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos does not have to vaccinate the 20 million population, but “The plan is to ensure that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks about 50-60% of your population.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the Governor warned that the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos has seen the demand for oxygen rise 5 times from 70 six-liter cylinders per day to 350 six-liter cylinders at Yaba Mainland Hospital alone.
  • The Governor added that Lagos is closely monitoring plans by the FG to acquire vaccines and said the State has also resumed discussion with potential manufacturers. He also said the State is building its own regulatory framework for vaccine distribution.

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