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Consortium to build new cement plant in Sokoto

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Just a week after the listing of shares from the almost $1 billion Merger between BUA Kalambaina Cement Company and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria where it also assumed majority stakes in the enlarged company, BUA Group has announced that it has signed another contract with world’s renowned cement manufacturing company, CBMI, for the construction of a new 3million metric tonnes per annum Kalambaina Cement Line 2 in Sokoto State, North West Nigeria.

This comes barely 90 days after the completion of another 3million MTPA  BUA Obu Cement line 2 in Okpella, Edo State, Southern Nigeria and 7 months after the commissioning of its 1.5million MTPA Kalambaina Cement Plant line 1 in Sokoto state thus bringing BUA Cement’s total installed capacity to 11million MTPA by the time the new project Is completed.

Speaking at the contract signing ceremony for the plant in Sokoto State, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Executive Chairman/CEO, BUA Group and Chairman of CCNN, disclosed that the construction of the new 3million mtpa kalambaina line was in line with BUA Cement’s strategic midterm expansion programme. According to Abdul Samad, the Nigerian market is still greatly underserved and with the projected growth in major infrastructure projects and spending over the next few years, it is important that local manufacturers are able to scale effectively to meet current and projected demand. Rabiu also added that this partnership between BUA and Sinoma CBMI is not the first as they were responsible for constructing the first BUA Kalambaina plant in Sokoto State. “We are very confident that Sinoma CBMI possesses the necessary technical expertise given their track records in deploying cement plants across the world. ”Mr Tong Laigou, Chairman of CBMI, signed on behalf of CBMI construction.

On BUA becoming Nigeria’s second largest cement producer by volume, Rabiu said that BUA’s strategic cement expansion programme which focused on key regional and export markets has seen it become the second largest producer of cement by volume in Nigeria this year whilst solidifying BUA Cement’s leadership positions in the North West, South South and South East Markets of Nigeria. “We will continue to deliver quality products which have earned us the ‘King of Strength and King of Cement’ moniker amongst block makers who form the largest users of cement in Nigeria”

It would be recalled that the Security and Exchange Commission had recently approved the merger of the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc with BUA’s Kalambaina Cement Company Limited of Nigeria that saw the enlarged CCNN become Nigeria’s 12th largest company by market capitalisation.

BUA Group’s current cement assets include the 6million MTPA Obu Cement I & II plants in Okpella, Edo State, the 500,000mtpa Edo Cement Plant, the 1.5million MTPA Kalambaina Cement Plant and the 500,000 Sokoto Cement Plant. The Group also owns over 90% stake in the publicly listed Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc and is widely acclaimed for its high capacity utilisation, efficiency and quality of its products.

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West Africa is the least trade integrated region in the world

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The Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS, is the least integrated region in the world in terms of cross border trade, a report by the Borderless Alliance group has said.

 

According to the report, the non- application of ECOWAS directives relating to free movement of goods and people, ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme, ETLS, and the Common External Tariff, CET, are some of the factors responsible for the low level of trade integration in the region.

Other factors militating against trade in the region include the high cost of transport & logistics, Long delays at ports and borders, harassment along transit corridors, mainly from uniformed services and corruption.

Speaking at a one day workshop on dissemination and launch of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme handbook, Mr Justin Bayili, Executive Secretary, Borderless Alliance said that while Europe recorded 71 per cent in intra-regional trade, Asia recorded 53 per cent, South America 48 per cent against 12 per cent recorded by the ECOWAS region.

Bayili disclosed that East Africa is more integrated than its West African counterpart citing Customs inter-connectivity for the success so far recorded in East Africa.

He said, “We want to make West Africa a borderless border, East Africa is more integrated than West Africa.

“In international trade, there are no restrictions but standards must be met, the same best practices on transit that are applicable in East Africa must be applicable in West Africa.

“Burkina and Togo are inter-connected, Burkina- Cote Ivoire is also inter- connected and this has reduced the cost of trade between these countries.”

He explained that lack of professionalism amongst operators in the ECOWAS trade corridor has also been identified as a problem.

Bayili also noted that some of the issues affecting the ETLS are national issues adding that they must be addressed by national administrations.

Earlier in his opening remark, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that barriers to trade increase the cost of trade and Africa has the highest cost of transporting goods between origin and destination across all modes of transportation.

He stated: “We must work assiduously to reduce these unnecessary costs by eliminating all the barriers to trade and make our products more competitive in the international market.

“Removing obstacles to intra-regional integration in the ECOWAS sub-region would be particularly beneficial to the small scale traders that conduct cross border commerce within the sub-region.

“The potential benefits include food security, job creation, poverty reduction, increased tax revenues for authorities and long term development outcomes.”

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Why we suspended election in Rivers – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has given insight into why the electoral process in Rivers State was suspended.

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rives State

INEC had declared the election in the state inconclusive after suspending the collation of results for Saturday’s governorship and State Assembly elections due to electoral malpractice in the state.

However, INEC explained that the electoral process in the state was called off due to violence and threat to life.

The explanation was contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, Rotimi Oyekanmi.

The statement reads partly: “In Rivers, the Commission was forced to suspend the election due to violence and threats to life, as a result of which it constituted a Fact Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

“In a couple of other states where a declaration was not immediately made, the elections did not meet the threshold required for such a declaration.

“The Commission will take the appropriate action prescribed by the law and make a declaration.”

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CBN: $42.5b foreign reserves cover 13-month imports

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The $42.5 billion foreign reserves as at December last year is enough to guarantee 13-month import cover for the country, a report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shown.

The stock of external reserves as at end-December 2018 stood at $42.5 billion,  indicating a depletion of 0.03 percent when compared with the level in the preceding quarter. However, when compared with the corresponding period of 2017, it indicated an accretion of 8.2 percent.

According to the CBN, the level of external reserves could finance approximately 13 months of imports, compared with 10.3 and 15.6 months of imports cover recorded in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2017, respectively. These were, however, above the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) and global benchmarks of six and three months, respectively.

It said portfolio investments inflow to the economy decreased significantly to $1.38 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $1.79 trillion and $3.78 trillion in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2017, respectively. However, other investment liabilities increased to $1.42 trillion when compared with a reversal of $3.07 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter.

Direct Investments inflow decreased by 28.3 percent to $314.44 million when compared with the preceding quarter of 2018. It however, indicated a decline of 67.2 per cent when compared to the corresponding period of 2017.

Provisional fourth quarter 2018 Balance of Payment estimates for the Financial Ac- count showed a overturn from a net incurrence of financial liabilities of $4,615.17 million recorded in third quarter 2018 to a net acquisition of financial assets of $2327.91 million in the review period. This is also significantly lower than the net acquisition of financial assets of $3,528.62 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

Net out-payments for services during the review period increased by 16.5 percent to a deficit of $8,287.57 million when compared with the level recorded in third quarter 2018. When compared with the corresponding period of 2017, it indicated a much higher increase of about 76.9 per cent.

However, the deficit in the income account (net) decreased by 10.8 per cent to $3,713.84 million in the review period from a deficit of $4,161.76 million recorded in the preceding quarter. When compared with the level in the corresponding period of 2017 it indicated an increase of about 24.5 percent.

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MTN to list on NSE

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Africa’s telecoms giant, MTN Group, yesterday said it would list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in the first half of this year.

This is coming on the heels of its recording very positive trade numbers in the 2018 fiscal year. MTN Group’s balance sheet showed total revenue of 37.971billion South African Rand (the equivalent of about N965.3billion), a statement from the firm indicated.

It said: “MTN plans to list by the introduction on The Nigerian Stock Exchange during the first half of 2019 and is looking to simplify the capital structure ahead of this listing.

“The company’s listing on the Exchange will create a new telecoms asset class for investors and provide an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to participate in our investment story.

“This will be achieved via a listing by an introduction and will be followed by a public offer once market conditions are conducive. Over time, and subject to market conditions, we anticipate that the participation of Nigerians in the ownership of the business will increase from around 20 percent to 35 percent.”

The telecom giant also announced a $1 billion divestment programme over the next three years that will slim down its operation and refocus it on high-growth markets on the continent and in the Middle East.

Shares in the company surged 15 percent to 87.39 rands, on course for their biggest one-day rise in since 2008.

During the year under review, MTN Nigeria increased its mobile subscriber base by another six million people, bringing its tally to 58 million subscribers nationwide.

CEO, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, said: “In 2018 we rebuilt the base; adding another six million Nigerians to our network, giving a total of 58 million people access to worldwide communication services.

“This growth was built on our sustained focus on customer-centric delivery – ensuring that customers get much more value for their money.

“This included the deployment of proactive interventions to improve customer experience, together with the enhancement of network quality and coverage, and the optimization of our services portfolio.

“We also enabled an additional 8 million people to access the possibilities that the internet provides, bringing our total data subscriber base to 44 million, of which 18.7 million use more than five megabytes per month.

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