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Lagos reiterates commitment to creating value for businesses

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More Trouble for Sanwo-Olu: Election Tribunal orders substituted service over Petition

…As State Assembly ends 3-day retreat for lawmakers, legislative workers on 2023 budget***

The Lagos State Government has reiterated its readiness to create value for businesses by adopting policies that encourage entrepreneurs in line with global best practices.

Dr. Lola Akande, Lagos Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, and Cooperatives, said this at the closing ceremony of the Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) on Sunday in Lagos.

The 2022 LITF which is in its 36th edition is organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Akande, describing value creation as the bedrock of any business, said it distinguished a brand from competitors and secured customers’ loyalty on a long-term basis.

She said that the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State had put in place a dogged public service that was working to facilitate an enabling business environment for all.

Akande added that the administration continued to maintain the status of a committed business crusader, creating public value for entrepreneurs in an unstable environment due to global economic challenges.

“Without creating value for business, its unique offering will be lost, among other commodities, to the target market.

“The understanding of value creation and connecting businesses in this volatile economic space is germane.

“There is the need for deliberate and meaningful engagement with key stakeholders in order to enhance an understanding of the positive impacts of networking in business.

“This can form a basis for continuous assessment of the benefits, and development of strategic roadmap towards its long term implementation, while drawing on the strength of E-Commerce or digital marketing,” Akande said.

She said that Lagos; with a population of over 20 million and a top destination for investors and tech startups in the global tech market would continue to provide support.

Akande noted that through the efforts of the state government, technology entrepreneurs have come to know Lagos as one of the most improved environments to do business.

According to her, out of over $1.7 billion venture investments that came into Nigeria, 70 percent came into Lagos start-ups.

“Over the past six months, about one billion dollars in data centre investment has poured into Lagos because of some of the projects the state is executing and some of the regulations we are pioneering.

“The administration of Sanwo-Olu has a Smart City Plan to transform Lagos into a technology-driven state, hence, connecting businesses, creating value for stakeholders in the various sectors of the economy to thrive in their day-to-day business activities,” she said.

Mr. Keye Kupoluyi, Chairman, Trade Promotion Board, LCCI, lauded the efforts of the state and federal governments, regulatory and traffic management agencies, sponsors, exhibitors and all participants at the 2022 LITF for their immense support.

“We have done our best within the limits of prevailing circumstances to ensure a hitch-free fair.

“I am confident that our exhibitors got value for their participation at this fair,” Kupoluyi said.

In another development, a three-day retreat organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly for lawmakers and legislative workers on the N1.692 trillion 2023 budget presented by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu ended on Sunday.

Gov. Sanwo-Olu presented the budget entitled “Budget of Continuous Development’’ to the House on Oct. 27.

The House committed the budget to its committees on Economic Planning and Budget and Finance for scrutiny.

Addressing the close of the retreat, Speaker of the House, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, admonished the various House committees and staff to ensure proper screening of the budget to close the gap between estimated figures and anticipated revenue.

The speaker also tasked the committees to be prepared so they could ask Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) relevant questions during budget defence and oversight functions.

“All over the world, the economy has been badly affected. Here in Lagos, we have our own challenges.

“Bridging the gap between the budget size and anticipated revenue is what the House should do. When the Executive arm determines the cost of projects, the committees should be able to check for the value of such projects.

“I am sure everyone recognised what we have been doing in Lagos State and I urge you to continue on the same trajectory so you can always be appreciated.

“The House supports participants to critically review the 2023 budget strategies and issues for engagement with MDAs during their budget defence.

“The retreat sought to enhance participants’ understanding of the Lagos State Fiscal Law/Public Financial Management Law and ancillary matters,’’ Obasa said.

Earlier, the Clerk of the House, Mr. Olalekan Onafeko, noted that the retreat was an opportunity for the lawmakers to familiarise themselves with the breakdown of the 2023 budget.

Onafeko explained that this was to ensure continuity in budgetary guidance from lawmakers to the people of Lagos State.

Also addressing the ceremony, Mr. John Mutu, a representative of the consultancy firm that facilitated the retreat said the organisation would help members to reflect deeply on the budget with a view to getting a direction.

He added that the retreat would enable lawmakers to effectively do a post-mortem of the 2022 budget and identify priorities of the state that could be accommodated in the 2023 budget.

The theme of the retreat was: “Consolidating the gains of the current administration in Lagos State in a transition year: Prospects, opportunities, and recommendations.’’

Economy

CUSTOMS: Arewa Economic Forum Pledges Support For Wale Adeniyi

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…As CGC Vows to Enhance Trade Facilitation, Rejuvenates Northern Inland Dry Ports***

The Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum (AEF), Ibrahim Shehu Dandakata, has said the Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi would enjoy solid support for the Forum, considering his notable commitment to enhance border security and trade facilitation in the North.

Dandakata made this known on Tuesday, 26 September 2023, shortly after they met with the CGC at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja; — emphasizing that the CGC’s “commitment to implement policies that will improve the region is one hundred percent absolute.”

The Chairman, who eulogized the Former Comptroller-General of Customs, Late Dikko Inde, for bringing numerous dividends to the region, expressed optimism that the current administration of CGC Adewale Adeniyi will exceed what the previous CGCs have done.

*The CGC, Adewale Adeniyi MFR, with the Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum (AEF), Ibrahim Shehu Dandakata 

“We raised an issue, and Mr Adeniyi quickly swung into action on the matter, and we had a great response,” he stressed.

“We are talking about fiscal policies and entrenchment of a regime that will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Northern Nigeria, most especially in the agricultural sector; therefore, what CGC Adeniyi is doing will be sustainable and far-reaching”, he further said.

During the meeting at the CGC’s office, the Chairman appreciated the CGC for taking progressive steps to make things better in the North, highlighting that “Nigeria now has a very responsive government, and AEF is proud to have a very responsive CGC.”

According to him, the idea behind visiting the CGC was to bring new ideas that will help his administration to succeed, adding that the Forum is looking forward to witnessing the enhancement of cross-border trade in Ilela, considering its magnitude in boosting the region’s economy.

He, however, pleaded with the Comptroller General to look into the conditions of Inland Dry Ports in the North, which, according to him, “are essential in carrying out businesses in the region – and as it stands, they’re not functioning.”

The Chairman also seized the opportunity to invite the CGC for an Economic Summit slated to take place before the end of the year, assuring that the summit will revolve around creating awareness for people to invest in the North.

Responding, the Customs Comptroller-General, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, says his administration is up and doing to enhance trade in the North, considering its importance in boosting Nigeria’s economy and prosperity.

The CGC, who spoke about the current situation in the Niger Republic and how it affects trade in Nigeria, also said that “considering the significance of trade in Northern Nigeria, the Nigeria Customs Service finds it interesting to engage in trade talks, but can be achieved when there’s absolute peace in the area.”

He assured the entourage of Customs’ commitment to look into the matter of Inland Ports and consult the Federal Government to fast-track the process, adding that “Customs is willing to support the situation.”

As regards the Forum’s forthcoming Summit, the Ag. CGC said that NCS will watch out for the Economic Summit to attend, adding that “there’s so much economic potential in the North, which, if revamped, will contribute to the development of the country’s economy.”

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Economy

Presco Shareholders Approve N8.6bn Dividend For 2022

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Shareholders of Presco Plc. have approved payment of a final dividend of N6.60 per share, indicating N6.6 billion, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022.

The company had paid an interim dividend of 20k per share, which amounted to N2 billion.

The latest dividend brought the total dividend the company paid for the year to N8.6 billion, amounting to N8.60 per share.

Addressing shareholders on Friday at the company’s 30th Annual General Meeting held on Obaretin Estate, Benin City, the Chairman of Presco Plc, Mr Jean Van Gysel, said that the dividend payment represented an increment of 13.16 percent over what it paid in 2021.

Van Gysel said the final dividend would be paid on Oct. 3 to shareholders whose names appeared on the register of members as at the close of business on Sept. 13, 2023.

The chairman praised the shareholders and all stakeholders for their support during the period under review.

He said: “On behalf of the board, I would again like to thank all of our amazing people and teams across the business for all their commitment and hard work during the year.

*L-R: Jan Van Eykeren, Director; Patrick Uwadia, Company Secretary; Mr. Jean Van Gysel, chairman; and Mr Felix Nwabuko, Managing Director at Presco’s AGM on Friday.

“I thank my fellow directors very sincerely for the wonderful work they do for the company.”

The chairman said that the company,  during the period, recorded  N81.03 billion in revenue as against N47.43 billion it realised in 2021.

He noted that the figure represented an increment of 71 percent.

According to him, the company’s gross profit grew by 57 percent to N49.97 billion from N31.75 billion in 2021.

Van Gysel said that fresh fruit bunches harvested in 2022 amounted to 302,050 tonnes compared with 233,253 tonnes in 2021.

“Crude palm oil produced was 68,998 tonnes as against 53,775 tonnes in 2021,” he said.

The chairman added that the company produced 55,878 tonnes of Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized Oil (RBDO) in 2022, compared to 46,327 tonnes it produced in 2021.

He also said that the company produced 19,420 tonnes of Olein and Stearin in 2022 as against 17,912 tonnes in 2021.

“The year under review birthed another exciting news concerning our expansion and growth strategy.

“We concluded plans to commence, in 2023, the planned and necessary construction of a new palm oil mill to cope with the steadily increasing fresh fruit bunches harvests and have the same ready for commissioning before the end of the second quarter of 2025.

“When completed, installed capacity for palm oil milling capacity will increase to 170 metric tonnes per hour,” the chairman said.

The Managing Director of Presco Plc., Mr Felix Nwabuko, assured the shareholders of improved performance in the years ahead.

Nwabuko advised the shareholders to identify their registrars and fill out necessary forms as part of measures to tackle the issue of unclaimed dividends.

The President of the Capital Shareholders Association, Abuja, Mr Augustine Ezechukwu, praised the board of directors and management of the company for outstanding performance in the year under review.

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Zamfara: Governor Bans Illegal Mining, Orders Shoot At Sight For Violators

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… As Military Uncovers Gun Factory, Recovers Weapons In Kaduna***

Zamfara’s Gov. Dauda Lawal on Saturday issued a ban on illegal mining in the state. He also ordered security agents to shoot violators of the order at sight.

The governor’s media aide, Malam Suleiman Idris, quoted Lawal as saying in Gusau that the order was part of measures to restore law and order.

The governor noted that illegal mining had fuelled banditry and other criminal activities in parts of Zamfara over the years.

“Illegal mining is undeniably one of the driving forces behind the rampant banditry plaguing Zamfara. “We must take swift and decisive action to curb this menace and restore peace and security to our communities,’’ Idris quoted Lawal as saying.

The governor ordered security agencies to take other stringent measures against those caught violating the order. According to him, it is time to end the destructive activity and implement measures to protect the safety and well-being of the people.

“The directive is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the people of Zamfara and deter potential wrongdoers. “It is also a swift action to enable the government to be in total control of the state’s resources and block activities that endanger the lives and properties of the people,’’ the governor said”

In another development however, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), a military task force, maintaining peace in Plateau, Bauchi, and Kaduna States, has uncovered a gun factory at Kafanchan, Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Capt. James Oya, the Media Officer of the operation, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen, on Saturday in Jos.

Oya said that it had also arrested one Napoleon John, a suspected gunrunner and recovered various types of weapons and ammunitions.

He explained that the feat was possible owing to a week-long operation conducted by its troops.

”In line with our resolve to deal decisively with sponsors and perpetrators of crime as well as mopping up illegal weapons in our joint operation area, our troops have uncovered a gun manufacturing factory in Kafanchan, Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.

”This followed a week-long intelligence operation that finally led to the capture of a wanted gunrunner, Napoleon John who has been on our wanted list.

”The suspect, who confessed to the crime, led troops to a concealed factory where arms of different calibre were sold by another miscreant identified as Monday Dunia.

”Dunia confessed to have been in the business for more than five years, fuelling the crisis in Kaduna State and neighbouring Plateau.

”A thorough search of the factory led to the recovery of 22 different weapons, including seven pistols, two locally fabricated AK-47 rifles, two military grade AK-47 rifles, and nine revolvers,” he said.

Oya said that its troops also recovered one submachine gun, rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, machine tools, and a gas cylinder.

”In a follow-up operation held between Thursday night and early hours of Friday, troops raided another hideout in Adua 1 community of Kafanchan and recovered additional two AK-47 rifles, two revolver rifles, live rounds of 9mm and 7.62 ammunitions, six dangerous daggers, one hacker axe.

”Several empty cases of 7.62mm special rounds, two mobile phones, one fragmental jacket, two Police uniforms, one pair of military camouflage trousers, one ammunition magazine carrier, one pistol holster and one military grade camel pouch.

”We also recovered one police combat helmet, two masks, four identity cards, gunpowder, shrapnels, charms and amulets.

Oya said that the Commander of the operation, Maj.-Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar, commended the troops for the feat and urged them to do more.

He, however, warned sponsors and perpetrators of criminalities to abandon their evil ways and embrace lawful means of livelihood.

He thanked residents of the state for cooperating with the military and other security agencies and called for more support towards a peaceful Plateau

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