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Economy

Nestle to close its DR Congo factory

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…As SNEPCo links Nigerian, Chinese suppliers in new effort to develop local content

Swiss food giant Nestle announced Sunday that it would close its factory in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a potential market of 80 million people but one beset by poverty and political instability.

“We will close our factory and offices by the end of January and continue developing our economic distribution model through third parties,” a spokeswoman for the group told AFP.

The decision affects 120 people and Nestle will offer laid-off employees “a series of compensatory measures more favourable than required by local labour laws,” she said.

Nestle has been in the country since 2009 and opened a factory producing Maggi stock cubes, but has posted losses ever since.

The food giant’s investment of 15 million Swiss francs ($15 million) was a boost to DR Congo, which like other central African nations is seeking to grow its industrial base and move away from being merely an exporter of minerals.

In October the Congolese affiliate of Dutch brewing giant Heineken, Bralima, announced its own restructuring plan, with a company official saying that “a complete overhaul is necessary if the economy is going to function”.

Rich in cobalt and coltan — used in electronic products — the country nonetheless suffers from grinding poverty which affects 80 percent of the population.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is also suffering a political crisis. Much-delayed elections to replace President Joseph Kabila have been scheduled for December 2018, but the opposition is demanding that the veteran leader step down sooner.

The vast African country has seen an outbreak of anti-government demonstrations since Kabila refused to step down in December 2016 on the expiry of his second and final term in office.

Kabila took office after his father Laurent was assassinated in 2001.

In the meantime, more than 20 Nigerian and 60 Chinese suppliers met in a strategic sourcing development forum in Shanghai mid-November in the latest effort by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) to boost the capacity of indigenous vendors in the oil and gas industry.

Coming shortly after the 4th edition of the Global Nigerian Forum in Aberdeen, Scotland, the latest event, which held in a global financial powerhouse with the world’s busiest container port, offered the Nigerians a compelling opportunity to engage their Chinese counterparts on cost leadership, more efficient supply chain and transfer of technology.

In an opening speech, the General Manager of Shell China Strategic Sourcing Development, Ding, Hiu Kwong said local content development is not peculiar to Nigeria but a global trend, and Shell continues to focus on safety, quality and cost reduction in its quest for growth through strategic sourcing in China.

The Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Tune Adelana who represented the Executive Secretary thanked Shell Companies in Nigeria for pioneering the effort to create collaboration between Chinese and Nigerian suppliers.

He challenged the Chinese to establish visible presence in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and compete with the other international companies that are taking the lead in major projects.

The Vice Chairman of the Petroleum Association of Nigeria (PETAN) Geoff Onuoha said Nigerian companies were keen to develop partnerships and effective collaborations for better service delivery lauded Shell “for the tenacity and commitment in pioneering a game changing initiative.”

The NAPIMS Group General Manager represented by Alexander Chukwu enthused: “We expect to see the birth of new joint ventures and collaboration between Nigerian and Chinese suppliers.”

He advised the delegates to look beyond the event and take advantage of the opportunity to deploy technologies and solutions that deliver quality services and reduce cost.

SNEPCo’s Nigerian Content Development Manager, Austin Uzoka said there were many areas in which Nigerian and Chinese suppliers could collaborate in the oil and gas company and that Shell would continue to provide the required opportunities within the limit of its resources and operations.

The Nigerian suppliers also visited some companies, among them, Neway valves, the world largest valve manufacturer, Sulzer Pumps, Hilong and MSP Drillex facilities to help deepen their appreciation of best practices.

The Chinese suppliers, on their part, obtained guidance on business development and capital investment in Nigeria, even as they set up initial connections with potential Nigeria partners. SNEPCo’s Contracting and Supply team will track the identified cost opportunities and work to embed them as part of an overarching cost reduction drive and faster supply chain transactions.

The Nigerian and Chinese companies found the network session very useful. “This event was beyond my expectation for a maiden edition. It has exposed our organization to significant opportunities and immediate benefits to us and Shell through alternative sourcing,” said Tunde Oduwole of Future Oilfield Services (Nigeria) Limited.

Molly Zhu Xiuping of Morimatsu (China) Group. “The workshop helped us to understand the opportunities in Nigeria and how to do business in Nigeria. It was worth my while and I hope to develop further partnerships with the Nigerian company that has agreed to visit our facility here in China.”

Punch with additional report from Citizen

Economy

FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N1.208trn Revenue For April

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FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N1.208trn Revenue For April

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), has shared the sum of N1.208 trillion as revenue for April among the Federal Government, states and Local Government Councils (LGCs).

The revenue was shared on Thursday at the May meeting of FAAC in Abuja.

A communiqué issued by the committee said that the N1.208 trillion total distributable revenue comprised statutory revenue of N284.716 billion, and Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N466.457 billion.

It also comprised Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N18.024 billion, and Exchange Difference revenue of N438.884 billion.

The communique said the total revenue of N2.192 billion was available in April.

“Total deduction for cost of collection is N80.517 billion; total transfers, interventions and refunds is N903.479 billion.

The communique said the Gross statutory revenue of N1.233 billion was received for the month under review. This was higher than the sum of N1.017 billion received in March by N216.282 billion,” it said.

It said that the gross revenue available from VAT in April was N500.920 billion, which is lower than the N549.698 billion available in March by N48.778 billion.

The communiqué said that from the N1.208 trillion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received N390.412 billion, the state governments received N403.403 billion and the LGCs received N293.816 billion.

“A total sum of N120.450 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting states as derivation revenue,” it said.

It said that on the N284.716 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N112.148 billion, the state governments received N56.883 billion and the LGCs received N43.855 billion.

It said that the sum of N71.830 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting states as derivation revenue.

“The Federal Government received N69.969 billion, the state governments received N233.229 billion and the LGCs received N163.260 billion from the N466.457 billion distributable VAT revenue.

“A total sum of N2.704 billion was received by the Federal Government from the N18.024 billion EMTL, the state governments received N9.012 billion and the LGCs received N6.308 billion.

“The Federal Government received N205.591 billion from the N438.884 billion Exchange Difference revenue; the state governments received N104.279 billion, and the LGCs received N80.394 billion.

“The sum of N48.620 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting states as derivation revenue,” it said.

According to the communiqué, Oil and Gas Royalties, Companies Income Tax (CIT), Excise Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), EMTL and CET Levies increased significantly.

It, however, said that Import Duty and VAT recorded considerable decreases.

“The balance in the ECA was 473.754 million dollars.

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Extension Of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf As Lesson On Continuity

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Extension Of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf As Lesson On Continuity

On May 14, the High Powered-Presidential Committee on Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project was in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The committee came to brief President Bola Tinubu on recommendations given to Nigeria regarding its submission for an extended continental shelf by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

The briefing was led by veteran diplomat, Amb. Hassan Tukur, the Chairman of the committee.

The update with the president featured technical presentations by Prof. Larry Awosika, a renowned marine scientist and Mr Aliyu Omar, Member/Secretary of the Committee and former staff of the National Boundary Commission (NBC).

Omar also served as the Desk Officer for the project office in New York for several years.

Worthy of note, Nigeria’s request to have it continental shelf extended was approved by the CLCS in August 2023.

The project, which aims to extend Nigeria’s maritime boundaries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has granted Nigeria sovereignty over an additional 16,300 square kilometres of maritime territory.

This is roughly five times the size of Lagos State.

The CLCS is mandated to, inter alia, consider the data and information submitted and provide recommendations on the outer limits submitted by the coastal state.

Article 76 of UNCLOS (1982) allows a qualifying coastal state to extend its continental shelf up to a maximum of 350M (350 nautical miles) or 150m nautical miles beyond its traditional Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles.

Extension Of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf As Lesson On Continuity
President Bola Tinubu receiving Nigeria’s CLCS report from the committee

The continental shelf is the natural submerged prolongation of its land territory.

The journey to extend Nigeria’s continental shelf project began in 2009 with the country’s submission to the CLCS.

The project faced delays due to a lack of funds and administrative challenges; in 2013 the Senate of the Federal Republic in its resolution of Feb. 14, 2013, urged the Federal Government to fund the project and set up an independent body to handle it.

However, it was only in November 2015 that the then President Muhammadu Buhari revitalised it.

Subsequently, he appointed the High-Powered Presidential Committee (HPPC), headed by the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Malam Abubakar Malami, to oversee the project.

The HPPC operated as an independent technical body, effectively managing the project by cutting down on government bureaucracy.

Omar had led the Nigerian Technical Team through the question-and-answer sessions with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

He was also the Member/Secretary of the HPPC with a strong institutional memory of the project, highlighted this during the committee’s briefing to President Tinubu on May 14.

Omar said that when the HPPC briefed Buhari in 2022 on the status of the project, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) was still considering Nigeria’s submission and having technical interactions with the HPPC.

”These interactions and consideration have now culminated in the approval for Nigeria to extend its continental shelf beyond 200M (200 nautical miles).

”As it stands now, the area approved for Nigeria is about 16,300 square kilometres, which is about five times the size of Lagos State”, he said.

Nigeria’s extended continental shelf is in an area that is referred to as the ‘Golden Triangle of the Gulf of Guinea’ due to its abundance of natural resources such as hydrocarbons, natural gas, and a variety of solid minerals.

Awosika, a pioneer member and former Chairman of the CLCS, explained that the technical team’s work involved lengthy processes.

He said it also required highly technical steps in the acquisition, processing and analysis of extensive marine scientific data offshore Nigeria’s margin for the submission to the UN CLCS.

He said that the Nigerian team had to defend the submission with the CLCS which involved highly technical question-and-answer sessions and provision of additional data and information.

Receiving the report, Tinubu commended the members of the technical team for working tirelessly.

He applauded their high technical and scientific expertise and solidarity to national cause throughout the eight years of service to the nation before an agreement was finally reached with the UN CLCS in August 2023.

It is instructive to note that Tinubu highlighted the interactions he had with his predecessor, Buhari, on the project; given that it was he, Buhari, who set up the HPPC to oversee the project in 2015.

Tinubu recounted how Buhari briefed him on the importance of the project.

”This is a big congratulations for Nigeria. I commend the team and we must take advantage of this and invite you again to have a repeat of this knowledge exploration on geography, hydrography and marine life.

”Nigeria is grateful for the efforts that you put into gaining additional territory for the country without going to war; some nations went to war; and lost people and economic opportunities.

”We lost nothing but have gained great benefits for Nigeria; we will pursue the best option for the country,” Tinubu said.

Tinubu has also promised to ‘pursue the best option for the country’ on the project, even though the CLCS recommendations fall short of Nigeria’s submitted claim.

Perceptive observers say the achievement is a lesson on the importance of continuity in government projects. Abandoning projects due to changes in administration can lead to wasted resources and lost opportunities.

The extended continental shelf is a significant achievement of Tinubu’s administration and to Nigeria.

According to experts, this is something that has never happened in the nation’s history, and may never happen again.

By learning from the ECS project, Nigeria can improve its approach to governance and project management, ensuring that with perseverance and continuity strategic initiatives are completed despite challenges.

The ECS project, initiated in 2009, faced delays and funding issues but persistence through the efforts of the immediate past administration paid off, and was finally approved by the UN in August 2023, shortly after Tinubu assumed office.

The country has taken note of articles 7 and 8 in Annex II to the Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning recommendations received from the CLCS.

The project also demonstrates the importance of long-term thinking in governance.

Discerning stakeholders hold that while the project’s benefits may not be immediate, it will surely have a significant impact on Nigeria’s economy and maritime boundaries in the future.

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Economy

Naira Gains N61.38 Against Dollar At Official Market

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Naira Gains N61.38 Against Dollar At Official Market

The Naira on Wednesday appreciated at the official market, trading at N1,459.02 to the dollar.

Data from the official trading platform of the FMDQ Exchange revealed that the Naira gained N61.38.

This represents a 4.04 per cent gain when compared to the previous trading date on Tuesday, when the local currency exchanged at N1,520.40 to a dollar.

Also, the total daily turnover increased to 289.14 million dollars on Wednesday up from 128.76 million dollars recorded on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, at the Investor’s and Exporter’s (I&E) window, the Naira traded between N1,593 and N1,401 against the dollar. 

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