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Police to deploy special patrol vehicles on highways soon–IGP

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Adamu gets 3 months tenure extension as I-G

…As Energy marketing firm sacks 100 workers***

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, says the force has procured special patrol vehicles to be deployed soon across highways in the country to tackle insecurity.

Adamu stated this on Tuesday during his official visit to officers and men of the Oyo State Police Command.

The IGP said that the vehicles, which were different from the usual patrol vehicles currently in operation, have special gadgets that would help  to easily deOyo State Police Commandtect crime on the highways.

Adamu also said that the government had acquired body armour for the protection of officers on duty.

The IGP further said that President Muhammadu Buhari had agreed to ensure that the existing police barracks were renovated while new ones were constructed.

“The renovation and construction of new barracks will sovle the problem of officers looking for accommodation to rent and bring back the barracks to the situation it used to be in the past.

“The president has also instructed that special promotion be given to officers that are hardworking and execelling in the performance of their duty.

” This is to encourage them to put in more effort and I urge you all to be hardworking so as to benefit from this special promotion,” Adamu said.

Adamu commanded the efforts of the Oyo  State Police Command in keeping the state safe for businesses to thrive.

He acknowledged that there were isolated challenges, adding that the situation would have been worse if not for the input and dedication of the officers in fighting crimes.

Earlier, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, said the command was keeping watch over more than eight million people in the 33 local council areas of the state

Olukolu said that the state has 10 police area commands with the state headquarters in Eleyele, Ibadan.

The commissioner, however, said that the total strength of officers and men in the command was insuficient to police the state.

He said that the command was blessed with dedicated and highly resourceful officers and men who were professional at their duty posts at any point in time.

” A cursory look at the societal landscape has revealed that Oyo State is not immune from the dynamics of contemporary crimes and criminalities with its attendant challenges and we assure you of our commitment in tackling the situation,” he said.

Olukolu listed the challenges of the command to include inadequate manpower and inadequate office space among others.

Also read:  STATE OF NATION: Police nab 1,154 suspected kidnappers in 8 months

The commissioner, however,  said that the  command had been able to record successes in tackling the  security challenges in the  state inspite of the challenges.

In the meantime, OVH Energy Marketing Ltd. has retrenched about 100 of its workforce in order to overcome the problem of salaries payment due to the ongoing challenges in the downstream oil sector.

A top official of the company, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

The official confirmed that all sacked workers had been paid their entitlements, adding that it was to salvage the situation before it got out of hand.

NAN reports that Oando Marketing Ltd. in 2016 changed the company’s brand name to OVH Energy Marketing Ltd.

The change of name was to reflect the then recapitalisation and corporate restructuring aimed at admitting new shareholders.

Reacting to the development, Dr Gogomary Oyet, the Group Head, External Relations and Communications of OVH Energy Marketing Ltd., told NAN that about 70 workers were retrenched.

According to Oyet, the severance exercise is a decision made after due consultations with stakeholders.

“It was done after extensive discussions for over eight months at the local, zonal and national levels of the relevant unions.

“The severance package realised from these conversations were acceptable and signed by all parties before the implementation of the exercise.

“We have executed this exercise strictly in line with the terms of agreement which was approved and signed by all named chapters of PENGASSAN and OVH Energy Marketing’s management,” he said.

Oyet also said the company had introduced a voluntary exit package for workers who were not affected by the severance exercise, but wished to move ahead with other ventures.

“It is important to state that all those affected by this exercise went through an outplacement programme.

“This got them ready for life outside OVH Energy which includes financial planning, health management and entrepreneurship,” he said.

According to him, the interest, well-being and welfare of the employees is important to the company.

Oyet added: “We remain committed to sustaining a diverse, safe and respectful work environment.

“OVH Energy is always looking to optimise its products and services offered to the market and making sure the supporting processes and organisation are in line with that objective.

“Any further organisational change will always happen in consultation and agreement of relevant unions and stakeholders.”

NAN also gathered that the retrenchment which started in December 2018 was still ongoing as scores of the workers were yet to know their fate.

 

Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Economy

Cement Price Can Be Lower Than FG, Manufacturers’ Projection — Association 

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…Warns that high price could lead to corner-cutting and building collapse

The National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) says the agreement between the Federal Government and three major cement manufacturers that a 50kg bag of cement, for now, is not supposed to sell for more than N7,000 to N8,000 is faulty.

The National President, Mr Adesegun Banjoko, said this on Tuesday in Lagos.

Recall that the parties, at a meeting on Monday, said that the ideal price of  a 50kg bag of cement for now should be between ₦7,000.00 and ₦8,000.00 depending on location.

They agreed that the current higher prices of cement in parts of the country were abnormal.

The main manufacturers of cement in the country are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc.

According to Banjoko, there is no reason for the price of cement to be sold even at the projected prices, since limestone, which is a key ingredient, is readily available in Nigeria.

He expressed fears that the high price would lead to corner-cutting and building collapse.

The NABMON president expressed the belief that the government and manufacturers could do better and offer lower prices.

Bags of cements

He suggested a reduction or elimination of customs duties on other imported materials used in cement production, adding that this would incentivise manufacturers to lower their prices.

He, therefore, proposed a target price of ₦3,500 to ₦5,000 per bag.

Banjoko said, “There are three issues that make me disagree with the government and the main manufacturers.

“First, limestone is sourced in Nigeria; agreed they have some few other materials they bring in from abroad.

“But if the government is really concerned about life and property lost to building collapse, they should either remove custom duties on such items or reduce them by half to encourage the manufacturers to come down to between N3, 500 and N5, 000.”

He also advised the government to temporarily halt road construction projects that use cement.

Banjoko said that this would free up available cement for vital projects and potentially reduce demand, leading to lower prices.

The NABMON president warned that the high price of cement had added to the existing tensions in the country.

He urged the government to act cautiously with essential commodities like cement, emphasising its impact on public well-being.

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Economy

NGX: Bullish Sentiment Persists, Investors Gain N329bn

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Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

…Unilever Nigeria Plc, Julius Berger lead Losers’ table 

Bullish sentiment persisted on Thursday at the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) equity market, as the market indices rose by 0.58 percent.

Specifically, investors gained N329 billion or 0.58 percent, as the market capitalisation closed at N56.961 trillion, as against N56.632 trillion recorded on Wednesday.

The All-Share Index also appreciated by 0.58 percent or 601.72 points to settle at 104,100, compared to 103,498.28 posted in the previous session.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 39.22 percent.

Continuous buy interests in the shares of BUA Cement, BUAFoods, and Geregu kept the market in the positive terrain.

A total of 284.49 million shares valued at N6.91 billion were exchanged in 8,168 deals, as against 426.86 million shares valued at N12.11 billion exchanged in 8,654 deals.

However, analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions down by 42.89 percent.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) led the activity table in volume and value with the trade of 56.61 million shares worth N2.22 billion.

Transcorp followed with 33.17 million shares valued at N418.31 million, while United Bank of Africa(UBA) traded 18.38 million shares worth N442.96 million.

Also, Mutual Benefits Assurance sold 16.76 shares valued at N11.48 million and AXA Mansard traded 12.51 million shares worth N75.57 million.

On the gainers’ table, University Press Ltd.(UPL) led in percentage terms of 9.96 percent to close at N2.87, followed by Juli Plc by 9.84 percent to close at N1.34 per share.

Mutual Benefits gained 9.38 percent to close at 70k, Daar Communications rose by 8.82 percent to close at 74k, while Honeywell Flour garnered 7.50 percent to close at N4.30 per share.

Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

Conversely, Unilever Nigeria Plc led the losers’ table by 9.80 percent to close at N16.10, Julius Berger lost 9.64 percent to close at N50.60, while Morison Industries Plc shed 9.60 percent to close at N2.23 per share.

May & Baker Nigeria Plc depreciated by 6.52 percent to close at N6.45 and National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON) dropped 5.37 percent to close at N59.04 per share.

Market breadth closed negative with 26 declining stocks outnumbering 23 advancing ones.

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