The adoption of unified standards across Africa will create a bigger and more effective regional market that will enhance the continent’s competitive positioning in global energy markets, the Executive Director, Sahara Group, Tope Shonubi has said.
A statement quoted Shonubi to have made the remark at the African Refiners Association (ARA) meeting in Cape Town.
According to him, the existence of a fragmented petroleum products market with different product specifications, sulphur content and emission requirements remained a huge stumbling block to accessing the benefits that can accrue from intra-regional trade in the sector.
“Adoption of similar specifications and standards has been achieved across Europe and most of North America creating a single larger market for petroleum trade.
“While gasoil specifications remain fragmented across Africa, jet fuel specifications are almost completely unified across the world. This similarity has improved the ease of trading jet fuel across borders, ensured access to a wider market and enhanced competitiveness in the aviation industry,” he said.
Shonubi, urged all stakeholders to embrace the AFRI-4 standards which were the outcome of a partnership between ARA and the World Bank to promote the adoption of a single standard for cleaner fuels.
According to him, “the adoption of the Afri-4 Specifications will guarantee unified product standard across the region, ease of intraregional petroleum product trade, reduction in bulk transportation costs and optimisation of regional infrastructure. This will ultimately make Africa a more influential economic block.”
He added that unified standards would de-fragment African markets resulting in favourable economies of scale in intraregional trade, regional harmonisation of taxes and excise duties, reduction in smuggling and adulteration of products, improved local refining capacity, reduced landing costs of petroleum products, joint infrastructure projects as well as export diversification and access to a larger customer base.
Shonubi, said Africa must accord the prospects of intra-regional trade the urgency it deserves to ensure accelerated economic development.
“In line with the vision of a harmonised Africa, Sahara Group is building an integrated energy business across Middle Africa to harness the potential of intra-regional trade.
“We are delighted to be one of the first African companies to carry out full cycle crude and product trade transactions using only African resources within the continent.
“All transactions were carried out by Africans for Africans using African resources. The future of our business depends on how well we can work together across Africa.”
He, therefore, urged ARA members and other stakeholders in Africa’s energy sector to work towards developing a competitive African Brand.
“Africa countries cannot hope to shape globalisation or even retain marginal relevance individually. It is only by working together that we have the weigh to influence the big picture.”
Connect Nigeria to Support Economic Growth with Business Fair
Connect Nigeria is set to equip small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with social and technological innovation to grow their businesses amid current economic challenges during the seventh edition of its annual Business Fair holding in Lagos.
The Chief Executive Officer, Connect Nigeria, Emeka Okafor, explained that lack of access to fund was not the only hurdle hindering the growth of the SMEs sector, but operators’ unfamiliarity of socio and technology know-how to grow businesses in today’s tech-driven world.
Okafor, who spoke at the pre-fair media parley in Lagos, said the technology-driven commerce and business-enabling platform was set to use the fair to aid access to required skills and partnerships for SMEs in the country, Africa and the rest of the world.
Okafor said, “Participants can explore the many business prospects available while entrepreneurs can learn the skills they need to grow their businesses in today’s tech-driven world.
“Taking part in the exhibition positions participants as a reputable brand, because their goods and or services will be displayed, alongside brands from reputable companies.
“No product or service is off limits; participants should ensure the packaging is presentable. Over the years, there have been products and services ranging from banking solutions to fashion and beauty, catering services, real estate, online marketing hubs, telecoms, ICT solution providers, booksellers and media houses among others.”
The Connect Nigeria boss, who said there would be a segment specifically for Made-in-Nigeria goods including handcraft, added that the fair was dedicated to promoting business for SMEs, assisting Nigerian businesses achieve global competitiveness, empowering thousands of business owners, start-ups, and aspiring entrepreneurs, enabling them to fast-track the growth of their businesses by leveraging the power of technology.
“The United Nations projected that the country’s population would increase to 300 million by 2050 and a good number of these people are entrepreneurs. If we sustain this platform like we have continued to, it will affect the economy positively, especially when the population increases further,” he said.
The Head Marketing & Strategy, Rack Centre, Mrs Ejieke Maduka Ezeadiugwu, who was also present at the parley, lauded the organisers of the business fair, stating that equipping SMEs with the necessary technology and entrepreneurial skills as obtainable at the business fair sets the economy up for industrialisation, poverty alleviation, youth development, foreign direct investment generation and SME development.
She said: “I urge the federal government to boost its capacity, competence, and legitimacy to mobilise and interact with all stakeholders, thereby creating an attractive investment climate for businesses to succeed in Nigeria.”
The Director-General, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Joyce Akpata, who was also at the event, explained that other skills most Nigerian SMEs lack are their inability to clearly define roles and responsibilities, separate ownership and management of the entity and preparation of financial records among others.
Caverton Posts N5.75bn Profit in 2018
Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, (COSG), one of the leading providers of marine, aviation and logistics services to local and international oil and gas companies in Nigeria, has announced its audited year end results for 2018.
The results showed a profit before tax of N5.75billion, compared with the N3.9 billion recorded in 2017.
Also, its after-tax profit climbed to N4.3billion, up from N2.62 billion the previous year.
Its revenue jumped by 56 per cent, while direct operating costs increased by 43 percent supporting the earnings per share which also increased by 64 percent when compared to 2017 financial year.
Commenting on the recent events, COSG’s Chief Executive Officer, Bode Makanjuola said, “The brownout incident during the 2019 Presidential campaign which resulted in the hard landing of our aircraft conveying the Vice President of Nigeria further goes to show why safety must always remain paramount in our operations.
“We are thankful there were no injuries or fatalities and we express our profound gratitude to the Presidency, Nigerian aviation regulatory authorities and the general public for their thoughts and prayers; Special commendation must go to our pilots and supporting staff for their continued professionalism, dedication and support.”
He added, “the implementation of our strategy to increase service offerings is at an advanced stage. Our Maintenance Repair and Overall (MRO) facility, is nearing completion and work has already commenced on the training school hangar which will house our recently acquired Thales built helicopter flight simulator.”
Caverton was issued Approved Training Organisation (ATO) Certificate by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in August 2018.
Revenue for 2018 was N32.1billion, (N20.54billion December 2017), operating profit, (excluding other income), is N7.98billion, (N4.22billion December 2017).
EBITDA for the period is N10.25 billion, (N6.24bn December 2017). Profit before tax is N5.75
Olagunju’s Contributions to BoI Commended
The immediate past Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises, of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Dr. Waheed Olagunju, has been commended for his contributions towards the growth of the Development Finance Institution (DFI) over a period of almost three decades.
The commendations were made during the send-forth dinner organised by the Bank for Olagunju, upon his retirement.
The BoI Chairman, Alhaji Aliyu AbdulRahman Dikko, said Olagunju was part of the team that transformed the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) to the BoI, having joined the bank from the media in 1990 as Head of the Corporate Communications Department
and rose to become the bank’s Company Secretary, a position he occupied for 16 years, after which he was appointed Executive Director in 2012.
During the six years that he served as ED, Olagunju at different times also acted as the bank’s Managing Director.
“The bank will definitely never forget you as your name will be written in gold in the history of the bank,” a statement quoted the chairman to have said.
He said during the period Olagunju was in charge of the bank, he and his management team were responsible for improving the bank’s international rating, a move that aided the DFI’s access to different international lines of credit.
He said Olagunju also brought out the brand of BoI to the public domain, pointing out that the bank’s television impact programme series that he initiated resulted in milestone achievements for the Bank.
“We do not see Olagunju leaving BoI as such, because we believe we can come to you anytime, you will be an extension of BoI and you will continue to be our ambassador in taking the bank to greater heights,” he said.
Also, the Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Olukayode Pitan, said working with Olagunju in the last one year and half was great and rewarding without any problem whatsoever, stressing that he is a very humble and knowledgeable person who is endowed with considerable institutional memory.
“If you want to know anything about BoI just ask him. He has mental records that he also supports with relevant documents.
“To let you know how we feel about him, the bank has not had a send-forth party for its staff for a very long time, so for us to do this, it means that we value his immense contributions to the bank.
“We wish you well and we know that even when you are outside, you will represent us well,” the BoI boss added.
NGC Donates Health Centre to Ondo Community
Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has assured that it will continue to develop a robust and sustainable relationship with its over 350 host communities in the country to enhance business growth in line with its corporate social responsibility (CSR) core values.
The Managing Director of NGC, Mr Babatunde Bakare, gave the assurance recently, during the official inauguration and hand over of a multi- million naira Basic Health Centre to the Oniparaga community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Bakare, who was represented by the General Manager, Support Services, Nigerian Gas Company, Mrs Maria Emmanuel-Ate, said the wellbeing of the community was paramount to the CSR thrust of the company.
The MD, NGC, said the company has metering stations located in 11 states in the country, noting that by implication, its pipeline transverses over 350 host communities.
“We present to you this fully equipped Basic Health Centre as a token of our appreciation and our contribution to the development of Oniparaga Community.
“As a company, we shall continue to solicit for your co-operation and assistance in the maintenance of peace and support for our business growth aspiration in the interest of the community and Nigeria in general.
“NGC will always encourage and appreciate communities that promote peace, dialogue and understanding in the resolution of issues. This is the hallmark of our community relations engagement process,” he said.
Bakare, urged the people to make judicious use of the facility.
The Chairman, Odigbo Local Government Council, Ondo State, Mr Tunde Ikumawoyi, thanked the NGC and the people of Oniparaga for ensuring that the project materialised.
He assured that the project would be put into proper use by the primary healthcare department of the Council, adding, “No doubt, the health of our people will be remarkably improved by qualitative healthcare provision that will come from the new facility,” he said.