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BusinessDay 09 Apr 2018

46 BUSINESS DAY

46 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Monday 09 April 2018 NEWS BPE finalises plans to sell Yola , Afam Power... Continued from page 1 rity in the sale and management of public assets. Alex Okoh, director-general, BPE, made this known at the joint kick-off meeting of the transaction advisers for the privatisation of Afam Power Generation Plant and Yola Power Distribution Company in Abuja, last week. According to a statement by Amina Tukur Othman, head, public communications of the Bureau, Okoh said the Bureau had raised the bar for privatisation transactions, adding that stakeholders would be carried along throughout the entire stages of the transactions. The director-general noted the criticism that trailed the initial privatisation of the power companies, and said the lessons learnt in the previous exercise would be applied to set a standard for the fresh transactions, as transparency and professionalism were vital to all the Bureau’s transactions. On the emergence of FBN Quest L-R: Emmanuel Eze, executive director/ chief technology officer, SystemSpecs Limited, representing John Obaro, the managing director, who was conferred with Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) professional fellowship; Imoke Liyel, former governor, Cross River State; Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, and James Emadoye, president, ISPON, at the 2018 president’s dinner with theme, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, a golden opportunity for Nigeria in Lagos. Pic by Pius Okeosisi Consortium as the sole transaction adviser for Yola and Afam Power companies, he said there was nothing untoward about it, rather “it is in furtherance of the Bureau’s stance on transparency because the Consortium participated in the two distinct bidding processes for the selection of transactions advisers and emerged as the preferred bidder for Yola Power Company and reserved bidder for Afam Power Company.” According to him when negotiations with the preferred bidder - Energy Markets & Rates Consortium (EMRC) for advisory services for Afam Power Company transaction fell through, the Bureau made recourse to the reserve bidder – FBN Quest in line with best practice. While expressing confidence in FBN Quest’s ability to deliver on both transactions, Okoh pledged the Bureau’s support towards ensuring the success of the standards to be set in the fresh transactions. However, in response, Taiwo Okeowo, deputy managing director, FBN Quest Consortium, said the Consortium’s goal was to partner the BPE to set an improved standard in the course of the transactions and post-transaction activities. To achieve this, Okeowo said, a team of professionals cutting across technical experts, legal services, as well as financial experts were on board to execute the task. It would be recalled that although Yola Distribution Company was successfully privatised and handed over to the core investor in 2013, a force majeure was declared in 2015 by the core investor, citing insecurity in the North-East region of Nigeria. Following this, the company was duly repossessed by the Federal Government. The transaction for Afam Power Generation Company on the other hand fell through due to the delay in signing the Gas Supply Agreement (GSAA) and the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA). In 2017 the National Council on Privatisation gave approval for a fresh transaction to privatise the two power companies. APC set to reverse tenure elongation for... Continued from page 4 of Kano State, speaking to some selected newsmen in Abuja disclosed that the earlier decision of APC NEC which favoured tenure extension will be reversed. Governor Ganduje also revealed that today’s NEC meeting is expected to decide on date and time table for Congresses and convention of the party which will produce party officials at all levels. He said few APC governors who were campaigning for what he described as “illegal” tenure elongation have been convinced to discard such moves. “Let me tell you the issues involved, those who are advocating for tenure elongation, they are advocating on the premise that when we hold congresses and convention according to their own perception, there will be a lot of problems and that problem will linger into election period. Well that is a perception, it could be that way and it could be that some people wanted to retain power. “The constitution of our party has made a provision for four years and at the end of it we have to hold congresses and convention. The constitution of Nigeria has also provided for that, so we have no reason whatsoever. “So for those who thought they would be able to continue, we said no and so I think Mr. President finally hit the nail on the head, by saying that he is not in favour of any tenure elongation. “Tenure elongation is undemocratic, it may lead us to litigation which will not be good for the party and we are happy that we have convinced the few governors that were for the elongation. “I think that is the situation and I am happy to say that the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum issued a statement, the chairman of the APC governors Forum also issued a statement and the national chairman of the party Chief John Oyegun made a statement as well to say that all is well,” the Kano Governor maintained. Meanwhile, the APC described as false, allegations by Reno Omokri, erstwhile Special Assistant to Former President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media which was contained in April 5, 2018 report published on the website of Vanguard Newspapers, titled: ‘APC secretly reaching out to me for friendship’. Edegbe Odemwingie, Assistant Director of Publicity, APC National Secretariat in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja said the report shows that, Omokri’s allegation is based on interactions he had on twitter with one Philip Obin who manages a twitter handle, “@APCNigeria”. Odemwingie stated that the Party had on several occasions distanced itself from the now notorious twitter handle, “@APCNigeria” following unauthorized tweets and subsequent false reports credited to the Party on the outcome of the Benue South Senatorial rerun election and an assessment poll on President Muhammadu Buhari Administration among others. He said despite APC rebuttals, Obin has continued to impersonate the Party through the twitter handle, “@APCNigeria”. “For the avoidance of doubts, we wish to state that Philip Obin was one of the numerous youth volunteers for our party during the 2015 elections. He administered the Twitter handle at the time. But despite numerous appeals to him by various well meaning party representatives, to hand over the handle, Obin has refused and in defiance continues to use it to misrepresent the Party. “In essence, therefore, Obin’s interactions with Omokri are in his personal capacity and do not involve the Party in any way. Given this latest incident, the Party is now left with no option than to take other lawful actions to restrain Obin from further embarrassing the Party. The general public is yet again reminded that the Twitter handle @APCNigeria is not a Twitter handle of the All Progressives Congress,” Odemwingie stated. Shebah Petroleum drags feet on $143m loan... Continued from page 1 against it by three creditor banks following a $150 million loan repayment default, was thrown out of a London court last year. On July 1, 2011, Nigerian lenders- Diamond and Skye Banks, as well as Egypt-based Afrexim Bank lent US$100 million to Shebah under a pre-export finance facility agreement, a figure that was later amended to $150 million on May 11, 2012, with each bank advancing $50 million, according to a court document seen by BusinessDay. The banks claim that since a US$6.1 million payment in June 2012, Shebah has made no further repayments. This led the banks to file a lawsuit demanding the balance repayment by Shebah and the two guarantors of the loan, ABC Orjiakor, Shebah’s President and Allenne Limited, one of Orjiakor’s trading companies. Shebah made an unsuccessful appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London on June 28 2017 to negotiate a lesser payment, as the court ruled that the entirety of the sums claimed by the claimants (the three creditor banks) are due and payable by the appellants (Shebah, Orjiakor and Allenne Ltd). “The claimants have accelerated Shebah’s entire debt pursuant to Clause 24.17 of the Facility Agreement (such that it is immediately due and repayable), and have made demands on Allenne and Dr Orjiako under their respective guarantees,” the court document seen by BusinessDay read. “The appellants sought to argue that the claimants could not rely on the acceleration or the demands. This argument was rejected by the judge, and has not been renewed,” the document read. Shebah was not immediately available to say if other appeals have been made after then. Diamond bank’s spokesperson, Mike Omeife, did not respond to a text message. Skye bank, whose board was dissolved in 2016 by the Central bank over weak capital adequacy ratios and ballooning bad loans, was also not immediately available for comment. Two phone calls to Cairo-based Afrexim bank’s Abuja address at No. 2 Gnassingbe Eyadema Street, Asokoro, went unreplied as work hours had elapsed at the time the calls were made. Nigerian companies have suffered since the 2014 oil-price crash triggered an economic contraction and sent corporate earnings plunging. Last year, Etisalat Nigeria (now 9mobile) was taken over and later put on receivership by 13 creditor banks who had provided the telecommunication company a $1.2 billion loan in 2013, which the company defaulted on. Rampant inflation reduced consumers’ purchasing power and the central bank’s tightening of capital controls led to a shortage of dollars, which companies need to pay for imported equipment and service foreigncurrency loans. The naira lost more than half its value against the United States dollar in that period, with companies having to deal with dollar loans that had doubled in naira terms. That saw nonperforming bank loans spiral to more than double the limit set by the regulator. Being an oil exploration and production company, Shebah was particularly hard hit by declining oil prices and militant attacks in the Niger-delta that nearly halved the country’s production to a decade-low of 1.2 million barrels daily. The $150 million loan was to enable Shebah refinance some of its pre-existing debt; and provide it with working capital, including funding for an oil production programme at the Ukpokiti oil field in Nigeria, from which Shebah was entitled to 80 percent of the revenue. Stakeholders set... Continued from page 4 listed securities market has driven NASD Plc to record growth in value and volume of securities traded. Ajomale will key into this conference to tell the world his efforts around enhancing transparency on the inherent value in such companies, improve levels of investor confidence, and other new initiatives. For Haruna Jalo-Waziri, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, it will be a platform for him to speak more to stakeholders on CSCS’s recently unveiled three-year strategy which is effective from 2018 to 2020. Other areas of focus for the panelists include: how to attract new listings, the role of alternative asset classes, effective strategies for wealth creation after recession, factors changing the global investment industry and implications for Nigerian markets, increasing retail participation in the Nigerian capital market, and how to educate investors to exploit the gains of diversified asset classes.

Monday 09 April 2018 While I was away (2): Obasanjo’s pious pontification Continued from back page honey”. What a perfidious distortion of history! Interestingly, someone recently tweeted the front page of Daily Trust of August 10, 2002 with the headline “Nigerians are suffering, IBB tells Obasanjo”. Does that look like a land “flowing with milk and honey”? Although his government created a few billionaires, mainly due to crony capitalism, Nigeria’s Gini index, the measure of inequality, dropped only marginally from 0.47 in 1999 when Obasanjo became president to 0.43 in 2007 when he left office. Not a golden age! Moreover, whatever Obasanjo achieved economically and institutionally, he destroyed politically. He destroyed internal party democracy, neutered opposition parties, eschewed political reforms, conducted massively rigged elections and – wait for it – tried to change the constitution to run for a third term! Clearly, Obasanjo does not seem to know the enormous damage that the Third-term agenda did to his reputation and to Nigeria’s political system. He said politics is depressed in Nigeria today, but, lest we forget, Nigeria was as politically depressed when he left office in 2007 as it was when he became president in1999! Recently, in the full glare of media publicity, Obasanjo laid a wreath at the tomb of the 73 people killed by herders in the New Year, and said, “I feel sad beyond description”, adding that “The loss of life of one Nigerian is a loss to all of us”. Great, except that the Odi massacre, during which hundreds of innocent civilians were killed by soldiers and villages were destroyed, happened under his administration. The federal high court later described the killings as a “brazen violation of the fundamental human rights of the victims”. Take another example of seeming hypocrisy. Obasanjo was in Rwanda last month Heritage Bank commits to sustainable growth, profitability Heritage Bank plc has restated its commitment to sustainable growth and profitability despite the prevailing adverse macroeconomic environment. The bank said in statement issued at the weekend by Fela Ibidapo, divisional head, corporate communications, that, “Its ambition to emerge as a systemic important bank in the Nigerian banking industry remains its underlying corporate growth strategy.” According to Ibidapo, the foundational element of its growth strategy: People, Partnership and Process have been recalibrated to match the rapidly changing needs of and took part in the photo opportunity during the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He criticised President Buhari for not attending, saying: “It is criminal for any African leader to talk of not understanding what we are going to sign and afford not to be here”. But the same Obasanjo ran one of the most protectionist governments in Africa, even boasting that “We will ban more imports”. So, is he now a supporter of free trade, which is what the AfCFTA is about? Or is he just a fair-weather cheerleader for free trade? And what about values? Last year, when Rochas Okorocha, the megalomaniacal and nepotistic governor of Imo state, unveiled a statue in honour of Jacob Zuma, then president of South Africa, Obasanjo was there to support Okorocha and Zuma. Now, a key test in politics is: “Whose side are you on?” So, does Obasanjo, the apostle of good governance, believe that a statue for Zuma was the best way to spend the resources of Imo State, a state where workers are owed several months’ salaries? Does he even believe that Zuma deserved the “honour”, a statue anywhere in Nigeria? When the BBC asked Obasanjo last year whether he thought President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was a democrat, Baba’s answer was “yes”, even though Kagame silenced all key opposition politicians in the country. Last month, the British police said the Rwandan government was sponsoring secret agents to kill Rwandan exiles in the UK. Yet, Obasanjo said, “as far as I am concerned, there is nothing undemocratic about Kagame”! Clearly, on the key leadership tests of judgment and values, Obasanjo has not justified the moral high ground he always claims. His recent criticisms of Buhari are accurate, but they are discredited by his own past and values. In Britain, a former leader like its customers, especially as it deploys full steam retail banking franchise. The bank is on a growth track and not unmindful of the headwinds facing the domestic economy, Ibidapo said, adding that it is very optimistic that the Heritage brand will continue to soar over the current economic tide through its collective efforts to remain an enduring institution. He said the bank would continue to grow by appealing to key client segments, especially in the retail space and also focus on underpenetrated banking segments while building loyalty among the bank’s existing customer Obasanjo would hardly be shown any deference by the media or the public, as the BBC demonstrated last year in its totally irreverent HARDtalk interview with him. But Obasanjo takes Nigerians for granted, and they acquiesce! Which brings me to his “Coalition for Nigeria”, which he said self-assuredly would “drive Nigeria up and forward”. He added hyperbolically that “failure to do it will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity”. Really? So, what’s the movement’s raison d’etre? Obasanjo listed “democracy”, “good governance”, “socioeconomic well-being” and “progress”! But which political organisation in the world doesn’t have these universal goals? Why would “all wellmeaning Nigerians” belong to one movement in order achieve them? What’s more, these generic goals can only be achieved within a well-functioning political economy, in a society with the right politicogovernance structure. Yet Obasanjo is against political restructuring. True, Nigeria needs a coalition, but it is a coalition to restructure the country, a coalition to give Nigeria a new political settlement, not a self-serving movement with some nebulous political agenda. Surely, Obasanjo’s “Coalition for Nigeria”, which could “field candidates for elections”, is his attempt to play the Svengali, the godfather, again! Indeed, recently, one politician, Perry Opara, an Obasanjo confidant, said that “Obj will be instrumental in who becomes president in 2019”, adding: “Obasanjo is the Nigerian political oracle, which must be consulted in any presidential election”. So, we know what’s behind Obasanjo’s recent sanctimonious interventions. He wants, yet again, to choose Nigeria’s next president. But Nigeria must reject Obasanjo’s demagogy, and free itselffrom his patrimonial and Svengalian grip! base. The statement said the bank was committed to building an enduring and resilient banking franchise in the country, remarking that in the midst of the seemingly stormy realities presented by events within the political and economic environments, and would continue to pursue its strategic aspiration of not only being stable but also being sustainable in earnings and profitability in its growth plan. He remarked that the bank was committed to deploying its resources towards the delivery of innovative banking solutions to its customers as well as create and transfer wealth to all its stakeholders. L-R: Abiola Olorunnisola, executive vice president (South West), Junior Chambers International (JCI) Nigeria; Toyin Atanda, chairperson, 2018 JCI Ten Outstanding Young persons (TOYP) awards; Adeniyi Balogun, president, JCI Nigeria, and Lekan Fadina, member of panel of judges, JCI TOYP 2018, at the unveiling of Ten Outstanding Young Personality awards in Lagos, yesterday. Pic by Olawale Amoo Experts see 10% duty on solar panel threatening energy access to 95m off-grid Nigerians HARRISON EDEH, Abuja Energy experts are worried that the recent 10 percent duty hike on solar panels by the Federal Government will adversely affect the chances of improving coverage for over 95 million Nigerians who are not connected to the grid. Their worries are further compounded by the fact that Nigeria currently does not have the capacity to manufacture solar panels in volumes that can meet market demand, hence recourse to importation of key equipments for the production while also growing local capacity. The Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), a leading private sector renewable energy group in Nigeria, had raised the concern that their members were being forced to pay 5 percent – 10 percent import duty on solar panels by the Nigeria Customs Service. According to the REAN, the tariff hike will increase acquisition cost of solar panels, Diaspora Nigerians express support for Moghalu presidential campaign Nigerians in Diaspora have expressed support for the 2019 presidential campaign of the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deputy governor, Kingsley Moghalu. This was declared during a town hall meeting held last week in Washington DC, United States of America. Making a case on his candidacy at the event, Moghalu shared his structured and ambitious vision for Nigeria - one that is deeply rooted in both local and international experience, commitment to change, and an unrivalled passion to serve Nigerians, which he said had been articulated with the 25 visions in his new book: Build, Innovate and Grow: My vision for C002D5556 which are currently heavily deplored in rural areas where purchasing power is low, as the hike can derail Nigerian’s plan to generate 30 percent of electricity through renewables by 2030. The group confirmed through its president, Segun Adaju, that under the Common External Tariff (CET) code 8541.4010.00 - a classification for import duty tariff - import on solar panels should be 0 percent. The REAN noted that as a result of the hike, discharge of goods from the ports had been slowed down immensely and demurrage charges had risen for its members since the start of the year. Apart from the REAN, analysts are worried the 10 percent import duty on solar panels had slowed down discharge of solar panel goods at the ports, pointing out that demurrage charges had risen for local industry players. Ify Malo, a renewable energy expert and campaign manager, Power for All in Nigeria, said the duty on the solar panel could be a clog our Country – all providing practical and specific policy prescriptions on power, education, healthcare, innovation and the economy to massively improve the country. As part of the candidate’s To Build A Nation Tour, he addressed questions on issues affecting Nigeria’s economic development despite its huge natural and human potential, and his intention to create a nation anchored on accountability, citizencentred solutions and a practical plan to build, innovate and grow a country for the 21st Century devoid of corruption, political instability, mediocre leaders, insecurity, dilapidated health and educational institutions and mass unemployment. BUSINESS DAY 47 NEWS in the wheel for the Federal Government’s plan of generating 3,000mw through offgrid solutions. However, Joseph Attah, Nigeria Customs Service spokesperson, clarified in a telephone conversation with BusinessDay on Friday that the hike was a fiscal policy issue of the Federal Government and must be addressed as such. According to Attah, the importation of the solar panel as categorised as ‘85-41’ still comes in with zero duty, however, when the panel comes with other components, it attracts duty payment because of categorisation of payable duty. He suggested to the REAN group to engage the Federal Government appropriately on the issue, since it was a policy issue. It would be recalled that the Federal Government had informed of its target to have 10,000 mini-grids by which it would generate 3,000mw of electricity to energise underserved off-grid communities across Nigeria by 2020. Commenting at the meeting, participants delivered messages of support and expressed excitement about the country’s future in prospect of a Kingsley Moghalu presidency, as several attendees noted that they had signed off work to be present at the event. “I am inspired by everything I have heard here today and I am sure many of us here are too. I have followed Dr. Kingsley for some time on social media, and I am glad to hear him share his vision and discuss real issues in person. I encourage everyone here to go out and share the word and build this movement, and continue this conversation,” Ifeyinka David, a Nigerian resident in Maryland, said.

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