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Buni Empowers More SMEs in Yobe

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Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has launched a second phase of empowerment programme to Small- and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.
He said the programmes combined with the previous skills acquisition and empowerment projects were part of the recovery plan for sustainable means of livelihood.


“In this event, we would witness the distribution of complete GSM Handset Repair sets and laptops, fish and poultry production, small-scale rice milling, personal beauty and hygiene materials, among others,” Buni said.

He added that the target beneficiaries were the mobile phones and allied products traders and other youth across the state.
“Our commitment to poverty alleviation, job and wealth creation to speed up our recovery process and uplift the lives of our people, remain sacrosanct and unshakeable,” Buni said.

The governor enjoined the beneficiaries to avoid reselling and to ensure optimum utilization of the items.
“I enjoin beneficiaries of these and other empowerment programmes to ensure the judicious use of the packages for self-improvement.
“By doing so, the government would be encouraged to reach out to more people for us to collectively fight poverty,” he added.
He commanded the people of the state for their peaceful conduct during the presidential and national assembly elections.
He also advised them to vote wisely in the forthcoming gubernatorial election for continuity and consolidation of developmental programmes.
Also speaking, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego, the Commissioner, Ministry of Wealth Creation, Empowerment and Employment Generation, commended Buni for the gesture.
Bego recalled that on Feb. 3, Buni launched a similar empowerment support for businessmen, widows and vulnerable persons in the state.
He said the governor recently commissioned 100 Toyota avensis taxi cars, which are to be used for town service across the state, among others.
“His excellency also announced cash support to Micro, small and medium businesses and vulnerable persons,” the Commissioner added. (NAN)

Economy

Selloffs in Banking Stocks Dip Market Capitalisation by N68bn

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The Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) market capitalisation declined further on Wednesday by 0.12 per cent or N68 billion, following selloffs in Tier-one banking stocks.

The market capitalisation, which opened at N56.898 trillion, closed at N56.830 trillion.

The All-Share Index also shed 0.

12 per cent or 121 points to settle at 100,365.
17, compared to 100,486.12 recorded on Tuesday.

Consequently, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return declined to 34.

23 per cent.

Sell pressure in FBN Holdings, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), United Bank of Africa (UBA), Access Corporation, Fidelity, among other declined equities, were the main drivers of the negative performance.

Meanwhile, the market breadth closed negative with 21 losers and 18 gainers on the floor of the Exchange.

Secure Electronic Technology Plc led the losers’ chart by 9.43 per cent to close at 48k, RT Briscoe followed by 8.22 per cent to close at 67k per share.

UBA lost 5.07 per cent to close at N21.22, Livestock shed 4.56 per cent to close N2.30, United Capital dropped 4.27 per cent to close at N37 per share.

On the other hand, International Breweries and Sovereign Trust Insurance led the gainers’ chart by 10 per cent each to close at N4.07 and 55k per share respectively.

Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc gained 9.80 per cent to close at 56k, The Initiative Plc rose by 7.50 per cent to close at N2.15.

FCMB appreciated by 5.26 per cent to close at eight Naira per share.

On market activities, trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up by 137.35 per cent.

A total of 497.84 million shares valued at N8.61 billion were exchanged in 8,412 deals, against, 280.92 million shares valued at N3.63 billion  exchanged in 8,403 deals posted in the previous session.

First City Monument Bank(FCMB) led the activity chart in volume with 133.92 million shares valued at N1.4 billion, Access Corporation followed by 72.82 million shares worth N1.41 billion.

Zenith Bank sold 60.06 million shares worth N2.19 billion to lead the chart in value, UBA transacted 29.08 million shares valued at N639.55 million and Universal Insurance traded 22.92 million shares worth N7.68 million. (NAN)

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Economy

Bankable Projects will Empower Youth, Women in Agriculture – Speaker

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, says Nigeria can empower youth and women in Agriculture with the development and implementation of bankable business proposals.

Abbas said this at the Second Interactive Session and Workshop on Developing Bankable Business Proposals/Business Plans for Youths and women in Agriculture on Monday in Abuja.

The Speaker, who was represented by his Deputy, Rep.

Benjamin Kalu, said youth and women are the most vital demographics in the society.

The event was organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.

While acknowledging the bank and its partners for their contribution and interventions in the sector, Abbas said the need to diversify Nigeria’s economy could not be over emphasised.

According to him, our over-reliance on oil as primary resource has become neither sustainable nor profitable as the global community shifts towards greener, more sustainable energy sources.

“This reality makes it not just necessary, but urgent for us to explore and invest in alternative sectors.

“By focusing on developing and implementation of bankable business proposals, we can empower our youth and our women, to become key players in these sectors.

“Their active participation is not only essential for economic diversification, but also for ensuring food security and sustainable development through agriculture and technological advancements through high safety,” he said.

Abbas recognised AfDB’s hi-5 priorities to empower, feed, industrialise, integrate and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

He expressed the commitment of the legislators to support youth and women development through various projects and programmes.

He urged for more collaboration of the AfDB and other stakeholders to advance initiatives that could drive significant progress in the country and across the continent.

“Through this, we will certainly build a better, more resilient future for Nigeria and for the world,” he said.

Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said any workable concept on youth and women in agriculture would contribute to sustainable agricultural development across the continent.

Kyari said the country was committed to work closely with bilateral and multilateral development partners, in advancing the engagement of youth and women in agriculture.

“Notably, agriculture remains the singular sector with the highest potential for mass job creation.
Youth participation will further bridge the gap for aging farm population.

“It will take development back to the rural communities, cause a significant improvement in production and overall productivity and offer a veritable platform to accentuate the poverty reduction drive of government,” he said.

Kyari said President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda for Food Security was poised to change the narrative of agriculture of a way of life.

“And agriculture as a wealth creating sector with sustainable, marketable, and bankable business prospects for youth and women engagement.’’

Similarly, the Minister of Youth Development, Dr Jamila Ibrahim, said it was crucial to build capacity of youth and women to see agricultural beyond subsistent but as an enterprise.

Ibrahim expressed the commitment of the ministry to work with stakeholders to co-create initiatives to support women and youth.

“We are open to working with partners to strengthen what we are doing. By doing so, we will build a brighter future for Nigeria,” she said.

For the Minister of Communications, innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, innovation is key to solve most challenges we face in Nigeria and the continent.

Tijani said that this innovation could not be done without including the young people including women, thus the need to invest in them.

Also speaking the Director-General, West Africa Region of AfDB, Mr Lamin Barrow, said the event was part of activities to celebrate the bank’s 60 years anniversary.

According to the director-general, Africa’s progress will be driven by young dynamic workforce, thus the importance to boost investment in them.(NAN)

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Business Analysis

A Peep Into Dangote’s Refinery, The World’s Engineering Wonder

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By Cletus Akwaya

Call it Dangote Republic and you would not be wrong, for that is what it means in real sense.

The ultra-modern Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical complex located at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos is the World’s Engineering wonder.

A guided tour for top Media executives in the country  by the President,  Dangote Industries Group himself, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on July 14, provided a rare privilege and opportunity to appreciate the project that has emerged as the World’s largest  single train petroleum refinery.

Dangote, the Kano-born business mogul and Africa’s richest man, whose vision for the industrial transformation of Nigeria led to the initiation of this project is certainly a fulfilled person, having accomplished such a gargantuan task in the spelt of just about 10 years.

The refinery, which is  built and equipped with the latest technology in the industry. It is a behemoth sitting on a huge land space of 2, 735 hectares, approximately seven times, the size of Victoria Island, the octane section of Lagos, which has become the abode for the very rich in the nation’s commercial nerve – centre over the decades.

The land was provided by the Lagos state government after the payment of $100million dollars by the Dangote Group as cost of the land.

The edifice didn’t come easy as the engineers had to reclaim 65million cubic metres of sand  through dredging of the Atlantic coastline to pave way for the construction of the refinery and its accompanying facilities especially the Jetty.

The Dangote refinery is not a stand-alone project as it has a coterie of associated industries and infrastructure making it a self-reliant complex.

For instance, the company has a fully developed port (jetty)for maritime operations for both in-take of crude and discharge of refined products. This perfectly compliments the huge pipeline network that lands into the Atlantic for intake of crude and loading of refined products to ships.  Its Jetty, which stretches 9KM into the international waters in the Atlantic Ocean and 12.5 KM from the refinery is perhaps one of the most modern in the world built with sand piles that shield the final landing points from the violent oceanic waves, thus providing for safety and stability of ships, barges and oil tankers.

The complex is accessed by 200KM network of concrete under-lay and well asphalted road network to ease vehicular traffic. The refinery has its dedicated steam and power generation system with standby units to adequately support operations of the various plants in the complex.

 It has successfully completed a 435 MW power generating plant for its operations. The power generated from this plant surpasses the entire distribution capacity of Ibadan Electricity Distribution company, which supplies electricity to five states of the Federation including Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Kwara.

The Dangote refinery with a capacity of 650,000 bpd of crude oil is designed to handle the crude from many of the African countries, the Middle East and the US light crude. Its petrochemical plant is designed to produce 77 different high-performance grades of polypropylene, which is the major raw material for numerous industries and other refineries. With a huge refining capacity, Alhaji Dangote said the products from the refinery company would easily meet 100 per cent the needs of  Nigeria’s demand for gasoline, diesel, Petrol and Aviation Jet with 56 per cent surplus for export, from which the company projects to earn a princely $25billion  per annum from 2025.

The company has facility to load 2,900 trucks with its various products in a day by land and millions of litres of products through the waters depending on where the orders come from. The $25million projected revenue in 2025 could translate to a huge relieve for the nation in dire need of foreign earnings to shore-up the value of the nation’s currency.

The associated industry, the Dangote Fertilizers Limited also situated in the complex utilises the raw materials from petrochemicals to produce different varieties of fertilzers especially Urea, NPK and Amonia grades of fertilizers. Apart from the local market, Dangote is already exporting its fertilizers to other countries including Mexico, a testament to its high quality that meets world standards.

This feta,  the President of Dangote industries explained was possible because of the high quality, the company has opted to pursue. In between the refinery and the fertilizers complex lies a 50,000 housing estate, which provided accommodation for the construction workers at the time of construction especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, when workers remained encamped on the project site to continue with the work.

What stands out the Dangote Refinery is perhaps not in its sheer size and capacity but in the fact that  it is  perhaps the only of such projects whose Engineering, Procurement and construction(EPC) was done directly by the company without engaging the world renowned refinery constriction companies  like Technip Bechtel (USA)Technip (France)Aker Solutions (Norway)Chiyoda Corporation (Japan)SNC-Lavalin Group (Canada)J. Ray McDermott (USA)JGC Corporation (Japan)Hyundai Heavy Industries (South Korea)Foster Wheeler (USA) and Daelim Industrial Company (South Korea)

“The design of the refinery was handled by dozens of Engineers and technical experts assembled in India and Houston, Texas, USA to execute engineering designs of the refinery,” said Edwin Kumar, the Executive vice President, Oil and Gas for the Dangote Group who midwifed  the birth of the refinery complex.

“We didn’t give out contracts to anybody, we bought every single bolt and equipment ourselves and had it shipped into the country,” Dangote explained to his guests.

Part of the equipment imported into the country was the procurement of over 3,000 cranes to handle the evacuation of huge consignments of machinery from the wharf and for subsequent installation at the construction site. The cranes have become an unusual assemblage of such equipment to be found in one place on the African continent.

If there was any doubt that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man, the successful completion of the refinery and petrochemical complex at the cost of about $20billion has further confirmed his status as Africa’s leading businessman and entrepreneur.

However, Dangote does not really accept that he is the richest man on the continent,
“When you are rich, you accumulate cash, but when you  wealthy, you create wealth” he told the top Media executives on tour of the huge project, explaining that he would rather  prefer to be referred to as a “Wealthy man.”

And consistent with his business philosophy, Dangote hinted of plans to list the refinery on the Nation’s stock exchange by the first quarter of 2025. His vision is to avail the public of 20 per cent of the shares so as to ensure participation by Nigerians and even international portfolio investors.

The refinery company and the entire of Dangote Group at the moment provides direct employment to about 20,000 Nigerians and much indirect jobs to Nigerians, making it the highest employer of labour outside the government.

Most interestingly, the highly technical operations of Dangote refinery is operated by over 70 per cent of local manpower who work in the refinery control, centre, the numerous production and quality control laboratories among others. Some of the staff who explained their tasks to the visiting media executives said they were graduates of Engineering and allied disciplines recruited mostly from Nigerian universities and trained in various institutions abroad for periods ranging from sixth months – one year to master refinery operations. Through this strategy, Dangote has ensured transfer of technology to thousands of Nigerian youths.

“We don’t  know where they come from as long as they are Nigerians and if they decide to leave and join international oil companies for better job opportunities, we have no problem with that,” Dangote responded to a question on the strategy to retain the technical manpower for stability of the refinery’s operations.

The Dangote Refinery is a Republic of some kind,  at least an economic or industrial Republic.

But the man who presides over this ‘industrial empire’, Alhaji Dangote says his only ambition is to boot the nation’s economy and ensure netter life for Nigerians.

“When you import any product into Nigeria, you are importing poverty and exporting our jobs to those countries from where you are importing” Dangote said  adding “this is why I want economic nationalism in Nigeria.”

Dangote’s vision even goes beyond Nigeria as he has cement factories and other business concerns in about 13 African countries including Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, etc. This signifies his continent-wide  dream to transform Africa’s economies.

There has been attempts by some international oil companies to frustrate the successful take-off of the refinery, through over pricing and in some instances outright  denial of crude supplies for processing. This made Dangote to commence importation of crude from the US. However, the cheering news that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has finally approved a supply arrangement has raised hopes that full operations will commence and that the long-awaited Dangote oil products will reach consumers around the country from August.

At last, the Dangote Group may have achieved its objective to serve as the elixir to Nigeria’s industrialisation effort. This is perhaps the greatest legacy of Africa’s richest man to his country of birth.

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