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Private Sector, not Govt, Engine of Economic Opportunities – ACCI Boss

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The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says the private sector, not the government, is the engine of economic opportunities.

The ACCI President, Mr Emeka Obegolu, said this during his inauguration  dinner as the 12th President of the ACCI in Abuja.

Obegolu, who said he assumed leadership at a time when Nigeria faced enormous challenges , expressed confidence that the private sector would rise up to ameliorate some of these challenges.

He commended steps being made by the Federal Government to remove subsidy, the unification of foreign exchange market and student loan programme among others.

He said:“ while these measures may have initially tested our resilience, we believe they will, with time, yield the desired results.

“We can only urge the government to deepen the collaboration with the private sector, represented by the chamber of commerce.

“A partnership that has the potential to significantly benefit the business community, the society, and the national economy.

“We must never forget that the private sector, is the engine of economic opportunity; small businesses flourish and can provide good jobs when government acts as a productive partner.’’

According to Obegolu, the ACCI has been on the forefront of fostering economic growth, entrepreneurship, and innovation in Nigeria through its initiatives and entities.

He said the chamber had consistently demonstrated its commitment to driving sustainable development and empowering businesses across diverse sectors.

On security in the country, he said the ACCI would collaborate with the defense and national security leadership, to institute an annual summit on security, defense and business.

The ACCI president said this would review and proffer solutions to the challenges facing us as a nation and foster confidence and assurance that Nigeria was a safe destination for investment.

On vision, Obegolu said his administration would prioritise collaboration with the government, non-state stakeholders and capacity building within the ACCI team.

He said this would enhance management processes for improved efficiency and productivity.

“Ongoing projects initiated by the previous administration will be completed within a stipulated timeframe. We aspire to maximise the investment potential of ACCI assets, adding world-class projects to our distinguished records.

“To strengthen our various departments, financial self-reliance will be promoted, and necessary support provided to achieve their mandates.

“Collaboration with the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) will be intensified, giving the chamber a national outlook to better serve our members.

“As ACCI president, I will do my best to discharge my duties and undertake to respect judgments and advice by council members and EXCO. I could not have asked for a better team. Together we can !,’’ he said.

In his goodwill message, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, charged the chamber to come up with programmes that would include youths and women in the society.

“I charge ACCI to draw up programmes that will inspire these set of people so they can contribute to the social, economic development and growth of the society.

“ACCI should also prioritise initiatives that promote and empower our youth and women who are the key drivers of the future economy.

“For those outside Abuja, it should draw up programmes that will include these young ones, who are agitating for one thing or the other.

“Let us have a programme that will give them that sense of inclusion, teach them skills, expose them to opportunities that will make them have confidence in themselves to use their brain not their hands,’’ he said.

Kalu then urged all the chamber of commerce in the South-Eastern region to make programmes that will teach our youths the best ways of developing themselves and impacting on the society positively

He expressed optimism that the new president would lead the sector with integrity, wisdom and strong commitment.

“I wish to inform you that the House of Representatives will always be there; through our various committees of commerce and industry, to support your initiatives

“It will also suggest laws that you think need legislative intervention to make the lives of businessmen in Nigeria easier

“We will partner with you in redesigning the laws of our federal government with regards to commerce and industry.

“Together, let us forge ahead, united in our pursuit of economic progress, society justice and sustainable development,’’ he said.

Reports that some past presidents of the chamber, government officials, heads of private sector, royalties, friends and well-wishers among other dignitaries attended the event. (NAN)

NEWS

Tinubu Mourns Ex-Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu

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President Bola Tinubu has extended his deepest condolences to the Onu family over the passing of Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, a former Minister of Science and Technology in the Buhari administration.

Chief Onu passed away on Thursday at the age of 72.

“The President mourns a luminous star in Nigeria’s political firmament.

The first civilian governor of Abia State; former minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, a principal draughtsman in the founding of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and a valiant partner in the victory of the party in the 2015 elections.
 

“Most importantly, the President celebrates the life of an accomplished scholar, first-class engineer; a man of proven integrity; defiant to indiscipline, but ever yielding to the highest standards of rectitude,” a statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Presidential spokesman quoted the President to have said.

The statement said Tinubu affirmed that the late Onu epitomized Nigeria in concord; in wholeness, as the late statesman believed in and defended Nigeria’s unity, advocated peace, and promoted fellowship across the Niger.

The President also condoled with the friends and associates of Chief Onu, Ebonyi and Abia State Governments, and all Nigerians grieving this gaping loss.

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Business News

Geregu Power Earns N50.4bn From Electricity Sales, Capacity Charges 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

Geregu Power Plc has generated N50.4bn on electricity sales and capacity charges to Nigerians in the first quarter of 2024.

The power company which is the first listed power company of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd disclosed the performance in its Q1, 2024 financial statement.

The company grew its Q1 revenue by 225 per cent from N14.

2bn in 2023 to N50.
4bn in 2023.

A breakdown reveals that Geregu Power sold energy worth N31bn and received N19bn as revenue from capacity charge.

Recall that the power company posted an annual revenue of N82.9bn in the full year of 2023 but it has covered half of the amount in Q1.

The revenue was above the company’s forecast for Q1 2024 when it projected its revenue to rise to N31.24bn.

Geregu Power recorded a profit before tax of N21.9bn up from the N5.3bn recorded in Q1 of last year, reflecting 307.8 per cent growth.

During the period underreview, the company saw its profit after tax rose by 307.3 per cent to N14.46bn from N3.54bn recorded in Q1 of last year. In the full year 2023, the company made N16.1bn net profit.

The net profit was above the company projection of N5.5bn. 

Geregu Power took an income tax charge of N7.43bn, up from the N1.8bn in Q1 2023. The tax charges were higher than the N2.7bn projected for Q1 2024.

The company also spent N21.5bn on the cost of sales involving gas supply and transportation, up from the N6.6bn spent on gas supply and transportation in Q1 2023.

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Foreign News

U.S. not Expecting to be Drawn into War but Predicts Attack by Iran Against Israel

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The United States expects an attack by Iran against Israel but one that would not be big enough to draw Washington into war, a U.S. official said late on Thursday.

The White House said earlier that Washington did not want conflict to spread in the Middle East and the U.S. had told Iran it was not involved in an air strike against a top Iranian military commander in Damascus.

The White House added it warned Iran to not use that attack as a pretext to escalate further in the region.

Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran’s embassy in Damascus on Monday in a strike for which Iran has vowed revenge and in which a top Iranian general and six other Iranian military officers were killed, ratcheting up tension in a region already strained by the Gaza war.

Iranian sources told Reuters that Tehran has signalled to Washington that it will respond to Israel’s attack on its Syrian embassy in a way that aims to avoid major escalation and it will not act hastily, as Tehran presses demands including a Gaza truce.

The United States has been on high alert about possible retaliatory strikes from Iran and U.S. envoys have been working to lower tensions.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza has since killed more than 33,000 people according to the local health ministry, displaced nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, caused a humanitarian crisis, and led to genocide allegations that Israel denies.

Iran-backed groups have declared support for Palestinians, waging attacks from Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.

Tehran has avoided direct confrontation with Israel or the United States, while declaring support for its allies. (Reuters/NAN)

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