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9mobile appoints new COO



9mobile has announced the appointment of John Vasikaran as its Chief Operations Officer.  Vasikaran is joining a reinvigorated leadership team as part of the strong commitment by the board and management to aggressively repositions for growth and transformation.

He brings to 9mobile a wealth of experience, with more than 20 years in the African telecommunications industry. In his role as Chief/ Operations/ Officer, he/ will provide strategic leadership for the operations across Technical, IT, Sales, Commercial Planning, Customer Care, Marketing Communications, and PMO in line with the current trends and EMTS’ strategic vision.

His most recent role was Director of Business Development and Sales for Ribbon Communications, which provides software, IP, and optical networking solutions for service providers, enterprises, and critical infrastructure sectors. There, he played a pivotal role in driving growth and innovation.

On the appointment of the new Chief Operations Officer, 9mobile CEO Juergen Peschel stated, “We are thrilled to welcome Vasikaran to the 9mobile family. His extensive experience, especially in Nigeria and Africa, makes him the ideal leader to steer our operations in line with current industry trends and our strategic vision. We believe that with his addition, 9mobile will continue to provide world-class services to our valued customers.”

Speaking on his appointment, Vasikaran said, “It gives me great joy to join 9mobile, a visionary brand and trailblazer in the telecommunications industry. I look forward to working with the team towards maintaining its position as a leading telecommunications provider in Nigeria, and also seeking new ways to drive growth and meet the evolving needs of our customers while staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the telecommunications sector.”

Educated at prestigious institutions, Vasikaran holds a Master’s in Business Analytics with a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning from Harvard Business School, USA. He also possesses a Master of Business Administration degree with a dual focus on Finance and Marketing, a Master of Social Sciences degree in Industrial Psychology, and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, all earned at Loyola College, Chennai, India.

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Shettima seeks public-private partnership to drive economic growth



Vice-President Kashim Shettima has called for a more robust collaboration between the government and business leaders to propel Nigeria’s economic aspirations.

The spokesperson of the Vice-President, Mr Stanley Nkwocha in a statement on Friday, said Shettima made the remark at the Heirs Holdings Group Directors’ Annual Dinner, held in Abuja.

According to the Vice President, open dialogue, shared insights, and collaborative work between the public and private sectors are necessary tools to develop solutions tailored towards Nigeria’s unique realities.

He called for synergy between the political class and economic stakeholders, emphasising that the two spheres are not opposites but complementary forces vital for national stability and progress.

” Politics is too important to be left to the politicians and enterprises that define our economic destination are too important to be left to the businessmen alone to develop.”

The Vice-President urged conglomerates to serve as pipelines for the administration’s practical economic vision, departing from cosmetic reforms of the past.

“Collaboration between the public and private sectors is the ingredients of a thriving economy.

” We must engage in open dialogue and share insights and work together to crop solutions that are peculiar to our realities.

” Whether it is tackling unemployment, reducing poverty, or enhancing education and healthcare, our partnership must aspire to drive sustainable development and create a safe future for all Nigerians.

” Our bragging right will not be about having the most unicorns on the continent but also about our entrepreneurial standing with global comparisons,” he said.

Shettima, who commended the Chairman of Heirs Holdings Group, Tony Elumelu for his achievements, described him as an “enigma and a banking colossus whose entrepreneurial exploits have carved a niche in Africa’s economic landscape.”

He also lauded the Heirs Holdings chairman’s visionary leadership and commitment to empowering young African entrepreneurs.

“Tony Elumelu belongs to the class of wealthy men because he generates wealth and opportunities and is a harbinger of great tidings to the Nigerian people.

” For the dreams you have relegated to help build our nation, we offer our deepest gratitude and a promise to continue playing our part to enable the ease of doing business.”

Earlier, Elumelu, reaffirmed the group’s unwavering commitment to the philosophy of Africapitalism and empowering young entrepreneurs across the continent.

Elumelu, whose business empire spans 24 countries, noted that the annual gathering serves as a platform to review achievements, business practices, and learn from the experiences of over 100 board members.

“Today, we started our Annual General Meeting, and it will continue until Saturday.

” Sessions like this afford us the opportunity to reflect on everything we have done within the year, look at things we should have done better, learn from our past mistakes, and re-strategize on how to accomplish our purpose,” he said

Elumelu added that, at the core of Heirs Holdings’ ethos, was the belief that the private sector must play a leading role in Africa’s development, a philosophy he described as “Africapitalism.”

He stressed the group’s focus on human impact, citing the empowerment of 20,000 young African entrepreneurs with non-refundable seed capital of 5,000 dollars each as their most significant recent achievement.

Elumelu expressed confidence that the collective efforts of the holdings and other business groups would contribute to transforming the African continent and uplifting the black race globally.

The Founding Trustee of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairperson of Avon Healthcare Ltd, Dr Awele Elumelu, described Vice-President Shettima as an exemplary leader committed to public service and nation-building.

” In Heirs Holdings Group, one of our core values is excellence, and our guest speaker embodies excellence,” she said, adding that the group felt honoured by VP Shettima’s presence.”

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Nigeria requests $500m World Bank loan to repair rural roads, combat rising food prices



The federal government of Nigerian is requesting a $500 million loan from the World Bank to repair rural roads, enhance agricultural product access, and combat rising food prices.

The World Bank stated that this loan will benefit 92 million rural residents who lack adequate road infrastructure.

This funding request is part of the final draft of the Resettlement Policy Framework for the Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project Scale-Up, managed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The RAAMP-SU project will allocate funds to three main areas including, $387 million for resilient rural access, $158 million for climate-resilient asset management, and $55 million for institutional strengthening and project management.

The project’s total cost is estimated at $600 million, with the World Bank expected to cover 83.33% of the funding. This represents a 79% increase from the initial $280 million commitment for the original project.

According to the policy document, participating states must establish fully operational Roads Funds and Roads Agencies with appointed boards and staff, and allocate administrative costs in their budgets.

The document read, “Rural access is particularly restricted in areas densely populated by the economically disadvantaged. These factorst underscore the imperative to expand and enhance the rural road network, as well as conserve rural road and transport assets.

“While eligibility for state participation under RAAMP required the drafting and placement of Road Fund and Roads Agency bills in the State Houses of Assembly, the new project would require the States to have a fully functional Roads Fund and Roads Agency with appointed boards and staff, and provision for administrative costs made in the state budget. Additionally, RARAs offer an opportunity to foster women’s representation in the transport sector.”

This initiative comes as Nigeria faces rising food inflation, which according to the National Bureau of Statistics, reached 40.53% in April 2024. Experts attribute this to insecurity, high energy costs, and transportation expenses

Report according to the Debt Management Office, however has it that, as of the end of 2023, Nigeria’s total debt was N97.341 trillion, with debt at N38.22 trillion, accounting for 39% of the total debt.

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TotalEnergies shareholders get N8.39bn dividend for 2023 financial year



Shareholders of TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria Plc on Friday unanimously approved a total of N8.49 billion final dividend proposed by the company’s Board of Directors for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2023.
The shareholders gave their approval at the 46th Annual General Meeting(AGM) of the energy firm held in Lagos.
In his address, Mr Jean-Phillipe Torres, Chairman, Board of Directors, TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria, said that the sum represented N25.00 per
share, subject to the deduction of appropriate withholding taxes at the time of payment.
On the company’s financial performance, Torres stated that in spite of the difficult terrain, TotalEnergies Marketing increased its turnover by 32 per cent from N482.47 billion in 2022 to N635.95 billion in year 2023.
He noted that this was possible as a result of patronage by its loyal customers, commitment from its shareholders, board, management and staff of the firm in the face of such adversity.
According to him, the firm’s Profit After Tax(PAT), however, decreased by 20 per cent from N16.12 billion in year 2022 to N12.91 billion in year 2023.
“2023 was a year like no other. It was an extremely complicated and difficult year for your company,” he said.
According to him, the effects of security challenge in the country, the Naira redesign policy, removal of fuel subsidy and floating of the Naira, inflation, among other economic policies affected the overall operations and turnover of companies.
The chairman revealed that in the year 2023, due to unavailability of foreign exchange, TotalEnergies like other marketers did not import PMS.
Torres explained that NNPC maintained the role of sole importer of PMS and TotalEnergies and other marketers purchased PMS and AGO from NNPC.
“During the year, there were several outages of PMS which slowed activities in our stations across the country.
“AGO and Jet A1 remain fully deregulated but access to foreign exchange by marketers continues to be a challenge, inhibiting imports.
“The price of AGO opened the year at N850 per litre and closed as high as N1,200 per litre,” he said.
On the company’s future outlook, Torres assured that TotalEnergies remained hopeful and would continue to invest and deliver top tier services.
The board chairman emphasised the company’s 67-year legacy of providing high-quality products and services, guided by strong ethical standards.

Responding, a shareholder, Mr William Adebayo, commended the board and management for paying dividends amid harsh economic conditions and for improving turnover.

He advised the board to work on reducing administrative expenses and suggested separating figures of technical fees paid to the parent company from management fees in future reports.

Adebayo also urged further empowerment of general managers to boost profitability.

TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria Plc is a marketing and services subsidiary of TotalEnergies, a multinational energy company operating in over 130 countries, committed to providing sustainable products and services for its customers.

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