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Iseni project: Shell conclusion on FID catalyst to more opportunities for local content contracts — Ekpo

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Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, has said the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the Iseni Project by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint venture partners has opened up a new vista of opportunities for local content compliant contracts for Nigerian firms.

Shell had sealed the FID with the NNPCL, TotalEnergies and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, as joint venture partners, in a deal that will see the building of a dedicated upstream facility to supply 100 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to Dangote Fertiliser and Petrochemical Plant in Lekki, Lagos State for ten (10) years.

Ekpo, in a statement on Sunday by his spokesman, Louis Ibah, commended Shell and its partners for commiting to the FID saying the development of the  gas-rich Iseni field would go a long way in supporting the Federal Government’s aspirations for the Decade of Gas initiative.

Said Ekpo, “I am extremely excited with SPDC, NNPCL, TotalEnergies,NAOC who worked assiduously for the realization of the FID on the Iseni project. 100mmscfd, which is capable of producing the equivalent of 400MW of energy, will be delivered into the domestic market when construction is completed. This is a significant milestone in our quest to achieve our aspirations of the Decade of Gas initiative.

“Following this FID, I expect local content compliant contracts to be awarded, thus creating jobs in the domestic economy and growing our GDP. This is in line with President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to unlock Natural Resources and stimulate continuous investment and growth of the Nigerian economy.”

According to Ekpo, the Iseni Project is a critical gas supply deal tracked by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas) as part of Nigeria’s Decade of Gas Initiative.

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UBA customers remain our backbone — Alawuba

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The Group Managing Director of UBA Plc, Mr Oliver Alawuba has lauded the bank’s customers in 24 countries where it operates, saying the customers provided the backbone for its success story.

Alawuba gave the applause on Saturday while speaking at the Annual Champion Newspapers’ Awards (2023), Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Man of the Year Award which he dedicated to the bank’s customers in 24 countries was presented to him by the NDLEA Chairman, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd).

In his response, Alawuba thanked the management of Champion Newspapers for the award.

He said, “I’m indeed humbled, UBA, this is your award. I would like to thank the chairman of the Board, Mr Tony Elumelu and all the Board members. I would like to thank my colleagues and the management. I would like to thank all the staff of UBA.”

“It is you that gave me the platform to have an award. I would like to dedicate this award to the customers of UBA in all the 24 countries that we have presence and finally my family.

“I would like to thank my wife for always being there in good times and bad times, very steadfast.”

Earlier, in her welcome address, the Group Managing Director of the Champion Newspapers Limited, Dr (Mrs) Nwadiuto Iheakanwa said the annual awards was a way of recognizing excellence.

She noted, “For Nigeria to get better and bigger we will need more of the calibre of people and institutions who we set out to honour this evening because they constitute an integral part of the best.

“Our new challenge and thinking should be on how to make Nigeria more functional, more prosperous and more respected in the international community.”

She therefore tasked the political class and state actors to learn to come down from their high horses and stoop lower with the intent to conquer the current battle that has to do with alleviating poverty.

“Leaders should be more sensitive, leaders must think more of the people than election cycles. More attention should be focused on revamping the economy, secure environment and the rule of law. A nation without strict adherence to the rule of law is nothing short of a jungle and Nigeria should never be allowed to be classified as one,” Iheakanwa stated.

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Oyetola, Speaker, others seek establishment of shipping regulatory agency

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Minister of Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas and other stakeholders on Monday, called for the establishment of a shipping regulatory agency for the country.

They made the call in Abuja at a public hearing on the Shipping Council’s Repeal and Enactment of the Shippers’ Council and Economic Regulatory Bill.

The public hearing was organised by the House Committee on Shipping Services, Port and Harbor, Maritime Safety, Education, and Administration at the National Assembly Complex.

Represented by the lawmaker representing Jibia/Kaita Federal Constituency, Katsina State, Sada Soli. The Speaker noted that the move to establish the regulatory agency is aimed at enhancing economic growth and development as well as strengthening the new ministry.

He said, “This re-enactment bill seeks to ensure that the proposed agency establishes an economic regulatory framework for effective and efficient regulation of commercial and related activities in the shipping and port sectors.

“The amended bill encompasses critical provisions addressing several key areas essential for the effective functioning of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

“It details the structure and responsibilities of the management and staff, establishing a clear governance framework that defines roles and qualifications to ensure competent oversight.”

The bill lays out financial provisions, specifying guidelines for the allocation, management, and auditing of funds, which is crucial for maintaining financial integrity and providing the Council with the necessary resources to perform its duties.

“The bill also addresses offences and penalties, outlining specific non-compliance issues and their corresponding penalties,” he said.

On his part, Oyetola, while canvassing for the need to establish the regulatory agency, said it would improve the nation’s economy.

The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Blue Economy, Oloruntola Olufemi said if passed into law, the move would impact the economy positively.

The Chairman of the Committee, Abdulsamad Dasuki, pledged the readiness of lawmakers to quicken the legislative processes that would make the bill become an act.

The Chairman, Shipping Association of Nigeria, Boma Alabi (SAN), said that any act that will improve efficiency, lower cost, and reduce the bottleneck that we currently face will be most welcome.

“We must be more efficient, and we welcome this regulatory agency that will be created to make things more efficient.

“We have expressed our concern internally and externally, and this committee, which has been involved in this process, must work on some areas of concern. Some aspects should be expunged, like sections 40, 42, 52, and a few others and we understand the reason behind this.

“We need to put in some checks and balances so that those in the saddle will not abuse it,” she said.

Giving a synopsis of the bill, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shipper’s Council, Pius Akuta said it will “addresses the regulatory vacuum that has allowed service providers in the shipping and port sectors to impose arbitrary tariffs and charges, impacting Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade and provides updates needed due to outdated penalties and regulatory powers that are insufficient to enforce compliance among service providers.”

When established, the agency, according to Akuta will create “a robust economic regulatory framework that prevents unfair practices, promotes fair pricing, and encourages competition, protect the interests of both service providers and users by ensuring transparency and accountability in the imposition of tariffs and charges as well as automate and digitalize cargo-related processes to align with international best practices.”

The Permanent Secretary added that the agency will be financially autonomous, “Funded through a combination of government grants, fees, charges, and other revenues generated from its operations.”

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Recapitalisation: FCMB plans to raise N150bn by end of third quarter

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The Management of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has disclosed plans to raise N150 billion between now and September 2024.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FCMB Group Plc, Ladi Balogun, stated this on the sidelines of the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos during an interview with journalists.

According to him, the company has devised a variety of means to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s new capital requirements.

He stated, “Our plans during this period will be raising N150 billion through a series of structures. It’s not going to be one straight offer obviously and, that, we expect will be concluded by the end of September.

“We have a number of options, and we can achieve our objectives through any combination of the options we have. We are fortunate that as a group we have eight companies beyond just the bank. So, it’s just the bank that we have to capitalise on.

“We also have people speaking to us on potential merger and acquisition (M&A) partnership, but there is no conclusive plan at this stage. However, if there is an opportunity that is accretive to our shareholders from an earnings perspective, we will consider such things.”

Furthermore, Mr. Balogun commented on the bank’s plan to improve the non-interest income through leveraging digital products and services which would come fully on stream in the next two years.  On the rise of the bank’s loan impairment in the face of high-interest rate levels, the CEO stated that the bank will be supportive and ensure its actions will be in partnership with customers to prevent harming them in any way.

Recall that CBN, in March 2024, announced a new banking recapitalisation exercise aimed at supporting the $1 trillion economy target of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

According to the CBN, Tier-1 international banks are expected to have a minimum capital base of N500 billion- up from N25 billion set during the last exercise about 20 years ago. National banks are expected to have a minimum capital requirement of N200 billion while regional and merchant bank’s minimum capital base was set at N50 billion.

The CBN mandated banks to ensure that in meeting the new capital requirements, retained earnings should not be calculated. Rather, it should involve the injection of fresh capital. Also, it asked banks to submit a plan to meet the new capital requirements by the end of April 2024.

FCMB has a capital shortfall of N374.7 billion to meet the apex bank’s new capital requirement to retain its international bank status. Currently, the bank’s capital base stands at N125.3 billion.

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