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Dangote set to boost local Tomato production In Nigeria

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L-R: The Executive Governor, Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari and Group President/CE, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, at the official signing and handing over ceremony of Songhai Project to Dangote.

The Group President/CE, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, on Thursday, July 5, 2018, signed an agreement with Katsina State Governor for reviving and upgrading the moribund Songhai project in Dutsinma town, under a 10-year lease agreement.

The initiative which will see an initial investment of half a billion Naira by Dangote Group will ensure the installation of the state-of-the-art tomato research and development (R&D) facility equipped with drip irrigation and fertigation systems and ultimately, the cultivation of 10,000 hectares of farmland and establishment of tomato processing plant within the Zobe dam region.

Speaking at the signing and handing over ceremony of the Songhai project, renowned Africa Industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote expressed his commitment towards supporting Katsina State Government in reviving the Songhai project, putting its arable land to good use while creating employment for farmers in the region.

He said “Today is one of my happiest days to have finally concluded and signed this agreement so we can take action. I assure you, we will not only cultivate and process tomatoes, we will also help Katsina effectively utilize its vast arable land.

“With your support in providing an enabling environment, we will move to the site quickly to begin cultivation and more importantly integrate farmers in our out-grower scheme to make this project a reality. Apart from tomatoes, we will farm other crops and do our best to make this project succeed.”

Reacting to the development, Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari who described Katsina State as investor-friendly lauded the initiative as a significant milestone and a great turning point in the economic transformation of Katsina State and its people. He further described the project as one that will not only serve Katsina State but West Africa region and beyond.

The Governor promised to provide Dangote with the necessary support to ensure the success of the project which he said will further open up local economy in the state.

According to Project lead, Robert Coleman, Dangote will leverage technology and skilled manpower, to farm tomato in and out of season. The research and development (R & D) facility will provide a training hub for farmers, agronomist, and students within the region, generating both skilled and unskilled employment opportunities for up to 1,000 people.

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BUSINESS

Q2: Dangote Cement invests $3bn on plants, grinding terminals across Africa

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…. employs 27,952 Nigerians in 2017

 

Group Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Joe Makoju has revealed that the company has invested a whopping $3B to build manufacturing plants and import/grinding terminals across Africa.

The company’s operations, according to Makoju are in Cameroon (1.5Mta clinker grinding), Congo (1.5Mta), Ghana (1.5Mta import), Ethiopia (2.5Mta), Senegal (1.5Mta), Sierra Leone (0.7Mta import), South Africa (2.8Mta), Tanzania (3.0Mta), Zambia (1.5Mta).

For the second quarter under review, Makoju also revealed that while total Nigeria sales volumes went up by 13.9 per cent to 7.8Mt, Pan-African volumes reduced by 3.9 per cent, mainly due to shutdown in Tanzania.

In all, the company, which employed 27,952 workers in Nigeria in 2017 had its revenue increased by 16.9 per cent and its earning per share also increased by 3 per cent to N6.60 kobo per share for the second quarter, ended in June 30, 2018.

Makoju said: “Our first-half performance was very strong and driven by an excellent recovery in Nigeria, where our sales volumes increased by nearly 14 per cent and revenues rose by more than 18 per cent. Pan-African operations saw a slight fall in volumes but both revenues and EBITDA increased because of better pricing and currency conversion effects.

In addition, we achieved the largest-ever issuance of Commercial Paper by a Nigerian company when we issued ₦50B Series 1 & 2 Notes at the end of June, with a discount rate that reflected the strength of our Company and its excellent credit ratings.

Of course, our strong performance has been overshadowed by the tragic and heartbreaking events in Ethiopia. I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues Deep Kamra, Beakal Alelign and Tsegaye Gidey and offer our sincere condolences to their families.”

It would be recalled that the Chairman of Dangote Cement, at the company’s recently concluded annual general meeting (AGM), Aliko Dangote attributed the 31 per cent increase in the company’s revenue, of N805.6 billion, for the 2017 financial year, to its pan African operations growth which also recorded a significant increase in revenue from N195 billion to N258.4 billion in 2017.

He said: “Pan African operations increased volumes by 8.4 per cent, with Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa all performing strongly and close to their operating capacity”

Noting that the company experienced some challenges in operating in sub-Saharan Africa, Dangote said the Management responded in robust fashion and benefited from “…the diversity we have created across our business and because of our local knowledge and attitudes towards doing business in neighboring countries in Africa.”

Explaining the rationale behind the success recorded by the Dangote Cement’s revenue, the acting Group Chief executive, Joe Makoju said “… the increase was helped by our decision to increase our use of local coal in Nigeria and that also helped to improve our fuel security, maintain production uptime and it reduced our need for foreign currency. We source coal from our parent company, Dangote Industries and from another Nigerian supplier, and we are very happy with the way this has worked out for us because it has enabled us to phase out the use of expensive low pour fuel oil in our kilns and also to reduce our use of imported coal”

On the future growth plans for the Group, Makoju said “…As it stands, I think we will focus on building new grinding plants along the coast of West Africa, and ensure we have clinker export facilities in Nigeria. We are looking at the possibility of two new lines in Nigeria, perhaps by the end of 2020 and its likely these will be in Edo state and Obajana, with a combined capacity of 6Mta”

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Fidelity Bank donates N50m to Lagos State Security Trust Fund

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L-R: Divisional Head, Brand and Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Charles Aigbe; Executive Secretary/ CEO, Lagos State Security Trust Fund ( LSSTF), Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun; Executive Director, Lagos and South West, Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali – Ikpe; Chief Security Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Peter Okoloh when Fidelity Bank presented a cheque of N50 Million to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund ( LSSTF) as part of the Bank’s contribution in ensuring the safety of lives and property in Lagos State

 

Fidelity Bank Plc on Monday donated N50 million to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) as part of contributions to improving security of lives and property in the State. The cheque was presented by the Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos and South-West, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe to the Executive Secretary, LSSTF, Dr. Abdulrassaq Balogun at a brief ceremony in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday.

Onyeali-Ikpe who commended the Lagos State Government for its commitment to preserving public peace, and protecting lives and property of Lagosians, said security was paramount to business success. According to her no activity can thrive in an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity.

“We are encouraged to support this initiative and kudos must be given to the Lagos State Government for the peace we are enjoying in the state today. gWe have over 80 branches, about 2,000 staff and millions of customers in the state. We are concerned about their safety all the time” she stated

The Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, commended the bank for the gesture, saying that Fidelity had been consistent in its support to the Fund from inception to date. According to him the bank has donated a total of N175 million to the LSSTF since the fund was established. “Thank you Fidelity Bank. We are most appreciative of this and what is most touching for us is your consistency. You have always come to our aid every year unsolicited”.

He assured the Fidelity Bank officials that the donation would be used judiciously and reiterated the commitment of the Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode to ensuring that we have a safe Lagos State.

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CBN sustains Forex intervention, injects fresh $210m

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 injected the sum of $210 million into the inter-bank foreign exchange (forex) market.

The Bank offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got the sum of $55 million, just as $55 million was also allocated for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel allowance (BTA).

In a statement, the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the figures and restated the apex bank resolve to continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market, in line with its pledge to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.

Mr. Okorafor maintained that the continued forex intervention is to ensure that the Bank meets genuine customers’ requests in various segments of the market.

It will be recalled that last Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the CBN intervened to the tune of $210 million, to cater for requests in the wholesale segment of the market.

Meanwhile, the naira continued to exchange at an average of N360/$1 in the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the market on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

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