He said since AMCON over the past seven years have done its best to resolve these debts but are still encountering resistance from obligor, the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the able leadership of Senator Dr. Olubukola Saraki, would have not option that to urge AMCON to compile and publish the list of all these debtors on major daily newspapers in the country. The move, he argued would place before Nigerians those who are holding the nation’s economy to ransom since they account for 80 per cent of AMCON’s N4.8trillion obligation.
The Senator, who spoke today at the opening of a 2-day retreat at Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos where they convened to discuss the all-important AMCON Act Amendment Bill, hinted that the Upper Chamber, as part of its oversight function, has decided that AMCON at this critical time in its lifespan must be given all the support it requires to perform as expected by all Nigerians. He however urged the Management of AMCON to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to propose that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces issues an Executive Order on seizure of assets of persons who are indebted to AMCON.
In a keynote address he delivered at the commencement of the retreat, Sen. Ibrahim said the upper chamber is intent on having serious discussions as soon as possible with major stakeholders such as the CBN, the FMF, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and relevant committees from the legislature among others, where issues hindering AMCON from performing optimally including the funding model of AMCON would be discussed to enable the recovery agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria finish its assignment on a high.
According to him the Upper Chamber will at this stage bare its fangs by amending the AMCON Act because AMCON has been a key stabilizing and re-vitalizing tool in the Nigerian financial system and so will be supported by the legislature to enable the Corporation achieve its statutory objectives. He said the legislature therefore supports the proposed plan by AMCON to publish the list of especially the 350 obligors that accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the total huge debt of AMCON.
Earlier in his presentation, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru reminded the Senate Committee that the ramifications for failure by AMCON to recover its debt, principally owed to the CBN, cannot be quantified as it goes beyond economic cost. He disclosed that AMCON’s total debt obligation of
N4.8trillion represents more than 55 per cent of the 2018 national budget. Given the current demands on the Federal Government therefore, Kuru said he is convinced that it is doubtful that the government can afford to expense AMCON’s debt in the short term.
It was for that reason, AMCON, after seven years of negotiating with the obligors with no commensurate recovery result, has decided to change its strategy, which now pays strict attention to enforcements as a way of compelling especially the recalcitrant obligors to come and pay up their debts. To achieve this however, Kuru said the Corporation will be heavily dependent on the legislature, most especially members of the committee to facilitate the amendment of the AMCON Act since most obligors of AMCON that are politically exposed and business heavyweights now employ different antics in law to tie the Corporation up in courts.
Further highlighting other challenges faced by the Corporation, the AMCON CEO, again said, “One of the major areas for amendment is the matter of vesting proprietary interest of all collateral assets acquired by AMCON from commercial banks. The proposed amendment will have retrospective effect. The vesting of proprietary interest of all collateral assets in the resolution vehicle was implemented in Malaysia and was instrumental to their success in recovering debt obligations.
“Our second challenge has to do with the disposal of assets due to the economic downturn. AMCON’s current assets under management (AUM), that is assets obtained from debt resolution, has a book value of
N182 billion, which we are unable to sell. Our ability to successfully divest these assets, at competitive market price, is severely hampered by several factors including valuation methodology, unperfected title documents, state of the economy, purchasing power. The third challenge is the uncooperative attitudes of select obligors who are either unwilling and/or unable to settle their indebtedness. Such debtors prefer to resort to all manner of diversionary tactics as opposed to dealing with the problem of their indebtedness. It sees most of them are buying time, to where we do not know.”
Kuru also stated that from all indications, AMCON has in the past seven years exhausted the low hanging fruits and have had to roll up sleeves for a drawn out battle because it has become harder to get obligors to settle their debts. Throwing more light on this, the AMCON boss said, “To clarify, obligors indebted to AMCON for the sum of
N1.3 trillion have sued us in various courts in Nigeria raising technicalities to avoid meeting their obligations. This has hampered our recovery efforts and our objective of obtaining the best achievable financial returns on assets acquired from the banks.”
For that reason, he informed that AMCON had presented the issue with 350 accounts that represent about 80 per cent of AMCON’s current exposure of
N3 trillion as at May 31, 2018. AMCON, he said is still grappling with the issues that are multi-faceted, which consequently led the Corporation to reposition its debt recovery approach to focus on enforcement against obligors who are not willing to settle amicably.
In conclusion, Kuru said, “I will like to emphasize, once again, that the ramifications for failure by AMCON to recover its debt, principally owed to the CBN, cannot be quantified as it goes beyond economic cost. AMCON’s total debt obligation of
N4.8trillion represents more than 55 per cent of the 2018 national budget. Given the current demands on the Federal Government, it is doubtful that it can afford to expense AMCON’s debt in the short term.”
Q2: Dangote Cement invests $3bn on plants, grinding terminals across Africa
…. 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”
Fidelity Bank donates N50m to Lagos State Security Trust Fund
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.
CBN sustains Forex intervention, injects fresh $210m
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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